Sunday, January 30, 2011

Volunteering at the office: cataloging books

Now that we have our cozy office and our computer, volunteers are welcome to come and find out for themselves at first hand how we operate. One of the regular tasks is simply entering all the titles we own into our online catalog at LibraryThing. This is a very good way to become familiar with our offerings!

For those of you inclined to get more involved with the nuts and bolts of library operation, we have a list of JTEL office chores and tasks that you can do. Chief among them is familiarizing yourself with the library's organization  and policies, history, building plans, grant applications, minutes, fundraisers, and so forth. It's important that our members and particularly our volunteers understand the library they are a part of!

The next item on the list is cataloging books and movies that have been donated to the Ester library. We started our online catalog in January 2008, and two or three volunteers have so far catalogued a total of 1,320 titles over the last three years. All the books that are on the shelves in the library itself have cards and card pockets and are ready for members to borrow them, but most of them are uncatalogued—which means that really, neither the board nor the members knows what we have.

So cataloging our collection is quite important. If you'd like to help with this task, Deirdre Helfferich (JTEL board president and chief cataloger) can show you how to do it (call 451-0636 or e-mail There is also a how-to guide on the office computer. An alias on the computer desktop, LibraryThing how-to.pages, will open up a step-by-step guide to LibraryThing and the cataloging process.

We have an office coffeepot, so you are welcome to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and spend an hour or two entering titles, reading up on the library, or just reading one of the many books here on our bookshelves. Enjoy!

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