Time Lapse: 52 thousand books reshelved at NYC Public Library

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/10/18/time-lapse-52-thousand-books.html


Those librarians know their stuff!

I remember many years ago a friend who worked at the local university library told me a story. The new library director decided that they should be more businesslike and hire professional movers (lowest bidders, of course) to move the books from their current location to a new shelving units, rather than pay grad students a rather high wage to do this work. It would save money!

So they hired the movers, and the movers moved all the books to their new shelves. The only trouble was, they were furniture movers, not grad students, so all the books ended up on random shelves next to other random books. The grad students had been carefully moving them in exactly the correct order, according to the LC call numbers on the spines. The movers had no idea what LC was.

Guess who got hired to fix the mess, taking about ten times the hours that the move would have taken if done by them in the first place?


If it were me, I would have still hired the movers, but I would have 2-4 grad students as the hands-on logistical coordinators for the move.

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All hail the student helpers/pages, who get paid the least of most library employees (they’re lucky if they make minimum wage, sometimes) but are in charge of putting everything away where it can be found again.


Unsung Heroes Battling Chaos.

(why, yes, I paged for a year. Still the best job title.)

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