The Lives and Deaths of Academic Library Staplers

Documenting the destruction of public staplers at an academic library reference desk.
This is an Optima 70 “reduced effort stapler.” It boasts “quiet operation” and a “jam free guarantee” for 2-70 sheets. We’ll see.

This is an Optima 70 “reduced effort stapler.” It boasts “quiet operation” and a “jam free guarantee” for 2-70 sheets. We’ll see.

This is a polished chrome Collectors Edition 747 Swingline stapler from their Professional Plus Series. Retail price: $42.65. Leave your fingerprints on it at the library’s reference desk beginning August 25.

This is a polished chrome Collectors Edition 747 Swingline stapler from their Professional Plus Series. Retail price: $42.65. Leave your fingerprints on it at the library’s reference desk beginning August 25.

I chose a cat “skin” for the library’s customizable “Fashion Stapler.” This stapler will be deployed on August 25.

This is a red Swingline 747 Business desk stapler. It is “designed for long-term use” and features a “100% Performance Guarantee.”

Note: I will be profiling one new stapler per week as we lead up to the start of the fall 2014 semester. The new staplers will be made available on August 25. Thanks again, Swingline!

This is a red Swingline 747 Business desk stapler. It is “designed for long-term use” and features a “100% Performance Guarantee.”

Note: I will be profiling one new stapler per week as we lead up to the start of the fall 2014 semester. The new staplers will be made available on August 25. Thanks again, Swingline!

Today I received part two of my Swingline care package: a customizable stapler. I am now taking suggestions for designs. Current top contenders: My university’s logo OR cats.

Today I received part two of my Swingline care package: a customizable stapler. I am now taking suggestions for designs. Current top contenders: My university’s logo OR cats.

The folks at Swingline found my Tumblr and sent me a care package.

The folks at Swingline found my Tumblr and sent me a care package.

After collecting morbidity and mortality data for three semesters, I am now ending my study of staplers. The final finding: On average, my library’s reference desk staplers succumbed after 46.5 days of service. 

Thanks for all your support!

After collecting morbidity and mortality data for three semesters, I am now ending my study of staplers. The final finding: On average, my library’s reference desk staplers succumbed after 46.5 days of service.

Thanks for all your support!

Spring 2014 Stapler Analytics

The following statistics and notes are based on observational data collected at the reference desk of Middle Tennessee State University’s James E. Walker Library during the Spring 2014 semester.

  • 14 staplers served at the reference desk.
  • 9 staplers did not survive the semester.
  • 7 staplers were confirmed dead.
  • 2 staplers were lost or stolen and are presumed dead.
  • 5 staplers survived (Staplers 24, 43, 44, 45, and 46).
  • The five surviving staplers have logged 375 days of service.
  • Stapler 24 is the only stapler to survive both the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters.  It is still going strong at 256 days.

The following figures describe the library’s Spring 2014 dead staplers (and exclude figures for the five survivors):

  • Shortest lifespan: 0 days (Stapler 39)
  • Longest lifespan: 194 days (Stapler 22)
  • Average lifespan: 96.4 days
  • Median lifespan: 84 days
  • Combined days of service: 868 days
Stapler 24 has been FOUND hiding in a reference desk drawer with some tattle tape, scrap paper, and a toy scorpion. It was reported missing on April 29, 2014. It is now 249 days old.

Stapler 24 has been FOUND hiding in a reference desk drawer with some tattle tape, scrap paper, and a toy scorpion. It was reported missing on April 29, 2014. It is now 249 days old.

Stapler 43 received some cosmetic damage. Its nameplate is missing.

Stapler 43 received some cosmetic damage. Its nameplate is missing.