AT LEAST a couple of the Borough's libraries, in large part, are being converted into customer service centres.
As one might expect, there has long been in place a dress code for library staff and I'm not aware of any suggestion that they are scruffy.
However, in a further extension of the Council's £86,000 corporate identity branding, Librarians and Council Officers may be required to wear T-shirts in the striking colour of a well-known political party.
The child-like logo that omits Council has been discussed here. On the uniform, it would be picked out in contrasting white:
"How can I help you?" would be plastered across the back. Though the "uniforms" would be cheap, they would still be an unnecessary expense.
Butlin's uniform is in my opinion, actually smarter.
The Librarian's outfit would be a T-shirt or sawn-off sweat shirt, but not quite as minimal as the B&Q apron, with which one Librarian compared the couture.
Because the Council does not understand where the Library Service should fit, in the past it has fallen under Sport & Recreation and once under the office of the Chief Executive.
I fear this is part of a general dumbing-down of the Library Service. I believe that our libraries are one of the Council's most valued functions whose worth has not often been appreciated by the Council. In my view, it should be allied with Education rather than merged with Housing Benefit enquiries and the like, as is now happening in at least two libraries.
Who thinks they're a good idea?!
Opposition spokesman on Libraries
H&H Broadway article attached:
How I miss the musty smell of old books and floor polish, and a librarian that looked like Joan Sanderson.
Xavier, Joan Sanderson might not approve. One of the several librarians I've consulted about this mentioned a disadvantage for women.
She suggested that, were she to wear this shirt with the invitation "How can I help you" outside Wood Green library while walking down the High Street, she might be accosted. Wood Green is one of the two slated for conversion, the other being Marcus Garvey: if that re-opens in May, it will have been closed for eight months.
This has not been thought through, but it demonstrates the Council Cabinet determination to try to push the corporate identity branding as deep as possible, whatever the cost in money or reputation.
Antoinette, I'm not a fan of these "uniforms" in any event. However if we had to endure holiday camper couture, I favour Maplins' colours over Butlin's (click to enlarge):
This is just my personal preference; others may prefer blue, green or even purple uniforms. For a link about uniform colours, please see a non-academic discussion:
A word of caution, red can also be seen as an aggressive colour …
Antoinette thanks for helping make my point; actually, I had noticed the new branding was (Labour) red.
No librarian wants to wear a uniform, let alone one that is vivid red, that, in the context of Haringey, is much a political party statement.
Not all librarians are members of the Labour Party; nor are they all supporters of the Labour Party. Of those who are members of the Labour Party, not all would wish to wear their Party's colours on their sleeve, or in this case, on their sleeve-less.
The aggressive deployment of the costly red logo is something that went too far, beginning with Veolia's rubbish trucks. Someone seems to have branding mania and it's of no great help to residents.
It's reasonable that the public can identify Librarians and that is done sufficiently by the new ID card even if it too has lashings of red.
The new lanyard is also Labour Party-red but worse, has the humiliating HUMAN AMBITIOUS ACCOUNTABLE PROFESSIONAL chorus printed in contrasting white.
Most Council officers embodied and exhibited these characteristics for years; for those that do not, they probably never will and the lanyard-mantra won't make a difference.
Why don't they just include a red nose and 'Ha ha Haringey' on the logo? Poor librarians, being made to look like pound shop staff.
Maddy not all librarians had seen the proposals.
In one Library last week, I revealed the red tops on a web page to two women librarians standing alongside each other. As a reflexive simultaneous reaction, their right hands went up to cover their mouths.
Librarians are unable themselves to speak out about this major change honestly. On Friday, the day after the Broadway article appeared (above), a message went out To All [library] Staff (click to enlarge):
I have topped and tailed this Friday email timed at 15:51 to protect the innocent … and the guilty. The Council should have red faces. I much hope the Cabinet abandons their latest, wasteful folly.
"Should a member of the public ask any questions please can you remember that what the Council gives the Council can take away, including your job. And that those who pay the piper call the tune. So you should respond with the gist of the following recorded message; speaking the words in a flat monotone".
"This is only the beginning. No decision has yet been made. We are consulting. We will prepare. When the time is right we will emerge in our uniforms and take our rightful place.
Alan I've put in a Member's Enquiry about the cost of the proposed uniforms, that would be for customer service staff as well as librarians – i.e. all "face to face" staff.
I'll post the answer here.
Meanwhile, I see that some years ago in Wiltshire, the cost of uniforms in similar circumstances was to be £35,000.
I don't know if that was implemented, but that County Council's justifying language deployed in 2009 was similar to Haringey Council London. Their statement to come from the same robotic PR source that supplies stock phrases to all the country's municipal units.
Clive, have you alerted CILIP, the library staff's professional body, about this? The CEO is Nick Poole.
It is rare but not unknown for a proportion of staff to wear elements of a uniform, but it's usually optional - see this discussion: https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A2=lis-pub-libs;ecb7da4...