Public Libraries

I stopped by the public library today to look for a book on making whirligigs. A whirligig
is a windpowered motion and noisemaker that scares birds away. They like the peas in
my garden.

Well no luck. It seems that they have systematically thrown out books that “were before
the 70s.”Well I would guess that there aren’t more than a couple really new whirligig
patterns that have emerged since the dark ages ,before the 70s.

So I thought I’d look around for some other interesting stuff.

Roy Underhill has a book on primitive woodworking .Maybe you’ve seen him on IPBN.
A quick check of the computer doesn’t show his name as author. I’ve checked out the
book before so I know it was there as a matter of fact there were a couple of his books.

There was a machinery handbook , kind of technical, that covered stuff like sharpening
chisels,drill bits saws and a whole lot more really technical in depth stuff. Things the
general public knows nothing about. But really interesting to many of us technical
buffs.The book is still in print but costs $50.00 or so.Not in my budget.Silly me,I thought
thats why we have a library.

What a shame.

Oh . I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I think that the library is mismanaged or
out of touch with the world so I am happy to report that I did find a brand new copy of
Martha Stewart Living Cookbook.

Is this happening elsewhere? If it is I’m concerned.

My public library’s selection of non-fiction titles about the paranormal is utterly dismal. Maybe 5 or 6 titles by well-respected paranormal researchers (but plenty by knuckleheads like Ed & Lorraine Warren).

They don’t have any of Cecil’s books. But that’s OK; I’ve read them all anyway.

Their travel books are hopelessly out of date. Those of us on the inside in the travel biz ( :smiley: ) know that 5-8% of the material in a travel guide is obsolete the day the book goes to press. So a book written in 1996 isn’t much good.

As for fiction: is anybody surprised that a library in Illinois only has two copies of Dandelion Wine, a book about growing up in Illinois?


I’m not pleased with my public library, but I don’t generally like to read fiction and my non-fiction reading interests are pretty limited (uh, the paranormal, minutiae and travel, in case you didn’t notice). So I guess I can’t very well fault them. They try to please everybody; that’s why they’re a public library.

The thing here is they are getting rid of the books.
Yeah I can see travel books getting outdated but traditional woodworking by a living author popular by my standards and I guess PBS’s also ???

I have access to a rather good library here in Akron, OH. But they definitely get rid of stuff. That’s why I love this site. It allows me to pick up books I need cheap.

Hey, at least you have a public library near you! I have to go to the universities libraries(ok, the university is not that far, but still…) if I want to find something. Oh, and my school library, but it is not well endowed, nor open when I need it.

One think libraries always lack funds for is replacing books. The book in question may well have been damaged or destroyed or lost, and that is why it was discarded.

Space is always a big issue in libraries, and librarians often have to make hard choices.

I’ve also found that libraries take my suggestions for books pretty seriously. They don’t buy everything, of course, but I’ve had good luck with getting them to buy biographies and historical stuff that they may not have bought otherwise. And one library often bought popular fiction–including science fiction and fantasy–in paperback on just one or two requests. What I’m really saying, in way too many words, is that you should find out how your local library makes purchases, and how you can have some input.

You may have more resources (libraries) available to you than you know.

Check out what regional associations your library belongs to, and what kinds of on-line access they offer. In my area, I have two local public libarries that belong to two different regional librarial (??) organizations. In effect, I have access to the public and unversity libraries of a signifcant portion of the state.

It is possible to access and search the card catalogs of ALL of these libraries by accessing the on-line catalog maintained by the regional organizations. This can be done two ways: through the WEB, or through the local phone line in a dial-up direct connection. I always choose the latter. In essence, my home computer becomes a terminal attached to the local library, and because all of the fancy graphics and animation is bypassed, 9600 baud direct works like a T1 on the WEB. (Kind of like a BBS - remember those?) I use a standard communications program (Comit, ProComm or even Hyperterminal will work) and while it might take a little work toset it up, it’s not all that hard.

Like I said, I can browse all of these catalogs, place reserves on anything that I like, and these reserves are then delivered to my local library, which then kindly sends me a postcard telling me that they are in and I can pick them up. All in all, it’s a wonderful system, absolutely free (your tax dollars at work), and totally convenient. You can access the catalog 24 hours a day from the comfort of your home. So stop down and check it out, you will probably find out that you can do the same things as well.

Well, while we’re griping, the Boston Public Library has a surprising paucity of materials on naval engagements in World War I. Grrr… why can’t I just be interested in popular subjects?

Hey Devil… that’s like my library we have an online catalogue and can request books to be sent to the nearest library. I can’t always find all the books I want but I usually do because there are quite a few branches (it is Edmonton… we can’t just have one library) then we can either get ELVIS to call us or have them send us in the mail… and we can check if it’s in online. Grandma hates the automated voice on the machine (says our name funny) so she called them and told them not to have it phone me… so now I get mails all the time and she complains about the waste of money rolls her eyes ah well

Hey, justwannano, I found what you’re after at Amazon. Says it was published just 11 years ago.

Whoops, left off a quote. link

Justwannano, you might want to check out my depressing thread about the new book “Double Fold,” which is about how many libraries are getting rid of old books, maagzines and newspapers:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=69049