I want to go up to Cambridge tomorrow and use the library. I have a reader’s card; although, as a mere taxpayer, I’m only given one that expires every six months, and must pay £10 for the privilege. Since I work — in order to support CUL with my taxes — I can only go up infrequently. To renew, I have to sit in a queue in a dim room and wait. I’ll have to do that (again) tomorrow.
I’ve just discovered that the poor dears are getting all precious about their admissions policy. Apparently I have to bring my passport. Yes; I have a photo ID card that they issued, I have been coming there for 11 years, but I have to bring my passport to prove who I am?
It’s understandable that a university which gets riff-raff from around the world may need to check who they are. But hardly in my case, when I am renewing. They also want a recent utility bill, for the same reason. Frankly I’ve had less demands to visit a defence establishment!
They also want me to produce again a letter of introduction proving that I am an appropriate person to handle rare books. I’ve had this clearance for 10 years. Why now? Oh, and it must be someone with intimate knowledge of my research — yes, fine, except that for a private researcher who will know this?
I won’t bore you with the further, fussy, annoying details. It’s the whole attitude that gets me. I, as a respectable member of the public, who pays for the whole thing, is harassed with these absurd and petty regulations. They do not benefit the library — on the contrary, they injure its reputation — and they injure me.
Why DO libraries do these things? I wish I were a rich man. I would get my lawyers to sort these people out in short order.
So… wasting time today gathering documents.