Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Case Study No. 0376: Staff of Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Behind the Scenes - Technical Services
What happens before a book, CD or other item makes it to the library shelves? Take a fun, tongue in cheek, behind the scenes look at our Technical Services department.
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Added: 5 years ago
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[scene opens with an exterior shot of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library]
NARRATOR: When you come into the library, what do you see and think of? The building?
[cut to a shot of a young woman reading a book inside]
NARRATOR: Sitting, and reading a good book?
[cut to the shelved DVD cases]
NARRATOR: The computers, videos, CDs, games that are available?
[cut to a male librarian helping a patron at the checkout desk]
NARRATOR: Checking those materials out, and taking them home?
[cut to the camera panning across the bookshelves]
NARRATOR: Today, we'll take you behind the scenes and see how all the materials get to you. Hundreds of new items, everyday! We'll give you an inside look into the ...
[cut to a shot of the bookmobile pulling into the library]
["TS - Technical Services" appears on screen, in a style similar to the "ER" television show logo, then two librarian AMTs place a box onto a bookcart and wheel it into the library, where a male librarian wearing a labcoat is putting on his glasses]
ELLIOTT: What've we got here?
AMT 1: Books, ready for you! Box is dilated nine centimeters, pressure's low. Think it's multiple ...
ELLIOTT: Get it to curtain two, stat! Doesn't look like we have much time here!
[the doctor begins following the AMTs as they wheel the bookcart away, when the unseen narrator interrupts him]
NARRATOR: Excuse me, Doctor. You're in charge of the TS ... Is it always like this around here?
ELLIOTT: Just call me Elliott! Nah, actually it's kinda quiet right now. It's like a virtual wasteland. The real action will start later. What you just saw was one of our AMTs bringing in a carton of books. Our collection grows by almost three hundred items daily!
[he points behind him]
ELLIOTT: This is where the AMTs hang out when they're not bringing in cartons of books ... It's the good part of the job. We see the beginning, and the end in TS.
[he looks off camera]
ELLIOTT: Smith! Get that book into the system!
NARRATOR: Elliott, you mentioned "AMT" before. What's "AMT"?
ELLIOTT: "Acquisitions Material Team" ... We call them Acquisitions for short. The AMTs take care of acquiring all the materials we bring into the library. They order it, keep tabs on the order, and check it in when it comes into the library. What you just saw was an emergency shipment.
NARRATOR: So, you're telling me that Acquisitions takes care of getting the information logged and that's what we see in the catalog when we look up a book?
ELLIOTT: No, Acquisitions orders them and tracks them until they get here. We have to keep track of every item in the library. When it got here, where it's at, but most importantly ... we have to have a complete record for each and every book.
[one of the AMTs returns carrying a stack of books]
AMT 2: Elliott, these are the ones from curtain two ... Five healthy new books!
ELLIOTT: Aren't they adorable? Moore, get their vitals right away, please!
[the AMT hands the books to an older female librarian wearing scrubs]
NARRATOR: Moore, is it? How do you fit into TS?
MOORE: I'm one of the many who records the vitals of the materials we have here. Think of us as "admitting" ... We call ourselves catalogers.
[she cradles the books carefully in her arms]
MOORE: We take a history. The usual ... title, author, publisher. But then we do more. We look at the charts from the Library of Congress, and we do a complete profile on our patient.
[she pats the books gently, then starts to walk away]
NARRATOR: I assume these catalog records are confidential ...
MOORE: Oh no, no. Everyone who uses the library here can find whatever they need when they need it. They can search our catalog when they're here, and they can use our website when they're not here. We take such detailed information so that someone can find an item even if they don't know the title or the author. Now, our user records, they're very confidential ... We don't handle those here.
NARRATOR: Now what happens to our babies?
MOORE: We get them ready to face the world ...
[she walks over and hands the books to another female librarian in scrubs]
MOORE: Jo, we have some new ones for you!
JO: Thank you!
NARRATOR: Hello ... Jo is it?
JO: Yes, at your service! I'm here to guide you through this area of TS ... Processing!
NARRATOR: What're we looking at here?
[she walks towards another female librarian sitting at a desk]
JO: This is Triage, this is where we sort out what needs to be done. Here we take our new items and get them ready for the world.
[she points towards another female librarian standing over a book cart]
JO: We also have our damaged items that need to be repaired ...
NARRATOR: What's with him?
[camera pans down to show a wooden log covered with a bandage]
JO: Oh, just a bump.
[she puts the books (several copies of Steven Saylor's "Roma") on the desk]
JO: Okay, let's see what we've got here! Guys, let's get a move-on, these aren't going anywhere by themselves! Smith, let's get these new guys ready! Patron reserves first, then rushes!
[a nearby female library intern nods her head]
JO: Let's get any ID on these guys before they get all mixed up! Special labels! Okay, wrap 'em up and protect them from the elements!
[a male library intern begins laminating the book covers]
NARRATOR: I didn't know so much went into getting an item ready!
JO: Oh man, you've only seen the new stuff! Wait'll you see what we have to do for our tougher stuff! These are just the interns, our attendants take care of the really rough stuff!
NARRATOR: Like what?
JO: This is where we handle the really tough cases ...
[they walk towards the book cart where two librarians are trying to paste pages back into an old book with a broken spine]
ATTENDANT 1: We've gotta get this book back into circulation!
[the other librarian wipes her brow]
JO: You wouldn't believe some of the things we see in here! The abuse that some items take!
[the librarian keeps trying to put the pages back in, while the other librarian takes a bottle of glue and tries squeezing it into the spine]
JO: This one's easy, only a scratch really. You wonder how someone could do that to an innocent ...
NARRATOR: Haven't people heard of photocopiers or taking notes? I can't believe you can fix this!
JO: Sometimes we can. Sometimes it's harder ...
[she moves over towards the male intern]
JO: What've we got over here?
[he holds up a book with a loose spine]
INTERN: Broken spine, I need a bindery consult on this ...
JO: Oh, sometimes we have to send things away to a specialist, but I think the bindery can save this one ...
NARRATOR: Cameraman! Over here, now!
[they move back to the bookcart, where the two attendants are frantically trying to tape up the book]
ATTENDANT 1: We're losing him! We're losing him! We gotta get it back in circulation, come on!
ATTENDANT 2: Darnit, Jim! I'm a mender, not a miracle worker!
[he slams his tape dispenser down]
ATTENDANT 1: Call it ...
[she removes her rubber gloves]
ATTENDANT 2: [quietly] Eleven fifty-five, time of discard ...
[the male attendant throws his hands up, then begins walking away]
[cut to the male attendant addressing someone off camera]
ATTENDANT 1: We did everything in our power ... but we were unable to save him.
[he hangs his head, then the camera pans over to show an empty space on the bookshelf]
[cut to Elliott with a sad look on his face]
ELLIOTT: As I said before, we see the beginning ... and the end in TS.
NARRATOR: And so you have it. A day in the life ... of TS.

No real library books were harmed in the making of this video.

Go to www dot ahml dot info to access services or links mentioned in this vlog.
Copyright 2007 Arlington Heights Memorial Library

Funding for this grant was awarded by the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Division of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).


From ahml.info:

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