Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Volunteering at the Library!

Earlier this year, our campus had hardcore budget cuts.

Which meant the library had major budget cuts, too.

Some things changed. The entire department on the other side of mine was outsourced to save money. (It was weird, because it was kind of like how in The Office that one guy was fired, but nobody really knew what he did or that he was in the show. Same idea. We all heard that they were losing their jobs and we were like... "uh...what do they do?" "I'm not really sure..." We didn't even know who they were, except that there was one lady who had a little rubber statue-toy-thing of a monk on a cellphone that always made us smile when we would walk past.)

Also, our schedules changed. Instead of firing people, we took reduced schedules for a month or so, until another guy got a job that actually had something to do with his major.

And another thing was, before, when there were books that were falling apart or torn, or having big problems, we would always send them to Preservations. After budget cuts, I would tell my like, supervisor (kind of?) about books with problems and she would say "hmmmm. I don't really know that Preservations will be able to do anything about it now..." "Well, before I would have taken it to Preservations, but after the budget cuts, he may just leave it..."

I felt bad for the poor, broken books.

I thought of my grandma, and my mom, and how they've taken torn hymnals home from church and fixed their bindings and brought them back. The church sells a hymnal repair kit, even.

I pictured a dark room in the library with a desk that had tall stacks of books on both sides, waiting to have their bindings fixed. Maybe before budget cuts someone else had worked there too, but after budget cuts, there just were not enough work hours to fix all of the books that needed help.

I thought about it a bunch and decided that I would be willing to volunteer so that more could be done. I could just spend a few hours on, like, Friday afternoons and tape up the bindings. Or, you know, whatever. It would be nice to know how to do that, anyway.

I always thought it would be nice to be able to take a bookbinding class, but those classes are always like 4 hours long and never fit into my schedule of classes that I actually need. Too bad.

So I told my boss I was interested in doing that. And she went off and talked to the guy who is in charge of the Preservations stuff, and told me I would not be binding books right away--he would train me just like a new part-time person. She said she would show me after I was done working.

So after work she took me over to Preservations and the guy in charge gave me a tour. It wasn't a dark room with a desk and stacks of books---it looks like a laboratory or art room! He showed me the different things that they do, and told me I would be doing fancy, exciting sewing on books because they just do standard, practical stuff. He said sometimes people come and want to volunteer and they have delusions of grandeur because they think they'll come right in and start doing fancy stuff. But you start with things like dust jackets.

And, well, I don't know anything about fancy sewing on bindings, so that didn't bother me at all. He asked if I was still interested, and I said that I was, and I told him I would come in for an hour every morning. He said he wouldn't be able to teach me much in an hour. So I agreed to come in for 2 hours. He starts work at 8:30, and I start work at 10:30, so now every morning I volunteer at Preservations from 8:30 to 10:30 am.

So far I have learned how to put plastic dust cover jacket things on, and I've done a bunch of those, and then I have also learned to sew pamphlets into protective cover things. (See my second photo-- doesn't it look like book acupuncture??) Today I learned how to remove stickers/tape from books with a heat tool and fancy eraser.

Also, today I was added to the who's-here white board (my name is on a magnet!) and I got a name plate thing at my work area. I share a workspace with a guy who [allegedly] volunteers on Thursday afternoons.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that for now.


erin said...



You rock, you know that?

Becky said...

Wow I am impressed. I always think about volunteering and I never seem to get around to it. It seems like whenever I read your blog you are doing something community oriented. Thanks for inspiring me!!!

Omgirl said...

THANKS for stopping by my blog. and
THANKS for sending me a text! That was awesome. and if I hadn't left my phone on the porch under a towel for 3 hours, I would have gotten it within a reasonable time frame and replied. and
THANKS for blogging about book binding cause I've always wanted to know how to fix my broken books. i'm sure you'll tell more about it when you know all the tricks. (please!)

Autolycus said...

That was definitely Office Space and not The Office, but cool story! I bet your coworkers are awesome! :D

Emily said...

Actually it happened in The Office, too. In the Halloween episode, like...season...two? One or two.