Being a Lorist

So fun fact about me, I work in Milne Library, more specifically down in the TERC section.  I do a bunch of different things, from reshelving to labeling new material. However, arguably, my most important duty is recording when books or toys get used.  Most people don’t realize this but when you use anything in the library whether it be a book, a game, or even a puppet you’re not supposed to put it back. Which sounds weird because everyone grows up hearing they always have to put away the things they use.  But when you do that in the library and especially down in the TERC section you make my life harder in many ways.

So here’s the thing, the library doesn’t have an infinite amount of space so when we get new material eventually we run out of space to put it and we can’t just expand the library so what do we do.  Well, the obvious thing to do is get rid of things that nobody really uses and that’s where my job comes in. Whenever someone uses a book or a toy they are supposed to put in on the cart at the end of the aisle or they put it on the shelf in an obvious way so I can go around and grab them in order to scan them into something called In-House Use.  What In-House Use does is keep a record of how many times a book or toy is used and when the last time they were used was. What this essentially determines is if a book or toy gets to stay when its time to get rid of things that aren’t being used in order to make room for those new items.

Another reason people aren’t supposed to put books back themselves is often times when they try to put a book back they push a different book back and it ends up hidden behind everything else.  When this happens books get forgotten and unused until someone, most likely me, finds them and puts it back properly on the self. Now, whenever I find a book hidden away I can’t help but remember that unused books have a high chance of being rid of.  So what I will do is take books that were pushed back and scan them for In-House Use.

I get that it completely defeats the purpose of In-House Use but hear me out.  I love storytelling. I love the idea that there is a story for everyone. If you can dream of it someone has probably written a children’s book out of it.  When I look at the collection of children’s books I get a sense of satisfaction knowing we have hundreds of stories all on one shelf that hundreds of children can enjoy.  The idea of getting rid of even one of these books hurts my soul. I hate the idea of someone coming in looking for a book and then not finding it and leaving disappointed.

The last time I did this is it got me thinking about the lorist in Jemisin’s books.  How they keep telling stories to not only entertain but also to preserve history. They hold on to all these stories and pass them onto the next generation to enjoy and understand.  And it made me think that in my own way I’m a lorist trying to preserve stories for the people to enjoy.

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