By night (and by weekend), intrepid blogger and try-er of new things.
By day, mild-mannered law librarian?
Yes. That is actually what I do for a living as I procrastinate my way through my anthropology degree. I am a librarian at a large-ish law firm downtown, and it’s a great gig.
A couple weeks ago, someone alerted me to the fact that there were NINE boxes of books hidden in a store room on another floor. Nine. And these weren’t small boxes. It took me and my cart three trips to get them all upstairs, and I got stuck in the space between the elevator and the floor every time.
These new books turned out to be volumes of statutes and old Newfoundland Acts. Many of these things we already have in duplicate, but I was able to fill in some gaps, which was great. But where am I going to put all these things? I can’t just throw them away. Lawyers are particularly attached to large-scale book series, because they look good on shelves. So I had to do some reorganizing. And so you get a blog post about it!
The last time I reorganized the library was four years ago, when I first started here. The previous librarian had a laissez-faire attitude towards keeping things current (and tidy), so I did the best I could at the time, given my inexperience with many of the practice areas. Now I am a hardened veteran, and I know what’s good and what’s not. And what I don’t know, I ask about. Plus no one likes to question me when I’m in an organizational frenzy.
This is the library as it was before the organization:
My desk area:
These statutes are in constant use and it’s annoying having people constantly going in behind me to get them out, so I’m going to move them somewhere more accessible.
The “stacks” with the new books piled and awaiting my discretion:
These, Hallsbury’s Laws of England, are very rarely used by our lawyers, so I thought that I would put them in a more decorative place, up on the highest part of the shelf.
Unfortunately I didn’t bank on the huge gaping hole between shelves. Almost lost one there.
So I blocked it with a piece of foam board and a plaster gargoyle from Dollarama. I wonder if the firm will reimburse me for my $2.50 expense?
Looks good, though.
In the end, I moved almost every single book we have in the library, which, by my estimation is almost three thousand.
I also ended up recycling probably about two-fifths of the collection. When your books are updated every year, and the legislation changes rapidly, you can’t even give away your outdated books. Some of the assistants use them to weigh down pressed flowers or to support their computer monitors, but most of them end up in the recycling bin. I was looking up DIY projects that use old books, but, cool as they are, I don’t need any bookends or secret hiding places, and I’m not good enough to make sculptures or lamps out of them. I did save a few hardcovers, just in case, but only a few.
I can’t even count the number of times I filled this cart for a trip to the recycling bin. And I could only do it twice a day, otherwise the bin overflowed and I’m convinced the cleaning staff already hates me.
So this is the new library. I’m sure you can’t really tell the difference, but everyone who uses it can, and that’s good enough for me. That piece of cake there is a remnant of my weekly baking club. Man I love Fridays.
My desk area, now stocked with books we don’t use very often:
And the stacks, now clutter-free and filled with duplicate statutes.
I realize this DIY isn’t really applicable to you, unless you happen to have access and administrative powers over a large number of books, but it’s definitely inline with my irresistible urge to clean things up and throw things out. And I thought I’d give you some insight to what I do all day. Well, this is it.