Friday, November 10, 2017

National library clerking

It's a quiet night back on the automated check in machine at my library. After an industrious 45 minutes all of my needing to do anything was sucked into a slow, peaceful, caught up silence. I wandered about checking up on everyone and everything. Then, that tour exhausted, and with some groaning and muttering, I sat down at my high computer with nothing to do.

I thought for awhile, staring into space. I looked at a book of pictures of Tuscan towns, and then with an hour til I could go home I started on a blog post.

This is that blog post!

It is very quiet around here tonight.

Recently at my library we all received a powerpoint of our benchmark data. This is an annual review of our usage data vs. all the other local libraries and a selection of similar sized libraries around the Country. Our ranking shuffled around in the middle of the pack when it came to how much money we got per capita (some) and how much we spent on our collection (not all that much), but when it came to circulation, to how many things we checked in and checked out per person in our system, per square foot of the library, and per hour of people working here, the numbers were positively freakish. We circulate, check in and check out, so much more stuff per capita and per employee to handle it than any other library that the charts look like there's been a mistake somewhere. But the numbers don't lie. I myself handle almost exactly twice as many items per year as my average colleague, working the same hours, does all across the Country.

Which brings home this astonishing fact:

As I write, all over America, there are library workers doing even less than I am right now.

God bless them.

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