katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
My Saturday morning library closed last week so that it could be renovated. Which means I'll be doing double duty at my other library for a while. However, I'll be working Sundays instead of Saturdays. After... how long has it been? 7 years? 8? 9? I'm having trouble remembering that I'll have my Saturday mornings free. Tonight I keep reminding myself that even though I'm getting up at 8 tomorrow, I don't have to leave. I have all morning to stay in and eat breakfast and relax and write, but I keep preparing for my Saturday afternoon, packing bags and gathering things together, as if I won't have all morning to do it.

It's a very strange feeling to me, having this whole chunk of time suddenly rearranged in my life. I hope it doesn't take me too long to settle into my new routine. And I hope I don't show up at the old library at 9am tomorrow morning, expecting to do bookdrop!
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I always enjoy my library shifts, but I'm so bad about remembering to blog about them.

  1. I walked into the back room and "Carry on my Wayward Son" by Kansas was just starting on the radio.

  2. I made it through two hours of lists and my leg didn't hurt!

  3. Starting to brainstorm about NaNoWriMo this year

  4. I came across a friend's book on the New shelves again.

  5. A copy of Neverwhere is no longer missing in the system

  6. I discovered that there is a Veronica Mars book... and immediately checked it out

  7. Even though I was accidentally looking in the wrong section, I found the right book on my list because it had been put in that wrong section. Ha! Sometimes it pays to misread lists.

  8. I came away with only four books I want to read.

  9. There were some LEGO creations in the kids' display case.

  10. I finally got a chance to look at the new book sculpture.

katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
My library system is transitioning to a new way of doing holds. The labels print differently and are on the spines instead of slips sticking out of the top. This means new ways of doing the Picklist as well as any books I find in the library that trigger holds for the present branch or to be sent to another branch. One of my libraries was part of the trial program, but the other library I volunteer at was on the old system... until last week.

Yesterday was my first time getting to do a full picklist with the new system at the library. I'd learned how to do it at the other library by noticing some overlooked pages and offering to do them. So I was already familiar with some of the problems and some of the benefits. The list is bigger and is printed on label paper, so it's going to mean more waste that can't be recycled (the old slips could be). Only a few labels fit on each page, so a huge stack of pages is harder to handle. I also have a hard time holding the list and putting the label on the spine of the book at the same time. Once processed, the current branch holds and other branch holds look identical except for the branch code on the back/front of the label, so that's going to take some getting used to. I'm NOT good with change. But, strangely, I really like the new system. It makes it easier to process the list and cuts down on a lot of unnecessary pieces. It also looks BEAUTIFUL on the holds shelves, with the names easy and clear to read. Tags can't easily fall off, either. I realy like the result and I'm sure I'll figure out the best method soon.

I've tried holding the book between my knees as I apply the label, but that feels weird when there are patrons around. So on Saturday I tried the prop the book up on a bare stretch of shelf to apply the label. That seemed to work all right for me on all books that will stand up on their own or upright in-between others. And though I felt like I was going more slowly, I actually kept a pretty normal pace as I was doing the picklist. And the processing is faster. So I managed to get everything done in just a little over 2 hours. That's normal for me. Doing that with a brand new method I'm still finding my way around was a pretty good accomplishment, I think! I look forward to a few weeks from now when all of the old holds are off the shelves and the whole thing is just pretty new labels facing outward.

It's good to remind myself that not all change is bad. And even when there are things I don't like about it, there are enough good qualities to make me feel good about the change. I also look foward to figuring out my own methods. I did the list the normal way this time so that I could compare times. But from now on, I'll try different orders and methods to see what works best. And getting to figure out the best methods is fun for me :-)
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I was processing the picklist a few weekends ago at the library and two names jumped out at me when I put hold slips in them:

Two last names of great hockey goalies, and both showed up together on the same list!
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I had two shameful computer moments this morning during my library volunteering shift. I haven't been sleeping properly this week and my stomach's been hurting a lot since Thursday, so I wasn't at the top of my game this morning. Still, I am embarrassed and felt the need to post and laugh at myself.

While I was picking books off the shelves for the picklist first thing this morning, I heard a high-pitched sound. I tracked it down to the last computer in a row. The screen was black and the computer was loud. I wasn't sure what I was authorized to do (which means, in my head, that I'm not authorized to do anything). So I just told my volunteer supervisor about it. The solution? Turning it off and on again.

Oops. I totally could have done that without having to bother her!

Later, I was putting the books on hold onto the hold shelves and a woman at the nearby checkout was having trouble with the printer not printing out her receipt. I checked the paper level, which was good, then sent her over to the returns desk to see if they could print her receipt out for her. My volunteer coordinator came over to check the printer. Yes, as I had seen, it had enough paper. The problem? Someone had accidentally turned off the printer! So she turned it on and out printed, like, 20 receipts for the day/yesterday.

Yeah. Checking to make sure it was on. I totally should have thought of that. I felt so stupid!

It's like the computer troubleshooting part of me just went to sleep this morning. All those times helping out with printer drivers or speaker settings on librarians' computers are completely destroyed by not making these simple fixes on my own today.
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
Another first for me: yesterday at the library I came across my own hold on the picklist! It actually wasn't as simple as that, though.

Just a quick definition to start off: the picklist is a list of books people have put on hold that need to be picked off the shelves and then processed (either sent to the patron at another branch or put on the hold shelves at our branch).

I started off processing the picklist yesterday morning like usual in the New section. Only two on the list were on the shelves, which is low but not unheard of for the New section, as those books get checked out quite frequently. I headed to some of the small sections to try those out. One of the first on the list are graphic novels. And, when I was in the YA graphic novel section, I found Brian Michael Bendis's Spider-Men on the shelves. It wasn't on my list, which I thought was interesting because I had just put it on hold the day before online. I thought it was strange, but I justified it by thinking that maybe the system was trying to get a copy from some other library or just hadn't gotten around to my hold yet. So I grabbed the book (along with two other graphic novels that looked good to me) and figured I'd just check it out and then cancel my hold in the system because I got to a copy before the picklist/hold system could catch up with me.

In all my years of volunteering at the library with the picklist (7 years now?) three or four times I've been given the wrong list to process. It'll say picklist and the correct date at the top, but the books on them are wrong. I don't know how it happens, but I can only tell it's happening when very few on the list can be found in the library on the shelves. So I was a little suspicious when there were so few new books, but when there were pretty much no books on the graphic novel, romance, series, and then JFIC shelves. So I checked with the librarians and, indeed, it was the wrong list. They printed the correct list out for me and--voila! Tons of books on the shelves.

When I got through the new books section and then moved on to graphic novels, I was thrilled to see Spider-Men on the picklist. That should have keyed me in before that it was the wrong list. And it was pretty neat that I'd already grabbed it for myself off the shelf. I'd wasted half an hour of my shift on the wrong list, which was sad.

But it was neat when it was time to process the books and I scanned in the Spider-Men book and my own hold slip was printed out. I've put tons of books on hold at the library over the years, many times on Fridays. But this was the first time I'd ever had my own book on the picklist. Moreover, the first time I'd ever picked up a book that was on the picklist without knowing it was actually on the picklist.
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I love seeing the different kinds of books people put on hold at the library. I once had the same person put on hold a book about cool science experiments to do at home and another book about making a living will--I am hoping the two didn't have to do with each other. Sometimes I'm even jealous and wish I could keep books to read myself instead of sending them out to the people who put them on hold. Sometimes, if someone's cancelled a hold, I'll even take a poor book home with me so it doesn't feel the sting of rejection from that cancellation (okay, I've only done this a couple of times... with books I actually wanted to read, not just because I felt sorry for the little guys).

A few times I've processed holds (picked the books of the shelves, scanned them into the system, and tagged them to send them on their way) for people I actually know in real life. This was the first time I'd ever had a book on my list from the beginning that I knew was for a friend.

On Friday night, [livejournal.com profile] melydia mentioned to me that she had just put Reckless on hold. I earread this whole book and couldn't tell you a dang thing about it. Somehow, the entire thing played and finished and I don't remember listening to more than maybe 2 or 3 minutes of it. I just tuned the whole thing out. Anyway, an audiobook copy of Reckless appeared on my picklist the very next morning and I had a suspicion that it was destined to be hers. I stuck it on my cart along with the other three pages' worth of books.

When I went into the back room, I got to be at my favorite station for checking in books (yay! and, yes, I have a favorite. This scanner is the best--its sensitivity, its angle, etc.). One of the librarians was checking in book drop books at the computer next to the one I was at. I processed a handful of books and then got to Reckless. I said my prediction out loud: "CE!" which is the library I know she goes to. And, yep, it was CE all right. And I might have thrown my hands up in the air in victory. And I might have also exclaimed "YES!" loudly enough to make the librarian next to me laugh. He asked, "Wait, did you actually just guess where that was going?" I told him I was pretty sure it was a hold one of my best friends had put on it, because she'd just told me about it the night before. We checked the system and, yep, it was indeed going to her. He said I could just take it with me and give it to her, but I wouldn't be seeing her for another 6 or 7 days. He jokingly told me I was a terrible friend to not take it to her directly or see her for a week. But, hey, that's how it works here in Northern VA. It's an extremely small town with lots of neat coincidences like this all the time... but it's also so big that it takes hours to drive from one place to another. I told him I'd just take a photo of the book and taunt her with it. He thought that was a much more acceptable solution than holding onto it for a week until I saw her again.

So, I snapped a photo then sent the book on its way, off to CE, where a librarian will process it and stick it on the shelves for her to pick up. It was pretty neat that I got to be the one to pull it off the shelves for her, though. That's the first time I've ever processed a picklist book for a friend, knowing it was going to be hers from the beginning.

katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
Once upon a time, there was an library volunteer who was also an artist (no, it's not me). He painted several paintings of different styles and subjects for display inside the Kings Park Library in Burke, VA. He also painted four or five large murals for the children's area of the library. Only one such mural can be displayed at a time, so that honor rotates throughout the year.

I had expected to come in this month to see the spooky halloween one (that is Washington Irving themed, as we've got Washington Irving Middle School down the road). However, instead, it was my Mural Nemesis!

Of all the scenes on this mural, there are two I could not for the life of me identify. I've asked friends. I've asked local BookCrossers. I've asked librarians. But no one knew!

So this month I took a photo of the mystery images and posted it on the BookCrossing Forum. They've been a great resource to me before, during my investigation of the mystery YA Saves magnet/button imagery. And this time, I'm 1 for 2 with the unknown images, thanks to them!

Now known! The wonderful Hyphen8 recognized this as In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord

Still unknown!

I have been told it's Pocahontas or Sacagawea or Hiawatha. But no one has shown me an image from any of those books that match this one. To me, it looks like the illustrator who does E. B. White's book covers... or maybe that's just because of a certain cover of Stuart Little where the mouse and boat are in this configuration among the weeds. I spoke with the librarians on Tuesday about my hunt. One suggested a particular author/illustrator of Native American folk tales. The illustrations are similar in style, but not quite similar enough for me, and none that involve canoes. One volunteer swears she read it when she was six but has no idea what the title is or what the book was about.

So the hunt continues. I did find a service online where you pay and a bookstore professional will track the book down for you. I took a better photo of it on Tuesday, just in case I needed to resort to that method. For now... I'm going to just start asking everyone I know. "Hi, my name is Kate. Do you recognize this children's book illustration?"
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
"Are you a volunteer here?" is a question I'm asked almost every week at the library during one of my volunteer shifts. When I answer in the affirmative, the question is always followed by "Can you help me with this copy machine?" (the answer is no, sorry, ask the info desk) or "Can you tell me how to print from these computer?" (the answer is also, please ask the staff at the info desk) or "Can you tell me where to find a particular book?" (the answer is usually yes but occasionally a visit to the computer catalog or the info desk).

This past Saturday, I was doing the book drop at the library. It's a job I haven't been assigned since the switch to floating, but the picklist wasn't available for printing and they gave me bookdrop instead. I was SO thrilled. Beyond thrilled--I was giddy. I love doing the bookdrop more than any other job at the library. It's not a 2-hour job, usually, so I had a half an hour to kill afterward, which I spent sorting books on carts and shelving in the new section.

As I was out by the shelves sorting, a woman came up next to me and asked the inevitable question: "Are you a volunteer here?"

My answer was the standard "Yes, I am. Can I help you find something?"

But her reply was the first of its kind I'd ever heard: "No, I just wanted to thank you for doing this. It's really wonderful of you."

Awwww! I genuinely thanked her. I told her that it was the library from my childhood (one of them at least) and it was great to be able to give back. She said that was amazing and thanked me again.

How sweet is that? A complete stranger taking the time to thank me for spending my Saturday morning giving some of my time and effort to the community. This kindness completely made my day and gave mea little more faith in my fellow man :-)


Jul. 13th, 2013 09:52 pm
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I overheard this at the library this morning.

Father: Let's look for some books.
Daughter: Daddy! Daddy! Here are some books! *excitedly points to a shelf next to her*
Father: There are books everywhere. This is a library. Let's look for some books you'd like to read.

Adorable. Lesson learned: be specific when you suggest something!
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I got to the library a few minutes later than usual on Saturday morning and was surprised to see that the picklist, which is normally 3-5 pages long, was 11 pages in length. I really shouldn't have been surprised, but I'd forgotten about the holiday when the library was closed for two days. All the books people put on hold accumulated and showed up together on my morning list. I took a deep breath and began. it took me three full carts (usually I can fit everything onto one, sometimes spilling onto a second).

One of the librarians kindly processed one of the carts for me, which is actually extraordinary because they had three days of bookdrop to take care of and that took them all morning as well, with everyone pitching in to help. It was an impressive display with people squeezing the tasks in-between other duties they had at the library.

The hardest part for me was spending hours of my morning tracking down all of the books on the list and then finding, when I scanned them in, that not all the books were going to readers. Sometimes, other library branches will get to a copy in their branches before I do. But, usually, it's because someone changed his or her mind and took the book back off of hold. So I was left with about a dozen books that I'd picked off the shelves that were supposed to go to people but, instead, needed to go back onto the shelves. I had an urge to go out into the middle of the library and promote the books, trying to find them homes. I suppose it's all that practice I get handing free BookCrossing books to people at book festivals. But I did really want to advocate for thse poor books that thought they were being selected, only to find they weren't.

Who wants a learn about some greek gods and monsters? Anyone? It's a beautifully illustrated book, straight from the 292 section of the nonfiction stacks. C'mon... you know you want to...
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
The library system I volunteer for is now floating. Basically, this means that the books no longer belong to one particular branch but, instead, could be at any branch. We already had inter-library loan, where you could take a book out of one library and return it to any branch. That book would get scanned in and then sent off to wherever it needed to go--either to a patron who happened to have put it on hold at the current library or back to the library from where it belonged. Now, a patron gets a book out of one library and returns it to any branch and it STAYS at that branch, unless there's a hold on it at another library.

There are lots of benefits to this system and lots of drawbacks as well. It allows the collection to be much more fluid, which means much more selection and turnaround for sections that benefit from being refreshed with new content. They started floating the large print books, the DVDs, and the audiobooks last year, for example. There aren't a whole lot of large print books in the system (only about two rows full per library) so floating allows for these books to travel all over and you might see completely different books from day to day. That's also sort of a problem--if you go to the library expecting a book because it's popular and so the library's got to have it, it stands less of a chance of actually being there. The library might have hundreds of copies, but those copies might all be at different libraries; there's nothing really to ensure that the copies are distributed evenly among all the branches. It also cuts down on delivery costs of us shipping the books back to the branch that owns it. However, a lot more people will probably be putting things on hold because the selection is so constantly changing and unpredictable, so we'll be shipping things to other branches more (time will tell if that evens out or is more cost-effective).

Something else it means is that I no longer get to work Saturday morning bookdrop. That was possibly my favorite job at the library. I loved taking the books in the giant pile and sorting books into piles by shape and type. After years, I had it down to a science. I knew how to pack the maximum amount of books into that wooden bin and just how to check them in so that they would most effectively fill the cart to go get reshelved. Most of the time, I would even sort the books and put them in order on the cart to save the pages and librarians time--not just putting them together by type but also alphabetizing or in order by the dewey decimal system. I considered it an art form and was sad whenever one of the librarians picked the books up and threw them into the bins for me, thinking it would save me time when all it did was mess up my beautiful method. I remember a time when my goal was to get all the books checked in before 10am, when the library opened to patrons. Lately, I've been so efficient that I've managed to get it done almost always before 8:30, giving me a whole half an hour head start on the picklist before the library filled with people. I am unnaturally proud of this.

I don't get to do the bookdrop any more, because the librarians need to be in charge of evaluating the condition of the books that get turned in. Before, it was the owning branch's responsibility to mend any problem books or call patrons for items like audiobooks missing a disc. But now that no branch owns the books, it's up to every branch to evaluate every book and fix anything.

Now, the good news is that floating is happening much more gradually than I thought it would. I'd heard that the whole collection would start floating on May 8. Both of my libraries started huge reorganizing projects to give maximum shelf space to the types of items that frequently get returned there, to make room where there wasn't room before. Luckily, however, the library system is going to float more slowly than I'd been told. Just like we started floating three types last year, we're going to go section by section in floating. So there isn't complete chaos yet (and, I hope, there never will be).

But I've still been kicked off Saturday morning book drop. And one of my reports at the other library is going to be gone--the one where I search the shelves for books that are owned by other branches but got accidentally put in this library by mistake. However, because the collection will be changing a lot, we expect people to be putting much more on hold. If you go to the library to do a research project on X subject and the branch doesn't have those books, you'd have to either drive to another branch and cross your fingers or have them sent over. I expect that the picklist (the list of books I pick off the shelves and place on the holds shelves for patrons) will at least double in size. There's even talk about doing it three times a day (right now, it's done twice: an am picklist and a pm picklist). So one door has closed and the window next to it has not only opened but has grown bigger than the door.

Only time will tell regarding the benefits and drawbacks of floating. It's in practice in other nearby library systems, but not in a system quite as big and spread out as ours is. And though I hate change and am still in mourning over the loss of my bookdrop duties, I do wish the libraries the best of luck implementing the new floating system.
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
Most of the time when I'm volunteering at the library, I'm doing whatever task was given to me (book drop, picklist, missing list, etc.). Occasionally, patrons will see that I'm a volunteer and ask me for help finding a specific section (usually it's a hard-to-find section like Juvie Biographies at Kings Park library, which are separated from biographies for adults to read, or Young Adult Fiction at Pohick, which is clear across the library from Juvie Fiction). Once in a while, I'm asked for books on a specific subject (last Saturday it was how to learn German).

A few times a year, people ask me for specific books. And it's strange, but out of all the specific books I've been asked for within the last year, they all happen to be books I know quite well and don't have to look up. I'm not sure how they knew to ask me, but it makes me feel magical when they do, because it looks like I know all the books by heart and not just that they happen to have asked about a book I know well.

Months ago, a father and daughter stopped me in the stacks and asked me where to find the Harry Potter books. I asked which books in particular, because the first four are JFIC in our system and the last three are YFIC. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I was able to walk them right over to the section without delay. The daughter selected the first book in the series and then they asked me about Anne of Green Gables. I immediately directed them over to Montgomery. They were amazed that I knew the info without having to look it up and I confessed they happened to ask about two series that I love dearly. They just got lucky. But then it kept happening...

A young woman asked me where to find Sherlock Holmes mysteries. She'd been looking under C for Sir Arthur CONAN Doyle, but he's filed under D for Doyle in our system. She was amazed at how many we had there, once I showed her the section.

A young woman asked for something called 'Luck Joy Something' and I was able to find several copies of The Joy Luck Club for her just two aisles over from where we were standing. Her eyes lit up when she saw all the copies waiting there (it's a popular book that we sometimes have book clubs for). I couldn't help also telling her that Amy Tan was going to be at Fall for the Book speaking free this September just down the street if she liked the book and wanted to see the author. She didn't seem at all interested in that idea. Oh well. I thought I was being helpful!

Last Tuesday a girl came up to me and asked me for the book The Outsiders. Again, no needing to look anything up in the system. I headed straight over to Hinton and showed her she had a choice of copies.

Maybe the reason is that I read a lot of popular books or it's just a coincidence that I happen to know every single specific book people have approached me about. Whatever the reason, it's great to be able to help them find something I love as well :-)
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
No matter how crappy I'm feeling, all it takes it a couple hours of volunteering at the library to make me happy. There's something about putting things in order and methodically going through lists and routines with familiar books that is very comforting. I am SO grateful to have that job.

I ran across these two gems last week and wanted to share:

Best Book Title
This book was on the missing list in the New, Young Adult section: Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story
hahahahaha. I see the book didn't live up to most Amazon.com reviewer's expectations, but I seriously love that title for a young adult novel. Wish I'd thought of it :-) Just like Vampirates. How is it possible that I didn't put two and two together and come up with Vampirates?

Best Bar Code Number
Whenever I go through a list, I look at the classification (call number or author's last name), then the author's last name and title. If I actually find the matching book on the shelf, I then have to compare it to the Fairfax County Public Library bar code to make sure it's the correct book. Usually looking at the last 3 numbers of the code is enough, because the chances that two identical books have the same last 3 numbers is rare (I've only seen it twice in the last 3 or 4 years). One book that was on the missing list last week was Terry Brooks' Armageddon's Children. What were the last 3 numbers? You guessed it: 666! How appropriate! heehee
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
I keep thinking of things I want to blog about during my library volunteering shifts and then I never end up doing so. I'm going to try to make more of an effort from now on.

Yesterday was my very last Monday volunteering at Kings Park library. That's not really as bad as it sounds, though. On July 1 the hours at the library change so the library will close before I can get there after work. So my volunteering day starting next week will be Tuesday (and then I'm off for 2 weeks because of vacation-meep!).

Anyway, my last Monday was a memorable one. After an emergency pit stop at home I managed to get to the library around 5:50pm and I stayed until 7:56pm. In just two hours I managed to complete the entire missing list. I didn't get the chance to go through all the New books' possible alternate locations, but I did so for the newest of the new books (which means I not only got through all 6 pages but some books were looked for twice even). This is practically unheard of. I usually only ever manage to finish the whole list when someone else has done a page or two for me. I kept going through the pages, thinking I was overlooking the backs or something but, no, every page was finished.

What's even more memorable was that I kept looking for books in the wrong places. For example, I KNOW I've looked for this particular drawing book 3 times before (books that are marked missing stay on the list for a month so there are always familiar faces on the list each week). And I KNOW the drawing books on the 700 shelves are at the end on the bottom. But I looked at the title and walked down the isle and looked at the top of the opposite shelf, completely in the wrong place. And suddenly, in one second, I found the book mis-shelved. Absolutely no clue why I walked down and suddenly found myself looking at the wrong shelf. But there it was, right in front of me. And that's not the only time it happened like that. I found probably 10 books that way, suddenly stumbling upon them in the wrong place without even trying. It was like magic. So strange. Loved it. I was a mis-shelved book magnet :-)
katekintailbc: (Bookworm Remus)
Note: I wrote this yesterday but for some reason it didn't post then.

So a week or two ago, there was a signup sheet at KP library, asking the adult volunteers to sign up for extra shifts shelving because they were not going to have any pages from May 9 through 23. I figured this was just because of school finals or semester changes. Pages, for those not in the know, are the high school aged workers in the library system. They begin as volunteers then after a certain number of hours they get paid.

I went to PO library today to volunteer, as I do every Saturday morning, and wasn't surprised that they had no pages working either. Again, I assumed this was just something that happened every year as the end of the school year nears. But when I asked, it turned out to be because the pages have all been "terminated". After a few weeks, a few of them will be re-hired, but because of the budget restraints, they all had to be let go.

Beyond the fact that this sucks for the pages (I am hoping my favorite, hard-working ones will be among the 13 hired back at PO) it sucks for the rest of us because we rely on the pages to do SO much work! They're the ones who sort the books on the carts, take the carts to the stacks, and then actually put the books on the shelves. Without them... books just sit about in unorganized, chaotic piles.

So this morning at the library was the first day of having no pages. So many more librarians were working, and everyone was working twice as hard. Luckily, the book drop was only a little over one bin (and I got there 15 minutes early) so I was able to finish bookdrop before the library opened and got about a quarter of the picklist done before the library opened. And the picklist was only just shy of 2 pages (instead of 3 or 4 pages long) so that went quickly. But it was tough for the librarians to have to pick up the slack and organize & shelve the books once they were checked in. Instead of everyone doing their usual two steps, everyone's doing four or five steps to make up for the pages not being there. That takes time.

I helped them out by doing my least favorite thing ever- shelving JP books. Don't get me wrong-- I absolutely love kids books. I love looking at them and being in the kids' section of the library. I love seeing the fun titles and illustrations. Once in a while I when I have the time, I flip through a few of them. But those carts of books are SO huge and the books are SO skinny that a full cart takes well over an hour to shelve. At least with adult fiction, the books are thick so you feel a bigger sense of accomplishment by clearing a row off a cart quickly. And kids' books are harder to shelve than any other section of the library because kids do NOT put books back on the shelves in the right places (they're not supposed to put books back at all-- that's what the bins by each shelf are for-- but inevitably you find TONS out of order). At any given time, I'd say about 20-30% of the books already on the shelves in the JP section are in the wrong places. It's hard to insert books onto shelves in alphabetical order when the existing books are already out of order. So it feels like you're going backwards in a never-ending recursive function. You take one of a hundred books off the cart, find a spot for it, and then take 5 books near it on the shelf back off the shelf to put them in their proper spots (where you will find others that need to be relocated, etc.). Also, there are kids and parents all over. And I refuse to make anyone move just so I can put a book one of hundreds of books on a shelf. So I have to skip sections in the cart as well. And the worst part about my cart today was that it LOOKED like it was properly sorted when I took it (confirmed by a children's librarian who was looking over the carts with me), but it totally wasn't. There were even some nonfiction and JR books mixed in-between the JP books. ARG! Just when I thought I was done with a letter, I'd notice a C-author book hiding between the S and the W... and half of the Ts that followed the Ws had an F or two mixed in. *sigh* So I spent time on the spot completely alphabetizing the cart that was already supposed to be alphabetized.

Please keep in mind that I still love my libraries and I'm glad to volunteer at two of them for free. Libraries are cornerstones of civilizations and I'm proud to help out at mine. If I hadn't started feeling like crap all of a sudden, I would have grabbed a second JP cart without complaint. It's just sad to see yet another part of them changed because of hard times economically. The librarian I spoke to said that it looks like their budgets aren't expected to improve until 2013. Egads!
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
Just a notice to anyone local... just a few more days left in December means just a few more days to catch my Eeyore collection display at Kings Park Library!

The library book drop this morning wasn't too bad: just one bin or so. But there were 3.5 days' worth of books to check in (Dec 24, 25, 26, and the library closed early on 23). It took all morning of steady working to get it done. Other librarians helped out and I got kicked off of the last cartload in order to do picklist, which was virtually untouched by lunchtime. Not good. I did two carts of the picklist but that was only 3 pages or so and the list was 7 pages long! Yikes! Quite a busy day at the library. I'm scheduled to work 2 hours and I worked 4.

And next week I get to do it all over again because the library is closed Thurs & Fri for New Years but open Sat morning. The sad thing is, I still find the volunteering work to be lots of fun. I'm SUCH a dork when it comes to books.
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
Me: Guess what.
Flist: What?
Me: I finished checking in the bookdrop books today by 9:50! After many months of trying, I actully managed to finish bookdrop BEFORE the library opened! And I managed to get all the "new" books from the picklist off the shelves before the library opened as well. Extraordinary. Of course, there was only a bin and a half of books, but still I am excited. First time ever that I've managed to do this so I wanted to share my sense of pride.

I also finally released a book at a bus stop I pass all the time and think "I should leave a book there". Turns out the book not only counted for the 366 Leap into the Wild Challenge (with wild in the title) and the Animal Challenge (with Animal in the title) but also this week's Never Judge a Book by its Cover (with the author's name starting with L) Yay!

I'm taking Monday the 22nd off work to recover from the Wizard Rock concert on the 21st (I MUST remember to take a Stephen King book with me on my trip to New York!) and after sleeping for most of the day I plan to drive around and hit the western reaches of Fairfax to deposit books at statues. With luck, I'll be able to get the whole left side of the map done in one day. *crosses fingers*

I'm going to hit the Yesterday's Rose bag sale tomorrow of course. And I'm going to put together boxes to take to Fall for the Book. I'm hoping to bring somewhere between 200 and 300 books and I might raid the shelves at work because there's so much poetry at the festival and it's hard to move those out in the wild. I want the books to go to an appreciative audience.
Books I need to find at Yesterday's Rose:
Sewing book of some sort
Geneology or local history book
Some school-themed/student-related book
Months: January, February, June, July, November (I totally passed up a July book last time because I'm an idiot! LOL)
Fairy books
Time books (Tick Tock challenge- I have a few handfulls but if something nice comes up, I'll throw it in the bag)
Halloween books

Rainy Day!

Sep. 6th, 2008 02:49 pm
katekintailbc: (Library Logo)
And I don't mean my sister's stuffed reindeer, either.

We're getting slammed with rain here thanks to the passing hurricane. And if there's one place I could name as the worst place to have leaks on a rainy day, I've got to name the library. But that's how it is at Pohick (and, from what I've heard, most of the other libraries in the area). The librarians took turns going on "leak checks" every few minutes. By the end of my shift (started a little before 9am, ended a little after noon) they had just about run out of plastic sheets. There was a huge dripping situation in the front right over the Hot Picks shelf, which became a pile of plastic over bookcases and carts to the side holding books. There were trash cans placed strategically all over the library I had to walk around when doing Picklist (did the whole 3 pages myself). But the worst was one of the staff's cubicles where it was a small waterfall right by the desk. Had to move everything out quite quickly and they called the county building people about that one, but no one showed up to look at it while I was there. Apparently, there's no way of predicting where drips will occur, either. It happens all over the place in completely different places every time. For example, last time we had a major storm (one that knocked our power out for a day) I showed up the day after and saw two bookcases in nonfiction (around the 500's or 600's) covered in plastic. Today, that section was bone dry but further up in the 700's and 800's we'd broken out the plastic trash cans. Thank goodness the worst of the storm is hitting during the day when people were at the library to patrol! I would be terrified for the fates of those books otherwise!

I would also like to brag that I completed the bookdrop in record tme this morning. I finished at 10:10. (The library opens at 10am, so getting it done just 10 minutes after opening isn't bad at all!) Okay, so it was only a bin and a half instead of the 2 or 3 full bins I've been getting lately, but still I feel much pride.

In honor of the exceptionally rainy day, the library staff made soup for us all. Lovely vegetable soup. I don't even really LIKE vegetable soup but I had some and it was fantastic! And it was nice to finish up a shift by eating a nice bowl of soup, talking with the staff, and watching the rain pour down outside. Very nice indeed.
katekintailbc: (Default)
I found a baby einstein book called Mirror Me! at the used book shelf at the library this morning after I volunteered. It's got a frog on the front cover. After a long, search I've finally got one I can release at Richard Byrd Library.

Now I just need to finish reading the Island of Lost Maps and I'll have books for all three of the soon-to-be-closing library. I'm really liking the Island of Lost Maps. Makes me want to drive up to Baltimore and visit the library Mr. Peabody started. Fascinating.

Also, strange thought from this morning when I was doing the Picklist at the library. Why would you put "knee health" books on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, requiring someone to bend down, squat down, and kneel to get to it? Kinda funny in a sad way.

Now I've got JFF & the Sugar Quills' 'Trevor the Toad' song stuck in my head. Ribbit, ribbit!

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