A couple of weeks ago a really interesting question came up: “how many books do you catalogue in a day?” It’s one I’ve been asked before, mainly by fundraisers who were trying to calculate how much they could claim I could achieve. This time it was another librarian asking – Katie Flanagan and I was really interested to hear the results.
Personally, in the past I guessed, and was always too ambitious…. I’m an optimistic person! Since then, I’ve avoided putting a number on it, saying “well, it depends how many enquiries I have that day” or “well it depends how difficult the book is” or “it depends if they’re all in English” or “it depends how much help the volunteers need that day…” I tried timing how long it takes me to do a book (10-15 minutes) instead, but then multiplying up tends to forget about all the interruptions in a working day.
I was quite pleased that most other libraries weren’t setting targets (whew!) and interested to discover that the average response was fifteen books a day. For me, that felt ambitious, but I was interested to see how I “measured up” so this week, I’m counting! Monday went well – 16 books (but it did snow so the number of walk-in visitors interrupting was lower). Tuesday, only 10 sadly, despite the continued snow. Today, well, so far nil so I don’t think the next three hours are going to make a big dint in the To Do pile, but we’ll see.
The even scarier thought is, if I can only do fifteen books a day (on a good day), how long is it going to take me to finish the library? And that’s just the books. Not the journals, or the maps or the uncatalogued archives….
Let the cataloguing race commence!