Princeton Public Library
I owe you a post about my new job at the library! First of all, you should know that I absolutely adore it. Secondly, you should know that my job makes it very difficult not to come home with new books all the time.
I have a more behind the scenes job than my previous position at Smiley Memorial Library which I was initially disappointed with. However, I work in Access Services and am in charge of discard responsibilities. This means I do something that the library staff like to call “DnX-ing.” What this means is that when books are pulled off the shelves to be discarded, whether due to damages or low circulation, I delete and suppress their records on Sierra and on the inter-library systems. After that, the books are stacked into huge boxes on pallets and are donated to the Friends of the Library book sales and charity events. In other words, these books go directly back into the community.
The challenge of my job is not coming home with new books every day. I process books all the time that had key positions in my childhood and adolescence. Time Cat was the first novel I read to myself; I read it during Map Testing in Ms. Kenoke’s first grade class. Harold and the Purple Crayon was my favorite book as a child. I learned time with Mickey and Pluto go to Space and knew it so well that I tried to convince my mom and dad that I knew how to read. Unfortunately, holding the book upside down and backwards tipped them off to my scheme. Reading Harry Potter and Anne Rice novels was my first real rebellion. I fell deeply in love with the classics in middle school, because I dealt with my own issues by sorting through the responses of famous literary characters from the past and from far away places. Austen, Dickens, Orwell, Tolkien, and Lewis, just to name a few, have predominant places on my many bookshelves.
When books like these have low circulation numbers, it honestly breaks my heart. I feel the deep set desire to bring them back to my dorm and give them the loving home they deserve. Unfortunately, I do not have the space to do that with every book. I know that these texts will be circulated back into the community and some of them will even reach children who may otherwise not have access to books, and these are the only solace I can find. I have to constantly remind myself of these things, because otherwise I would despair at the lack of reading taking place in a community such as Princeton, NJ.
That’s a gross exaggeration of the situation. Lots of reading takes place and we service hundreds of patrons a week. They just don’t read the same things I read, I guess. It does help that most of what is discarded is either children’s literature or has been damaged. And fear not, the children’s literature collection is by no means shrinking. Packages come through our offices every day that are chalk full of books, often for children and young adults.
I love my job. I love that I get to be around books all the time. I moan a lot about the amount of reading I do here for classes, but I do love reading. I love the smell and texture of books. Books whose pages done align perfectly on the edge of the book are my favorites. There is not much that I think is more beautiful than books on shelves, of books in laps, and in windowsills. Books are food for the soul and my job is to help the library get them into the hands of the community. I love that!