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The Book of Na'Lon

or rather, Inane Ramblings of an Expatriot

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Library nuisance
The library are trying to charge me £8.40 in fines for books that ended up overdue courtesy to my brief brush with zombiehood last week.

Usually, I'd just pay my fines and just put it down to being an idiot, if I forgot to renew my books. But in this case I don't want to pay the fines. I was ill and not with it and would like not to have to fork out £8.40 for the privilege.

The library told me that the fees would be waived, if I could get a doctor's note. So I called the doctor after I'd seen him on Monday and asked for a note. But doctors don't give you notes these days until you've been off for more than a week. I wasn't. If I wanted a note even so, I'd have to pay £11.50.

Armed with this information I went into the library this morning to ask what they proposed I did, seeing as I didn't want to pay the fine. They said I had to get some sort of proof that I was off sick.

The secretary suggested that I fill in a Sickness Self-Certification Form and that we'd stamp it and get my boss to sign it, too. This we did. I went back to the library with this documentation. They said that it wasn't any good and they couldn't accept it, because I could have just filled it it myself. I pointed out that it was signed by my line-manager. They said I shouldn't have the document that I was showing them at all, because it should go to personnel. I told them that it was a duplicate especially to show to them. They still wouldn't accept it. Instead, they want a letter on headed paper signed by my line-manager.

WTF?! Do they think we have no life or work? Anyway... now I have ranted, I will put together the letter and then see about getting my boss to sign it. This is such a farce!

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How ridiculous, particularly if you tot up the value of the time spent by all the various professionals involved in this running about and set it against the value of the fine. I wonder what would happen if you just engaged in an act of civil disobedience and refused to pay, outright?

I was sorely tempted. But then the last ditch attempt with the letter which contained exactly the same information (slightly less in fact) to the form with which I first attempted to 'prove' my absence, they let me off the hook. Good thing too! My boss was threatening to call them if it went any further than that last letter.

How spineless of them - they could show a little initiative and bend the rules, for that matter. How about not paying yet, going via Personnel like they said, and getting Personnel to tell them even more officially that they agree you were off sick?

I usually have every sympathy for libraries charging fines and all that. I would have paid them, too, if it wasn't for having been ill... But in this case, they were being spineless! I talked to five different people about this business. Nobody was willing to make any sort of decision or tell me exactly what they wanted. Even though they let me off in the end (I showed them a letter which contained less info than the form I used before and was signed by the same person!), I am still pretty disgruntled about this incident. Grrr. (I think my boss was starting to get grumpy too. He said he'd call them if it went any further!)

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