Library lesson number One

The parts of a 10-digit ISBN and the correspon...

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So, this afternoon I have been out of the office an in another, learning how to be the lovely Toni-Ann. And how to order books, invoice books and process books.

A surprisingly complicated process! Apparently I assume a lot from the system that we use because I was amazed at how much re-entering of information had to go on. Am I wrong in thinking things should be more intelligent, or at least more automatic?

Let me see if I’ve got this right:

Step 1: Open horrendous order sheet (constantly being updated by evermore cruel and demanding Information Consultants). Look at new order requests.
Step 2: If the book is from a regular supplier, search for ISBN on supplier website. Check all the details (e.g. price, edition etc) are correct.
Step 3: Search library catalogue for ISBN also.
a) if we have the same edition etc in stock, choose this item to add new orders to.
b) if not, create mini-catalogue record from almost-helpful template.
Step 4: Input all the details from the order sheet e.g. Price, correct budget, loan type, quantity etc etc (Oh, and if we have a previous edition: include classmark for ease of future cataloguing)
Step 5: Hit go. Order gets sent to supplier.

Then, when the book arrives:

– tell system who the delivery is from, then type in all order numbers and mark as paid.
– then tell the system what each item is, so type in its order number, replace with a barcode, check that it has the right classmark and loan status etc
– any problems send to cataloguing – otherwise it should be good to go.

It’s almost as though I’ve made it sound easy here – but I think that’s because I am a true novice, indeed layman. I am still surprised that once you’ve typed in the order number or ISBN, the system can’t just do the rest itself – but then I guess how would it know if you didn’t tell it? All I know is, there’s a lot of typing in the same information in slightly different places, with the added pressure of assigning the right budget!

I’m glad I don’t have to do that – although I’m sure that if I got into it, it would be ok. So I’m learning that I like my position – and that library work seems to involve a lot of spreadsheets…

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One thought on “Library lesson number One

  1. A description of my life at the bookshop!! It’s not all nestling romantically amongst the shelves, is it? Computers are pretty helpless.

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