LC Hell

Today is day three of library inventory, an experience that ranks right up there with multiple root canals or sitting through a Celine Dion concert. It’s a lovely experience of matching up the catalog list of call numbers versus what exists on the shelves. After about an hour, you can count on your mind devolving into semi-organic mulch (“semi-organic”–isn’t that akin to the phrase “a little pregnant”?) What is particularly torturous is reading the LC call numbers themselves: yes, I know I went to library school and all, and I am okay with them during the normal course of the work day (i.e., knowing generally what subject the call number represents, helping people find books on the shelf, etc.) but actually having to think about them is when the trouble begins. For instance, author cutter numbers aren’t true numbers, or are they? And why is there sometimes double cutter numbers? And how does all of this tie in with LC subject headings? Already I feel synapses fermenting into a rich, fertile stew….

I truly believe this work violates the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman of Degrading Treatment or Punishment. At the very least, I’ve informed the powers-that-be that I’m filing a workmen’s comp claim if I develop Tourette’s from this little exercise. If nothing else, I’m sure to scare the low-slung, boot-cut jeans twentysomethings off when school starts….

What I’m Reading: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer. A fascinating book; it is, however, very depressing to read what lengths a culture will go to deny women their right to be human beings.

What I’m Listening To: Anything by Bobby Darin–even the stuff from his “Bob Darin” incarnation (sang If I Were a Carpenter, stopped wearing his toupe, the whole 60s thing).

One Response

  1. Jing
    Jing September 16, 2003 at 5:49 pm | | Reply

    I sympathize. We inventoried our collection last year. My first time. I suffer from PISD (post inventory stress disorder) and I have recurring nightmares of books crushing me. Words to songs are replaced by echoing call numbers. Who would ever have thought the life of a librarian could be so perilous?!?


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