On Monday my fellow media specialist* (henceforth known as MJ) and I were given the green light to order a third of the library collection planned for our new library. You know, the one at the new school, which is still a flat expanse of red mud? The one that probably won’t be ready for student occupation until, oh, I don’t know, 2020? Our accreditation organization recommends that we have a minimum of 10 books per student and we currently have about 2.5. Pre-fire we had around 11 per student, so we have a lot of catching up to do, and we convinced the People With Money that we needed to start catching up now. And that is why both MJ and I spent every minute of the last 4 days of work–approximately 32 hours–in front of the computer ordering 4000 books. Four. Thousand. You librarians out there–you will understand this: we started with great enthusiasm, but by the end of the day today we were both all “We’ve covered the gays, the anorexics, the African Americans, the scientists, the dead famous people, the athletes. Who have we left out? The golfers? The race car drivers? Sure, order golf books. NASCAR books are good.” In the end we only managed to come up with 3700 because, seriously, 4000 books is a lot of damn books.
It was quite a learning experience, my first book order. For instance, did you know there are 8 billion different Chicken Soup for the Soul books? There is chicken soup for every kind of soul you can imagine. Jack Canfield, if you are reading this, you need to publish Chicken Soup for the Poor Public School Servant’s Soul, and the pages need to be made out of 100 dollar bills. That would warm my soul right up.
Unfortunately, what I didn’t learn during the book order was how to catalogue. Incidentally, that’s what I’m supposed to be learning right now, in my cataloguing class. That’s right, folks, I am blogging in a master’s level class I paid almost a grand to take. In my defense, if I sat here and tried to focus on what’s happening (or not happening**, in this case) at the front of the room, I would stab myself or one of my classmates, or probably my professor, and the subsequent results (bail, lawyer fees, etc.) would cost way more than a thousand dollars, so this is really the safer and cheaper option for me. So if you are a librarian and cataloguing wizard, please share your secrets with me, and if you are a librarian and not a cataloguing wizard but made it through cataloguing with flying colors, or any colors at all, please tell me what I need to know to survive.
For now, I will amuse myself by imagining your brilliant responses to this request: who else needs chicken soup? In the comments, or on your own blog, suggest more titles for Mr. Canfield’s consideration (and if you’re feeling really creative, write a nice entry that might appear in your version, because that would make me really happy).
*fancy public school name for librarian
**teaching, in case you hadn’t already figured it out
To clarify: I am taking cataloguing because my program requires it, not because it will EVER be a useful skill in school media. We use one of the jobbers Jen mentions in the comments, and they do all the hard work for us. As they should. Book-buying is expensive. Also,when the new school opens, the school system will order the “stock collection” for us (also mentioned by Jen); what we ordered this week was mainly everything we needed to support the specific curricular studies (and recreational reading needs) of our current students.
But more importantly, WHERE ARE YOUR CHICKEN SOUP TITLES? C’mon, AdProb, I know you’re holding out on me!