PDA

View Full Version : Libraries



Fazor
2012-Sep-01, 09:49 PM
Just from the 'Currently Reading' thread in SMAL . . . A new thread to randomly babble about libraries.

It's sad that our city doesn't have a nicer one -- though that's a statement that I'm sure applies to the vast majority of cities anymore. Ours is a rather dreary place. Old. Small. Cramped. The on-hand book catalog isn't very impressive. A little better when you consider the county's shared books, which can be requested and delivered between branches. But over all, it's not a very inviting place.

Last year, Tara was invited to a baby shower in a city that's about an hour away from our house. The party was also 15 minutes from the stadium hosting a sporting even we had tickets to later that evening. In short, it didn't make sense for her to drive an hour to the party, and hour home, then almost an hour for us to drive back up to the city. So I took her to the party and dropped her off.

I had a couple hours to kill, and I thought about finding a nice park to sit and get some drawing and/or writing done. But it was unseasonably cold. As I drove through this alien city, I passed the library. So I turned around and ventured inside. It was gorgeous! Huge, with dedicated wings for children's, reference, fiction, etc etc. It also had huge music and movie sections, dozens of computer stations, and tons of open, comfortable seating. The place was pretty busy, which made me happy. It's nice to know that people, somewhere, still make regular use of libraries.

And no dust in sight!

The two+ hours I had to "kill" flew by. It was a great environment for getting work done. I really wish we had a place like that!

.... Okay, so I guess that's enough babbling about libraries. For now.

Swift
2012-Sep-01, 10:34 PM
You can never talk too much about libraries as far as I'm concerned. But my dad was a librarian, so they hold a special place in my heart.

I do have to say that the town I live in, Mentor, has a very nice library, and it has generally been well supported by citizens.

KaiYeves
2012-Sep-02, 01:03 AM
You can never talk too much about libraries as far as I'm concerned.

I agree! I love libraries, and I'm very happy that today I learned how to make an appointment to use the one at the Museum of Science here in Boston.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-02, 01:45 AM
Olympia is part of the Timberland Regional Library System. The hardest part of dealing with it for me is remembering that we don't have a "main branch." There's the service center, but no one branch is central to the system. However, the branch libraries themselves are generally friendly and inviting. The employees are great, and I'm not just saying that because my best friend works there. They're underfunded, but for some reason, people don't see libraries as much of a priority.

Romanus
2012-Sep-02, 03:48 AM
There is one local library I go to on occasion that taught me a lot about what the locals use it for. Almost every time I've been in there it's been busy, school nights and weekends, until one day I go in there and the place is open, but dead. I ask around, and it becomes immediately obvious that the computers are down. This zapped the catalog and online use, to be sure, but you could still check out books and browse--almost no one was doing those. It was, honestly, a little depressing.

DonM435
2012-Sep-02, 04:34 AM
In the pre-Internet days, I spent a considerable portion of my life in one library or another. It's rather sad that they haven't much to offer any more.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-02, 05:45 AM
Why don't libraries have much to offer? What more do you want?

vonmazur
2012-Sep-02, 07:51 AM
Well, I have to go to Connecticut to visit the U Conn Library. I am doing a book on Railroads in CT, and they have all the charts and publications. Fortunately, I have a friend who is retired as a Librarian, and he can get me access to all the info I need. I think the task of uploading all the publications to the net would take a long time, so I am grateful that they allow us "wanna-be authors" to go thru the publications and copy what we need....

Dale

HenrikOlsen
2012-Sep-02, 10:36 AM
Why don't libraries have much to offer? What more do you want?
Free books?
Seeing how many people apparently don't know what a librarian is and why Google is a mediocre alternative, I'm not really surprized by the attitude.
It's the same thinking that leads to cities firing the professional staff and using volunteers for what they think is still libraries.

TJMac
2012-Sep-02, 01:58 PM
I have to admit, I find libraries to be a bit addicting. The town I grew up in had a nice one. There is a very nice library system where I live now. I can lose a great deal of time in any of the branches. :clap:

I do notice however, that a great deal more people are at the library to use the computers than to find books. The library offers free Wifi, so I love that I can use my phone to do searches, rather than spend all the time and effort to amble 30 feet over to a 'Search Catalog' computer. :o

Still, considering, they seem to keep fairly busy, and I plan to keep indulging my addiction.

TJ

Gillianren
2012-Sep-02, 07:15 PM
Well, and of course, the catalog is now all online. In our library system, that means that a substantial amount of looking for books is generally done online, because you can't be sure your branch will have exactly the book you're looking for, but another branch in the system might. It's likely someone has it, but it's not likely every branch has it. The hold line is handled through the cataloging software, too, so you have to log on to put something on hold. Yes, a lot of those people are there to use the computers, but in my opinion, that's a perfectly legitimate use of the library. Libraries in their current incarnation exist to share information, not just books. And if you're using the computer at the library, you probably can't afford one of your own, or at least not internet at home. Libraries have long been around to serve those with lower incomes; it's probably one of the reasons they're typically in the middle of funding crises.

publiusr
2012-Sep-02, 07:15 PM
Then there was this--an abandoned library--
http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jan/02/photography-detroit#/?picture=370173040&index=3

DonM435
2012-Sep-02, 08:18 PM
Why don't libraries have much to offer? What more do you want?

Believe me, I used to dig through bound periodicals and old volumes and microfilm, and was grateful for it. Now, with regard to reference materials, all their print stuff is necessarily outdated, and the online stuff I can get from home.

I'll admit that some of the fiction they have may not be computer accessible, but it's just a matter of time.

The last few new books that I wanted to read had a waiting list. I bought some of these instead, and didn't bother about the others.

grapes
2012-Sep-02, 08:49 PM
In my hometown, of less than 10,000 people even today, the library is impressive. When I got my first card, it was housed in an old stone Carnegie building. That was added onto, then was torn down for a remodel to match the addition. A local oil company built a massive office building, but the oil economy emptied it--and the library moved in. It has its own cafe, still, I hear: http://parkcountylibrary.org/cody/

starcanuck64
2012-Sep-02, 08:55 PM
The Vancouver Central Library is a cool place to spend time, it has also showed up in a number of films and TV series like Battlestar Galactica.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_Public_Library#In_TV_and_film

I use the Edmonton Public Library system constantly, some of it's facilities are a little run down but it has a great selection of books, CDs and DVDs. I'm at my local branch right now on the WiFi.

Parrothead
2012-Sep-02, 09:23 PM
Close to 100 public library branches in the city. Most are small local branches, district branches are medium size, reference library downtown large. I'll browse the local branch when returning books, cds or dvds, see if any items look interesting on a cart containing materials for sale, that are being deleted from the system. If something comes to mind, while at home, I'll just browse the system, if the local branch doesn't have a copy in stock, I'll place a hold on that material online. A couple of times, I've judged that the wait time may be too long, by the number of holds vs copies in the system and purchased the book instead.

Computer/internet use came in handy when I was without a computer for some time.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-02, 09:44 PM
Believe me, I used to dig through bound periodicals and old volumes and microfilm, and was grateful for it. Now, with regard to reference materials, all their print stuff is necessarily outdated, and the online stuff I can get from home.

But a lot of people can't. Not everyone has internet at home.


I'll admit that some of the fiction they have may not be computer accessible, but it's just a matter of time.

Sure, but they'll still charge you for it if you want most of it legally. With the library, people on a fixed income can still read as many books as they'd like.


The last few new books that I wanted to read had a waiting list. I bought some of these instead, and didn't bother about the others.

So the books weren't available right away, which means the library doesn't have anything to offer? Yes, I'm on plenty of waiting lists. I don't mind. I can't read as many books at once as I have on my to-read list anyway, so some of them will have to wait no matter what. I'm doing research for a book I'm writing, and I've got literally dozens of books to choose from at my library. What's more, the one which seemed like it would be the most helpful turned out not to be worth it after only a few chapters, and I didn't have to buy it to find that out. I'd love to buy more books, but I can't afford it. I'm not sure when the last time I bought myself a new book was--and a lot of the used ones I buy come from the library's used book racks!

DonM435
2012-Sep-02, 10:14 PM
Okay, you've convinced me that libraries are useful to many people, even if I rarely go there.

Fazor
2012-Sep-03, 05:18 AM
This is exactly why I started this thread. I can see both sides. I feel our library is. . . Not "useless," but not as useful as they could be. Libraries like the one I described in the OP are wonderful and invaluable.

Solfe
2012-Sep-03, 05:44 AM
I love my library. The librarians are excellent and I think they have a sense of humor: The last book on the last shelf is "The Wikipedia revolution" with the call numbers ZA4482 .L54 2009.

Edit - the book's title is actually printed with incorrect casing. Nice touch I think.

jokergirl
2012-Sep-03, 09:28 AM
BoingBoing recently featured a nice little infographic on what libraries offer, in the US:

http://boingboing.net/2012/08/30/u-s-public-libraries-weather.html

Gillianren
2012-Sep-03, 06:35 PM
I love my library. The librarians are excellent and I think they have a sense of humor: The last book on the last shelf is "The Wikipedia revolution" with the call numbers ZA4482 .L54 2009.

Edit - the book's title is actually printed with incorrect casing. Nice touch I think.

Library of Congress cataloging, huh?

DonM435
2012-Sep-03, 06:50 PM
Some of the libraries around here do serve as secular community centers, offering classes, lectures, plays and so on. That's certainly a good thing.

Even though I could locate information faster without their help, ;) I'm still deeply grateful to the librarians for putting up with me, keeping the microfilm readers and copy machines in working order and such.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Sep-03, 08:35 PM
Library of Congress cataloging, huh?
If so, that ZA4482 would seem to put it in "Information resources (General)/Information in specific formats or media/Electronic information resources" which is weirdly relevant as I think Wikipedia itself could have that classification, but would seem to be utterly wrong as a classification for a book unless there's some serious meta'ing going on in the classification system.

I'm guessing it's a joke intended primarily for other librarians.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-03, 09:01 PM
I just meant it's obviously not Dewey Decimal.

Solfe
2012-Sep-04, 05:03 AM
I just meant it's obviously not Dewey Decimal.

If it was 031 22, then it wouldn't be the last book in the library. :)

Last semester, I think I spent more waking hours at school and in the library than at home.

Andromeda321
2012-Sep-04, 10:32 AM
I'm going to bet good money that the OP was referring to the Cleveland library which is AMAZING- rated by many to be the best library system in the USA, and one thing I miss about being there for sure. Tho I still use my library card actually even though I don't live there- can download ebooks from them with it.

One of my greater surprises moving abroad to the Netherlands btw is that you have to pay to get a library card here- 30 Euro a year for an adult, and an additional 1.50 each time you rent a DVD. Not like it's a cost-prohibitive amount, but I guess we have such a history in the US from moguls like Andrew Carnegie who wished they had a free library when they were back in the Old Country that it's a fairly unthinkable thing on our side of the pond...

I still pay the 30 Euro a year tho btw even if I don't get the best use out of it. They have the equivalent of a small library's books in English, which is of course quite nice when your'e abroad.

Fazor
2012-Sep-04, 12:53 PM
I'm going to bet good money that the OP was referring to the Cleveland library which is AMAZING- rated by many to be the best library system in the USA, and one thing I miss about being there for sure.

Nope. Cleveland is about a 3 hour drive from my house. This city was a suburb of Columbus -- I think it was Dublin. I just can't remember if it was all the way up there, or south of that.

Cougar
2012-Sep-04, 01:15 PM
...I guess we have such a history in the US from moguls like Andrew Carnegie who wished they had a free library when they were back in the Old Country that it's a fairly unthinkable thing on our side of the pond...

Didn't Carnegie build libraries all over the country? My home town had a Carnegie library. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South_Pasadena_Public_Library.jpg)

Now that I'm in the Wild West, it's surprising there is a nearby library that is truly awesome. (http://www.slcpl.org/branches/view/Main+Library) I've got to take and post more photos. It even keeps up pretty well with current books on astronomy, physics, astrophysics, and cosmology. Which is surprising, since so much in this region is still so.... backward.

ToSeek
2012-Sep-04, 02:07 PM
My closest library is a block away. :D

The most impressive one in the area, though, is actually the Germantown, MD, branch of the Montgomery County system:

http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/libraries/images/branches/newgt2.jpg

It looks like a cathedral on the inside, too, complete with central tower, nave, and transepts.

Jim
2012-Sep-04, 02:45 PM
... They're underfunded, but for some reason, people don't see libraries as much of a priority.

When Houston decided they needed to save some money, one of the first things cut was library funding. Many branches closed one day a week. And it was always a weekend day, when you'd think more people would want to use the library. And/or, they cut the hours, but always the same hours; the branch would close early every day, instead of opening late one or two days and closing late.

They cut the funding, reduced the hours, and made it inconvenient.

They're back to normal now.

The branch closest to our house is the Freeman, a joint venture between the city and the county. It's fairly new and very nice.

The city library main branch in Fort Worth had a fund raising drive many years ago. Our children have their names in bricks outside the library.

Fazor
2012-Sep-04, 02:49 PM
The town I grew up in had a sad little library, just a two story brick building almost as old as the city itself. But I loved it. Upon entering, you were greeted by the smell of the heavy oak polished wood that made up the large bookshelves, mingled with that glossy, papery smell of books and VHS cassette cases. A trip to the library often meant some fun activity or reading, followed by leaving with my arms wrapped around a stack of books and also a video to watch (usually something from the Charlie Brown movies, if I could help it.)

I know most of the magic was from the wonder a place like that inspires in a young kid, and now from the nostalgia of the experience. The city replaced the building with a brand new, much bigger and more "modern" space when they built the new High School back in '92 or so. While the facility is "better", it's extremely sterile and lacks any of that "magic."

Solfe
2012-Sep-04, 02:58 PM
The city library main branch in Fort Worth had a fund raising drive many years ago. Our children have their names in bricks outside the library.

That was a great idea. I love it.

At ECC, the library is open 8 am to 9 pm, Monday thru Thursday then 8 or 9 am to 3 or 4 pm on Friday and Saturday. They don't advertise it but sometimes they have Sunday hours.

They are strict about closing time... They simply turn off some of the lights and ALL of the computers at 8:45. That is the warning that they are closing.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-04, 05:18 PM
Didn't Carnegie build libraries all over the country? My home town had a Carnegie library. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South_Pasadena_Public_Library.jpg)

He did, yes. (You're from South Pas? I grew up in Altadena!) Olympia has a Carnegie library, but they moved out of it many years ago and it's now some Christian youth group, while the library occupies a modern building a block away. I keep thinking about going there at some point, probably during Artswalk when I think they're open to the public, and seeing if I can figure out why the library moved.

Cougar
2012-Sep-06, 01:52 PM
(You're from South Pas? I grew up in Altadena!)

Yep. Actually, my great grandfather moved there around 1900. Unfortunately, his name was not Henry Huntington. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_E._Huntington) :(

DonM435
2012-Sep-06, 02:07 PM
When Houston decided they needed to save some money, one of the first things cut was library funding. Many branches closed one day a week. And it was always a weekend day, when you'd think more people would want to use the library. And/or, they cut the hours, but always the same hours; the branch would close early every day, instead of opening late one or two days and closing late.

They cut the funding, reduced the hours, and made it inconvenient.

They're back to normal now.

The branch closest to our house is the Freeman, a joint venture between the city and the county. It's fairly new and very nice.

The city library main branch in Fort Worth had a fund raising drive many years ago. Our children have their names in bricks outside the library.


It'd be nice if -- assuming that they have to limit hours -- they opened only on weekends and evenings, so that school kids and working people could have more access.

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday was an official holiday in Illinois, and I remember the Chicago pubic libraries closed on that day. An ambitious young scholar with the day off couldn't make good use of it. Somehow, I don't think that Lincoln would have approved of this state of affairs.

Fazor
2012-Sep-06, 02:25 PM
It'd be nice if -- assuming that they have to limit hours -- they opened only on weekends and evenings, so that school kids and working people could have more access.

I was going to talk about that in my OP, as due to budget cuts, I remember our local library cutting weekends and also dropping week-day hours down to a 5:30 close, making it nearly impossible for a person with "regular" business hours to make use of it.

But when I checked their website, it's says they're not only open on Saturdays, but also have pretty good Sunday hours. Additionally, they're open 'til 9:00pm three of the five days of the week. So either I'm remembering the budget cut wrong, the hours have since gone back to old hours, or the website just isn't up to date.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-06, 06:50 PM
Yep. Actually, my great grandfather moved there around 1900. Unfortunately, his name was not Henry Huntington. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_E._Huntington) :(

Yeah, speaking of libraries. Actually, I got to see their Gutenberg Bible the last time I was there.


I was going to talk about that in my OP, as due to budget cuts, I remember our local library cutting weekends and also dropping week-day hours down to a 5:30 close, making it nearly impossible for a person with "regular" business hours to make use of it.

But when I checked their website, it's says they're not only open on Saturdays, but also have pretty good Sunday hours. Additionally, they're open 'til 9:00pm three of the five days of the week. So either I'm remembering the budget cut wrong, the hours have since gone back to old hours, or the website just isn't up to date.

Maybe they can't afford an internet person?

Fazor
2012-Sep-06, 07:00 PM
Maybe they can't afford an internet person?

Possible. But the cuts that were supposed to affect the hours happened at least two years ago. I'm guessing the regular hours have been restored.

I'll have to go there and take a gander for myself -- the meetings that I was talking about in the "Powers of Suggestion" thread is but a block away from the library. Maybe next time I'll walk down there and check it out for myself.

KaiYeves
2012-Sep-06, 09:55 PM
It'd be nice if -- assuming that they have to limit hours -- they opened only on weekends and evenings, so that school kids and working people could have more access.

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday was an official holiday in Illinois, and I remember the Chicago pubic libraries closed on that day. An ambitious young scholar with the day off couldn't make good use of it. Somehow, I don't think that Lincoln would have approved of this state of affairs.
I had quite a hard time using the excellent National Geographic Society Library when I was in DC this summer, as it was only open on weekdays, and I worked every weekday except Friday and had group activities with the other kids in my dorm every other Friday.

Noclevername
2012-Sep-07, 06:14 AM
I lived near a large library in Avon, CT, and spent much of my childhood there. I probably learned more reading in that library than I did in school.

The town I live in now has a smaller library, but it's doubled in size since I moved here. I also like to donate books and movies to them whenever possible.

otakenji
2012-Sep-07, 08:49 AM
It seems to me that the independent libraries fare better than the larger library systems. Los Angeles County Libraries tend to be drearier and less useful than the smaller independent libraries found in Torrance, CA, Cerritos, CA and Huntington Beach, CA. It is all dependent on funding and how each community values its library. Most people would rather rent a DVD than read a real book these days. It is a sad state of affairs.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-07, 05:32 PM
Heck, at our library system, you can check out a DVD, no renting required. Oh, you'll have to wait for new releases, but you get it free for a week. Three, if it's a documentary--or if no one wants it and you renew twice. But I will say that the Pasadena library system is pretty good, or was when I lived down there. But I've never been to the libraries in Torrance, Cerritos, or Huntington Beach. I seem to recall that Azusa had a pretty good one, when my mom was working out there and used to visit on her lunch break, and I've always been fond of Altadena's. In high school, I spent more time at the branch of the public library across the street actually checking out books than I did in the school library unless I was just hanging out with the school librarian. Then again, the nonfiction was a lot more up-to-date.

Cougar
2012-Sep-09, 11:55 PM
Heck, at our library system, you can check out a DVD, no renting required....

Same with the one in Salt Lake, which is quite the progressive library, with incredible architecture and grounds....

KaiYeves
2012-Sep-10, 12:16 AM
Woah, architecturally stunning!

DonM435
2012-Sep-10, 01:00 PM
Heck, at our library system, you can check out a DVD, no renting required. Oh, you'll have to wait for new releases, but you get it free for a week.
. . .


I note that the local libraries do a brisk business in New Releases, which puts them in competition with the rental businesses.

Why weren't the libraries limited (or why didn't their directors limit themselves) to making available educational, non-fiction and classic stuff?

I'd argue that they shouldn't be stocking any popular movie that's less than 40 years old. (Perhaps with individual exceptions for acclaimed new versions of classic stories.) There are lots of great old movies that you can't find at the library, unless one is available in a poor, ten year old public domain release. You know: more Lauence Olivier and less Eddie Murphy.

Cougar
2012-Sep-10, 01:26 PM
Woah, architecturally stunning!

Yeah, it's quite something. It's also quite challenging to patrons with acrophobia! I am just not fond of those glass elevators!

Noclevername
2012-Sep-10, 02:12 PM
I note that the local libraries do a brisk business in New Releases, which puts them in competition with the rental businesses.

Why weren't the libraries limited (or why didn't their directors limit themselves) to making available educational, non-fiction and classic stuff?

I'd argue that they shouldn't be stocking any popular movie that's less than 40 years old. (Perhaps with individual exceptions for acclaimed new versions of classic stories.) There are lots of great old movies that you can't find at the library, unless one is available in a poor, ten year old public domain release. You know: more Lauence Olivier and less Eddie Murphy.

They have to please the "customers". Most people want their libraries to have recent fiction movies.

And the libraries have to work with the materials they have. How often do people with collections of great classic movies tend to donate them to libraries?

DonM435
2012-Sep-10, 04:47 PM
I assumed that some board of directors decides how to spend the library funds. Once the idea of adding video productions to the holdings came up, someone should have set limits on what titles were appropriate to the library's mission. It should have required that the material be educational, or be entertaining stuff of proven and lasting value. The libraries always separated good books from trashy paperbacks, and rewarding periodicals from tabloids. It should go without saying that movies would have to meet similar criteria.

Before anyone suggests it, I'm not saying that "I'll decide what's good enough," only that there be some standard in place.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-10, 06:45 PM
The standard, here at least, tends to lean toward the stuff that patrons actually request. That means new releases. It is also the case that they cannot buy certain movies on DVD, because they simply aren't available. Of course, our library also has a plentiful supply of trashy paperbacks, because the purpose of a library is to be of use to its patrons, not force them to have higher personal standards. You yourself have said that there's always a list for new releases in fiction; I have been waiting after well over a hundred people on a hold list for a new DVD several times. I can also promise you, given my personal experiences, that our library has a lot of educational materials and classic movies.

DonM435
2012-Sep-11, 12:47 PM
I did a quick search of the Brevard County (FL) public library system catalog, using the examples above, and found that Laurence Olivier (I spelled it correctly this time) had 57 DVD entries to Eddie Murphy's 56. So, maybe my estimate of the situation was off.

Then again, you could find Citizen Kane at seven branches, and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace at eight. Their search method has lots of rough edges, so it would take a lot of work to get reliable numbers.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-11, 06:53 PM
That's surprising to me. I would think a lot more people would be inclined to check out Citizen Kane. Though possibly those are just leftover copies from when people still cared about Phantom Menace; I know our library has a policy that, when you get above a certain number of people on the hold list, they buy another copy. Though I don't know how that works with new releases, where they know the demand will go down, and the number of people it takes to trigger it went up when their bond initiative failed a few years ago.

Heid the Ba'
2012-Sep-12, 10:49 AM
Didn't Carnegie build libraries all over the country? My home town had a Carnegie library. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:South_Pasadena_Public_Library.jpg)


Starting in his hometown (http://www.scotcities.com/carnegie/early.htm), I plan to visit it at lunchtime.

DonM435
2012-Sep-12, 01:13 PM
My point was that any library in the U.S. that stocks videos should maintain copies of Citizen Kane, the Hitchcock films, the Marx Brothers, Spencer Tracy movies, and so on, rather than recent stuff. With my proposed 40-year waiting period in place, they'd be able to consider adding, say, The Godfather about now. Your mileage may vary.

Fazor
2012-Sep-12, 03:33 PM
My point was that any library in the U.S. that stocks videos should maintain copies of Citizen Kane, the Hitchcock films, the Marx Brothers, Spencer Tracy movies, and so on, rather than recent stuff. With my proposed 40-year waiting period in place, they'd be able to consider adding, say, The Godfather about now. Your mileage may vary.

I don't agree. Why should movies be different than literature? Should they have to wait 40 years to stock new novels and reference material? A "Library" is an information repository, not a "Old stuff" collection. And having new movies doesn't prevent carrying classics.

I'm not a movie person anyway, and haven't used to library to checkout movies since the 'Peanuts' days described above. My nieces, on the other hand, get movies from the library all the time. They've seen a lot of the more recent Pixar-esqe stuff and some Barbie garbage, but also have been exposed to Fantasia (classic and '2000'), 'Call of the Wild,' and other great, world-opening stuff. All relatively free of charge (they don't pay taxes, being 8 and 4 years old.)

DonM435
2012-Sep-12, 06:51 PM
...
And having new movies doesn't prevent carrying classics.



Yeah, sure if you have the space and the resources, you can have both. But these may be limited, and surely the Barbie garbage (congrats on not coining "Barbage" as a term) does consume some of both. I'd leave it to the taxpayers.

Libraries have always been acquiring new books of all kinds, and I wasn't questioning the continuance of that. However, when moving into newly-available media, I figured that there should be some ground rules. In fact, since reference material will probably have to be electronic to remain current, I'd say that the purchase of physical books ought to be scrutinized, preferring material that won't become quickly outdated. Like, say, "classics."

It's amusing to me, because when we were discussing funding for the Public Broadcasting System, I was arguing for giving the people what they wanted. Having manned the phones in a couple of their telethons, I had the unenviable task of asking people for direct contributions. If they wanted more "country" entertainment and less ballet, I could sympathize. If someone asked for pro wrestling, I was less moved.

Noclevername
2012-Sep-12, 06:56 PM
I read that as "Barbie garage". o_O

DonM435
2012-Sep-12, 07:08 PM
I read that as "Barbie garage". o_O

I must have the same brand of dyslexia. I wondered about all the GARBAGE SALES going on in my neighborhood.

Fazor
2012-Sep-12, 07:13 PM
Y'all are making me paranoid. My new laptop at work has a keyboard that can't keep up with the blazing speed at which I type, so I've been prone to numerous typos on top of my usual bad spelling. :-P

Noclevername
2012-Sep-12, 07:48 PM
Ur speling luks fyn tu mi.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-13, 12:07 AM
Yeah, sure if you have the space and the resources, you can have both. But these may be limited, and surely the Barbie garbage (congrats on not coining "Barbage" as a term) does consume some of both. I'd leave it to the taxpayers.

And as I've said, repeatedly, our library's DVD policy is geared toward giving people what they want. There are currently nearly 20,000 DVDs in our library's system. The catalog doesn't sort if your results return more than 500 items. So just last night, I went through the "DVD collection" category manually again. (I have to do this every now and again; last night, I put just about everything starting with "O," "P," or "Q" on my list.) Now, one of the title words that meant I didn't put the disc on my list was "pilates"; I'd estimate there to be at least two dozen different pilates DVDs. However, the other major title word was "Pokemon." (Which, yes, also failed to go on the list.) The interesting thing is that the "unsorted" result is to sort everything by when it was entered into the catalog. The first two or three hundred DVDs in our system were almost all either classics or nonfiction. However, that doesn't stop them from also having new releases.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Sep-13, 06:11 AM
And for letting the taxpayers decide, try checking the "Troy book burning party" and why they had to go to such extremes.

Don't mix a tax related vote with the [redacted].

Cougar
2012-Sep-13, 12:30 PM
And for letting the taxpayers decide, try checking the "Troy book burning party" and why they had to go to such extremes.


"We posed as a clandestine group who urged people to vote to close the library so they could have a book burning party. Public outcry over the idea drowned out the anti-tax opposition and created a ground-swell of support for the library, which won by a landslide."

Ha ha. Clever!

DonM435
2012-Sep-13, 01:31 PM
Darn taxpayers, :mad: wanting some say in how we spend their money!

HenrikOlsen
2012-Sep-13, 02:29 PM
When the debate about whether a library is worth the money gets drowned out by a "taxation is evil" debate, then it stops being you taxpayers and starts being special interests that control your money.

DonM435
2012-Sep-13, 03:44 PM
It's an ancient debate that we won't settle here, and probably shouldn't be talking about anyway.

SeanF
2012-Sep-13, 04:30 PM
The thing is that money is fungible. The group that opposed the new taxes didn't want to shut the library down, they wanted the City to cut spending elsewhere. It's just as true to say that the higher taxes were to pay for that other stuff as it is to say that they were to pay for the library.

But that's why it's always the libraries, police, and fire departments that are first on the proverbial chopping block when tax money gets tight - because it's easier to convince the voters that they need more tax money to pay for those things than it is that they need more tax money to pay, for example, administrative assistant salaries. :)

PetersCreek
2012-Sep-13, 04:46 PM
This space reserved for a stern reminder about the prohibition on partisan politics...doubly so when the terms are derogatory.

Fazor
2012-Sep-13, 05:48 PM
This space reserved for a stern reminder about the prohibition on partisan politics...doubly so when the terms are derogatory.

Just what do you have against "librarians" and why is that a derogatory term? . . . ;)

Noclevername
2012-Sep-14, 01:25 PM
The nearest library has a rather confusing classification system; there are no sections for romance, sci-fi, etc. Instead all the fiction books are in one room, arranged alphabetically by author's name. There's also no card catalog (remember those?) and I get confused trying to use the system on this particular computer catalog.

ToSeek
2012-Sep-14, 02:44 PM
The nearest library has a rather confusing classification system; there are no sections for romance, sci-fi, etc. Instead all the fiction books are in one room, arranged alphabetically by author's name. There's also no card catalog (remember those?) and I get confused trying to use the system on this particular computer catalog.

My local library got rid of the fiction genre classifications as well some years ago and lumped them all together.

Hardly anyone has a card catalog any more.

Earlier this year I was at a library in Portugal with its own distinctive cataloging system ( http://bibliotecas.cm-tavira.pt/node/2 ). Among other quirks, every science book was under "H", and after that it was sorted by the author's last name.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-14, 06:13 PM
That is . . . less than helpful.

Technically, fiction isn't really part of the classification system most American public libraries use; the Dewey Decimal system only covers nonfiction. (It is in Library of Congress, but I actually find that less helpful, since I don't understand where it goes, and lit crit is interspersed with the actual books it's about.) From a Dewey Decimal perspective, there are no divisions in fiction. It's just that most libraries find it helpful.

swampyankee
2012-Sep-14, 09:33 PM
The nearest library has a rather confusing classification system; there are no sections for romance, sci-fi, etc. Instead all the fiction books are in one room, arranged alphabetically by author's name. There's also no card catalog (remember those?) and I get confused trying to use the system on this particular computer catalog.

The library nearest me now shelves science fiction and fantasy with other fiction; they still shelve mysteries separately. I'm not sure about westerns, because I don't read that genre.

A lot of the genre distinctions are artificial and arbitrary. Benjamin Button was, iirc, from a story by F Scott Fitzgerald, so it wasn't sf, but would have been had the author been, say, EE Smith, and the story was word-for-word identical.

DonM435
2012-Sep-15, 04:00 PM
I think that here they separate Mystery and Science Fiction from the more general Fiction.

Of course, the same author's stuff may appear alphabetized in three different sets of shelves.

ToSeek
2012-Sep-15, 09:08 PM
Technically, fiction isn't really part of the classification system most American public libraries use; the Dewey Decimal system only covers nonfiction.

That's not actually correct, and I used to work in a library (at Southern Illinois University*) that had everything in Dewey, including fiction. American fiction goes under 813, English under 823, and so on. There are even genre categories:

813.085 - Love stories
813.087 - Adventure fiction

On the other hand, that's the only DDS library i've ever encountered that didn't have a fiction section.

*One example:

The moon is a harsh mistress
by Heinlein, Robert A. Published 1966
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Call Number: 813.5 H468M
Location: Dewey Books, McLafferty Annex

Gillianren
2012-Sep-15, 09:39 PM
I stand corrected. Thank you.

swampyankee
2012-Sep-16, 03:28 AM
I think that here they separate Mystery and Science Fiction from the more general Fiction.

Of course, the same author's stuff may appear alphabetized in three different sets of shelves.

I think that the number of authors that write books in the mystery, sf/f, and mainstream genres, at least under their own names, can be counted on one hand. Indeed, I can't think of any.

The other issue is that established mainstream authors are likely to get all their books shelved as mainstream, regardless of the genre they write in. Witness Fitzerald, with his Benjamin Button story, or Doris Lessing, with her Canopus in Argos series (she's even said "What they didn't realise was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time. I also admire the classic sort of science fiction, like Blood Music, by Greg Bear. He's a great writer.", which probably went far to tick off a number of mainstream critics).

Solfe
2012-Sep-16, 03:35 PM
I think the best catalog system is the Asimov system. Buy one of every Asimov's books; since he was so prolific on so many topics you can just tell users "yeah, the book you are looking for is over there next to the Asimov book." You need to gesture vaguely in different directions if this system is to work.

DonM435
2012-Sep-16, 08:06 PM
I think that the number of authors that write books in the mystery, sf/f, and mainstream genres, at least under their own names, can be counted on one hand. Indeed, I can't think of any.
...


In checking, I found that our library system, in addition to SF, F(iction) and M(ystery), also had W(estern), B(iography), YA (Young Adult), and also "juvenile" versions of each, e.g., JB, JF, JM. So, one author may appear in five different places. Much like a modern boxer can hold five championship belts, all of them some variation on middleweight.

Not counting junior divisions, I did find Edgar Rice Buroughs in F, SF and W. Arthur Conan Doyle was in M (of course) and F, but, as you say, his SF was relegated to F. Both had some B, as well as studies with numeric entries.

Without a computer for help, you'd have trouble trackling down all of an author's work.

Gillianren
2012-Sep-17, 06:22 AM
Of course, that's true if they write nonfiction, too.

DonM435
2012-Sep-17, 02:16 PM
I remember that St. Xavier College put all the fiction in the 800 category, based upon the reasonable assumption that it was all "literature."