Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cracked system

Between the usual daily library hijinks of a bat getting into the library (a Thursday I wasn't here!) and holding up for inspection kids' books about komodo dragons and saying "Isn't it great they've already got biographies for children about Ted Cruz." life mostly plods on at my library. The shelving never stops, always with the shelving. Those Proust books aren't waddling up to their spot in the "P's" by themselves.

And so there I was up in the fiction section with an hour of shelving to take care of. We've been going through a rash of new trainees at my library and samples of their shelving work was all around me. When one is just starting one's career in shelving here at my branch one is instructed to tilt the shelved books spine up as they are placed on the shelf. Then that supervisor guy (I know him!) comes along to make sure they've got the concept down okay. It is not an unreasonable caution. Last week I saw the results of a new hire's work and it was not pretty- about a thirty percent error rate. Nothing curdles my blood in a cold clench of fear quite like a possible rogue shelver being introduced into our library eco system. Fortunately today's new shelved stuff was perfect. Every book was exactly in place just where it should be. But just as I was relaxing into this perfection I noticed a peculiarity. All of the tilted books were duplicates of other, already shelved books.

Was one of our new hires avoiding inspection by merely tilting down surefire, properly shelved books? Had they cracked the system?

Ah well, if they're clever enough to crack the system they should fit in just fine here.

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