Saturday, December 1, 2018

Not guilty

It is a feature, or a bug, of our library culture that occasional extracurricular work activities are seen, managerially at least, as a problem. Internet usage, personal phone calls, too much chatting, both among staff and with patrons, have all had their moments under the bright, revealing library police lights. Also culturally speaking, the response to this problem has not been the most efficient. Instead of a quiet, low key request, gently put, with the one or two main offenders of certain basic standards, we more commonly get blanket bans: No Internet. No chatting. No calls. Most of these blanket bans erode over time depending on the will of the staff to persist in natural, albeit slightly dangerous, behavior, and on the managerial gusto to enforce a rule being minisculy violated nearly everywhere.

Which brings me to a new blanket ban that greeted me in my email this morning. Someone has been constantly poking at their smartphone while on the job. Consistently enough, instead of said person being talked to, the response has instead been that no one is to use their cell phone while on the job. In fact, everyone should, ideally, leave their phone in their locker.

This is not a particularly significant event except for, and perhaps because of, this:

I don't have or use a smart phone.

And so in 24 years of working at the library, through dozens and dozens of wide condemnations of aberrant, slacker, and unprofessional employee behavior, this, this just now, is the first time I've ever been innocent.

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