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July 5, 2006 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Much like synchronized swimming or a standard drill team, a book cart drill team requires coordination and panache and is complicated enough to warrant its own manual. This year at the 2006 American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans, the winners of the “golden cart” in the Second Annual Book Cart Drill Team Competition were the city’s very own Tulane University “Booked on New Orleans”, (YouTube video, no sound) who had only started rehearsing 6 weeks prior and had practiced in the formerly flooded basement of the library.
posted by nekton (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
As an ALA attendee who walked by that event and felt a sympathetic flush of embarassment, let me say that this kind of thing, while undeniably fun and silly, does not do much to help Libraries overcome our image problem, and it's depressing to see this emerge as a notable event from the conference.

The most notable moment of the conference for me was the fried boudin I had at Cochon. I've dreamt of it every night since.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:02 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

Having witnessed this once when I worked at my hometown library, and hearing my mother's repeated embarassment at having it still every year at her library, I concur with ulotrichous - the first paragraph -wholeheartedly.
posted by agregoli at 2:05 PM on July 5, 2006

Last year my home team won. My buddy Mike was the choreographer.

Libraries have an image problem???
posted by Floydd at 2:08 PM on July 5, 2006

It seems they do.
In Taiwan.
posted by Floydd at 2:20 PM on July 5, 2006

posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:21 PM on July 5, 2006

I think that video makes more sense if you watch it while listening to The Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:39 PM on July 5, 2006

I have mixed feelings about this. I liked watching a lot of librarians who otherwise wouldn't have gotten out in front of other people and been goofy for love or money strut their stuff. On the other hand, well it's dweebish, and a vendor-sponsored events, AND they claim the winners are world champions when there was a distinct lack of international involvement. I didn't see the competition this time around, but did catch it last year and it was a good stupid fun time.
posted by jessamyn at 2:40 PM on July 5, 2006

My first thought when I saw that post was "I hope they didn't run over jessamyn."
posted by LeLiLo at 2:49 PM on July 5, 2006

Library carts are unwieldy things. They are easier when empty, as they appear to be in the video, but still unwieldy. Looks like good fun to me, and I'll admit to being a little impressed.

Next year they should have the "how many V/H carts can you move together over 100 feet and how quickly?" event.
posted by booksherpa at 2:54 PM on July 5, 2006

Damnit, I was hoping for/expecting high speed precision reshelving action. I could use some expert pointers before my books bury and/or kill me.*

Instead I got more motion-sick and confused than any other YouTube video has ever made me.

*No, seriously. About a month ago I had a heavy duty vintage plastic and metal-banded milk crate full of about 50-60 pounds of books fall from about 5-6 feet over my head as I lay sleeping in an attempt to kill me. Damn near stove my head right in. Luckily I was sleeping flat on my back and my nose broke straight, I wasn't knocked unconscious (enough) to drown in my own blood, and I remembered enough childhood Boy Scout emergency medical training to stop the bleeding and set the break.

Considering I fell asleep reading an eBook on my old trusty Palm IIIc, I'm simply writing it off as jealousy from my beloved collection of dead trees.

No, I don't normally sleep with piles of heavy shit over my head. I'm from earthquake country. I had just moved.

On preview: I was wondering how long it'd take Jessamyn to appear. candyman, candyman, candyman!
posted by loquacious at 2:57 PM on July 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

booksherpa: What's a V/H cart? More specifically - I know what a cart is, of course, but what does V/H signify? Google is totally stymied by my searching efforts, and that rarely happens to me.
posted by loquacious at 3:05 PM on July 5, 2006

Libraries have an image problem???

The bun. Trouble is, the bun's not just on our heads, it's in our MINDS.
posted by ulotrichous at 3:29 PM on July 5, 2006

The two major bookchains both have small carts to push smaller quantities of books around. Borders uses a V cart - picture 3 vertical pieces of pipe, connected at the top with a handle sticking out of the point of the V, and connected at the bottom with the flat piece of metal that holds the books and two wheels with their axle under that flat piece. Books are on an angle in relation to the person pushing. Barnes and Noble uses an H cart. It is much like the V cart except that the flat piece is square in relation to the person pushing, and there are connecting horizontal tubes between the vertical pieces, making it look more like an H.

This page shows a V cart (similar, but not quite the one used at Borders). A quick Google search doesn't turn up any H carts for me.

Sorry for the confusion. :)

For the record, I can generally manage about 4 at a time, but not with great speed.
posted by booksherpa at 3:39 PM on July 5, 2006

Wow, I didn't know there were book trucks that rolled straight. All the ancient book trucks I've used (at 3 different libraries) made grocery carts look like smooth rollers.
posted by QIbHom at 3:58 PM on July 5, 2006

Ah, thanks booksherpa.

*looks at link* I've never actually seen a handcart like that.

Waitasec, how in the hell do you move 4 single-handled two-wheeled carts at once, especially when loaded!?
posted by loquacious at 4:07 PM on July 5, 2006

My first thought was "Gee can't imagine why I have never dated a librarian..." *saracasm intended*

But then listening to the librarians talk about themselves, lighten up. We need people to act silly in this world. I am a first class tech-head who delights in talking about technology and society and and and... we all stick out for a reason.

This is just plain fun. You sort and catalogue information, NOT doing a cart-dance contest is not going to change the perception, just like me using a Macintosh makes me more understandable to my non-tech peers.

I hope they had fun....

PS. Before instigating a Mac/PC war - for the record I hate all computers equally.
posted by fluffycreature at 5:46 PM on July 5, 2006

I think you librarians are underestimating us. The fact that such a thing exists makes me love librarians even more.
posted by LeeJay at 7:41 PM on July 5, 2006

Loquacious: Waitasec, how in the hell do you move 4 single-handled two-wheeled carts at once, especially when loaded!?

Er, yeah. Not loaded, actually. I can move 4 empties by kinda stacking them one on another. I could probably move 2 fairly full ones, but I'll generally grab a library cart (like from the video) for that many books.
posted by booksherpa at 7:53 PM on July 5, 2006

Go Green Wave!
posted by Hal Mumkin at 2:25 AM on July 6, 2006

Having explored the ALA website more thoroughly, I have to say it makes me really happy that those READ posters are still being made.

Tony Hawk reading High Fidelity?
Stephen Hawking reading a Marilyn Monroe biography?
Rick Bayless reading Betty Crocker's Cookbook for Boys and Girls?

I always loved those posters.
posted by nekton at 8:03 AM on July 6, 2006

nekton, you might also like the Flickr group that has a bunch of homemade READ posters. Here's mine, a little NSFW.
posted by jessamyn at 8:22 AM on July 6, 2006

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