Wednesday, May 4, 2011

EXCESSIVE LABELING BUMS ME OUT

Is there really a need for this?:
"OVER SIZE" labels.  Lots of 'em.
          In the library I work in, a previous Librarian had invested in these redundant labels for the larger coffee table type books in our collection.  The kind of books that you glance at and immediately think, "Damn, that's a big book!"
          I mentioned it to the current Librarian, pointing out the "OVER SIZE" label on an obviously gigantic book and saying, "No shit."
          She explained that one of her predecessors used to keep all the oversized books in a special "OVER SIZE" section.  I guess in case a student came up to the desk and said, "Can you please help me? I would like to check out the most unwieldy book you have," and then you could just point them to the OVER SIZE section.
          I'm trying to understand this, because it must not be as stupid as it seems. The labels must have seemed necessary so that student library aides would know to shelve them in the "OVER SIZE" section, right? Because without that label, they'd never be able to figure out which books are really big?
          This pisses me off because when the books are lined up on the shelves, the only way they have of catching a potential reader's attention is by their spines. If you clutter the spines with all sorts of stupid labels, it is UNATTRACTIVE. 
          We recently received some donated books from a defunct library in our district, and they were practically obliterated with labels. First there were the necessary barcodes and call #s, but these poor books also had color-coded reading level stickers, reading program labels, and/or genre labels. In some cases you honestly could not read the TITLE of the book on the spine, because it was covered in labels. No one would choose that from a shelf.
          I peeled every unnecessary label from those books, sometimes having to coat the offending labels in Windex or rubbing alcohol until they would release their hold. In some cases I even removed the necessary spine label so I could re-position it so it didn't cover the title. I also re-positioned a bunch of the barcodes on the back, so they weren't obscuring the plot synopsis, which is ALSO important to potential readers.
          STOPPIT WITH THE LABELS, people!

1 comment:

  1. You and I have been doing the same thing, as we have also received lots of books from the same defunct library. As I sat at my desk waiting my turn to sneak into Alliance Plus....I said, "Dear God, could they have put any more tape on these books? Do we really need A/R stickers?" I broke two fingernails peeling and picking the tape off. There's nothing that pisses off a Hot Library Tech more than to break a nail...unless it's losing one's boss....

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