Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Just a Cataloger

My first week back at work went really well.

I had only one meeting that ended up being only about 20 minutes, probably because it was a meeting I was in charge of and I had nothing to to talk about. Two people in my unit were also out last week so there were only three of us in the meeting.

I also made a couple decisions on some big projects and got quick agreement from others involved. I think the decisions came from a fresh perspective after being away for 6 months. I didn't have any of the every day stuff weighing on my mind and could more clearly see the problem and how to best tackle it. It felt good too. I need to do that more often with big decisions.

I also just did a lot of cataloging and not much else. My job is divided up into several components: x% for this, y% for that, z% for this other thing and so on. My percentages include things like professional development, research, administration, and primary assignment. [That's four, there should be five, but I can't think of the fifth right now.] My primary assignment is as a cataloger and my percentage is somewhere around 60% of my time. It's pretty high, but in reality I probably spend less than that on actual cataloging tasks. That percentage is more of an ideal than a reality. Sadly.

So yeah ... why do we have a backlog? Um, yeah.

Anyway, I spent the majority of my time during my first week back just cataloging. It felt good to be just a cataloger. That is the work I like. No meetings, no timesheets, no statistics, no reports to write, and no training, teaching, or reviewing other's work; just cataloging.

It was the best way to get back into the swing of things. Already on Monday of week two I spent my entire morning in a meeting, gathering timesheets, and tracking down statistics sheets. I only spent my last hour and a half, maybe two hours, doing any cataloging.

But I'm glad my first week was the way it was. And it is a good reminder of why I really do like my job. Even if I spend a lot of time doing other things. I like those times when I am just a cataloger.

Image source morgueFile


  1. I will look like an ignoramus here, but what do you do as a cataloger? Do you physically put the material in the file drawer? or figure out in what order it should go?

    1. Not a silly question at all. Actually my work is all computer based, we don't use card catalogs any longer (well, some libraries may still, but most have moved away from cards). When new materials come into the library I am one of the people that creates records for them that live in our local computer system. When you go into a library or pull up a library's website and search the computer for items (by author, title, subject, etc.) the records you pull up were all put in there by a cataloger. So the work I do (describing an item's physical appearance, assigning subject headings and call numbers, and much more) allows you and other patrons to actually find things in the computer catalog. Without us the library would just be a mess of books with no order to them. :)

    2. As for order, yes, when I assign a call number to a book, I am essentially assigning its location on the shelf. So I'm figuring out the order of things. My main focus is music materials, so I spend a lot of time assigning call numbers (the order) to tons of piano sonatas by various composers and violin concertos by a multitude of composers and lots and lots of works titled "Symphony no.1" by an army of composers, and on and on. It can be challenging!

    3. Thank you, that explains a lot.

    4. Glad I could help! :)