Sunday, March 10, 2019


My library has never managed its bathrooms well. The janitorial staff was underrepresented for years, then, in a move that surely greased somebody's palm, the custodial work was outsourced. Some things got a little cleaner because we were now spending four times as much on custodial work, half in what I assume is graft, but could have been pure mismanagement, and half in increased custodial staff.

But the bathrooms didn't get cleaner. Bathrooms are the hardest thing to clean. This is because no one wants to clean them. Any janitor I have ever seen will spin out emptying garbage into a three hour process, but will do the bathrooms in seven minutes top, that is, as quickly and rarely as possible.

I don't blame them. I also think they should be paid more. I actually think, if I were king of the library, staff would do their own custodial work, and it would be bribe based. But since I am not King I will just say this:

Forget programming. Forget online resources. The hell with your storytimes, your makerspace, your Winter Reads programs, and your STEAM. Forget what DVDs you have, or how nice your front desk people are, or if you have adequate parking. The worth of a public library must first be judged based on how clean and nice your bathrooms are. Well, that and maybe the quality of your books too.

Bathrooms express the deep soul of the institution.

But what I'm really trying to say is this:

How can there still be, after almost two weeks, after, theoretically, a minimum of 24 cleanings, a poo stain on the back of the toilet bowl in staff bathroom number two?

No pun intended.


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