Monday, November 25, 2019

Library supplies

Dear Library Staff:

As you know I am the supply procurer for our library. If you don't know this I am frankly alarmed at how little you pay attention to the important details of your workplace. It is not too late for you to be a better employee! And to start with you could memorize the following fact:

I am the supply procurer for our library. That is, I order our supplies.

Now that that's out of the way allow me to provide some useful information about not only what I can and will do, but also about what you can do to make the process run a lot better!

Ordering supplies for a large, busy library such as our own is not an easy task. I am dealing with upwards of 40 different people, many of whom need things, although, honestly, four or five of them seem to need very particular things a little too often and most of everyone else just gets upset when exactly what they want isn't readily available without asking. There are often specific rules for what I can order and who I can order it from. Sometimes I have to get dedicated lines of funding or permission for particular purchases. Sometimes I have to justify purchases. And a lot of the time I am mysteriously allowed to order all kinds of weird crap, no questions asked.

Another thing you should know is that I don't and can't actually order directly from anywhere! I have no money. I have no access to a credit card or a line of credit. I can't go to the local Target and just get something we desperately need. I have to order everything through another orderer and then rely on that person ordering what I ordered. I liken this to hand stitching an elaborate and complicated quilt while wearing heavy rubber gloves. Did you know that you can still easily stab yourself through heavy rubber gloves? You can! That's what makes the system so difficult and absurd. Why, you might ask, don't I stitch the quilt while wearing more protective thick leather gloves? I would, but that's not the analogy.

Which, if you're half the co-worker I think you are, will lead you to ask: What can I do to help you as the supply orderer for our library?

Thank you for asking!

Two simple things:

1. If we are out of something, like pens, or paper, or kleenex, or newspaper ties, or green dots, or scissors, paper, or staples, or library guides, cards, or sharpie fine point clickables, or dry erase markers, 2-inch tape, or whatever, please stop asking me about it! Don't you think I've ordered it by now? I have! I don't need everyone to be all like "Are there any more blue slips?" twenty times a day. No, there aren't any. I ordered them ages ago. I can't control when they come in. I'm not hiding them! Stop asking me! Just leave me alone. I'm doing the best I can!


2.  If we are out of something let me know. As a large and extremely busy library we have hundreds, yes hundreds of different items of supplies. I can't just magically know when we're out of one of them! I need staff to let me know when they need something and when we're out of something. And who knows, I might even have some spares shoved in a back up box somewhere. You'll never know if you don't ask, and I might never know either.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. I know it's a lot to take in, especially if you've been walking around our library, working in a fog, and every single aspect of this letter is completely new to you. Although if that's the case, you've probably already forgotten or misunderstood everything I've said in this message already.

To everyone else though, thank you again, and I hope I have ordered what you need, and if I haven't, I hope it's not my fault,

F. Calypso

Library Supplies

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