In a meeting today I refered, in my typical flipant off the cuff way to one of my fabulous members of staff as “my lackey“. The intent was to demonstrate to some of the folks in the meeting that we were there to have a “fun and engaging meeting” and not the possible argument they might have thought. Afterwards though he took me aside and said he didn’t like being called a lackey, cue the start of much apologising from me – when he stopped me.
Turns out he prefers to be thought of as “my minion”. A few minutes jocular discussion later and I came up with the idea. Why not run library teams more like a crime family ala The Sopranos; surely this would be an excellent way to run a team. Just think about it.
Teams would be Families, hence I could manage the Document Supply Family.
New library staff would now be known as simple Soldati, until they were made (that is cleared their probation). From then on they would be known as Associates. Professional librarians would move on to become Capos, with myself as Family Underboss. Library Chief’s would become Capo de tutti capi or simply Boss. Senior Family members not in direct line management could be Consiglieri.
Fines would naturally be replaced by Collections, or for those unwilling to pay them Shakedowns – formalise the fact that not paying them can be very detrimental to your health. Perhaps more so than simply suspending borrowing rights of the like.
Meetings with other sections or part of the institution would be Sit-downs, during which every contentious point would be prefaced with With all due respect… and then followed by some plain talking, and no beating around the bush. And issues we couldn’t resolve, hell just Forget about it!
Workers from other libraries could be introduced as A friend of ours. And all this worrying about rebranding libraries and librarians? No longer, we could just simply refer to them as This thing of ours. Of course that does beg the question – would problematic individuals be taken care of? It could certainly make for some unusual end to some appraisals or staff reviews – head off into a small room somewhere and never to be seen from again!? Okay, maybe there are some flaws with this plan, but think about it – it would certainly motivate you to do well a bit more than a pat on the back…
So in answer to CILIP Gazette’s recent question as to “Your Library Hero?” – mine is clearly Don Tony himself! Brutal, efficient, and with a great love of canoles.
[Edit 27th July: Struck me this morning when another section head asked for a loan of one of my staff, that there was a golden opportunity to tell them “Fine, although as a return for this favour I will come to you, on a certain day in the future, and ask of you a service. And you will render that service to me, with all due respect”. Mafia librarianship – it’s the future]