Feral Librarian

I work in a library but I am not a librarian. In order to be a librarian you need a Masters in Library Science (MLS), which I do not have. I am what you’d call a feral librarian. Feral Librarian simply means someone who works in a library but doesn’t have a MLS. We have 6 full time staff only 3 of which have a masters. Our Director, Cataloger and Reference Librarians all have their MLS hence the title of Librarian. The rest of us are lowly Library Assistants. This includes the Public Services folks as well as the Technical Services folks. And by Technical Services Folks I mean me. My actual title is Acquisitions Assistant but I fall under the technical services umbrella. I order all the books and office supplies for the library. I stay busy. We go through a lot of paper clips, removable tape and surprisingly… staplers.

Every book added to our collection, unless it is donated, first has to go across my desk. This is both a blessing and a curse. I am the first one to see all the amazing books before they are ready for the studious engaged minds of our patrons which means I instantly want to read ALL of them. And I know what you’re all thinking. I’ve heard it a million times. “I’d love to work in the library! You guys get to read all those lovely books all day!” WRONG! We don’t have time to read them because we busy processing them cataloging them and making sure they go where they are supposed to. And what are we doing when we are not processing new books? Ordering new books of course!

This is not as easy as it sounds because being an academic library we have to be able to justify all of our book purchases. We must be able to answer questions like “Is this a valid source?” or “Is this information up to date?” Most of the time I rely on our Reference Librarian/ Collection development specialist to tell me what to order but she gets tied up with reference consultations and instructional classes so I end up having to use some super-secret library resources to help me narrow down the search results and then create a list of books to order.

These lists have to be checked against the catalog to make sure we don’t already own a copy. Once I’m happy with the list and it makes it through the approval process then books are ordered and the whole process starts all over again.

This is just some of what I do to fill my day. Being “Technical Services” also undoubtedly brings with it the occasional request from co-workers to fix a printer or unjam a copier but these interruptions are few and far between these days. I sometimes have to give the short Word or Excel tutorial. I always thought of myself as the Dr. House of the library.

A few times a year we also have to withdraw outdated or damaged material to make room for all these new books. I don’t have anything to do with these Weeding projects as they are called. I refer to the library as a living breathing organism because in order to stay alive we have to bring in new material and get rid of some of the old stuff.

I don’t write all of this to try to make it seem like I have it rough. I do not. Most of my days are spent looking at a computer screen where I create and evaluate lists, so it’s a far cry from splitting wood or working on cars for a living.

As for me being a “feral librarian” the only real difference is in the pay and advancement opportunities, there really are none for me where I am now and I’m ok with that at this point in my life. There are some things I need to take care of by the end of the year then who knows I may go back to school to get my MLS. Stranger things have happened.


PS: I know I keep saying books. We also have books on CD, a small dvd collection as well as an archives room and Baptist collection. As well as a growing graphic novel section!


Fifteen Minutes to Midnight

I decided after one day to stop with #BeardWatch2015 mostly because watching hair grow is a lot like watching paint dry, it’s kind of boring. I’m sorry if that is a disappointment to all you beard enthusiast out there but I will say that it is coming along nicely. It is currently in the 60 grit sand paper range. Full beard hopefully by the end of next week.

In other news, I sold another one of my photographs! Woohoo! I have various photos on sale at the arts council building in my home town of Windsor, North Carolina. I received word today that my last one there has sold meaning that I now need to take them some more prints. I think I’ll go with some of my newer photos this time. The one that sold is one that I took in the spring of 2009.  I’ve gone on a few photography outings in the past months and have come up with some halfway decent photos.

I’ll make prints of 2 that I took over the summer and one that I took last month and get that to the arts council in time for their reopening sale in February. I think I’ll try to use Shutterfly to do my prints this time. I’ve been using the local CVS store with mixed results. I’ve never had problems with the quality of the prints it’s just that photography is not their business. Waiting in line for 20 minutes behind people buying meds to battle their varying levels of cold to get my prints can get old fast. Plus, the last print I made took them over a week to get to me because the developer was broken.

I’m also about 20 pages away from finishing Terry Brooks’ “Running with the Demon” (I took a break to let my brain rest and decided to write a quick post) but I think I like it. We’ll see how it ends.

All told this has been a pretty good day. Except for that 3 hour nap I took after dinner :/. Oh well, can’t win em all! Back to my reading

Heres a copy of the photo that sold:

Winding RodeIts called Long and Winding Road