So, why DO the library staplers have names?
As we welcome our latest stapler, Desdemona, it’s timely to ask the question – just why do we name our staplers?
It’s a long story. Back in the distant past (sometime back in 2016), the library staff had finally had enough. We were sick of the never-ending replacing of staplers, of spending time each day tending to mistreated staplers, of searching for the perfect (but non-existent) stapler that would stand up to the rigorous conditions of the Trinity library.
Was this why we’d spent years studying, honing our library skills? Only to become glorified stapler technicians? Like any research specialist, we turned to Google. And were astonished. It turns out staplers are a bone of contention in libraries around the world. Librarians were posting on line. They were measuring stapler lifespans on spreadsheets. They were writing research papers. There was a tumblr page devoted to dead staplers . There was even a New York Times newspaper article .
More importantly though, there were answers. The Gould Library at Carleton College in Minnesota had come up with an idea. They were naming their staplers. Giving them a story. And it was working. Perhaps because the staplers were now perceived as friends, they were lasting longer. It was worth a try.
And so were born Alice and Achilles. Alice was the smaller stapler, ideal for up to 10 pages, while her big brother Achilles was for larger jobs, up to 40 pages or so. How did we decide on their names? Easy – literary references – Alice was for Alice in Wonderland, Achilles for the Greek hero.
Alice was followed in the line of duty by Bilbo, who went for a long walk and never returned, and then by Charlie – named in honour of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and to celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary. Achilles was succeeded by Brunhilde, then by Cyclops, and now by Demeter – all appropriately heroic names for our larger staplers.
We noticed that (mostly) our staplers were hanging around. Being cared for. If one was missing, the boys would ask, where’s Bilbo? Charlie*, for example, was with us for over a year – an eternity in stapler years.
The astute reader may have noticed another constant in our naming convention – like cyclones, we name alphabetically, and switch between male and female names. Don’t make the mistake that people apparently make with cyclones though – they take those with female names less seriously. Desdemona and Demeter are every bit as tough and enduring as Charlie and Cyclops.
*Charlie is the holder of the coveted Trinity Endurance Stapler Record – whilst we hope that subsequent staplers will surpass his record, he will go down in history as the first holder of the title.