A Glimpse Into the Workroom

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

You’ve probably met our hardworking Library Pages on one of your visits to the Library. Perhaps you remember your first time here, and the guided tour that a Page provided. If you frequent the Hornblower, Whitridge, and Members rooms, you’ve seen them taking a head count to track the busiest and slowest times in the Library. In addition to those tasks, Pages also prepare each new book by carefully applying labels indicating the call number of each volume, a custom-fit Mylar cover to protect the dust jacket, and the pocket that holds each due date card. In fact, they stamp the due date on each card too, so you know when to return it. They are also the staff you are most likely to meet in the Stacks, as they shelve books or retrieve them for members.

One of the fun things about shelving books is finding all kinds of ephemera between the pages. Whenever possible we make sure to reunite people with their forgotten items – but sometimes what we come across has been left in the book for who knows how many years, lacks any identifying information, and is now untraceable. In that case, it often winds up on the section of our workroom wall that I lovingly refer to as “The Page Museum.” These humble but telling objects hang between shelves, amidst prosaic Library supplies and procedural notes.

Workroom Wall

Workroom Wall

The Page Museum is more than a random assortment: it reflects

-our location: a Met Museum and a Corner bookstore bookmark

-gaming fads: Pokémon and Magic: the Gathering cards

-and the Library’s history: A New Books List from March 1959, an overdue notice from 1988, and a renewal letter from when our online catalog was a brand-new development.

Workroom Wall

Normally this wall can only be seen by staff in the Circulation Workroom—the first floor hive of activity where Circulation, Development, Events, our Head of Exhibitions, and our Communications Designer all work every day. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can get a glimpse of this unique collection of found things too.

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