The past semester at Simmons was a real meat-grinder, keeping me from blogging about the experience even. Well, fear not: The Library Ass has returned, if only to inform you that he is now 37.5% librarian (and 33% archivist), and pending the final grade in my Historical Methods seminar 16.7% historian as well.
That's significantly less Ass, all around!
Today I'm engaged in a little bit of cross-training, learning the ropes of the Phillips Reading Room, where our noncirculating materials are accessed by the Harvard community and outsiders deemed worthy enough of the honor of using Widener's collection (okay it's actually quite easy to get at our books, provided that you come with a letter from a librarian or professor attesting to the fact that what you're looking for is only available here!). Considering that the books here don't actually go anywhere, the PRR is a surprisingly complicated place nonetheless, owing mostly to the fact there are various states of noncirculation depending on the state of the material, its size or volume, and the identity and intentions of the person using it. This is all a far cry from Circulation, where our motto is: "Just tell me where to stamp."
I've also been reminded that white shirts do not mix well with old books, especially those in various stages of surrender to red rot. Less than three hours handling the materials here at the PRR and I might as well have picked a food-spattered dirty shirt out of the hamper this morning...