The Joy of Cataloging

Yes, you read that right. Today I found much joy in getting 12 books completely entered into the system, labeled, and ready to be checked out.

You see, I have this shelf and a half of books from the Scholastic Book Fair in October still sitting on a cart in my office. And every time I look at it I am reminded that all these books could be in the hands of my students instead.

Cataloging is far from my favorite thing, and, thus, often one of the last things to get done–but it is such an important thing. So this morning, when the high school counselors visited 8th graders in my room, I got down to the business of cataloging.


OK, I have to confess that it is not the real nitty-gritty, get-your-hands-dirty-with-MARC-tags cataloging. My circulation system allows me to enter an ISBN, and it pulls records from other libraries (most of the time anyway). But I still have to double-check the records, enter barcodes, sometimes assign call numbers, and then print and apply labels, etc. So it is time consuming. And far from exciting.

So why is it joyful? I thought about it awhile, and my satisfaction seems to come mostly from the fact that a cataloged book is a finished product.

There will always be more  lessons that need planning, students who need book recommendations, teachers who need resources, books that need shelving, questions that need answering, ad infinitum.

But today, I welcomed 12 books into my library by doing all the cataloging and processing tasks that needed to be done to them. And I could look at the pile and say I was finished. And, yes, that brought me joy.


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