The Unofficial Unskilled Librarian

I volunteer in two places at McMurdo on a semi-regular basis: the craft room and the library.

The McMurdo library is located in dorm 208, and it’s a warm and quiet oasis for people who think hanging out at the library and talking to 1-3 people in two hours counts as being “social”. I am one of those people.

When I’m on night shift, I have an official volunteer shift for one hour per week, but I often put in some extra volunteer time. Volunteering in the library involves checking books in and out and shelving returned items, as well as tidying and Dewey Decimal-cataloging donated books as needed. I have not yet done any book cataloging, although it’s on my radar for skills I hope/expect to learn here that I didn’t think I would learn before coming here. I’ve already learned the phonetic alphabet, how to use an embroidery machine, and how to play records since coming here, so cataloging library books seems like a good next step.

The McMurdo library has a decent non-fiction and fiction collection, with an especially good collection of travel books. A lot of the books are donated by past USAP participants. They also have a rack full of old magazines and a shelf full of puzzles. You can even check out Kindles. Ethernet cables are plugged into the wall, providing visitors with a sluggish connection to the rest of the world, and there are a lot of comfy chairs and fake plants in the corners. It’s one of my favorite places in McMurdo.

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