Wednesday, May 29, 2013

If I Were King of the Library, the fourth decree

Libraries within libraries within libraries. Our public libraries are already very much set up this way. We have a Children's Library and a Teen Library, and those are just the ones in their own discrete, specific rooms. We also have, for example, a wing of Non-Fiction and one of Fiction. And then within Fiction we have regular Fiction and Genre Fiction. And let's not stop there. In Genre Fiction we have Mysteries, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Romance, and the rest (the Professor and Mary Ann in this case being Westerns and Large Type. Large Type isn't much of a genre I know, but there it is). Being an extremely omnivorous reader in addition to working here I visit all these libraries within the library, but a person could easily visit our library seven days a week (and they do!) yet never set foot in Kids, or Westerns, or whatever. It's a lot of libraries. Is it too many libraries? Eh, I think no. I think let's just throw open the gates.

But now that the gates are thrown open let's think about what to add. What public libraries don't already have Kids and Mysteries and Non Fiction? We've taken care of that basic, automatic stuff. Now is the time to spread our wings. Libraries are for flying! (Well, at least once in awhile, maybe like the Spruce Goose.) My third decree got us going on one of these extra libraries, the staff curated one, where vulnerable books are protected and the collection is driven by personal staff love. Now, by Kingly decree, I open another library within a library. The Local Library.

The Local Library will be a special collection made of books and media created or produced by people of the State within which the library lies. Strong priority and preference will be given based on how close to the library the author/creator lives and/or works. No preference whatsoever, though, is to be given to professionally produced, conventionally published material over entirely unreleased and homemade material so long as the homemade material meets minimum construction and reuseability standards. I'll move to the copious fine print and details for the rest.

1. All submissions are chosen by a jury based on their subjective opinions of quality combined with the localness of the submission.

2. The jury is to be made up of six people meeting monthly. Staff and local community members are both eligible to serve on the committee. Members are chosen by lot from those volunteers and serve for one year. Jury members must recuse themselves from judging items produced by people they know.

3. Submissions are open to anyone in the state and must come in a set of five that are reasonable facsimiles of each other. They must meet minimum standards of size and durability for circulation. Selected materials will be purchased by the library in their sets of five at a price standardized by type (book, DVD, CD, etc.).

4. Each chosen item will be assigned a supporting juror who will be responsible for writing an erring on the side of honesty frontispiece note explaining why the item was chosen and just how local it is.

So it decreed, this day etc. etc.

The King

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