By now, you’d think I’d know that the closed captioning on a youtube video is no replacement for actually listening to it. This one was almost worth it, though. (Given that it’s about philosophy and awe, maybe this is an accurate transliteration.) [link]
Definitely. I suppose my question is, is it possible to create a library that doesn’t attract those with OCD tendencies? Can one organize without the sorts of rule-generation and fastidiousness we find in libraries? This isn’t because I think it would be better or worse without those qualities, just whether they spring consequently or merely concurrently. If one set an upper limit to the level of detail required for the work, would a different crew want to work there?
A question from one of my supervisors to the High Council of Circulation Persons was answered with a fleeting glimpse at the Loan Rule Table, a document of stunning length and complexity that lists every category of patron/user/customer type, every location, and every type of item and what specific checkout period applies to each particular combination. The computer reads this table from the bottom up, because no loan rule can be removed or modified — it can only be superseded.
There’s a bit in Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic where she recounts her youthful affliction of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Among the many different presentations, one that I remember very clearly was her being unable to sleep if her shoes were not perfectly arranged next to the bed. She tries to overcome this by making sure, every night, that one of her shoes is slightly on top of the other and that the laces are splayed outward. There is no way to consciously forget a rule once created — it can only be embellished or superseded — as in the Loan Rule Table.
There is something to be said about this as pertains to libraries, I think; my own search for the optimal or most efficient arrangement certainly has similar outward appearances to OCD, whether or not that is a valid diagnosis. I see some of my coworkers either actually completing compulsive behaviors (checking the position of a screen five times before being able to go to lunch, etc.) or sticking to older ways of doing things without acknowledging different circumstances.
I suppose it begs the question: is the Loan Rule Table so inflexible because it was created for and by library workers, or are library workers so locked into systems of inflexible policies that those policies cannot help but proliferate?
"No longer valuing the ostentatious pubic ornamentation of aristocrats, the newly founded Greek democracy turns to embrace the pubic hair of the everyman. With this change, every citizen can obtain bodily austerity just as he can attain influence in his government."
Paige Walker, Genital Depilation and Power in Classical Greece
Now that I’m actually employed at a Real Job, I’ve got health care, vacation leave, and responsibilities that include attending meetings. So then this happened:
Things normal humans should never read reviews for:
- Vinyl Turntables
- Coffee Paraphernalia
Dihedrons and Gazelle-Dihedrals are human-like creatures. Profoundly injured, they roam jetting space in the form of vertical severed halves. The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom was written by leafing through Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary choosing words by process of alexia, not as mental disorder but word-blindness: trance-like stream overriding meaning, choice, and inhibition. The intention to bring about an unknown future was changed by this action of alexia making as it happens sensual exquisite corpses — leading to the discovery that there isn’t any future, isn’t even any present. Such an exquisite corpse, read, is in an instant yet not even in ‘a present.’ Outside’s events unite gluing to each other a single object. That which had already existed is by chance. Dysaphia: as if the people can have no sensations, the writing becomes the sensations that are then felt by everything.
from The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom by Leslie Scalapino
If your library is in an urban area, there will be at least one person writing in nigh-incomprehensible script on tiny scraps of paper at least a few hours a week.
On those rare occasions I have read what is on those scraps of paper, it bears a striking similarity to this author’s note and the poems that follow.
So I think I’ve been using Tumblr too much, in that I’ve more or less worn out the down arrow on my keyboard.
In looking for some specifications, I ran across a guide to the special function keys included on my laptop model:
Of course, rationally, I know what happened, but there’s still a part of me that really wants this to be evidence of some sort of LOLcat takeover.
"It’s National Library Week — like Shark Week but with cardigans."
my coworker in the University Archives. (via ex-tabulis)
Ohhhh, let’s be honest. Library Week has nothing on Shark Week. But maybe that’s a REALLY good goal to work towards.
Come now, compadres:
We’re library people. Credit where credit is due. (Click link to view others; they’re excellent.)
Today I got to cheer for teams of students speed-straightening, speed-searching for, and speed-shelving books in the first annual(?) Stacks Triathlon at my academic library. The color commentator noted that a thousand books a day are checked out of the much-vaunted underground facility, eliciting an awed reaction from the crowd (mostly library staff).
As a matter of perspective, I found the most recent circulation statistics for my old public library’s main branch, which averaged out to a little over a thousand books per open hour.
All involved were lucky I didn’t have these statistics at my disposal at the time, because otherwise I would’ve Kanye’d. I would’ve Kanye’d hardcore.