We’re all normal, sensible adults, right? Inanimate objects should not provoke feelings of rage, or the desire to destroy them. We should be able to laugh in the face of small irritations, while congratulating ourselves on maintaining our inner Librarian Zen.
And generally, we do. We field queries, wrestle databases, and wrangle information merrily, with good humour and cheerful Librarian Face* held firmly intact.
But then comes that day, that terrible, terrible day we law librarians dread. Oh yes…the day that the Yellow Tax Handbooks and Orange Tax Handbooks arrive.
Oh, they are fiendish, fiendish things, yet they merely add to the heap of Evil Books in the Library!
Between the Orange and Yellow (which have some disturbing issues), and the various collapsible Butterworths handbooks with their covers made of paper mache, which are now joined by the massive Chambers UK, the library is awash in schlumpy books, determined to slide slowly off the shelves. Or, in the case of Chambers UK, books that can’t actually be put on shelves at all, unless kept encased in their cardboard shells. Books which, for added fun, are so tightly jammed in that it’s virtually impossible to remove the guide from the shell without hauling the whole thing off the shelf and shaking it upside down vigorously to break the strange suction effect, while holding one hand over the Bar guide so it doesn’t make a break for freedom. Then, when you’ve figured out how to find anything in it, and want to put it back, it’s another wrestle with the cardboard shell, with the bonus of now having to keep perfectly straight and parallel the pages of a 1600 page book with a soft cover with one hand, while using the other to hold the Bar guide out of the way, again.
Meanwhile, in the background, is the soft hiss of tax handbooks, slowly sliding down the shelf…
It’s enough to turn anyone into Kevin the Teenager, provoking outbursts of muttered “I hate you”, and “This is so unfair!” whenever you’re forced to go near the damn things.
Excuse me, I’m off to go sulk in my room.
*Librarian Face – the curse/blessing of librarians the world over. The face that involuntarily says “Can I help you?”, night and day. More details here.