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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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THANKS for the link that I've read with interest and the mention of the CILIP about which I will make enquiries. Meanwhile, any Haringey Librarians reading this who wish to get in touch with me about this on a confidential basis are welcome to do so.

The identity branding mania needs to end here.

Just a small note of correction Clive. Most library staff are not librarians. My first job in London was in Swiss Cottage library and only a small proportion of the staff were qualified librarians and got rather miffed if we referred to ourselves as such!

Ashamed of their employers or what?

I know of many cases where employees like/try to merge into the crowds. Therefore there is nothing whatsoever wrong with an employer expecting his employees to wear some kind of identification. It's is also not wrong for employers to ensure as much value as possible (i.e.work) out of  their employees.

Whether they be nurses/doctors/bus drivers/trolley dollies/police - all worthy professions/jobs .. Therefore it isn't at all wrong or bad pratice to expect librarians to do the same.

This is just another case of a Carter storm in a teacup.

I was shocked at how scruffy the staff at Wood Green Central Library were when I visited last week. I was served by an older man in a scruffy hoodie and jeans. His beard was wild and I was appalled at his disrespect for the job and people he served. 

His apathy reflected on his bosses and the elected Councillors charged with getting the best out of this public service.  These uniforms are badly needed.  

New Labour- and M Thatcher - banned Beardies, but it seems the times they are a'changin' ...

I AM pleased to be able to report that it now appears the Council will not proceed with the Hi-de-Haringey 'uniforms' (that looked more like male polo shirts).

At a briefing last night for Councillors about the Exciting Journey of Transformation of Customer Services (or similar description), I learnt that the Dress Code will be enhanced, that staff will carry some visible identification (reasonable) but that the camp Butlins/Maplins idea has gone on an extended holiday.

This will come as a relief to all the Librarians I spoke to. However, there was also mention of "Floorwalkers" who will perform some kind of meet-and-greet service.

The Floorwalkers will operate in the Customer Service Centres of Wood Green and at Marcus Garvey when it re-opens.

The general impression is that the bigger libraries will be generally dumbed-down and the smaller branch libraries will continue much as before. Another point, Macs may be coming to supplement the PCs in the Borough's Libraries/Customer Service Centres.

Don't denegrate floor walkers Clive. Good ones keep an eye on the people waiting and see if they can sort out straightforward things so that people don't have to queue; forms, where can I find X, general information and so on. I don't see how this is dumbing down a library.

Michael if "floorwalkers" are additional, that's well and good. Of itself, that wouldn't dumb down a library, but it reflects the housing-information task two libraries will take on. However, I fear that professional librarians in two of the bigger libraries will be diverted from their normal duties, into directing large numbers of people to where they can obtain information about Housing Benefits etc.

While that is useful, it also represents a retreat from the proper function of a library that IMO is more akin to continuing education than information about Homes for Haringey, a point I made last night. Apparently, the two libraries being converted to customer service centre were regarded as complacent and old fashioned. 

Libraries are perhaps the single area where Haringey compares well with other Boroughs, and yet for many years, the council has not known what to do with them in administrative terms. I see the function and purpose of librarians as being closer to teachers than security guards/attendants.

I think they're moving in the wrong direction: I'd sooner see them allied with schools and education. The changes are driven by the need to reduce the council's estate (i.e. sell off property).

I think you have a rose tinted view of how libraries work. When I worked in a library service, way back in 1979/80 I dealt with whatever presented itself. When I was somewhere like Queens Crescent library on the Gospel Oak estate it would be about how to apply for housing, how to complete a benefits application, where the nearest GP surgery was as well as finding the latest best seller or finding information to help with homework. Libraries are about what local people want and that isn't dumbing down, it's being responsive.
Thought you might be interested in this article which is a day in the life of a typical library


Thanks for the update.

You may know this, but job applications close in a few days for the 'newly created' post of 'Head of Libraries and Customer Services'. Details here.

"The role will ensure our investment in modernising our key Community Libraries is maximised and that Libraries users can truly benefits from an enhanced service offering spanning from traditional life-long learning opportunities to newly integrated self serve solutions and professional face to face support."

Is there anybody at the Council who can write plain, simple and correct English ?



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