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international librarian of mystery

Saturday, September 04, 2004


I suspect Mrs Kambaa has gleaned my little subterfuge relating to my non-working co-worker down in the cataloguing dungeon. We had this little encounter the other day...

I'm busily surfing away, delaying the cataloguing of a particularly tedious religious essays collection. The soft sound of footsteps on the library's carpet floor reaches my ears (I long ago learnt the perils of listening to my discman while slacking off, and have fine-tuned my hearing to recognise the various footfalls of all my superior's who might potentially frown upon my extra-curricular surfing during work hours). I alt-tab back to the cataloguing interface.

"Natalie, could I see you in my office please?"
"Of course." I follow Mrs Kambaa back to her office. It's a dark and gloomy little office, but immaculately laid out. Professional cataloguers are a tidy bunch.
"Shut the door please."

Ohhhh: close the door! Trouble's brewing. I quickly check my clothes for any unsightly stains or plain old sartorial extravagance, the main cause for previous 'close the door' events in my library past. I'm pretty sure though, of what's to come, and that I have nothing to fear. My speculation is proven right...

"Umm, Natalie, your co-worker, Norma, what do you think of her performance over the last couple of weeks?"
"Well, uh, I honestly don't know. I suppose she's getting things done. It's a bit hard to tell when we never actually work at the same time together."
"Yes. Well, I've noticed you've started noting which of the tasks on the worksheet you're completing, and, from what I can tell, you're doing virtually all the work being put your collective way at the moment."

"Really? I hadn't noticed."

Mrs Kambaa smiled. I suspect, in retrospect, that she knew exactly what I was up to. Perhaps she'd been ahead of the game the entire time?

"Well, yes. And I appreciate your efforts in keeping the throughput at a good level. Your work has been admirable, in fact. And as such, I've talked with Mrs Liddesdale [my actual boss], and we've decided that, should you agree, to give you a special project. Our maps collection is in serious need of organisation, and both she and I think you'd be an excellent candidate to knock it into shape. You'd be removed from straight cataloguing duties, and we'd be asking Norma to fill to cover your hours while you're completing this project."

This wasn't quite how I'd envisaged things working out, but I could see the sense in it. Norma would now have no-one to rely upon to do her work, and my 'admirable' work ethic could be put to use elsewhere. Maps though? I had no idea.

"Um, that sounds great. Thank you. I actually really love maps, it sounds like a great project..." (God I'm terrible) "How long do you think it will take?"
"We've blocked out a month of work using your current secondment hours. It may take longer of course, but we'll be reviewing progress on a weekly basis, and will re-schedule as required. I take it that you're keen then?"
"Well it does sound interesting. And I'm always keen to tackle new tasks." (Shameless, really.) "When would I be starting?"
"As soon as you want. Of course, you don't have to commit right now. I'll get Mr Assam to show you around the maps room in the basement, and you can take a look at the collection. If you decide you're still keen, we'll make the necessary arrangements, and you can get under way."

Or so I thought. Continue reading 'Maps' here...