staple! ka-thunk!

I’m up to my eyeballs in administrative detail work right now, and it’s kind of hell.  But it’s my job, and I take pride in doing the best I can to keep these libraries running smoothly.  So I’m sorting paperwork and stapling printouts, trying to get organized for a meeting this afternoon, and find the document I need to finish another document… and then my stapler jammed.  So I went out to the Circulation desk to use the electric stapler out there, which is nice and heavy-duty.

And then I remembered that last week or the week before I had done the same thing and discovered that there were two hand-written post-it notes scotch-taped to the stapler, offering instructions on how to use the stapler.

So I stood there for a second, trying to wrap my mind around it.  Our student circulation staff, clearly, were taking initiative to try to help their fellow students, our users.  They were being helpful, trying to provide good service.  I like that.  But.


I don’t really think people need warnings about the stapler being loud; they’ll figure it out.  They should also be able to figure out with their own critical thinking skills that you put the paper into the stapler before pushing the button.  This is how staplers work.  It’s not unusual or new or oh my god why do we have a note on the stapler telling people how to use a stapler?!

I took the post-its off.

I can now confirm that as of today things seem to be working out just fine without them.

Sometimes being the boss is fascinating.


  1. I suggest that after a bit, you might want to find out if your circulation staff have been experiencing an increase in students asking for help on using the stapler (or maybe check in again next fall when the new batch of students arrive). I suspect the signage is reactive rather than proactive.


  2. *grin* Of course it was reactive. That doesn’t make it effective or efficient. So far, though, no one’s reporting that the stapler has flummoxed dozens of students. I really have faith that 18-22 year old college students can figure it out…


  3. You might count the number of staples used daily, and see if there is a decline without the signs. It may just be easier to find an unguarded paper clip than to figure out the proper operation of the unlabeled stapler. Sorry, no faith here. Jeff nailed it.


  4. I am amused beyond telling by how concerned you all are that 20 year olds can’t use a stapler without two handwritten helpful signs.

    Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate your concern for good service. I really do.

    But, um, NO. I will not count staples. I will not give stapler tutorials. I will not hold everyone’s hand as they use basic office supplies.

    We are an institution of higher education, and as such, everyone has some responsibility for furthering their own knowledge, understanding, and critical thinking skills.

    The Libraries have better things to do than obsess over whether or not the electric stapler is too complicated for our users. It’s NOT. It’s a STAPLER.


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