Monday, September 9, 2013

With Friends Like These...

Allow me to call your attention to a brief announcement in the September 2013 Director's Report.
"The August 22-26 book sale raised $7,147. The sale included items from the library collection from the Better World Books shipment that were not returned to the collection after careful re-evaluation by the Adult Services librarians. According to the Friends, of the 145 boxes of books offered to the Friends for the sale, a total of three boxes of books were selected by the public."
Dear Reader, I attended this book sale on Saturday, August 24. Full disclosure: I bought a handful of books that had been returned from Better World Books and not added back to the collection. 

Most of the books that filled the Lewis Auditorium were donations, not discarded library books. The paperback mystery selections—no library copies among them—were lovingly attended and groomed by a circulating clutch of Friends. The romance and fantasy paperbacks were also tenderly tended. 

The Library's former books? The ones at the heart of #bookgate? They were partitioned off in two small rooms, still in boxes, difficult to browse. A few other boxes, even more jumbled, were shoved into a corner of the large room. There were signs pointing the curious to "Former Library Books."

I didn't count the boxes - adorned with the Better World Books logos on their sides - but I would be surprised if there were more than 50 available all told. 

Where were the other 100 boxes? I have no idea. Some were stacked up in the back hallway. A Reclaiming traveler said when s/he inquired about them, s/he was told the boxes contained "crap fiction" that no one would want.

Perhaps, just maybe, the Friends could have sold more than 3 boxes of the returned books if they lovingly groomed and curated even a small portion of them in the same way they did the rows of James Patterson, Sue Grafton, and Lillian Braun.

Of course, the Friends didn't want any of the returned library books to sell, period. As one of the Friends stated during public comment at the June 19 Special Meeting of the Library's Board (you can listen at about 01:26:00 mark in this recording), no one wants to buy old library books anyway. We were told to trust the Friends, that they know better than even the librarians what the community wants to read.

With Friends like these, who needs enemies?

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