If you think librarians are weaklings; think again. Today I moved National Geographic magazines. 20 years worth of National Geographic. In boxes. Each box weighed about 10-15 lbs. I moved each box two times. And, I pushed the cart holding them--and 10 other boxes of magazines--all over the library, from one end to the other. That cart, full, weighed more than 150 lbs. And, I pushed it uphill, both ways. (Ok, only one way, and it was downhill, which is actually more dangerous than pushing it uphill. Let's just say runaway cart!)
One thing that will drive this librarian insane...well, ok, there's more than one thing. But, today, one of the things that drove me nuts are 5 little books. (And, this will probably only be understood by other librarians...) The Foxfire books. I found volume one in 975.8. Good logical place for it. (975.8 is the Dewey classification for the State of Georgia which is the local that these books are about.)
Volume 2, I found in 016.1. 016 is the Dewey classification for...get this...Bibliographies and catalogs of works on specific subjects or in specific disciplines. The key word here is bibliographies (I love typing bibliographies it feels good and it's fun to type...kinda like encyclopedia...bibliography, encyclopedia, bibliography, encyclo...sorry...) The Foxfire books are not bibliographies. Nor are they a catalog.
To make matters more complicated, I found volume 3...in 016.2. And Volume 4 was simply in 016 while volume 5 was in 016.3. Ok, so if these were in order on the shelf, by Dewey number...we'd have volume 4, followed by volume 2, then 3, then 5 and volume one would be way far away...which it was. What the????? Where's the logic? Where's the consistency? None of the books belong in 016, and for cryin' out loud, why were they all classed and put in separate areas--some were 2 shelves apart! Sheesh, they are volumes in a series, put the dang things together. Much less work to do that. Whoever cataloged these--in the 1970's wasn't a cataloger, I can guarantee you that. It's enough to make me pull out my hair...even the ones that aren't grey.
Now, let's talk about weeding and shifting...(Jody, you need to call the people here and warn them about me weeding and shifting. Cause I don't think they will physically tackle me like they should.) We got some free books from the Scientology group. L Ron Hubbard books. Since the section in this library dealing with Scientology was so bad, we added them to our collection. Only, there wasn't any space on the shelves to put these 10-12 titles. No problem, we set them temporarily on a cart until I had a chance to shift. But, you see, I can't just shift, I have to weed; it's an illness.
--we interrupt this blog to explain what weeding and shifting is. Weeding is the process of removing titles from the collection. In other words, we toss some books, withdraw them, remove them from the shelves, eliminate them from our collection, whatever. When you weed, you look at the age of the book, you see if it's being used, you look at it to see if it's a classic title in that subject or if it's got historical value and you check the physical condition. If it's a book on first aid with a copy right from 1970 and it hasn't been used since 1971 and the covers are gone and it's woefully out-of-date...then you weed that book.
Shifting is the physical action of moving books from one shelf to another creating more room for new books. Shifting is tiring physical work--especially if you are doing it alone--because you grab a handful of books and move them to another shelf while hoping and praying that the books left on the afore-mentioned shelf don't fall over, and you hope this group of books in your hand won't fall over when they go on their new shelf, and you pray you don't drop them on your foot. If you are working with another person, then it's not as hard, but it is hard on your hands. Many librarians get carpel tunnel from the repetitive motions of shifting. Now, back to our blog...
Like I said above, I can't just shift. It's physically and mentally impossible for me to shift books and not weed. I've tried doing it. I've tried not taking an empty cart to the stacks, but then, I find myself stacking books to be weeded all over other shelves and on the floor and, well, I just can't do it.
Last week, I went up to start shifting. I started looking at the shelves in the 200's, (Religion) trying to find a logical place to start shifting...but there wasn't one. So, I moved back into the 100's (Philosophy and Psychology) and still didn't find one. So, I moved back into the 000's. And then, I paused in the 020's (Library and Information sciences). Yeah. Three carts full of books and several tears later, I had space to shift. (Does anyone need a book on new media in the library circa 1967? If so, let me know today, cause I've got one!)
Today, I went up to actually start shifting...but I couldn't. I kept finding more books that need to be weeded and, and, well, you see, I'm out of boxes for the weeded books, and...and...well, I just didn't know where I'd stop, or if I could stop. So, I didn't start.
Instead, I pulled off the Foxfire books. Those I can fix and then, I'll feel better.