Sunday, 29 January 2012

Library day in the life of ... day 2

9.15 Re-shelving
And the trollies have multiplied to 4 ...

10 Coffee
Today's topics: Venice, holidays, Belgian food. Just the things for a grey January morning ...

10.30 Planning future projects
Our current Tower project ends in December this year, and it's time to think about what we should be doing next. Although 2013 seems a long way off, the University financial year starts in August, which means that I need to work out costs of several possible projects so that decisions can be made about expenditure for August onwards. There are still three or four huge card catalogues in need of conversion, but the university and the wider world are struggling with a lack of money. This isn't the financial climate for an expensive top quality project. We're starting to think about other approaches, possibly scanning some of the catalogue cards.

11.30 Talk to cataloguers about books they catalogued yesterday.

12.45-2 Rare Books reading room
What's being read from the tower collections today?

Guide to Leeds, Wortley and Holbeck including suburbs. (1878)

Cassell's household guide : being a complete encyclopædia of domestic and social economy, and forming a guide to every department of practical life. (1883) Which includes this rather nifty picture of 19th century aerobics:

On duty under a tropical sun : being some practical suggestions for the maintenance of health and bodily comfort and the treatment of simple diseases ; with remarks on clothing and equipment for the guidance of travellers in tropical countries / by Major S. Leigh Hunt.

2pm Lunch

3pm Training session
for two new cataloguers who started work just three weeks ago. Today we're looking at how to catalogue adaptations of earlier works. Our tower collection includes hundreds of classics adapted for children to read in school. The cataloguing rules are clear enough (see Anglo American Cataloguing Rules 21.10) Give a catalogue access point for the adapter, and one for the original author. But the original author isn't always stated - how many of these could you identify?

Tales from Troy / adapted from the Aeneid.

The little mermaid and The brave tin soldier: adapted texts for ages 6-9

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight / retold in modern prose.

Quentin Durward (adapted)

Different cataloguers play to different strengths - some are voracious readers and have read many of the works in question, others create networks of colleagues to help out (or even Twitter) but most of us are graduates who have had a lot of training and practice in finding information and assessing it.


Trip up the tower to plan work for the next few weeks. The tower has a great atmosphere - a chilly silence and the sort of smell you used to get in second hand bookshops - but it's a horribly impractical place to store books and indeed to work. We catalogue a thousand books each week and every book has to be carried downstairs from the upper floors of the tower to the lift on floor 15. So book-moving, cataloguing, training, and returning the books to the tower all have to be carefully planned. There's a picture of the inside of the tower here on the Library's Flickr stream.. There's a great view of Cambridge though, plus the chance to check the state of traffic on the M11 before heading home.

No comments:

Post a Comment