Thursday, April 7, 2016

Long time in library

We get a lot of donations here at the library. There are invariably several carts and shelves and boxes of unsorted donated books sitting in our back work room. While the regular shelving carts and public shelves of my library are more likely places to look if one is browsing for a good book to read, these donations tend to be more interesting, comical, apocryphal, historical, and just plain odd to look through. The donations are at their best for searching through materials without really wanting to read them. They tell the strange history of publishing and culture, they tell of book design, forgotten cultural trends, and in their strange smells, inscriptions, and brittle, stained conditions they even tell the stories of their buyers and owners.

But it was a fairly mundane cart full of donated, not very old, Science Fiction and Fantasy books that illuminated for me just how long I have been living in a library.

I have spent decades now in a library. I am deeply acquainted with a vast array of books and audio visual material. But I am familiar with all of it in a library context. So when I saw a cart full of Sci Fi and Fantasy books, many that I have read, something that you will no doubt understand as completely obvious occurred to me in a peculiar surprise. I looked at all these nice books that someone donated, and I thought:

Oh my god, people actually buy new books!

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