Friday, 15 May 2015

Library volunteering

I spent today in the school library.

I volunteer there most Friday afternoons, adding books to the computerised system, stickybackplasticking (don't care if that's not a real word - it should be) covers, sorting the Dewey numbers...that kind of thing.

I'm really lucky to be working with the grandma of a couple of the students, who also happens to be a retired librarian. This lady is a godsend. Not only can she tell me - without looking in an index - what number any non-fiction book should be (to three decimal places!), she has taught me so much.

Like; when listing an author, and it looks like they have two surnames - Lynne Reid Banks springs to mind as we've had a bit of fun with her - you list under the second name, ie B, unless it's hyphenated like Dick King-Smith, who's a K.

And how 'space' - the planets, stars, moon - falls in the orange 300 section, but 'space travel' is in...ooh, can't remember! Green 500's or red 600's?

But you get my gist. She's a fount of knowledge and together, we have achieved so much more than I could have on my own. I tended to look at all the numbers and freeze. If I was feeling really yukky about it, I'd concentrate on the fiction, 'cos I liked that more.

We sorted through the fiction today - took out the duplicate copies of books that had been used for guided reading years ago, took out the water marked and torn copies that could not be salvaged, made sure we only had three sets of Narnia books...that kind of thing. We also added two physical shelves to give the books breathing room and be able to shelve everything that the kids have out on loan when the books are recalled at the end of term.

We also put away non-fiction that wasn't in the right place. It felt a bit like painting the Forth Bridge; we're constantly renumbering the non-fiction shelves.

I much prefer ficiton - those books only need a letter. And the alphabet's much easier to keep in order than the numbers... Is that my natural tendency to prefer all things letter-y coming through, I wonder?

Anyway, it was good to get done what we did today. Next week, I reckon we'll have to sort out the 900's...

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