Once a book enters our library several things happen, chief of which is cataloguing. We’re always asked about the yellow-dotted books that preponderate on our shelves. From a certain library perspective, they are books-in-waiting — books yet to be entered in LibraryThing.com, the ready-to-wear online catalogue that we make suit the hybrid needs of a lending library that’s also a bookshop. Library Thing can record the presence of a book in our system, and with some labor let us track its whereabouts.
All this doesn’t happen automatically. Like all of Libros Schmibros’ systems, it is hand-entered and labor-intensive. Chief among our cataloguers is Denise Villegas, below, UCLA Information Science graduate student and Libros family member extraordinaire. You’ve seen her at the Hammer, with her dainty fingers entering data almost as fast as we can read it.
Glad was the day early last spring when all 12,000 books had finally been entered. Since then our collection has exploded (thank you, Los Angeles!), but our need remains the same: track every book, so’s we knows what’s happened to them and where they go. Painstaking to create and in need of constant maintenance, our catalogue is yet another system behind the scenes. LibraryThing becomes an internal structure that keeps us going, a kind of endoskeleton to our visible shop.