Friday, August 31, 2007

Curtain, Pay No attention to the man behind the

Hot librarian in the backThe WDL is no longer a librarian.

Whats this? you say: It's true.

I am now the Interim Tech. Services Manager.

I have a whole new appreciation for the process that it takes to get a book out on the shelf in a timely fashion.

It's more than just ordering a book from Baker & Taylor. There is a whole team of people working to make this happen - the catalogers, the pages, the processing staff.

I took it upon myself to sit with each of my new staff to "do what they do" for a few days. I've yet to spend a few days with the Interlibrary Loan folks, but I have always worked closely with them.

For the past two days I have been processing books. Taping, gluing, stickering, labeling pieces. Mylar jackets are hell. Processing donations is hell. Children's books with thin spines are hell.

Everything has to be measured, and done with such care. My back felt like it was going to snap from leaning over the desk so much.

It is a totally different work climate. The staff is here to support the old job I used to do - customer service on the front lines. I now know that when I would call downstairs and ask them to quickly process a book - that I was actually asking for a lot more. It might require cataloging, processing, and checking in to change the status - and they did this time and time again for me.

Everyone works independently, but ask questions of each other. It is a true picture of team work - and it is glorious.

Above is a picture of me processing a cart of children's and YA books. I had ink all over my hands from stamping the top edge of the book with an ownership stamp. The room has no windows, and poor climate control - making it both warm and slightly damp. It is quiet, no drone of people, no buzz of children - no radio. The process was rewarding - to see an entire wagon of processed books.

Do I miss answering reference questions? Sure. But the success of knowing that I helped make the process move is great.

Am I waxing romantic? You bet. I encourage everyone to try a new aspect of librarianship- we need to be versatile to survive in this new climate.

Moral of this blog: Cataloging is hot.

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