Friday, August 24, 2018

Perception and reality

Because of the fact that for any hour I'm allotted to shelve I more or less screw around for half of that time, I am generally eager to make an impression with my shelving within the narrow time limits I have left to me. So I take my cart, teeming with books, up to the library stacks. And I set a sort of quota in my mind. Let's say, for instance, my quota is to get a whole cart of non fiction books shelved. I can just do this if I concentrate, and recently had a coffee, and don't need to write a blog post. So I set to work and then I see it.

A wall full of painful shelving errors.

Or maybe little stacks of abandoned books scattered throughout my shelving area.

Or often enough both.

And this brings up a kind of dilemma in my mind:

I could clean up, reshelve, and fix everything, but go downstairs with half a cart of unshelved books, which looks shabby and incomplete and not very productive. Or I could ignore all our shabby chaos, which totally wasn't my fault, tear through my cart, and go back downstairs looking like a Prince.

And then, in the midst of this debate, I remember both the curse and providence of my work here:

No one really, deep down, gives a fuck what anyone does here.

So I put all the books back in order. And I reshelve all the stuff abandoned in the aisles. And I shelve half a cart of books, or maybe a little less if I find something interesting to read, which I always do.

1 comment:

  1. Where I worked, it used to be the policy that any books found lying around in the stacks, especially at closing, we were to bring to the service desk, where they would be checked in and placed on a shelving card... Once in a couple of hundred times we might in this way find a lost book, or one that eluded us when pulling request. I had a habit of re-shelving books on the spot, if they were close to the shelf where they belonged. And I did read a bit while shelving, but not too much because the sight lines left few places unwatched, at least potentially. Back in my high school days, however, I read a LOT, especially in the deserted lower level of non-fiction.


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