Books and More Books

not enough hours in the day

Murphy’s Law for Libraries

The following are from The Bookmark, September 1989, p. 48-49 and from experience I can vouch for their truthiness:

  1. 6 books on a topic + 5 classes = odds are 2-to-1 on teachers assigning the same topic at the same time.
  2. Budget statements from the District Office are always inversely proportional to your budget.
  3. If you made the system foolproof you discover that everybody has suddenly become geniuses.
  4. When 60% of your book order is back-ordered, you can safely bet that 90% of the back-orders are out of print.
  5. A “missing” encyclopedia will remain missing until the replacement you ordered is placed on the shelf.
  6. Books will remain upright on the shelf until you go to place another book beside them.
  7. You finally revise you card catalogue after putting it off for a year only to discover a week later that a complete revision is coming out in a month.
  8. You can be sure the student who has the most overdue books reads the least.
  9. When a teacher recommends a library book to a student, you can be certain that the teacher has checked out the only copy and has lent it to a friend in Peru.
  10. Students always require a 400 word article for a 500 word essay.
  11. Change libraries frequently. It allows you to place the blame on your predecessor for anything that is wrong.
  12. Make 17 subject headings for a book and you will find that you should have made 18.
  13. If a teacher discusses a unit with you well in advance, it is a certainty that she will be absent on the days scheduled, the substitute cannot administer the unit, and when the teacher returns she cannot do the unit because she has to make up for lost time.
  14. The one time of the month that you take 5 minutes to read MAD magazine is when your superintendent walks in.
  15. Prepare your year-end report in September before you have screwed everything up.
  16. If it’s a good book, it’s out of stock. If it’s an excellent book, it’s out of print.
  17. No matter how many books you have on a subject the student always thinks they’re all “too big”.
  18. The “super” syndrome: Libraries are always empty when the principal or superintendent comes to visit.
  19. The volunteer aide who files the worst is the one who volunteers the most.
  20. If you have a system that works you must be doing everything wrong.
  21. When you spend half your library budget on a teacher’s request for a course the odds are that the teacher will quit or be transferred and the course will be dropped or changed.
  22. No matter how long you keep an article or piece of information you will never need it till you throw it away.
  23. If you have lost one issue of a magazine there will be 35 students who will require that issue.
  24. No books are lost except those that are most needed and hardest to replace.
  25. The books you need the most always come from your worst supplier or jobber.
  26. Every librarian should have a full-time aide. It allows you to put the blame on someone.
  27. If everything’s fine you’re probably in the wrong library.
  28. When you re-catalogue a book to correct an error, you automatically create seven new problems.
  29. If you close the library only 3 days before year end for inventory and administration it is a fact that 2 teachers will ask you to do a library lesson on those days. These are teachers you couldn’t get into the library before but now need marking time.
  30. The thinnest books have the longest catalogue numbers.
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October 7, 2008 - Posted by | Books |

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