A Title by the Spine.

It’s not just ‘dumbing down’ or lack of knowledge which
sometimes causes books to be misfiled within our libraries.

I recently came upon a cd album of the pop band Japan,
‘The Best of Japan’, which was shelved under World music.

These of us who work in the library world know about many
novels which have the name of a character as the title work,
and that have been found on the shelves under the surname of
the title, rather than under that of the author.

I have even a book filed under the publisher name:
the publishes name was on the book spine in a much larger type
face than that of the author.

These things can and do just happen from time to time.

What concerns me more is the way in which library books now
come from the suppliers already catalogued,
and with the class number already placed upon the spine.

It may save a lot of the costs involved in book processing for
the various library authorities,
but just as with pre-publication cataloguing by the publishers,
it does mean that we have to put a lot of faith in them getting it
all right.

One of the reasons why this worries me,
is that there is now a lot less emphasise upon cataloguing
within library schools,
which in turn means that a lot of library workers are
learning much less about just how to read any spine number,
such as those used in the Dewey classification system.

Given the various costs involved in running libraries,
and the pressure to cut these costs during this recession,
well I just don’t expect that there will be much more money to
spend on library staff training within the next few year.

This makes me think that we might need to start rethinking just
how future library workers are trained.

This is also tied up with just how we teach people to use
libraries, and just how students might learn that they can not
find all the information that they might need upon the net.

In the library world it’s known as borrower education,
but what we really need is a higher quality of library staff

This is in order to be able to provide the help that most library
users really do need.

It all makes for some long term issues which need to be
resolved within the library world.

Now there really is an example of catch 22 at play.

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