Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Paperless Office My Butt

Remember back in the early days of the Internet when the talking heads were spouting off about how we'd all soon have "paperless" offices, librarians would be obsolete by 2000, and nobody would read print books anymore. Yeah, they were obviously all high on something.

At my place of employment we're winding down our current fiscal year, with the new budget taking hold sometime in July. Essentially, this means I get a couple of weeks of "down time" where I don't have to worry about ordering anything. As much as I enjoy ordering books (and believe you me, I do), I enjoy this brief respite because it gives me a chance to tie up some of the more tedious and monotonous projects that I've been neglecting. This year, that happens to be cleaning out our office.

I work in large room that is split up into cubicles. There are five of us in this office, and four of us are fairly new to the department (no more than a couple of years). Basically this means we all inherited a bunch of "stuff" that we were too scared to throw out at the time. Also, my boss had been here for 15 years, having just retired this past spring. You probably all know where this is going. Yep, I've been bit by the cleaning bug. The gems I've discovered! Let me tell you. Photocopies of old journals used for ordering children's books from 2004. Old memos from our branches letting us know what they need for their collections - dating back from 1994. Various training manuals on topics like sexual harassment in the work place dating back from 2003. Old equipment nobody uses anymore (stamps, calculators with receipt printers, a scary old Rolodex). You get the idea.

There are two types of librarians - those who throw stuff out with reckless abandon (that would be me) and those who horde crap for years (95% of the children's librarians I know). This office used to be occupied by the latter, and I'm the type that cannot abide clutter - especially when that clutter is junk that nobody has looked in years. I subscribe to the school of thought that if you haven't touched it or needed it in nine months it needs to go. Like yesterday. Get it out of here.

So that's what I've been up to. Throwing out a mountain of paper that very likely equals a couple thousand sq. ft. of rain forest (yes, I've been recycling it) and sneezing my head off from all the dust. But the good news is that it looks a billion times better in my office now. Now to tackle the stuff I have buried in my own personal files. Geez....

9 comments:

David said...

I'm relatively paper-free (compared to most), and I don't read print books anymore either :D

Wendy said...

David: Yeah, but you're a tech-geek, so I'm not sure you count :P

I'm pretty good about not keeping paper around - I just inherited a bunch of it. Now that I've been in this job for a couple of years (and I have a new boss!) I'm determined to get rid of some of this junk.....

David said...

I may be tech geek, but I've been playing in the corporate world for a while now, and it's meeting, meeting, meeting, stack of copies for everyone each time. Then huge reports about everything done. It's hard to get people to curb habits like that or get things to change up, but I'm having less and less paper on this desk, and it's nice.

Alie said...

I'm one of the librarians that throws things out. I'm not a clutter person either. Plus, our office is small too so it needs to go out!

Joy said...

Ah, but Wendy, this isn't your crap! It's somebody else's crap which is SO much easier to get rid of. Maybe those old lists represent the start of someone's year long project and he/she hung on to them in case, in case...oh, they had to write their life story. I know, I know it is foolish but there are the savers and the throwerouters. (My mother-in-law was going to throw out her grandmother's carefully preserved wedding veil. Yikes! I'm keeping my husband's aunt's collection of pitchers. Go figure.)

Tiffany said...

Wendy,

I am also of the "hate, loathe, and utterly despise clutter" mold. Have you noticed how much easier it is to work when there aren't piles of clutter laying waste to the air and space in your office? If only I could convince my husband and darling son of my wisdom...

Tiffany

azteclady said...

tsk tsk tsk

From a little dust catcher *ahem* cute little thinguie a friend got me a few years ago:

"Creative clutter is better than idle neatness"


:innocence: you don't think she was trying to tell me something, do you?


:wink:

Cheryl St.John said...

I NEED you to come to MY HOOOOOOOOOOUSE!

bret said...

"They've" been spouting about the paperless society for decades (as if that will ever happen). Not too long ago, they came out with paper that lasts for 100 years. A freakin century! That's longer than any single I-pad series device lasted.