me & old books

yesterday, i went and volunteered at the library. (i’ve been doing this pretty consistently - except for about a month and some weeks because of traveling etc. for other things - once each week since the beginning of last summer, i believe. it’s been really fun.) one of my jobs that i’ve been assigned by before, and that’s one of my favorites, is barcoding the books. (you know those funny code stickers on the back that sometimes covers up the words? those things. [except we try not to put them on words/pictures/etc...]) i guess because it’s easy, and even if you have a lot of books to do, it’s just sort of a nice little routine to do, over and over, and it’s kind of fun and interesting, because you get to look at all of the new books before they’re out on the shelves.

while the librarian that i work with was busy doing something else they gave me a different job - barcode books. except these weren’t the normal kind of books that i was used to - they weren’t all new and untouched and just freshly off the print press. they were a private collector’s edition, all signed copies. they were old, and their covers were deep, dark, beautiful colors, decorated in what looked like gold engravings and edgings in different designs depending on the book. the title and the author’s name wasn’t even on the front, and there was no description or talk of “#1 new york times bestseller!” on the back, so sometimes it was hard to tell the front from the back. (one time i accidentally put the barcode on the wrong side, because the book was upside down and i hadn’t even known until i’d opened it up.)

they were just the sort of books that you would imagine in an old, dusty library in some kind of mansion somewhere in England, abandoned and alone. (one of the books, i believe, actually was dusty...) the kind that sat in a library full of secret passages and books full of tales and legends. the kind of books that you see in movies but almost think don’t really exist anymore. i had fun, barcoding those books.

while the barcode made it look rather more modern and less like they came out of an old, dusty library in a mansion somewhere, it still made barcoding that much more fun. :)


  1. Aahh Anna, you have some of the best writings really! I love how you made me see that old dusty library full of secret passage ways in my head- just like a great book! You're really an amazing writer. One day maybe you'll be able to barcode your own book :)

  2. Sounds like so much fun! I love old books. :) How'd you get into volunteering at the library? It sounds great!

  3. I just love old books! Most people think I'm weird but I just love the smell of books, the joy that surges through the reader while reading, the fun of looking at the cover. I just feel so bad for people who don't read and don't find the real beauty in books!
    And I've always wanted to volunteer at a library. I'm thinking that when we move to KY I'll probably volunteer up there =) I just think it would be so fun.

  4. That's so neat!! I love old books!! Like you said, there aren't any reviews and such on them, they're simple, just me an idea... :)

  5. I'm Jealous. I had a chance to do that also, it was an experience I can never forget. I miss the feel of the covers, and I actually liked the dust. :P

  6. Barcoding books is fun! :D I remember when I volunteered at my library for a while, and a couple of times when they had some shipments of new books in and I was waiting for other work, they let me barcode! :)
    This is weird yet kind of on the same subject, but I applied for another job at my library last week and I'm hoping to hear something about it soon. :)
    Also, I think I would like the dust better if I wasn't allergic to dust mites ;) hehe I've had to stop myself from sneezing more than once in the library. :p


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