Picture Perfect

Hello again!

In order to explain how I do my work, I thought some pictures would be helpful.  Then I decided to go a step further, so I created a time-lapse video of a shipment being processed.

The Fleet has arrived!  They are brought to us from the Wells Library.
The fleet of book trucks has arrived! They are brought to us from  Wells Library, just in time for the arriving bindery shipment.
The big table is empty and the outgoing shipment has been processed and is ready to be picked up.
At this point, the big table is empty and the outgoing shipment has been processed and is ready to be picked up.

As the Bindery and Preservation Review Coordinator, I oversee the preparation of materials for commercial binding.  We send shipments to the HF Group in North Manchester, Indiana every fourth Tuesday.  The outgoing shipment is picked up at the same time the previous month’s finished shipment is returned to us.

The bindery has arrived; it is being brought in by the HF Group truck driver.
Now the return shipment is being brought in by the HF Group truck driver–ordinarily about 40 boxes.
It's all here!
It’s all here!

The return shipment must be processed quickly–within a week–so when the shipment comes, my students and I are all working on it.  The work pace is quite different than the rest of the month, as materials to be bound are picked up from the various campus locations, and then brought to Wells Library, and finally here in the daily deliveries.

Everything is in place.  This bindery shipment is ready to be unpacked, checked, and sorted.
Now that all the boxes have been brought in, everything is in place. This bindery shipment is ready to be unpacked, checked, and sorted.
After opening the boxes that were on the table, processing has begun!
Here we have begun unpacking.


For our assembly-line, we put all the boxes on one side of the table.  The first person opens the boxes and places the items on the table oriented in the same direction.  The second person opens the volume and moves the bindery slip so it is readable when the book is closed.  Then, they sort the items based on where they will go next.  The third person has stacks of duplicate binding slips and matches them up to make sure every item has come back.  Finally, the volumes are sorted onto trucks to facilitate the next steps, which take place in Technical Services in the main library.


The time-lapse video was fairly easy to make.  I set the camera to take a photograph every 5 seconds.  Almost 2 hours later, we had 1,137 photos.  I took out about 100 photos and put the rest into an image sequence at 15 frames per second.  After exporting the video, I posted it to my (newly created) YouTube channel.


The table is once again clear of boxes and books, and they have been sorted onto trucks.
The table is once again clear of boxes and books.



The day we process the returned bindery shipment feels exactly how it looks in the video.  After everything is on the appropriate trucks, we deal with any extraneous problems that need to be handled before the items go back to Technical Services in Wells Library.

The items get secured with a strap around each shelf.
The items get secured with a strap around each shelf.


The trucks are now ready for transport.  After they leave, the work space seems much larger.  It also appears like we don’t have any work to do, but that’s not true.  In 3 weeks, the shipment that was picked up will be returned to us, and the whole process starts again.

Special Thanks to–

  • all my colleagues for walking around the camera set up
  • Doug Sanders for thinking the time-lapse was a good idea and explaining the digital camera to me
  • Elise Calvi for editing and encouraging the post
  • my students, Chelsea Liddell and Katherine Siebenaler for starring in the video

New Kid on the Block

Hello Readers!

My name is Erin McAvoy and I am the Bindery and Preservation Review Coordinator.  As of a few months ago, I relocated from the basement of the Wells Library to the Preservation Lab, which is about a mile away in our Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF).  I’m still a relative newcomer to working full time, and I have a lot to learn.  And since I have a habit of overthinking things, this blog will be a good outlet for some of those work-related topics.

Unpacking the first bindery delivered to Bindery Prep's new Preservation Lab location.
Unpacking the first bindery delivered to Bindery Prep’s new Preservation Lab location.

First, I never expected to be here: my plan was to get exposure to a broad range of subjects in library school so I would be prepared to go anywhere and do anything.  Instead, I stayed in Bloomington and continued to do the work I did as a student employee while in library school.  The job has changed in plenty of ways, not the least of which was the move.  But I like it a lot (both the job and the location).  It is nice to finally work in the same building as those in my department.  Everyone has been so welcoming and I finally feel like I am part of the library.  Also, the parking situation is probably the best on campus, so that is a nice perk!

Being in the same location as my preservation colleagues has given me many more opportunities to learn.  They all come from different backgrounds, and all have fascinating experiences to share.  The diverse skillset they represent is incredible; I could probably spend an entire day listening to each one of them talk!  I feel so lucky to be starting my professional career surrounded by these individuals.

So, I am very happy to be here: physically at the Lab and starting a presence on this blog.    I already can’t wait to get started on my next post, but that one will require some research.  I feel a little like Bilbo Baggins, starting a journey.  I don’t know where I will end up, but that is part of fun.