Walking the stacks

I was thinking recently that I miss weeding.  Not industrial-grade “run reports” and “burn the periodicals” weeding, but shelf-by-shelf, book-by-book collection evaluation.  I used to do it every Friday afternoon, with headphones on and a purple truck by my side.  I enjoyed it, a lot.  Very zen.

Weeding really isn’t what we need me to be doing right now, though, no matter how zen it might be.  Then it occurred to me.  I’d been thinking about farming out (ie, “delegating”) a project to someone else, and why do that? Why not actually do the project?

So I am.

I’m taking 20 minutes a day and getting the hell out of my office.  And when I’m done, I’ll have a spreadsheet that tells me how many shelves we have in each call number range and how many empty shelves there currently are in that total.  And that will let me do lots of things: Create a timeframe for moving the stacks out of our basement. Make recommendations about which areas need weeding.  Make recommendations about which areas need shifting.  Begin discussions about industrial-grade weeding as necessary.  Lower my blood pressure by doing something zen that requires walking rather than staring at my computer. Provide another use case for my iPad, which I’m using to do the data gathering and entry.  I expect I’ll also have corrected hundreds of shelving issues like the one I snapped a picture of today, because dear god, I’m a librarian, and I can’t help it.

I’m actually pretty psyched about the whole thing.

I started my career as a full-time library worker at Trinity College as Shelving and Technical Support Manager.  One of my projects that first year was a stacks-measurement project in service of the building project that was being planned.  I measured, calculated growth space, studied blueprints, and generally discovered how much work goes into making a library’s infrastructure function well.  I liked it. A  lot.  I also learned to love Excel.

So getting back to that is kind of fun.  And it’s certainly a change of pace from what I do during the rest of my day, which is plainly awesome.

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