Thursday, January 21, 2010

When Office Supplies Make My Day

***Crossing my fingers***
Seriously though. It's almost The 100th Day of School and I think I have finally found a schedule; a rhythm to my week that allows for working out, getting the basics done at home, AND volunteering at the library.
Have I mentioned what I'm doing at the library? I don't think I have, but my brain can selectively forget things sometimes...
A couple of Springs ago our library obtained a computer program that essentially eliminates the physical card catalog of yore. Ye Olde Carde Catalogue. So, the school began a push to get all the books/library materials bar-coded and entered into the system and for the most part this is complete. Oh, we are still finding books without bar codes...or even sweeter, books with bar codes that have not been entered into the system - the joy of mass volunteerism... and every year more books come in from donations, or from the book fair, so those need to be added as well. We've yet to start removing old books but it's going to have to start happening soon because we're running out of space and some of those books are out-dated either in subject matter or in facts. Maybe we can find a closet for archiving or something.
Now, back when E1 was in the First Grade (ye olde 2004)there was a call for parent volunteers to help in the library with re-shelving. Our First Grade doesn't request regular parent volunteers like our Kindergarten does, so I roped by brother-in-law in to watch E2 (during her nap time) for an hour an afternoon twice a month. What I found made my fingers twitch so much that I wanted to lock myself in the library alone for a month.
At first glance it appeared there was no organization at all, but over time I came to learn the basic plan they had going...but Lord Have Mercy. There were areas of organization, I guess you could all the junior fiction were on the shelves on the West and South walls of the room...but not in any sort of order. This makes for VERY easy shelving though, right? OH! Except for the groups of junior fiction books on that other shelf, or that one over there - all the Goosebumps! books by R.L. Stine, the Harry Potter Series, etc. They get special placement.
I don't want to talk about the picture books.
I've been using libraries my whole life and I worked in the University Library while in college, so I have a fine appreciation for being able to find something IN IT'S PLACE when you're looking for it. What do the teachers do, I wondered, when they want to recommend a specific book to a student or want to read a book aloud to the class? We have no school librarian, so any sort of work being done in there was all pieced-together minutes by teachers and parents.
So! When school began the fall after that initial push for bar-coding the library inventory, and a couple of weeks went by without the kids getting library books, I had the irrational thought that maybe they weren't going to let them use the library until the bar-coding was done (at the time is was maybe 30% complete). An irrational thought because there's always a couple of weeks that pass at the beginning of the school year before they work the library into their routines...I just forgot about it. Regardless, I decided I would add that to my routine and from then on E3 and I would spend about an hour volunteering there three afternoons a week. We walked Nephew F to Pre-K after lunch anyway, so we'd just stay in the library for an hour before we headed home for nap time.
We finished the bar-coding (well, as 'finished' as it will ever be) around Thanksgiving.
Then, oh then, I decided to move on to the very thing that made my fingers twitch about that room. I've been putting call letters on the books and with the help of one of the school aides we've been carving out some organization. We were temporarily derailed this summer when they cleared out the ENTIRE ROOM to take up the carpet and replace it with tile...but we're back in the groove now.
The highlight of my morning was finding the new spine labels and label covers I'd requested waiting for me at the school office. I finished using what supplies I could scrounge from the library desk about a week before Christmas - some of those looking like they'd been around since the days of Leave It To Beaver (Ye Olde Jerrye Matherse). Can you say laser-printer compatible, children? Yes, I knew you could.
I finished the majority of the general junior fiction by the end of last school year. This year I'm working on those 'special collections' in between the donations and book fair books, with hopes of moving on to the young fiction.

I still don't want to talk about the picture books...or the non-fiction. Maybe next year.

The bobble-head-like caricature artwork on this series of biographies never fails to make me chuckle.

1 comment:

Glenda said...

Wow, what a job!! Why no librarian? Funding purposes? My favorite volunteer job while in elem. school was working in the library :).

Congrats on finding a rhythym to your weekdays.