Weird Books Stage Rebellion

We have a delay today because of freezing rain. I think at this point it’s mostly rain, but I’m not going to complain. Having no students around on this particular day of the week gives me an opportunity to work through the rest of my weekly checklist. I have recently revised my weekly checklist, so I thought I would share.

I know that some teachers on a fixed schedule fill in the blocks when they are not teaching with various administrative duties such as cataloging, shelving, etc. I can’t do that. My brain will just not function like that. But, because I don’t schedule such tasks on my weekly calendar, I often let some chores pile up a bit too long. Like my “weird books” box.

This box is just like it sounds. When I find a ‘weird book’ on the shelves, or returned, I dump it in the box. Books with ripped pages, missing barcodes, call numbers that don’t match the record, discards, and loose bindings. I sometimes label the issue with a post-it, and sometimes I don’t. The box got VERY full this month. I think the books in it were about to pick up weapons and mount a charge on their lax librarian.

I realized that without a scheduled time to work on tasks that I put off because they are mentally daunting, but don’t really take much time, I was never going to get to the Weird Books. Don’t you love tasks like that? Short tasks that take more mental than physical effort.

So I revised my planning book (if you can call it that), to include a section with a weekly checklist. I identified a few tasks I need to do each week and spread them out over four days.

On Friday I teach more classes than on other days of the week, so “shut down computer lab” is my only weekly task.

Seeing this list of tasks simplified for the week has made them less mentally challenging. I know that discarding books will take 5-10 minutes if I do it each week. If I spend just 10 minutes updating something in the catalog I can get a lot done over time. I’ve had this checklist for 3 weeks and so far it’s going well. There will be jobs I skip and a few that get added, but it’s nice knowing that the Weird Books won’t take over the library any time soon.

February 4, 2011
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