Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Weeding, a catharsis for the librarian soul

I love to weed. For those of you that are not librarians, it's simply the act of deciding what stays and what goes on a library's shelves. I've found that a near obsessive attitude isn't generational among the librarians here - one Baby Boomer gets a thrill out of getting rid of old resume books, while a 30-something holds on for dear life.

Weeding makes the shelves so much more accessible. No longer are the well-loved books sharing space with moldy oldies that haven't gone out since the Nixon administration. After weeding, the collection looks approachable, with so much more potential for things to be discovered.

It's probably silly to wax poetic about the simple act of removing books from a library's shelves and dumping them in the bin for the used book sale, where they'll most likely sit on someone's shelves at home, unopened, for the next decade. But heck, librarianship can be a sentimental and romantic calling.

A few books that I weeded today:

~ Best Loved Songs of the American People (1975; we didn't need two copies on the shelf.)

~1900-1919 The Dawn of the 20th Century (1973; hadn't circulated in five years. Ahchoo!)

~Conversation with the Blues (1965; includes illustrations by the author)

Want any of these? Be sure to stop by our booksale next month.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Turning 30

First, next Friday I turn thirty. Second, Miami, Ink is becoming one of my favorite TV shows. (I swear these two topics relate; let me explain.)

A milestone birthday, for sure. When I turned 21 and hit Laclede's Landing with my older sister, I never would've imagined that I'd become a librarian. At 25, newly minted MLS and working for a corporate library, 30 seemed so distant. Well, now it's smacked me upside the head and I'm thinking about ways to mark this birthday. The nose piercings that I've always envied on other women? Nah, I'm too Ann Taylor Prep to pull that off. A permanent mark on back or hip, perhaps? There's where the Miami, Ink comes in.

I mentioned the show to one of the other reference librarians, and we laughed about what we might get etched into our bodies. Of course we thought we'd get our own special Dewey Decimal numbers, hers being 808 and mine, 025 or 027. We'd probably look like prison escapees to those outside the library world, but can you imagine the reaction we'd get if we flashed them at ALA?

So help me out, here. Tell me your suggestions for library- or literary- related tattoos. I may not always be a librarian, but it would mark a certain time in my life that I will always value.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Giant Steps and... Nevermind?

Librarian of Congress James Billington announced that Nirvana's Nevermind is one of the nation's most "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" sound recordings. The 1991 album has been added to a list of 150 others in the National Recording Registry. Incidentally it also includes John Coltrane's Giant Steps and the John Williams soundtrack to Star Wars. The Library of Congress "buttoned down"? No way!