Wednesday, 14 April 2010

A tale of two councils

Or library services to be more precise. I will admit to being well known at my local library in fact a few years back they nominated me for a learners award. But I digress. Recently I needed six copies of a play for a theatrical group I belong to. Sandwell quickly provided their two copies and offered to see if copies could be obtained from outside the borough. Four copies were found in Birmingham but this meant I had to become a member of Birmingham Libraries which I duly signed up for. “It will take about a week they said give us a call next Friday” A couple of weeks later I visited the library to collect my books. Jobsworth was on the front desk. “Sorry mate but we only have three copies” The conversation from here went down hill. “I’ll take the three for now” I said but when will the other copy be available and can you ring me to let me know its here” No chance of a phone call from here. It transpires that they will write to you but it costs 40p if you are a pensioner. (can all Sandwell Councillors who are regular readers please ignore the rest of this post) 40p payable upfront so I got my receipt, “Can I have your Library card” jobsworth asked sorry I said but I haven’t got it. This is apparently a major violation in Brum but I’m confused because he has all my details on his screen having given me the third degree when I advised him I had come to collect the books. He eventually conceded that you could have one issue of books without the card and proceeded to check me out. Having realised at this stage Brum is about four decades behind Sandwell in its Library service and customer care I asked about fines if the books were returned late. “6p a day” he said “even for old age pensioners? I enquired. “It’s 2p a day for them” In Sandwell it’s free as are phone calls when books arrive and Sandwell Librarians are so polite and helpful. The fact I made references to the differences between the two councils did not endear me to him.
Well done Sandwell and a big raspberry for Brum.

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