Here Are Some New Books That I Checked In Today Which Immediately Went Out To Fill Reserves.  Which, Due To the Highly Questionable Floating Collections Policy, Means That I Will Probably Never See Them Again.  Which Is a Shame, Because I was Interested In Reading Them and/or Recommending Them To My Patrons:


A novel about a girl who is kidnapped?  Written in the form of a letter to the man who stole her away?  A powerful exploration of Stockholm Syndrome?  Well, I don’t know if it lives up to the description, but it sounds awfully cool …

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

True survival story?  Check.  Concept that is unique enough to grab even the most reluctant reader?  Check.

Conversely, Here Are Some New Books That I Checked In Today That I Don’t Really Want.  But Since They Weren’t On Hold For Any Patrons In Our System, I Have To Make Room For Them On Our Shelves:

The Surfboard: Art, Style, Stoke

A book about SURFBOARD DESIGN???  Um, okay.  I would never buy this.  Never in a million years.  I predict exactly 0 circs among my teen patrons, and honestly I can’t even imagine them browsing through the pictures while sitting in the library.  I could have purchased several fiction paperbacks for the money that paid for this book.

The Invisible Empire: Klu Klux Klan

Well, this one was partially my fault, because I did order it.  Unfortunately, requesting books from lists without actually seeing them first means you get stuff like this.  I was hoping for a book that my teens could use to help them with homework assignments.  What I got was an oversized coffee-table book that a) won’t fit into a bookbag and b) is approximately 90% pictures and 10% text.  Oh, well.

So in related news, my young adult book truck is filling up again.  Which is a shame, because the week before I went on vacation I came in early several days and devoted myself to dealing with the glut of STUFF from other libraries in our system.  To give you a sense of perspective, there were about 20 books that I decided to keep, and about 200 that I decided to get rid of through various means.  Now I’m watching my progress begin to unravel.

We were talking today about our future schedule plans — if the reduced budget means we’re only going to be open five days a week and we don’t cluster at other branches anymore, what are we going to do on the extra day that our library is closed?  If our closed day isn’t our free day, could we spend it at our branch getting stuff DONE?  Or are we supposed to be “conducting outreach,” walking the streets for eight hours promoting library programs?  I’ll tell you, this wasn’t one of our more positive conversations.  It was more of a lose-lose kind of thing.

So when I came in today, I noticed a few changes.  Several pieces of somewhat extraneous furniture had been removed from our adult floor.  We’d been warned about this plan, which had originally included the removal of one of the tables where our patrons normally sit, apparently because it didn’t match the other tables in the room (?!?!?!)   (This whole discussion was eerily reminiscient of one of Mr. X’s favorite expressions, “Like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”)  So anyway, after several of my colleagues argued against this decision and were overruled, I spent half an hour of my life that I will never get back writing an email detailing why our blue-topped table should not be removed [actual subject line:  “Protesting the concept of removing the blue table from our AD/REF section”].  I won’t keep you in suspense — I won the argument, and we got to keep the table.  Hooray for my superlative persuasive writing skills!  But here’s the point — I SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO WRITE IT!  I shouldn’t have had to expend the time and the energy and the brain cells to make any kind of argument at all.  We should have automatically won with a retort of, “Our patrons need more places to sit down, not less.”  But we didn’t, so I had to tap into my English Major brain and carefully craft an argument that referenced Making Our Patrons Happy and Keeping Our Patrons Safe, because not enough places for adults to sit in the adult room means more of them migrating into the children’s room, and Is That What We Really Want? But for God’s sake, we should have just been able to say DUH, and leave it at that.  Oh, and on a related note, this ties in to a future blog post about our policies on whether or not we should allow adults in our children’s rooms.  Start getting ready for that discussion, Dear Readers!

Anyway, so the removal of our furniture was expected.  The removal of our book sale truck was not.  I asked what was going on, and I was told that the logic as explained by our higher-ups (the same ones who disapproved of that eyesore of a table) was that patrons were upset by library book sales.

I’ll give you a moment to digest that concept.

Okay, so here’s the rest of the idea … in this bad economy, with everyone low on money and the public library asking patrons for support during these tough times, members of the public think that if the library can afford to sell their old books at low prices, that the library isn’t really suffering financially.

Um … what?

It’s arguments like these that leave me feeling woozy, like maybe I don’t understand anything anymore.  I mean, yes, if we were selling brand-new books that we knew weren’t going to circulate (like artsy surfboard design books, for example) for a dollar or 25 cents, then that would give patrons the idea that we were throwing our money out the window.  Which could hypothetically be true (especially in the case of artsy surfboard design books), but we usually keep those types of transactions behind the scenes.  Because we ship our nicer and newer discards directly to an online seller that can get a lot more money for each item than we would at each branch.  But what is the harm in us selling our older and not-so-pristine books, VHS cassettes, etc. to patrons who are more than willing to buy them?  Honestly, the only complaints I’ve EVER heard about our book sale is that we didn’t have ENOUGH stuff available for patrons to buy!  Not only that, but our measly little book sale was a source of income for our branch.  The money that came in from our book sale went to US — to a fund that we could use to pay for library programs, for example.  Since our programming budget has been slashed to pieces, that fund was essential to pay for programs that kept the public happy and at the same time kept our statistics from plummeting.

So to sum up, our book sale made the patrons happy, and the money it generated provided funds for programs which also made the patrons happy.  What am I not seeing here???