Notes for Future Librarians

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The Library system

You can access this by typing "librarian" in the command line, or by selecting "Library" inside of ceo. It is completely independent of ceo, or any of its parts.

Its repository is in /users/git/public/library.git/

It's also hosted at

There's talk about writing a web UI for it, which is still TBD.

I hope that using the library system will be intuitive. If it is not, contact fbauckho. Just try to avoid resizing your terminal while it is running.

Library Upgrades

As of the time of writing (Winter 2017) we are set to get donation of $1500 that can be used towards purchasing new books for the next two years. This comes from a man named Doug and it is a good idea to send him a thank you card thanking him for the books. This ensures that we are on good terms with him and can inspire him to continue in helping us upgrade the library. If you have questions about the process, contact csfmurph about the procedures. If you need more specific information about the donation and the procedures for it or you want to send a thank you to Doug, contact Candace Harrington in MC 5228. I find that talking to Candace in person is the best because she is really nice and you get an immediate response.


Why can't you sign out books from inside the book browser?

The signout process works like this:

  1. You look at the first page of the book that is going to be signed out, figure out the "CSC id", and input it into the sign-out dialogue.
    • While for the purpose of figuring out the CSC id, you could easily bypass the looking-at-the-book part, this doesn't make sense, because in order to sign out a book, you need the book you are planning to sign out.

Similarly, when returning a book, you should have the book in your hands, so you can easily find out the CSC id.

Things you should do every term

  • Get added to the group libcom, if you're new.
  • There's not really any training at the moment, but you should know how to sign out a book for people.
  • Hunt down people with signed out books before they disappear forever (an example of this is what happened to one of our modern C books)
    • (2022-10-18) joss: This hasn't happened in a while, a fair bit of books are now semi-unrecoverable. Should somehow keep track of history in the database to actually handle writing off the books.
  • Send the email reminders through librarian near the end of each term, at maximum of once per term.

Things that need to be done right now Things we should have done (Winter 2017)

  • The new books need to be stickered
  • We should try to think of some rule of thumb about how expensive books have to be in order to get stickered
  • We should think about some policy how many books people are allowed to sign out for which amount of time
  • Contrary to how the Wishlist page looks, we *don't* need to get new books right now.
  • We need to throw away/donate/stash books as soon as possible. The proper procedure for this seems to be to announce a list of books that are going to disappear, and then to see if anybody objects, but I (fbauckho) have been too weak-willed to do that yet
  • Speaking of books to get rid of, some guy (satalha) wanted one copy of The C Programming Language. He signed one out, so if we decide to donate it to him, we should notify him that he can have it, and otherwise, we should tell him to give it back. NOTE: This person no longer goes to UWaterloo so the chances of seeing this book again is very low
  • There are some changes in the repository I made that should make the library system slightly better for the librarian. We should use Debian-Voodoo to install them, and then write how this works.

Things that we really should do soon (Fall 2022)

  • Need to get rid of books that aren't really used / important / wanted / read.
    • Pruning is up to the librarian, but just make sure to keep things that are historically important, or popular, or you think would be a neat conversation starter.
  • Should really decide about how many books people are allowed to sign out for which amount of time.
  • We still don't really need new books, but some newer ones could be nice every so often.
  • Librarian needs to be updated to support UTF8 properly, and the database needs to be cleaned up a bit.
  • If you're so inclined, contribute to the The Open Library, which is where we get our book data from.
  • Update / Write actual documentation on the library stuff, as the average update cycle is about every 5 years.

Book Writeoffs

  • TBD: Develop process / way to document reasons why books were written off, should track in database.
  • Some books have been gone for quite some time (4+ years), with no real way to contact them and get them back / they are no longer here.
  • Because of this, we should figure out if there's penalties of some sort, or other more formalized ways to document why things are written off.
  • Should also determine when something should get written off, and standardize some process around that.