Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Let's Get Real, Your Little Free Library is Just a Shelf of Books You Don't Want Anymore

In Nebraska. people claim that the books in those twee Little Free Libraries in front of their houses have been taken! More precisely, too many books were taken! From the shelf of books people are supposed to take. That anyone could feign outrage demonstrates a lack of fundamental understanding about what a library, and especially a Public Library, happens to be, and how that differs from an LFL.

Sorry, but there aren't limits on what someone can take when you put a box of things on your curb. And few of the inventories of LFLs equal the number of things one can borrow under checkout limits at my local actual Public Library in our county. So basically, these LFL promoters are dilettantes who want the minimal cachet of the profession of librarianship, but only want people to take one book at a time? Which suggests a basic lack of understand of reading behavior.

But I'm not surprised, because the LFL crowd doesn't get collections, either. I've looked in the LFLs that abound around my area. There isn't anything in there I'd want to read. A few potboilers, outdated self-help, poorly-bound book fair paperbacks from a decade ago, pages falling out. Clearly, the owners are no librarians, or they would have weeded all the contents wholesale. Let's call it what it is -- your cast-offs, Lady Bountiful.

My husband and some of his friends own a microbrewery. Someone who works there wanted to start a "Public Library" shelf. What was on said shelf? Free community newspapers. So it's more a newsstand, but with only free things. I suggested they allocate a few cents from each sale to the purchase of quality materials. I'd volunteer to do selection. But then they got up in arms about how to get anything good back.

Welcome to librarianship.

No comments:

Post a Comment