Okay, so if you already read this post and this post, that means you’re up-to-date with the nonsense (so far) about how various higher-ups are telling us what we can and cannot have when we move into our new building.  And by “can and cannot” I mostly mean “cannot.”  Well, the latest decree update that I heard was that we WILL be allowed to bring books from our old building into our new building …

… wait for it …

only if they are in NEW and PRISTINE condition.


Okay, so let’s say that I get all the copies of the books that are on our shelves which are also on our local schools’ summer reading lists.  A few of them could be considered new and pristine, but most of them aren’t because they were checked out multiple times last year and maybe even the year before that.  So I take these less-than-pristine books, which are technically still in GOOD condition, and I reassign them to other branches in our system.  Well, I COULD delete them altogether, but I would only do that if every last one of my brain cells had burned away.  And to be fair, I still have a few left that are in working order.

But I digress.

Okay, so let’s say that I reassign these perfectly good books to other libraries in our system.  Then our schools give out their summer reading lists to their students.  And then, I imagine, the chain of events would go something like this …

  • Students leave their schools with their reading lists in hand to walk into our library and discover that we don’t have copies of most of the books on their list BECAUSE WE GAVE THEM AWAY.
  • These students will need to reserve copies of these books from other branches, and wait for these books to show up.
  • After some delay, the books arrive, the students pick them up, read them …
  • … and when they’re done with these books, they’ll return them to our branch.

Now, in the days before our floating collections policy began, each branch could know that the collection they purchased was their own, and that it wouldn’t fluctuate too much from month to month or year to year.  But since we switched to a system where any items that are returned to your branch stay at your branch?  We’re constantly in flux!  I understand that when our new building opens, we’ll be exempt from having our collections float for a few months.  But after that, all bets are off.

My point is, before our library system moved to a floating collections policy, it was possible for a library to open with a pristine collection and have it stay that way for a while.  But now that our pristine collections can float away and other libraries’ less-than-pristine books can settle on our shores, within a few weeks or a few months it’s going to be a mix of new and old stuff anyway.

You know … it’s almost like our higher-ups are being so short-sighted that they’re ONLY thinking about us looking shiny and new on our opening day, and not about our actual function as a library that is supposed to serve the needs of its community.

Many thanks to my colleagues in other branches who have offered to keep our books “in hiding” for us temporarily (kind of like our forbidden clocks are going to spend some time in storage before making their debut AFTER our opening).  I don’t know if that will be necessary or not, but I appreciate the sentiment.  Anyway, the higher-ups in question might change their minds a dozen more times between now and opening day, so for now I’m just going to step back and watch this tug-of-war continue.