Part 2 of the Library Chronicles
Yes, Clerical Man. Champion of the oppressed, Righter of Wrong, and Defender of non-P.C. values!
Anyways, the first order of business was to inspect microfilm. At that meant using the microfilm machine, which was located on the seventh floor. Now, because of the peculiar design of the room (sunroof), it was virtually impossible to make the room dark enough to view the film properly.
So I did what any enterprising person straight from the real world would do in this particular situation: I solved the problem. Searching the room, I found about a half dozen old manila file folders and a roll of masking tape. After about twenty minutes or so of positioning the folders, taping and trying to make the area as dark as possible (the better to fall asleep in), I had my own little private Idaho.
So off to inspecting I went. I took detailed notes as I merrily cranked away, looking for scratches, redundancies and other assorted gobbledygook as I tried to fight off the heaviness of my eyelids. Gang, let me tell you, if you have problems sleeping, looking at microfilm is the best cure for what ails ya. Better than anything else that you could possibly imagine to help you fall asleep.
After a couple of hours spent reading about the 19th century, and specifically about Deep River CT, I was ready to curl up on the nice large wooden (oak?) table, stare up at the sunroof and take a long, long nap.
By then, my boss reappeared and decided to take me back down to the Preservation Dept., to show me the other 'wonderful' things she had in store for me.
Once there, I got introduced to world of computers, word documents, databases and other assorted clerical schtuff. "Big deal." you're probably saying to yourself. Well to me it was, as from 1983 to 1996, I had about 2% contact with a computer on barely a monthly basis. So I was clueless as to using a computer, e-mail, Word, Excel, FoxPro, and assorted goodies.
In any event, I got a crash course in all of the aforementioned items. I had baptism by fire in all of this schtuff. No user guides, no tutorials, nothing. Just trial and error, along with later picking a co-workers brain, got me the experience I needed.
Since I was the lone clerical person for about five or six months, I had everything dumped on me. Inspecting film? Yup. Number crunching as to figure out page counts so as to program microfilm? You betcha. Writing letters to libraries and historical societies, begging them to lend us their precious items so as to record them for posterity? Without a doubt. Becoming bored as all get out from doing this schtuff? Absolutely.
So after getting a crash course in doing the clerical aspect of this adventure, it was time to turn to the other major component of my job...
wait for it.
Yes, it was time to slice, dice, julienne, french fried, chopped, puree,d mince, wholesale wanton dismembering and disemboweling, our friend the almighty newspaper.
Up next: Deconstructing and Decommissioning.