Tag Archives: library

A Tale of the Tape

Okay, I truly hope work people who may see this will see it more as humor than as me slacking. Yes, I have another short-cut to save time, but already the word ‘short-cut’ does not jive kindly in a work context. Laugh, just laugh. I am trying to reduce everyone’s blood pressure.

Okay. I was doing some work in the forest of bookshelves. Yes, I could probably get lost in there for inordinate amounts of time, read a chapter, and not be found, but I emphasize: I didn’t do that! Instead I was adjusting some labels and call number ranges to make them reflect more accurately to the items that were actually on the shelves. All this to make the lives of patrons a little bit easier for when they try to locate resources.  My intentions are good! Give me a raise! Okay, maybe not, especially if you read on to the next section.

When I got back to my desk I realized I left the roll of tape in the shelves. Fortunately, I remember exactly which book I left it beside. In fact, after working with call numbers for an hour, I even remembered the exact call number of the book near the tape. For my amusement, I just took a short-cut and left the tape there. Call it lazy, call it a short-cut, call it slacking, call it illogical, call it irresponsible, even call me evil, but please don’t say that I don’t care. I care greatly for your health and your tension.

So whenever a patron asked me to borrow the tape, I would say: “Did you try going on the computer and searching for it in the online catalogue?”

When they responded with quizzical looks, I elaborated by insisting: “Really, trust me. If you go on the catalogue and look up this book title (the title I had memorized from before), copy down the call number, and go to the shelves, you can find the elusive collector’s edition of the tape that you are looking for.”

Some who had the time to play along, did the search, went on a short treasure hunt, and I heard them laughing somewhere in the shelves. For others who didn’t want to go on the computer, I just gave them the call number.

Then I went into the back room and made a request to the cataloguer with an air of seriousness and urgency: “I’ve been getting a bunch of requests for the tape this morning. Would you mind quickly making a record in our system and assigning a specific call number to the tape?”

Everyone in the back room stopped what they were doing and just froze, trying to comprehend and make sure they had in fact heard what they thought they heard. Yes, I was dead serious. A few more seconds of awkwardness, and then bursts of laughter all over. You could almost hear, or at least imagine, the blood flowing smoothly through all our veins.

Have a great day at work everybody!

-Patrick Law

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Library Perks

While working at the library may not have the traditional big business perks of golf club memberships, concerts, sporting events, free dinners, stock options, it does have its intrinsically unique set of perks.

Some perks for library staff:

If you’re fortunate enough to be in close vicinity or have access to what materials are being processed, you are one of the first to know what new items on going to be on the shelves soon. And if you are in any department relating to ordering materials, then this is even one step more ahead in the assembly line, and you have knowledge months ahead of time what is coming.

What kind of shopper are you? Do you like to get in and out by finding your predetermined item directly and leaving as fast as you can, or do you like to browse around? If you are of the latter variety, then the library is probably a dream haven for you. If you have access to books that are being returned, right at your desk is a browsing session each time an item is being checked in. You can consider for each one, would you borrow that book? Would you read it? What might it be about? I never knew something could be written from that perspective? There has to be some kind of communion going on every time a title passes by. Is it knowledge you would like to acquire?

Another perk is being right at the front line on the information needs and knowledge cravings of the public. What books are being taken out and circulated? What books are repeatedly being used and in demand? Where is the pulse of the community at? Which authors have firm grasps of our collective imaginations? What does the public need to take in again and again? What are students studying? What possible dissertations are being considered at this moment? What is important in our lives!

Knowledge of what books patrons are interested in can make it easier for future communication and establishing relationships. It’s a convenient ice-breaker, and also a way to select who you want to start conversation with. And, if feeling extra ambitious, and if it fits your particular circumstances, you can even get a head start on match making. One can argue that meeting potential partners based on books may have more validity and a higher success rate than using those expensive dating agencies?

As you can notice, there are more perks in a library than can be used in one career, so consider twice next time you read the formal benefits package, contracts, because you probably will not see any of the perks written there. You just have to think what perks there could be…

-Patrick Law

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