s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: Things I get to do, 9b

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Things I get to do, 9b

I wanted to explain how #9 on my list actually works, because it’s kind of cool.

In my supervisor’s desk, there is a special orange card. There are about four of these cards in existence and their purpose is to identify us (as catalogers) to the staff at whatever library we visit. (The U of I library system is huge, with over 40 departmental libraries, so we don’t all know each other by sight.) If we need to pull a book from the stacks, we take the orange card and go to whatever library to find the book we need. (If it’s in the main library stacks, we also have to show student ID to get in because that library has closed stacks.) And then we go up to the circulation desk, flash the orange card, and say something like “Excuse me, ma’am, I’m from 220, and I’m going to have to take this book with me. Little problem with the ISBN. I’m sure you understand.” And then they go ahead and demagnetize* the book for you and you walk out with it.

Unfortunately, this scenario doesn’t always play out quite that way in real life, since the person manning the circ. desk is often an hourly student worker who’s never seen an orange card before and doesn’t know what to do. (“No! It’s the orange card. You just let me take the book and walk out. This was a lot cooler in my head!”)

At any rate, I haven’t had the chance to use the venerated orange card more than a couple of times since I started working in the cataloging department. Including that time that I accidentally deleted all record of a book’s existence from the online catalog. That was sort of bad. (Not entirely my fault, but still not the end result we were going for.)

*Strictly speaking, they magnetize it when it goes out and they demagnetize it when it comes back in. Most people, even those who work in library security or circulation, have it backwards.


At April 29, 2007 10:05 PM, Blogger Th. said...


It seems the real way would be easier to fake. What's to stop me from magnetizing it myself? But I don't know how I could demagnetize it myself.


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