Step right up ladies and gentlemen! Behold a sight never before seen, a spectacle so great, so astonishing, so magnificent, my! It is a librarian NOT reading a book!!!
It might come as a surprise to many of our readers that librarians do more than just read books. I myself am tired of being constantly asked “but ma’am what do you actually do?”, so over the summer break I decided to keep a little log of what actually goes on behind the stacks. Hopefully your burning desire to understand what librarians ‘actually do’ will be resolved.
Let’s start with the most obvious task… cataloguing
The internet defines cataloguing as the art of sitting next to a whole pile of books… kidding! Cataloguing is actually the process of creating metadata (a digital record) that contains information about a particular resource e.g. book. Through this, library users are able to search for resources in the catalogue, making it a whole lot easier to find your next read.
We like our students to walk into a fresh space each term so during the break we like to change, shuffle and move all of the flexible furniture into new configurations.
They say space is the body language of an organisation, and I believe the same can be said for the library. Each space is designed to cater to a different need, for example the Quiet study space (I think what you are meant to do in this space is kind of obvious is it not?). Despite the demand for such a space the noise level is generally pretty high, so during the break I made it my mission to create a space that encouraged independent study.
What did I do exactly?
- Table dividers.
Portable table dividers are a great and easy way to break up the chit chat without having a ton of unfashionable carrels taking up space. Not only does it reinforce the idea of individual study, it allows the tables to still be used as regular desks when the dividers aren’t sitting on top.
- Moved the shelves to create small spaces within the one space.
The idea behind the libraries portable shelving is so that we can mix up and change the space however we like e.g. if we have a function on we often move the shelves to the side to create one big space. For the Quiet study space we decided to trial a ‘bookshelf wall’. In doing so we split the space into two sections – giving the students behind the shelves a super private space and the other students a range of desks (with dividers) to choose from.
Stocktaking is the “action or process of recording the amount of stock held by a business”. In library speak, stocktaking refers to making sure we have all the resources the catalogue says we should have.
Like all other stocktaking processes, librarians have to physically scan each individual resource – which in our case means thousands of books.
Don’t worry it is something we definitely enjoy doing as it gives us a chance to check out all the cool and quirky books in each of our departments #yasss.
I could go on forever about all the things librarians ‘do’ but I think this is a good start! Hopefully I have answered all your burning questions and queries.
Till next time,