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I’m glad to say that we can see the holidays are over and people are returning to their habits of
visiting and using the library. The visits, the circulation and the requests jumped back up this first week
of January and I hope it continues to grow.
On Sunday afternoons, I am often packing material requested by other libraries so it is ready to
ship on Monday. It is a contemplative task, looking at what is going out, what is the best packaging for
the safe shipment (the company the libraries use is cost effective, but not kind to the materials!), and
how does the volume compare to other days? Requests have gone up after the holidays as well, so we
are packing more. In looking at what ‘travels’, of course new items do—if we don’t have one of our
patrons on a waiting list for a hot new title of a book or movie, some other library probably does, and
out the title goes, be it a current James Patterson book or the latest DVD.
What is fascinating to me is how many older titles go out on a regular basis. It might be a 25-year-old
title done by an author that is still writing, and I get that—if you’ve found an author that you like and you
want to read everything they wrote, we’re glad to help fill the list. There are some requests for much
more obscure writers, and we may be the last library in our consortium that owns it, and the staff all
have their ‘favorite’ old title that we recognize as soon as it shows up on the request list. Some we have
to repair it yet again before it goes out, and we find it amusing that occasionally the lending library will
stick a note on the book mentioning its condition isn’t the best. No kidding, it might be a 1940s library
book that has seen a lot of use—as long as it is complete, and not too raggedy, we will send it to the
requestor. Heck, books made decades ago were generally made better and last longer—we have some 2
or 3-year-old books that won’t last much longer as the binding glue dries out and gives way. Old
children’s books move as well—the Snipp, Snapp Snurr or the Betsy Tacy books still go out across the
Movies generally don’t last as long as books, but it is still interesting to see what old movies circulate.
We’ve been blessed with a few large donations of DVDs recently, so as time allows, we’ve been either
replacing our worn out copy or adding the title to our collections. We treat them as new additions and
place them in our new movie section, and it has proven to be a good move—the movies that came out in
the 1990s or earlier seem to hit a soft spot, not only with our patrons, but again with library users
throughout our lend/borrow family. Might be a classic western, or a romantic comedy from 20 years ago,
these titles frequently travel.
The upshot is, libraries house both new and old, titles fascinating to someone, somewhere, and we are
happy to be able to fill the requests. Let us know what you want—while we can’t have everything, we
really do try to have access to titles and materials desired.