One of my favorite regular librariany duties is processing new books; it gives me a break from meetings, the bustle of our resource room, and wearing my eyes out on a computer screen. This isn’t a skill I learned in grad school, but it’s now my sole responsibility as my boss lady has many more things to do, so when the twenty-odd new titles come in each month, the cataloguing and physical preparation go to me. Contact paper, spine labels, three different kinds of stamps, a big honkin’ ruler…these are my buddies.
the process of processing
Depending on the number of books to be processed, it can take up to two hours to get them all done, and I don’t know about you, but for me a solo task goes faster if I have tunes. Below the cut you’ll find some of my go-to albums for processing books. If you have lengthy solitary tasks in your day-to-day library work, do you rely on music to back you up? If so, what do you like to listen to?
As you readers and librarians are aware, it’s now April (despite the continuing weird snow flurries here in chilly northeast OH) and April means National Poetry Month! Beneath the cut you’ll find one of my favorite recent books of poetry.
Library fines. Everyone hates them, right? Well–I kind of like them, or at least I don’t mind them, because I feel like I’m contributing to the petty cash drawer. Anyway, overdue fines are ostensibly supposed to keep down the number of items that are, well, overdue. Not all libraries levy them; public libraries usually do, as do academic libraries (often with heftier fines for more expensive university materials), and in my day public school libraries also did. The corporate library I work in currently does not have a fine policy, which seems like a generosity, especially since we also have a policy of allowing people to renew items pretty much indefinitely, but since there’s no incentive to return things on time, hardly anyone does.
I suppose removing a library fine policy entirely might generate goodwill from the patronage, but my (perhaps sadly low) opinion of people generally is that there needs to be something in it for them–for better or worse–to return materials on time. Perhaps there’s a middle ground to be found in replacing late fee policies with another way of contributing: several high schools I encountered during my grad school internship had gotten rid of monetary late fees and instated a form of a canned goods drive. If a student had an overdue item, they could donate food rather than dollars, and the cans went to a local food bank. And there are other options as well, such as a policy stating that patrons with materials more than X days late may not check out more items until the overdues are back. I’d like to talk to my bosses about instituting something in our library, in an effort to encourage people to bring books back, and have been considering the options.
What’s your experience with library fines and fees? In favor or against?
As you may know, February 18 marked the 81st birthday of Toni Morrison and the 79th anniversary of Audre Lorde’s birth (sadly she passed on in 1992). Given such an auspicious date in the course of American literature and in Black History Month, I’m pleased to present a title by each of these fantastic authors for your review.
Allow me to join the chorus of libraries, patrons, writers, and pretty much everyone else announcing their confusion over Terry Deary’s frankly baffling opinions on libraries.
What rebuttal can a body make to a person operating under such a bizarrely misinformed conception of what libraries do? Is he under the impression that libraries steal books and give them away, like some Robin Hood-inspired institution, rather than purchasing them (occasionally en masse, in the cases of titles like Harry Potter or, bless it, Fifty Shades of Grey) like anyone else? Is he unaware of the vital services public libraries provide to people who–shock!–can’t afford to buy every book, DVD, or CD they’re interested in? Does he truly believe that libraries are the cause of bookstores shutting down? The world may never know.
This is the sort of fact-free, crazypills blather I expect from regressive pundits on FOX, not established authors. And I don’t know about you, but as a kid I was quite a fan of the Horrible Histories series. Sad to see its creator spewing misdirected diatribes.
Hot off the Twitter presses comes a list of great youth titles if your children and teen sections need beefing up. That’s right, the American Library Association’s midwinter conference is in full swing and this morning the Youth Media Awards were announced. Hit the jump for my thoughts on a few of the winners.