Posted on February 5, 2014 | in Library | by

Joanne Murdie Library Shelver

In my spare time I am a volunteer at Edinburgh Zoo where I have the privilege of spending time with and talking to visitors about many rare and fascinating creatures.

In daily life I am one of the Library Shelvers and got to thinking how I might describe us to visitors. It might be something like this:

We have a large group of Shelvers here at the Library, male and female, of various ages, who have come to us from a huge range of different countries. Strangely although large in numbers many people do not really notice them at all as they move silently around the building.

They all have large brains which contain an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of where library items can be found and exactly where each book should be placed.

They are extremely strong and agile which they need to be as they move vast amounts of books and walk many miles with their trolleys each year.

They are very friendly towards people and approachable although they can be a little territorial sometimes when their natural habitat of bookshelves is threatened by untidiness or missing book ends!

They are very social creatures with a complex system of communication, although they are not heard to speak a great deal whilst working as the ability to remain silent in the Library environment is vital to their survival. They have also been heard to emit odd squeaking noises as they move around with their trolleys, but research has yet to discover what these sounds signify!

They have never been observed eating in public but do consume vast quantities of water, and research tells us that away from the public gaze ,off show ,they are known to consume massive amounts of sweets, chocolate and home baking!

They can adapt to any temperatures including extreme heat, but ideally would prefer a cooler climate!

They are courageous and fearless in dealing with their two principal natural enemies, namely the Library lifts and the Book sorters.

Thankfully they are not yet an endangered species and are very well cared for here by their keepers, but it is worthwhile considering how soon the delicate eco system of the library would collapse without them.

So let us learn to love and appreciate the Library Shelvers, but please DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THEM.  Thank you.

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