Since I rarely ever blog anymore, no one even bothers to come to my blog. Go figure. Anyway...to my two royal (er...I mean "loyal") readers I write today.
I have been subbing in at least one library per week...with new ones asking me to sub all the time. I have observed so many things that I have decided to try and reflect on what I like and what I don't. I also must try to be discreet about what I don't like. I really do not want anyone stumbling upon this and it coming to haunt me one day. I do not wish to burn any bridges, but I need to reflect and learn from these experiences too. So all libraries: both good and bad, will remain anonymous.
Yesterday I subbed at a middle school library. I have subbed here a couple of other times. The librarian loves me. She and I are about the same age. I really like how she is quite relaxed in some respects: joking with the kids, always taking time to talk with them. She is very friendly and approachable. The kids like her and her library is a busy place. I feel as though she and I could become pretty good friends. I have one huge complaint however. Her collection is a mess! It drives me crazy when I am there. I honestly do not think anything ever is discarded from the library. She purchases new books, but never gets rid of anything old or outdated. All the shelves are very tightly packed and I don't see any evidence of things being shelf-read. EVER! (Shelf-reading is the process of putting the books in order on the shelf) A few weeks ago, I helped to shelf some books and it was nearly impossible to do it because nothing is in order. I'm not sure if anyone ever straightens or tidies the books either. I understand that a shelf of books can get messy quickly when students start perusing the shelves...but I've never seen it get THAT bad. While I was putting books away that day, I found one book that even had the wrong label on the spine. Ugh!!!! Give me a little organization. That's part of what I like about libraries. Everything has a place to go (unlike my own home)...so I can put things away and it looks nice!
It gets worse. I was giving a group of students an orientation of the library yesterday. I showed them all the sections of the library and talked about what fiction vs. nonfiction means, etc. I showed them the biography section. I randomly pulled a book off of the shelf to show them how the spine is labled with the first three letters of the last name of the person the book is about rather than the author. Guess what book I pulled? O.J.: the Story of Football's Fabulous O.J. Simpson, published in 1974. ( I even found a copy on e-bay: someone is trying to sell it for $10...no one's biting. Was great for an image though!) Seriously? Why is this book even in that library? This is not simply a rare or bizarre occurrence in this library; the entire library is like that! Whenever I am there, I am just dying to start weeding out books. No one wants to look at old books like this one. I actually fantasize about going through this library shelf by shelf and culling old books like this one. (I know that I am sick...but I am a librarian after all.)
So I've composed a little poem with the help of Emma Lazarus:
Give me your tired, your poor, your yellow paged books,
Your shelved masses yearning to breathe free,
Toss them into the wretched refuse of the school’s dumpster.
Send these to be homeless, tempest-tost either to the dump or to donate to someone who actually wants them,
I lift my hand to say "Good riddance!" beside the library door.