We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Wasting times in asking riddles that have no answers

Encyclopedias are a pain in the arse this time of year:
  • Every year T.Aldous asks me for an age profile of the encyclopedias in stock at each library with a view to buying one or two more to replace old ones.
  • This invariably segues into an inquest as to why some libraries have got twelve-year-old editions of encyclopedias on their shelves, like I have any control over stock-editing.
  • Independently of T.Aldous, Mary and Milton, who should be ordering new enecyclopedias if anybody is, order a handful for selected libraries.
  • A humongous number of boxes arrive in the Acq. team's space and turn out to be a couple of encyclopedias -- maximum physical volume and lugging about for minimal impact on performance figures.
  • We'll get months of moans from the usual suspects because there's "no room for all this new stock" because they've put the old reference encyclopedias into their lending collection because "people like to take out encyclopedias."
  • The encyclopedias that don't fall into this trap get embroiled in the latest book sale saga.

And so it goes.

Call me old-fashioned but, if you're dead set on buying hardcopy encyclopedias; and you know that you're not going to spend all your book-buying budget again (because you haven't in the past eight years); and you know that most of your libraries have got old editions; and the end of year is always busy and summer is always quiet for stock additions; why not buy every library in the borough a fresh set of encyclopedias in midsummer?


Anonymous said...

WTF - hardcopy encyclopedias?!?

get back in the ark!

Kevin Musgrove said...

We need something to put on the shelves behind the reference desk out of the way of customers.

Webrarian said...

I'm catching up, and working backwards towards Christmas...

What are (he asked in more moderate tones) 'hard copy encyclopedias'? Might these be BOOKS?

You desperately need to get your lot moving into the 21st century, Kev (OK - I know you try constantly). If you pay all your online subs at the end of March you can get shot of thousands of pounds and have nothing to unpack at all.

This year we had a slight jolt when it turned out we were £10,000 nearer to being spent up than we'd feared we might be, but it all went fine in the end. And the only stuff waiting to be unpacked (if you blinded yourself to all that free kids' stuff) was some assorted Foreign Fiction.

Quite how we ended up unpacking foreign fiction on the last day hasn't and won't become clear. Because it's a painful job if neither of the people doing it can speak a word of the languages they're working with.

All a dim and distant memory now we're going through the new trauma of Setting Up The Spoken Word Standing Orders.

Kevin Musgrove said...

That's the laugh: we've got the online subscriptions and the books! I'm so glad I don't pay my rates in Helminthdale.

Foreign fiction's great fun, especially if you get the Urdu books with the little labels in the back purporting to explain the nature of the book for English librarians. None of our customers could explain why the one about the secret agents fighting neo-nazi insurgants (with a picture of Hitler on the cover) was labelled "romantic fiction."