Sometimes you CAN tell a book by it’s cover

Our resident bookbinder–or, as he prefers to be called, “bibliopegist”–decides during this years’ inventory to venture forth from the comfort zone and try his hand at matching shelf list cards to book collections. Wearied of me belittling his lack of knowledge of what a spine label is for, especially after he covers a dust jacket with Mylar & doesn’t know how to tell where in the Library it goes, he’s determined to find out how the other half lives.


Today he’s partnered with a clerk who’s handled the Dewey Wall for years, so he’s in very good hands. They’re doing Literature which, in our collection, is assigned a generic “800” followed by the first three letters of the author’s last name. It’s a bookstore arrangement, but it’s appreciated by the inmates who are actually trying to find a book by, say, Shakespeare but may not know that his country of origin was England. Speaking of Shakespeare, our resident bibliopegist reaches the “S”s on the wall, and cannot seem to locate any of the cards for the Bard.

So all the paperbacks are pulled from the shelf & placed on the No Card table.

A little while later, I pass by, see these books, and say “What the hell? We’ve had these books for a decade. No way these cards are missing.” Further investigation turns up the answer: the bibliopegist, instead of looking for Othello or The Taming of the Shrew instead was looking for “Shakespeare,” in other words, for the Author Card. Since there were no Author Cards reading ‘Shakespeare.’ the bibliopegist naturally presumed that the cards for his books were missing.


Before coming to prison, the bibliopegist was a mechanic. That explains some of it. My cataloger, in addition, made truck deliveries for his living. He can’t spell his way out of a paper bag.

I find it difficult locating ‘book people’ to work in the Library. Come to think of it, it’s hard to find ‘book people’ working in many book stores.