Library observation

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 6:17am
ABreitner's picture
Joined: 07/02/2002 - 09:00

pI work for a library automation software company. My job is to teach librarians how to use the software once it is in place. Most of the customers are school librarians and I spend an entire day with them./p
pOne of the most time consuming steps in the processes of automation is to put the correct barcode label on the correct book in the correct location. Not rocket science but you do need it done correctly. Often schools recruit parent volunteers to help with the long dull process./p
pYesterday I was conducting the training session with the staff while there were a group of volunteers barcoding the books. While they were touching each and every one of the the 13,000 books in this elementary school library, these helpers were munching on peanut butter crackers. I did ask the librarian if they had any kids in the school with peanut allergies and she said not that she knew of. I said I sure hope they never have one because there would be no way I would allow my son in that room. I said it all in a casual tone with a smile on my face and after a while the librarian did tell the volunteers that it would be best if they did not eat while touching the books./p
pThe whole thing made my skin crawl!/p

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 7:10am
EmilysMom's picture
Joined: 09/03/2002 - 09:00

I am sure the librarian didn't know. My Mom is the librarian at the school my daughter will attend next year. I didn't think about the books in the library myself until I read your post. I will mention this to my Mom tonight.
Think about it this way... The librarian you met is one more person that you taught about this terrible allergy.
We just have to take it a day at a time. One person at a time. They will learn.
P.S. I would be willing to bet that my Mom has your software in her library.

Posted on: Tue, 09/10/2002 - 9:12am
ABreitner's picture
Joined: 07/02/2002 - 09:00

The company I work for is the largest company doing library automation and I have done more trainings then any other trainer so it is even possible I have met your mom [img][/img]
Having worked with this company for 10 years, knowing they have about 45,000 libraries that have gone through this process, it made me think about all the times I have heard about all the volunteer hours spent putting barcodes on books.
My point would be that even in areas of schools that would would think of as "safe" there are hidden risks. You tend to think of libraries as food free zones. An allergist once told me that libraries are huge allergy risk zones because the books are taken into so many environments, there are dust, mold, animal dander, food particle, and pollens to worry about.
I can't wear contact lenses, I have to wear glasses because of all the stuff in the air which has been stirred up because they have been moving all the books to put barcodes on.
Just things to be aware of.

Posted on: Fri, 07/25/2003 - 2:41am
Elisabeth's picture
Joined: 07/11/2003 - 09:00

This thread really "speaks to me" because I work in a library (the State Library of Pennsylvania) and I spend a good part of the day handling books and magazines. In fact, my job involves putting barcode labels on items before the patrons can get at them. A number of my co-workers have allergies, so we tend to be concerned about dust and mold. (The fact that our building is about 75 years old doesn't help us much!) We are pretty strict about preventing patrons from bringing food into the reading rooms. The building does have vending machines, but we make it mightly inconvenient for patrons to find a place in the building where they can eat their loot.

Posted on: Mon, 07/28/2003 - 7:03pm
kajc's picture
Joined: 06/09/2002 - 09:00

I work in a public library and one of my duties is to mend and clean books in our branch. I can't even begin to tell you some of the disgusting things I've found in books! I also take care of all of the large type books that get sent out to retirement homes, and I'm not quite sure which books are grosser, the food encrusted children's books or the um, yellow and brown ones from the retirement home. Okay, I do know which ones are grosser, unless all old people like to eat chocolate and drink lemonade as they read. Which I doubt, since toilet paper and serenity pad wrappers are often used as book marks!!
Have I ruined your next trip to the library yet??

Posted on: Mon, 07/28/2003 - 10:25pm
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by kajc:
[b]Have I ruined your next trip to the library yet??[/b]
No, as there won't be one... [img][/img]
Thanks for the info...

Posted on: Tue, 07/29/2003 - 2:41am
LaurensMom's picture
Joined: 05/23/2001 - 09:00

Good post. I don't think many people think of things like that. I know my DDs school went overboard in the cafeteria (her PN-free table was made to be closest in proximity to the nurses office...I won't complain about it as it was their idea but not sure the extra few feet would really matter. It is a small neighborhood school.) However, the cafeteria has always been my least concern. It is a place where people will always be on their toes because of the volume of food around. All she has to do is look the wrong way and she will be swarmed with teachers and medical personnel. The issue you bring up and ones similar are what concern me more. If she begins showing signs of a reaction, will someone think, "Can't be. We're in the library", thereby making the reaction more dangerous by not treating it.
You might consider a nicely worded follow-up letter to the librarian. YOu might point out that might not be dealing with it right now but what about Sept. The allergy is growing too rapidly and with the way people re-locate these days, it is likely they will have to deal with it in the not to distanct future.


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