Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Did she get lost???

Hey there, sports fans! Sorry to have left you in the lurch like that. So, where have I been, you ask? Why have I abandoned you like one of my dead houseplants? Well, two reasons:

1.     There’s a hole in my library. Literally.
2.     I got caught in a holiday vortex. Literally.

As Ricky “Babalu” Ricardo used to say, “You got some ‘splainin to do”.

First, my library is being renovated, so we moved the entire operation over to a temporary location, and when I say temporary, what I mean is trailer, and when I say trailer, I mean a cozy little doublewide for me, the copier, and about 3,000 books. Photos to come, lucky you!

The move involved a great deal of weeding of old books. I asked myself burning questions like, do we really need 6 (SIX wretched paperbacks?!?!) copies of Hardy’s Return of the Native? Or 4 copies of Joyce’s Ulysses? Ulysses? For the Twilight crowd? Or the Anime kids? Ain’t nobody gonna read it. How about 2 copies of Camus’ “l’Etranger” in the original French? Talk about Absurdism!! The science collection was a further embarrassment - Do we really need a book circa 1950-something on finding the atom? Haven’t we found it?  Didn’t we split it? Didn't we bomb a country with it? My fave decision was removing an entire shelf of political science books. Why do we have all these books on US foreign policy in the Soviet Union? From the 60s and 70s, no less, not even the glasnost 80s, for goodness sakes; gotta beat dem Commies into space, that’ll teach ‘em to mess with us (said in best Texas accent). I considered photos of some classic titles and covers, but decided, in the end, to protect the innocent.

Egad, it was an ugly, outdated mess.

For about 2 weeks, we had recycle bins full of damaged paperbacks, moldy reference books, and outdated junk (Yeah, I said it, JUNKY books! They’re not all treasures, people!), sitting outside the library. I was amazed at how many students, wearing sad little faces, asked, “Why are you throwing away all the books?”, as if I were some sort of evil Rankin/Bass, Heat Miser of a librarian. I had to stop myself from replying; “You didn’t check them out when they were on the shelves, why do you want them now???” But I won’t think about that now, I’ll save a post about the future of libraries for another day… 

Happily, we made it through, tossed some moldy books, gave some away, and kept and stored the best of the rest. The collection is certainly leaner, and meaner, but hopefully we’ve created a library FOR USE. Shout out to my library hero, S. R.Ranganathan!

Once the Big Move was over, we were post-Halloween, and knee-deep in Thanksgiving prep, and then somehow it was Cyber Monday, and yada, yada, yada... I know it is a universal feeling that the time from Oct. 31st to Dec. 31st is a full out sprint, and this year is no different. I’m looking forward to a much needed holiday break.

As always, Excelsior, my peeps!


  1. I can't believe the kids gave you the sad face over cold war books they weren't reading! Oh, wait: yes I can. You are aware of Awful Library Books, right?

  2. Awful Library Books would have had a field day at our little weeding party! There were so many books I wanted to keep just for their covers, their datedness, or their general ridiculousness, but there were just too many. It's clear no one has touched that collection in 35 years. Woh.