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Presentation is everything

March 6, 2011

One of my favorite times to work here at MCPL is Sunday mornings, the noon-5 shift, specifically. The library doesn’t open until 1 so I get a full hour to just relax and do the tasks that I actually like doing without being bothered by patrons. First up, I check in the newspapers. I’m one of the few people who likes this task. It is generally hated because it includes putting our three copies of the Herald Times on sticks. We do this to try to cut down on theft. It mostly works. Sometimes we still find missing sections of the newspaper.

While I’m checking in and sorting the newspapers, I print guest passes. I don’t like to print too many because I don’t like to waste paper, but some folks will start off with 100, even on short days. Today I started with 60 and that’s looking like it might be just the right amount. There may be a few extra at the end of the day, but at least we recycle.

Next up I go around and turn on all the computers and printers. My love of this hearkens back to my childhood love of pushing buttons and taking mechanical things apart. My dad used to let me come in the voting booth with him and poke the holes in the ballot because I so loved pushing buttons.

After this I print out the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. This is actually the most annoying of my morning tasks because the NYT site does not like to acknowledge our login and let us have the crosswords. After logging in, you have to close the window and then open it again to get the crosswords. Sometimes this doesn’t even work. It is a testy site. Then there’s the problem of figuring out what to select on the print window to get the puzzles to print correctly. When I first started doing this, I misprinted quite a few puzzles before figuring out the correct way to do it.

Finally, with whatever time I have left, I shelve some new books. When new books come downstairs, they sit next to the reference desk for a few days so that patrons can get a look at the freshest books. After about three days, we reference interns shelve them, as time permits. This is why Sunday mornings are the perfect time for this task. If we do this while the library is open, we have to keep an eye on the desk to make sure no patrons are waiting. Sometimes you forget to check when you’re organizing new books. You can really get tunnel vision with that task. Especially if you’re like me and get annoyed at how stuffed some of the shelves are. That is actually another task I help out with, weeding the new books and switching the books to off-new, but I do that with another librarian and we don’t always work together so the shelves can really start to overflow. It really bugs me when things don’t look nice. Presentation is key.

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