Meet the Volunteers: Book Carers

Meet the Volunteers: Book Carers

book carers

Kevin Powell, Irene Robinson, Jill Irvine. Not pictured: John Merry

The PMI is one of the only libraries that still does the end processing of our books in house. The fact that we can do this, is entirely down to our dedicated team of book carers. Irene Robinson, John Merry, Kevin Powell and Jill Irvine come in every Thursday and process and cover the week’s books. Every book you see go into our recent additions has been processed by these four dedicated volunteers. As part of the book processing they handle all the books donated including bequests and they re-process donations from other libraries so that they can become part of the PMI collection.

They are also some of our most long-term volunteers. Irene has been volunteering since 2008, Jill since 2009, John since 2013 and Kevin since 2017. I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of Margaret Dunn who volunteered as a book carer from 2008 until she resigned in 2017. They are the core of the PMI’s essential volunteer group and we’d be in real trouble without them. Book caring is also a social event, with much conversation and discussion over the processing and afternoon tea, often accompanied by the Age quiz. They are always a delight to have in the library and their hard work is greatly appreciated.

But what do book carers actually do?

The books are waiting for them on the shelf, they are catalogued, barcoded and donation plaques are inserted, but the rest is up to the book carers.

The process begins with laying out the required material including: scissors (they have their own special scissors), adhesive covering, solid plastic covering, tattle tape, date due slips, rulers, double sided tape and glue sticks.

Kevin call numbers all the books, which involves printing off the labels with the assigned call numbers and sticking them to the spines or the back of the books using a little metal ‘dooverlackie’ (we had a discussion as to whether it was a dooverlackie or a thingamabob) that a member made for us about twenty years ago. It means all our call numbers go in the same place on all the books.

The carers then decide the best sort of plastic to use on each book, it depends on the type, and they begin to cover.

Each book must be covered, have a date due slip inserted in the back and tattle tape applied (so they beep if they go out the door without being deactivated).

Books are then stamped with the PMI stamps: title page, table of contents and the fore-edge of the books (if possible).

All through this, each book stays with their original piece of paper which has all the information on it for the book to find its place on the shelf.

The books then come back to staff to be checked and sent out onto the shelf.

It can be a convoluted process and our experienced book carers make sure that all our books are protected and as the PMI loans 90% of its collection and, very rarely removes material once it is in the collection, this protection is essential. As we said above, we couldn’t do it with out them.