When we first discussed doing a blog at Between The Covers, I was told I could write about anything. That kind of freedom sounded wonderful until I realized I was writing on a topic of which I have only a limited knowledge. So with that in mind, and with the new decade starting tomorrow, I think it’s high time to look back on my three-month-plus tenure at BTC and list a few of the things I’ve learned.

In no particular order, here they are:

  • It takes a long time to catalogue 2,000 books. That’s the number of books I’ve entered into our database since I started – or the number I hope to reach by the end the day. (Right now I am poised at 1974.) While it might sound like a lot, it’s not. I believe Tom does that many before lunch some days.
  • You never can judge a book’s worth by its cover. I don’t know how many times a day I get fooled by what looks to be a potentially valuable book that turns out to be a cheap reprint, or the reverse, a sad-looking little tome that could be traded for the flat screen television of my dreams. There’s a reason it takes years to be an expert.
  • Retail bookstores are now a little less exciting. While I still love my local bookstore, it has sort of lost a bit of its luster now that I’m surrounded by the first editions of the books it sells. Still, you can’t beat all the free magazines. (What? I buy their overpriced coffee, so as far as I’m concerned we’re even.)

And the single most important thing:

  • Always dress in layers. It’s cold here at BTC in the winter. Really cold. Our offices are a former elementary school, so most rooms have high ceilings and rows of windows, neither of which are ideal for heating purposes. It’s not bad in the offices but when you have to fetch a book on the upper floors, where we could safely house vacationing Arctic penguins, you need to take your hat and gloves. That is unless you’re Kellie – who I suspect is a robot sent from the future to save our world by filing books – then you just wear a light sweatshirt.

These are just a couple of the things I’ve learned so far. I can just image how much wiser in the ways of the books trade I’ll be next year at this time. I did learn a few other things in the past year, but according to our lawyer, they aren’t for public consumption.