the Book Pile’s transformation

Sometime ago, I mentioned that one of the advantages of my workplace (one of the reasons I have stayed there) is the large amount of books available. There used to be a couple of shelves, that went mostly unused. Most people would take a book and then just put it back on the table next to the bookshelf.

I started to think about it, fondly, as The Book-pile. There was always something wonderful hidden inside. I’ve talked about it before.

After a couple of major book donations, the pile became unmanageable and the table started to give under the weight of the books. That’s how it came to be that my boss decided to order some new shelves and assign someone to make some sense of all that craziness. 

This summer, as it happens all summers, my workload started to look increasingly slow to the point where it became obvious I’d been mostly reading during work hours. I even reorganized my files. It ended up looking beautiful: simple, practical and labeled!

Sadly, my boss noticed. She thought to take advantage of my sudden organizing mood, obvious love for books and my free schedule… and assigned ME the task of shelving everything in the book room, into some kind of logical system. 

It has been an insane task. It turns out that we have way more books that I thought possible. And it became not only a matter or placing them in the shelves, but checking each one and deciding if they need fixing. 

Some books just needed a new dust jacket, so that was easy. But some, needed some real fixing. 

Of course, I could have opted for tossing them out… labeling them as damaged and throwing them away. But I just couldn’t. 

I love books. Really, I do. I feel bad when one is left neglected… But, or course, my boss just looked at me like I was crazy when I innocently asked if I had a budget for fixing books, and told me I could do as much as I wanted with the supplies the office already had. 

I raided the storage room, and blessed YouTube for all the things it has taught me about fixing damaged books. 

Still, some were beyond what I could do. Those went into a box I labeled “Adopt a book”. Hopefully someone will take pity. 

To make my daunting job more manageable, I divided it up in little tasks. Like all those Organize-Your-Life articles I’ve ever read said to. And, it turns out, it DOES help. 


I have already separated the books alphabetically according to author’s last name. And it already looks like I’m making progress.  Getting rid of the table was a major accomplishment. 

This task has been consuming not only my days at work, but also my evenings at home. It feels like it is all I can think about. It will still take some time before it is all ready, but I’m really getting excited about this project now.  

Wish me luck! 

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