Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Game of life

I have been writing about the good points and bad points of my job at the library for years now. If you hit the "libraries" subject tag alone for my blog you will be returned over 500 essays. And yet, just today, after shelving a small selection of large type books from my cart, I suddenly realized the solution to all my problems here. It finally, at long last, occurred to me one huge thing that would make my job suddenly entirely compelling and rewarding:

My job should be more like a video game.

When I shelve a book correctly it should make a pleasant little chime. I should also get a point. If I shelve a whole cart of books fast enough I should not only get the standard cart shelving points and hear a short little happy song play, but I should also get bonus speed points. And these points won't be meaningless. I can take them to the library store and buy perhaps some +1 shelving gloves, which help me shelve even faster, or, if I have enough points I could even spend them to upgrade my book cart from Wood to Iron, which gives a 10% point bonus to all books shelved from it.

Working in the afternoon, downstairs at the front desk, I can win the highly sought after bronze, silver, or gold stars for dealing successfully with a difficult patron, or solving a complicated puzzle involving a missing item. And because it's a generously designed game I'll get tons of points for registering new library cards, making a once irksome task into a bit of good luck. You and all five of your children want library cards? Ka-ching! And when my two hour shift at the front desk is over, where a good crowd meant I racked up tons of points and stars, I'll excitedly take all my accumulated stars and points and go shopping once again at the library store. I'll use my points to purchase a new +2 quick-type ring, so I can type faster, and a second ring that gives me even more points for each registration. But the stars I accumulated are most valuable of all. With a silver star I'll buy a delicious plate of sushi, which gives me increased endurance to last out the night, collecting even more points and stars. Two gold stars buy me a whole week off, so I won't be back for awhile. To tell you the truth, with all my upgrades and experience I have so many gold stars that I hardly ever have to work if I don't want to.

Mostly I just come in because it's so fun.


  1. I think it's a great idea! I love it and award you silver and gold stars and beeping points and algorithms usable in other jobs' video games, like you could become a firefighter or a window washer or a senator and use your new codes to surpass even the greatest professional. In fact, you may not know this, but you are the best bocci ball player in the world right now. You are also typing this comment.

    1. Well, that gets a little meta, but... sure. I'd only be too happy to be able to apply my stars and points elsewhere in life.

      And I'm glad you like my scheme. I realized while I was writing it that if it were actually a game, on a computer, with no benefits other than a bit of time wasting fun, I would probably enjoy playing it.

  2. I think you would get bonus stars and beeps and such for shelving Jack the Bear, which is extremely rare because it's always being checked out, renewed or requested!

    1. If only! You pulled that one out of a hat! Do you have that book? Have you read it in the past decade. Holy moly, I need to find it and read it again. I poked the Internet. Did you know Dan Mccall wrote a book all about Bartleby the Scrivener?

  3. No.

    I looked for it in Ventura County Library system and not there! I will however read it before the new year if you will.

    1. Really, like a book club? Oh boy. Okay. Must find. Shall we have others join us. It could be like America's "One Book". Everyone can talk about it instead of game of thrones.

      Or we could just read it.


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