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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tour of the stacks

It has been very busy days at work so far this week. I certainly noticed that my colleagues had had a rough time during my absence. There were large piles of books not shelved. This has the lowest priority, so it's the first thing you skip when you are under-staffed. Apart from that, they had managed pretty well, but they have yet again told me that they missed me greatly last week.

Monday afternoon I was busy shelving in the old collection, so I didn't make it to the regular coffeebreak time. One of my colleagues then came looking for me, and I really wondered why until he said that they were going to surprise me with a cake! They had taken the trouble of getting a princess torte (spongecake bottom, with whipped cream and marzipan cover, usually very green in color). Very nice of them to celebrate my birthday like that, and the cake was great so we finished it pretty fast.

Tuesday I showed the stacks for three people; one new part-timer, one intern from library school and one recent employee from another department. I gave them the guided tour of the stacks, from the fourth floor all the way down to the lower basement level. In an hour and a half I crammed in the knowledge I have of the collection and how to manage it. Needless to say, there were many details that I had to leave out..... Training someone new to be able to do 80% of the work in the stacks takes two years. We hope that the new part-timer (which we never thought we would get) will be useful, and he has potential. He is a computer nerd, and that has proven to be a very good quality when working in the stacks. There is a kind of systematic structure (in the call number system in particular) that seems to fit their brains. I brought the new guy with me on the storage round today, and he was not totally lost when it comes to retrieving books, so we definitely have hopes. He will only work two hours a day, but we are happy for the smallest improvement.

This evening we had the annual meeting in the social club at work. It's the kind of meeting that you have to have once a year to elect new board members. Attendance is usually very low, and this time it was just the old board members and two more people. The new board members (two women I have never met!) couldn't attend. There was one other change - I was elected new chairman. After the process, which took 15 minutes, we watched two films that a colleague had taped during our excursions and parties. It was a strange sight to see yourself standing in the bar at the Christmas party hushing at some people, but that's what I did. It was fun to watch the films and afterwards we had sandwiches and told each other anecdotes from the libraries we work at.

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