Saturday, June 5, 2010

Interesting books II

Cataloging books in a library can be like browsing in a bookstore. Of course, the difference is that catalogers supposedly look through the contents of a book to determine its nature, including its physical dimensions, publishing information and possible subject headings, not for the enjoyment or curiosity that one might experience in a store. Otherwise, we would find ourselves processing the incoming books at a much slower rate.

But it can be a pleasure of the job, if nothing else, to see the diversity of books that come through a library. Among recent examples of books I catalogued was one published in 1946 by an electrical company on the new modern house based on electricty -- dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, lamps, radios (no television yet), etc. It was filled with drawings of the ideal family living in the ideal home, actually quite well done, even if it might be considered camp by today's standards. Another book, and we get many of these, was a book of architecture and the home, filled with beautiful photos of homes I could buy only if I won the lottery. Some books are on arcane subjects intended for our specialty branch libraries, such as brand advertising (for Business library). We also get many foreign language books, novels, histories, etc. Some of our books also have accompanying materials, such as CD-ROms or DVDS.

Anyway, one has to find something interesting and even enjoyable to peruse in the books to be cataloged, even if just for a fleeting moment. Otherwise the work would be too monotonous.