10 January 2007

Organizational Behavior

No, this has absolutely nothing to do with studying for an MBA ...

We had the day off from work today. There were repairs being done on the building, and they would have to turn off the water for the whole day, so we were told not to come in. (Which was an improvement over yesterday, when the water was "off and on" all day. Did you ever try to predict a bathroom break??)

So anyway, I decided that since it was a "free" day, I'd work on some things that I would otherwise only be able to do in the evenings or on a weekend, thereby freeing up that time. I had what I thought was a list based on realistic expectations. The morning would be spent going to the gym, doing some laundry, baking a coffee cake, and putting some Christmas stuff away. This worked pretty well, and by lunchtime I was just anxious to get out of the house for a while, so I walked up to Barnes & Noble to say hi to Tim, and he was nice enough to buy me a coffee at the cafe. I figured that coffee would keep me going, since my afternoon's plan was to organize my knitting books and stash, as part of the fixing up of a room on the third floor.

I spent the afternoon organizing my knitting books, but never made it to the stash before I just plain pooped out. Wow, do I have a lot of knitting books! And still, there are others that I would love to have ... but I digress.

In my work existence, I am a librarian. Not just any old kind of librarian either. Though I now spend the bulk of my time in this job working on Reference types of stuff, I am at heart and to some degree in practice, a cataloger. What? A cataloger? One of those uber mousy types who can't even say a sentence to a member of the general public, who spends hours determining whether a period or a semicolon is the correct punctuation, who is obsessed with the Dewey Decimal System??? Yep, that's me, except for the Dewey Decimal part, as I've always worked places that used Library of Congress classification. (Any requests for posts about different classification systems????)

Anyway, in cataloging, you spend time determining not only the size and number of pages, or the format (book? periodical? realia?) of any given item, but what it is about, and how to classify it so that it will sit on the shelf with others of its ilk. I can do this at work without even really thinking about anything other than what I need to think about to create a record that a patron can use to find the book on the shelf.

I could follow this path at home. But today, reorganizing my knitting books, I realized that I was more than willing to ignore everything else about a book - what was important was the size. I could not bear the thought of two books by the same author, or about the same technique, sitting next to each other on the shelf, if they were not the same size! (OK, I admit this is why I never made it to organizing my stash ...) I absolutely HAD to place things on the shelves of my small knitting bookcase, based on height. And not just general height - if one was a mere smidge taller than another, they got reversed. Really, I couldn't leave them alone until they were shelved on each shelf according to size.

Well, they are organized. I'm tired. And the stash is still just hanging out, pushed into a corner, until I can get to it.

The little knitting bookcase though, looks very nearly perfect.

Hello everyone, my name is Bridget and I'm an organizational freak.


Carol said...

Hello, Freak.

My question is this: how cheap is Barnes & Noble that Tim can't give you a coffee for free?

teabird said...

Hello, fellow freak cataloger. I'm exactly the same way - I can spend an hour doing original cataloging, but let a patron ask me a question and I blank. Maybe I'll do a cataloging post one of these days, too - I've been collecting bizarre LC headings.

the wicked witch of the east said...

is this just your loooong winded way of saying that you're old and crazy, but you're motivated?? and who knew you'd put out for a simple cup of coffee...

Michelle Martino said...

Bridget, birds of a feather.... I share your pain and passion! BTW... visited Philly last year but LYS were closed can't wait to visit again and stop by Rosie's! ;)
Happy Day!

Carol said...

Hello Bridget!

Anonymous said...

Wait a second -- did you just say that your stash fits in a corner? Wow, you are a freak

Anonymous said...

Hey Bridget, one of my good friends is the head librarian in a medium sized MidWest city, or a rather good sized city in South Dakota. Then again, perhaps SD is not considered MidWest to folks in PA.

My knitting books are organized according to height, from the left and right side of the book shelves they are order tallest to shortest so the shortest all meet in the middle. Allows me to stash yarn on top of the shorter books :)