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I Really Love Shelving Books

March 3, 2012
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I got to shelve books at a real live NYPL branch today!

I signed up to volunteer there through New York Cares. And this morning, I trooped off to an uptown branch, and they sent me up to the children’s floor, where my job was to move the collection of holiday picture books from this shelf, to that shelf. And then my job was to come downstairs and help straighten up shelves in the foreign language section. (Not that I could tell whether any of the Chinese language books were out of their order, but what can you do.)

I find it meditative. Definitely relaxing. A few hours of putting books on shelves, and I feel delightfully mellow, like I’ve had a spa foot rub with a side order of playful kittens. And satisfied with the way the world works.

Don’t know why I like shelving so much, but it’s also become one of the things I look forward to on internship days at the Poet’s House.

And last week was a bit stressfully clobbering on the grad school front: my first PowerPoint, and a presentation about same (I’m told nobody could tell how nervous I was. And the prof liked it.) And then my first paper for the other class- which wasn’t nearly as stressful, but did take a while.

So: shelving. I needed that. Apparently.

I am behind on book reviews (soooo behind) and I have reading to do (scholastic and review books) and papers to write, and a job to hunt for. And I need to get groceries.

But I got to shelve books. And I am at peace.

Not that the books and papers on my own shelves… and my own desk… at home sweet home… are perfectly shelved and diligently organized. For some reason,that’s not nearly so relaxing. Whoops.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Brent permalink
    March 8, 2012 9:53 pm

    I can imagine a certain zen that comes from shelving stuff. I would probably never be allowed to do that because I’d spend too much time discovering cool titles on the shelves and would never get anything done. That kind of serendipity is something we’ll lose with electronic books, by the way.

    You’re probably just in time to witness the last age of manual shelving even if we stick with paper books for a long time to come. Check out this article on the Mansuelo library at UChicago. An industrial bin storage/retrieval system pulls the books, which are not stored in any particular order; they’re just put in whatever bin is available at the moment and the system remembers which bin to retrieve later. The end of an era.

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