As we are working on Anobii’s nuts and bolts, we are dealing with a very important issue: the one concerning librarians’ role. As we already said in the past, librarians have been and still are the backbone of the site. Their complex drudgery has been and still is crucial: to keep a library containing millions of books in order means to check painstakingly the data accuracy of every single title, to carry out the merge of the several editions in every single language, and then between different languages as well, to verify the suggested amendments etc etc etc.
All this means that librarians’ role is not an honorary one: it requires important and complex skills, that cannot be learnt overnight. In the last weeks we carefully studied librarians’ situation and we began to devise an overall project, whose outline we present here.
Based on data from Anobii’s DB, we verified that registered librarians are 157. But the active librarians – i.e. those carrying out a numerically meaningful activity – are much fewer. There are many totally inactive librarians or librarians whose work boils down to the sheer cataloguing of titles of personal interest: this creates queues and waiting periods that are absolutely excessive often provoking inconveniences to users, interfering with the organization and with the uniformity of the general work of other librarians.
We opted for a two phase intervention.
First – in the next days – we will relieve from their role those librarians that in the last few months did not carry out any activity or carried out a very small number of activities or interrupted their activity. This will help us to get a clear picture of how the cataloguing system works in the absence of librarians that used to carry out their role in name only.
At the same time we are working on the development of clear rules about the creation of new librarians which include – for candidates from languages that are needing the enrolment of new librarians – an apprenticeship period with active librarians, and a final evaluation on the side of anobii’s staff based on the results of the apprenticeship period.
Sorry for the verbiage and have nice readings!