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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Hi-de-Hi! Butlin's-style red T-shirts to be deployed as uniforms in the Borough's Libraries? … seems not!

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?!

Haringey Councillor
Opposition spokesman on Libraries

H&H Broadway article attached:

Tags for Forum Posts: Butlins, Library Service, brand identity, library, logo, re-branding, uniform, £86,000

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That particular paragraph is spectacular gobbledegook. But the rest of the ad is shaming for different reasons.
And also - to be completely frank - a little bit weird. Given the massive cuts currently underway, with more expected from our right-wing Government and Council, the tone of shining optimism from the very first sentence of the job ad might come across as bizarre.

"Haringey London is looking at the future with excitement and anticipation."

"We are adamant to be totally Customer Focused",
they announce. (Their capital letters.) This is followed by a string of empty PR phrases, with a tone of heady and surely irrational certainty.  Their new "trusted organisation"  they say, will meet "our customers' "current and future needs ... in an efficient and effective way”.

There's lots more. Who on earth writes this gibberish?  Is it done-tongue-in-cheek?

"adamant to be" - that's surely not correct grammar. But this is the Council that outlined cuts in all our services in a document called Building a Stronger Haringey (or something like that)

I agree, Luci. But before someone says 'nit-picking', let's please remember that Haringey has a large "Comms Team' who supposedly know how to proofread a draft before publication (on paper or online).

However, my worry goes deeper. Do the people who generate this stuff understand the services they're writing about? Or is this simply a string of phrases they think sound modern and fashionable? The sort of upbeat guff required.

It's perfect for a game of bullshit bingo. So here's my rough translation of what they wrote.

"Haringey London is looking at the future with excitement and anticipation."
[Translation: Yet another fine mess by this failing Council. Put something vague and upbeat.]
"We recognise that our Residents, Businesses and Visitors deserve modern and fulfilling interactions."
[Translation: People expect the Council to provide proper professional services. That's not going to happen under Kober. So cover up with some waffle about interactions.]
"We acknowledge the need to transform our Customer Service offering and we are adamant to be totally Customer Focused."
[Translation: Claire Kober pledged that every library would stay open. So cut the space and move in other services. Pretend it's an improvement.]

"We have a simple vision. To be a trusted organisation, where our customers have confidence that their current and future needs will be met in an efficient and effective way”.
[Translation: Keep propaganda simple. Assume that our residents were born yesterday.

"In the newly created role of Head of Libraries and Customer Service Centres you will be leading and inspiring a Team which is passionate about Haringey and its Customers."
[Translation: We used to have a Head of Libraries with a team who cared about libraries. Those days are dead and buried. Last century. Get Real. If people want books let them buy a laptop, an Amazon account, and a Kindle. That creates private sector jobs.

Please do look up and translate the remaining tosh yourselves. You'll find the usual bullshit words like: "vision"; "resilience"; "Modernising" ;"making change happen"; "true transformation"; "a journey"; "champions" ; digital world" and "self serve solutions"; "our Libraries service being second to none."

But the prize for Bullshit Bingo must surely belong to this line: 

To achieve our Vision we are investing in our technology, our places and our people.

[My translation: You can fool most of the people most of the time. Claire Kober has been doing it for six years. So keep smiling. And repeating words like 'Trust and Confidence'.]

WELL John, I was pleased that at least it said "… users", even if the rest wasn't right: actually, poorly written.

Last night at the briefing, the terms "library user" was not used once: it was all "customer' and customers, everywhere.

I pointed out that in normal parlance, a customer can take their custom elsewhere: but not when there's a monopoly supplier.

A Labour Councillor said that the term customer was widely used in local government, but that we [Labour] on Left were uncomfortable with "customer" applied to community services (I mentally chuckled at the claim that local Labour was on the Left!).

I'd be happy to see this futile effort at English engineering, abandoned. Let's bring back "library user" and "passenger" and "parking-fine payer!"



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