Monday, August 15, 2016

In Which I Get Promoted and Learn a Dirty Secret


I started volunteering at the library and am enjoying the heck out of it. Maybe even a little too much.

I could probably spend my time sitting behind the desk, eagerly awaiting customers, but I can't help myself: I'm always looking for books to shelve, or sections that need organizing, or magazines that need culling and recycling.

My fellow volunteers are extremely nice people and big readers, as you might expect. One of them told me about her book group. They meet once a month, but they don't read each other's books. Instead, they each read what they want and then report on it - doesn't that sound divine?

I've also discovered that the lovely potted plants outside the library are maintained by the Friends of the Library group and especially by the few who are Master Gardeners. I had a long conversation about butterflies and host plants with one of them. We also discovered we have a mutual friend who lives over an hour north of here. What a small world!


This week we've had lots of donations, meaning lots of processing to do. We went through a whole cartload of books and pulled out the trade paperbacks for the book sale this weekend. We also checked the customer wish list to see if we had any special titles and added a passel of books in the Classics section (one of my favorites!). A few customers left with piles of hardbacks, and so the bookshelves had to be restocked from the back room.

Ah, the back room. That's where the better donations go to be processed fully. The shelves are well organized, but the rest of the room yesterday was a jumble of carts and boxes. Two people were working in there, but there wasn't room for anyone else. When restocking, we had to call from the doorway for a book from the part of the alphabet we needed, and it was handed out to us over the carts and boxes.

There's a scanner in there somewhere, which is used to determine if any donated books have a special value. If so, they are sold separately and there's a man who does that. (So far I have only met the recycling man and the security guards). Apparently sometimes we get dealers, too, who carry hand scanners and check prices right on the spot. This is all very exciting to me, because one of the reasons I volunteered there was to learn more about the used book business.

This week the bookstore manager asked me if I'd like to learn to work the scanner. Would I? You betcha! I'm eager to be one of the disembodied hands in the back room. 

I tried not to let my enthusiasm show in an unseemly manner, but I imagine it leaked through, because in the next moment she fixed me with a stern eye and told me to wear jeans for that, because often the books are dusty and moldy and the boxes are, too.

But still. Behind the scenes, getting a first look at possible treasures, in the back room! Wish granted.

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