On Saturday, we descended on St. John’s Church in Beverly MA, in a “flash mob” of cataloging fools!*
Turnout was much more than we expected–twenty people!** With so many hands–and despite some wifi problems–we got an enormous amount done. By lunch time we were flying, and after powering through the actual job, the 1,363 items in the church library (member StJohnsBeverlyFarms), we went ahead and tackled the rector’s 734 books too (member: TadsLibrary***). I have a mind to go back and start in on all the parishioners’ libraries, particularly that of a local author of some renown.
Cataloging went quickly for some books–everyone got a CueCat barcode scanner. Others took more work. A troupe of Simmons students tackled the church’s motley collection of VHS tapes, mostly by hand, including lots of special comments. Katya0133, cataloger, friend of Sonya’s and Legacy Library superstar, took some of the toughest stuff, including original cataloging. A handful of items were so rare they hadn’t made it into WorldCat. (We’re happy to part with them, for a million dollars!.)
It was an amazing day; everyone was helpful, friendly, and amped to be there. We left feeling weary, satisfied, and despite the Episcopal coloring, vaguely Amish.
So, let’s do it again! Why not do it somewhere else? New York? California? We could time it with a big book show or a library conference.**** Jeremy is also very open to blending flash-mob cataloging with the Legacy Library project, by collecting to do a house museum or an important collection in a historical society.
*The Wikipedia definition of a flash mob is “A group of people who converge on a spot at a specific time, perform some action, and disperse quickly.”
**How many world libraries have twenty catalogers?
***Who still doesn’t have a profile picture, Amy!
****Just imagine, 500 librarians from the ALA show descending upon every church, synagogue, house museum and lean-to library in Denver.