Friday, May 16, 2008

Afternoon Thoughts

Sterling Memorial Library Stocks, Yale (Public Domain Image)
I got this from

One of my reserves came in today, The New Weird edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer. It is a short story collection of science fiction and fantasy in the tradition of Weird Tales. Ann Vandermeer is an editor for the newly reborn Weird Tales Magazine. It should give me a few new authors to look at.

Today has been a very slow day. Mostly, what I am doing is figuring out detail work to make my area more organized. I am going to have all the atlases in the atlas stand labeled ATLAS so they are not put on the regular shelves. I am also going to go through and check all of the multicultural and job information center books to make sure they are all properly labelled. I am tightening up the collection.

I have also been selecting books for discard. Someone always double checks the books to be discarded to make sure we don't make mistakes.

I am also looking over the books that came in to make sure they are labelled properly for reference before they go on the shelves.

The other thing I have been doing is placing new pocket parts in the law books and discarding the old ones. Today is my day to be particularly uptight. Go over the details to appear that I am doing my work properly.

Yesterday, my library aide went through and straightened all the books on the shelves, three to five inches space at the end of each shelf, spine visible on the shelf and each book a half inch in from the edge. Check to see that the books are not too tightly packed together, this splits the spine of the book.

Make sure all the bookends have cork on the bottom so they don't slip. (This is of course the ideal, it never is quite this way.) Double chcek to make sure that everything is in dewey decimal order. Make sure there are no books left lying around.

It reminds me of the librarians nightmare. In college someone once told me he would love to push the stacks over sideways so they crashed into each other like dominos falling sideways one after another. He would run through the library pushing over the stacks, then knocking all the books on the floor.

Sometimes the kids or teenagers like to push the books all the way to the back of the shelves. Or they like to run through the library knocking books on the floor. For awhile, where I work now, they used to have gangs that would run through the library and knock books on the floor. They don't have this anymore. Maybe it is just one of those library myths.

Once while I was in California, while I was working as a library aide in four year college, they had an earthquake at the main library. We spent a day wandering around picking up books off the floors and putting them on shelving carts. While we were picking the books up off the floors, other people were straightening out the shelves so we could start putting the books back on the shelves. On the second day, we started putting the books back on the shelves. We got overtime for three days. We worked for ten hours each day to get the library back in shape.

I also worked part-time as a library assistant at University of Pittsburgh in library school. The stacks have a very different feel to them. We had condensed rolling stacks for the government documents on tracks. You would turn a wheel and the whole stack would move creating an opening so you could walk down the aisle. I sometimes worried that I might get crushed. But, they had automatic sensors so you wouldn't get caught while the stacks were being rolled close. Government documents are mind numbing things. They assigned me to do this. I also answered reference questions at the main desk. So, in a way, I started as a reference librarian and I am still one.

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