As the dust settles on our big RFID tagging project, I’m left, as usual, with a bunch of titles. Like many a bookworm, I’ve kept lists of books for years: books to read, books I have read, books that balance really well on top of my head, etc. It seems at times that the compulsion to make lists of books may be just as powerful as the one that leads us to rack up library fines or stay up later at night reading than is good for us. During RFID week, we all pitched in to unshelve each item in the library, place an adhesive RFID tag on it, program each tag with the ability to communicate with our catalog, then reshelve it. This assembly line was designed to function as quickly as possible, but also seemed custom-made to pollute my life with yet another list of books, since the time involved in handling each allowed only the briefest exposure, just long enough to notice, one after the other, the hundreds of titles passing through our hands. When a book called The Un-Constipated Gourmet came to me, as I’m sure you would agree, I really had no choice but to start a new list.
What to call a list that begins with such a book, which is actually a cookbook to help people move things along, so to speak, I never figured out. It’s clearly in a category by itself, and as we made our way through the various sections of the library, I added more titles to my new list, in search of a unifying theme I never found. A turn through Children’s Non-Fiction yielded another incomparable: Why You Shouldn’t Eat Your Own Boogers: Gross But True Things You Don’t Want to Know about Your Body. I guess the title pretty much says it all about that one. On a related note (books about eating stuff one shouldn’t, or, books you would prefer not even knowing about?) I also came across Why Dogs Eat Poop: Gross but True Things You Never Knew about Animals. The Children’s area also yielded a number of titles formed from interesting nonsense words: Larf, Froodle, and Frindle among them, and a strange couple of books from foreign lands written about holes, which include actual holes incorporated into their designs, and may win the award for most aptly titled: The Book with a Hole by groundbreaking French book artist Herve Tullet, and Norwegian illustrator Oyvind Torseter’s The Hole.
A shift tagging Mysteries was a boon to my list, since, when it comes to remarkable titles, it’s hard to do better than some of the punnier cozies out there. Avery Aames’ cheese-related mysteries gave me these gifts: To Brie or Not to Brie, Days of Wine and Roquefort, and my personal favorite, Clobbered by Camembert. From Tamar Myers, whose bibliography is worth a longer perusal if you’re into this kind of thing, came Butter Safe than Sorry and The Crepes of Wrath. And Diane Mott Davidson contributed Sticks and Scones, and Chopping Spree. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was assigned to spend a few hours tagging Young Adult Fiction, and made my way through Lisi Harrison’s The Clique series, which applies the cozy mystery approach to titling its chronicle of mean girl life: Sealed with a Diss, P.S. I Loathe You, and Bratfest at Tiffany’s all made the list.
And then, as quickly as it began, RFID week was over. We had tagged everything in the building, the steady stream of titles through my hands dried up, and I was left with one of the weirdest book lists I’ve ever compiled. For lack of a better name, I’ll just call it “Titles Seen Tagging,” and I hereby offer it up to any other crazy listmongers out there to add to your own mountain of handwritten notes, texts to self, Goodreads and LibraryThing accounts, or sticky notes pasted to your forehead. The good news is now that the RFID conversion is largely in the books, the ever industrious staff of your local public library is hard at work on a new project, testing some fun new online cataloging software we plan to beta launch in the coming months. And one of its main features? Expanded capability to make lists! - Dan Coleman, Collection Development