Tuesday, August 14, 2018

How to shelve seven books

Any amateur can shelve books. One need only know the alphabet, or how to count, to shelve books. A child can shelve books. No, I am going to tell you how to professionally shelve books, seven of them. Obviously it can be done quicker than in my guide, but to be done properly and professionally you will need to allow a full hour for the process.

How To Professionally Shelve Seven Books

1. Have a snack!

Have you taken your 15 minute break yet? Better safe than sorry and you're probably kind of hungry anyway. If you're not hungry, have a glass of water. Libraries are notoriously and dangerously dry.

2. Take care of some stray business.

Surely there was some book you were going to mend. Or you had to find a new gel pen. Or you had a question about your vacation time. Or you were going to try and track down that missing item. Do it now! Now is the time!

3. See what all those co-workers are talking about.

There are always some co-workers somewhere talking about something. You better go and see what it is.

4. Go see what carts of books need to be shelved.

You'll want to choose carefully here. The cart needs to be in order. It shouldn't be in an area where someone is already shelving. It shouldn't be overcrowded with books. And it should be the oldest cart of your options. Take your time choosing.

5. Move your cart into the pre going to the shelving area.

There actually is no "pre going to the shelving area". You really just want to push the cart over towards the bathrooms in preparation for step six.

6. Go to the bathroom.

You don't want to get up into the shelving and then have to leave to go to the bathroom.

7. Head towards the stacks with your books and have a chat with a co-worker.

There is always, always a co-worker on your way to the shelving. I don't know why. But it would be rude not to stop and have a chat. I suggest saying something like "I now only have 14 minutes left to shelve this whole cart of books." This is just an icebreaker. You will invariably talk about something else, like global climate change, and how we're all doomed.

8. Off you go to your shelving. 

You only have eight minutes left and so might be tempted to call it an hour and prepare for your next shift location. But if you instead apply yourself in the brief shelving time left there is no telling how many books you can still get shelved.

9. Shelve your seven books.

I was just kidding. There is telling how many books you can still get shelved. It's seven. And no, you don't count the three misshelved books you come across that you have to shelve in the right place. And you don't count the stack of five books lying around in the stacks that you also have to shelve.  But yes, you are allowed to shelve a few of the thickest books from your cart so it doesn't look like you took a cart to the shelves and didn't shelve any of it.

Because you did! You totally did. You shelved seven books, and you did it professionally.

Well done.


  1. Exactly as shelve.
    Muy bien!

    1. Oh, oh! I'll alphabetize it:

      as bien Exactly Muy shelve.

      Thank you.

  2. This is such an informative post that i think even dumpy lil' ol' me can be a Professional Librarian! Will i need to procure my regalia or does The Library doll me up?

    1. Everyone who comes to work at our library is dressed by the wardrobe and makeup department, though I can't speak for all libraries. Regions vary.

    2. Dammit, i need direction. Paul Bunyan or Laura Ingalls? Their love child? A good first impression is so important.


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