This summer I decided to try to put a barcode on the front cover of all 19,536 copies in my middle school library (disclaimer 1: this was a long term goal…I had no intention of completing the project this summer, just starting it) (disclaimer 2: most of the books currently have a barcode on the inside only).
I know it’s weird, even really weird. I decided to do this because inventories here depress me, what with having to open each and every book to scan each and every barcode, and I am decidedly lazy. My wrists start to aching about 5 books in and by book 20 I’m wailing fat tears, which are terrible for the pages. I thought, “Why not put barcodes on the covers?” At the time the idea seemed like a great one (I was thinking with my wrists), if not boring. 19,536 barcodes, one shelf at a time.
I started with fiction. Let me tell you this: what I thought would be pure drudgery has turned into three parts drudgery, one part unbridled bliss, and I’m only to the K’s.
Have you ever looked at EVERY book in your library? I mean really looked? You wouldn’t believe the treasures, the horrors, and the hilarity. When I found the book entitled The Black Stallion and Satan, my heart raced. I immediately wondered what the Black Stallion could possibly have done to deserve the attentions of Satan. I mean Old Yeller I could see, but a horse? The possibilities! (See footnote)
I found covers that would bring you directly back to 1986, complete with acid-washed –jean- jacket- wearing protagonists and guys with hairdos that took up half the front cover’s real estate.
I know I’m weird, but I was totally endeared. At first I considered weeding, and sadly, some of the books met this fate. But others were just giving me too much delight to kiss goodbye. I not only wanted to keep them, I wanted to feature them. I wanted the kids to experience the same enchantment I was getting from these freaky finds.
Here’s what I did with them.
Believe it or not, four out of the six books I featured have already been checked out (the library has only been open 3 days). The Black Stallion and Satan is still here keeping me company in the library, but I know one day one kid will come in, grab it, check it out, and the match will have been made in heaven (sorry, Satan).
Footnote: I thumbed through the book and found out “Satan” was just the name of another horse. I was totally disappointed. I was telling the story to my teenagers at the dinner table, and relating how I was sad because now the booked seemed more “normal.” My daughter replied, “A horse named Satan? That’s even weirder.” Yay!