I love libraries, I truly do—the massive and magnificent, and the small and endearing. But I just made a trip to our local library, a tiny place that went through years of being closed, and emerged from its "renovation" with handicapped-accessible bathrooms (hooray!) and approximately 1/3 fewer books (huh?).
I think the idea was to make the whole physical space less cramped, more available as a place for people to read, or research, or sleep (judging by the impressive snoring the guy upstairs was doing), but—.
But I miss the books. A friend of mine tells me that I just need to use it as a way station, and to request books online that I can pick up there, and I do that and all, but it sort of kills me. I was just there with Chestnut, and I was unable to get:
Clan of the Cave Bear
The World According to Garp
The Color Purple.
I mean—nothing by Alice Walker? I feel like all those kids I see hanging out there would go ga-ga for The Color Purple, and it kills me that it's not there to just pick up. I know that list is a bit like "hits from the 70s and 80s!" but…it's the library. Aren't they supposed to hold on to books?
I think about how much Chestnut would enjoy those books, how much she had a great time reading Where'd You Go, Bernadette?, and what a drag it is that there aren't more books just lying around. I know, I know—e-readers, contemporary YA, space concerns, the internet, etc etc—but I say to you (or to me, who is really saying all of this of course): It's propinquity! Being near tons and tons of different books makes it more likely that people will pick one up and just like Alice fall down the rabbit hole into another dimension.
I want there to be a lot of different dimensions for people to fall down, that's all. Or maybe I'm being unfair, and I want her to fall through a rabbit hole into 1979? Probably so.
At any rate, she is downstairs contentedly reading Terry Pratchett, and I am up here complaining on my keyboard, and we have a whole slew of books on request. I'll let you know how it works out.
3 thoughts on “What’s Not There”
Nothing by Alice Walker? Watership Down? But enough “room” to allow sleepers? I am so with you on this. It is a shame.
How big a system is your library part of? It’s likely they severely weeded before the renovation — so as to not keep junky (well-worn) books in storage. Does the system float books between branches? Because they may be planning to fill in books with usage. So once you request those classics, they may end up staying there. (That’s how it is in our system, but libraries vary.)
I rented my first e-book from the central Los Angeles library the other month, and I have to admit that when I finished it and it disappeared — well — it was weird.