The reason for my call – my house is groaning under the weight of brand new copies of my books, hardback, paperback, LARGE PRINT, audio. I thought I’d donate one of each. Admittedly there’d be something in it for me. I earn a tiny fee each time someone borrows one of my books. But it was not my principal motive. I just want them out of my way.
However my local library can’t take donations because they have no cataloguing facilities. So I thought okay, the Central Library will be the place. Wrong.
The Central Library said it was unlikely they’d take my donationss to put on their shelves because the cost of cataloguing new books is higher than the cost of buying them. Hunh? What kind of cataloguing system are they running? And anyway I wasn’t selling I was offering to donate. The librarian said the most likely thing they’d do with donated books is give them away. But I can do that myself without schlepping down to the gruesome Ilac Centre on even more gruesome Henry Street. There’s a charity shop at the end of our road where I can give them away. In fact that’s where I’m going right now.
So that, dear readers, is one of the reasons your library shelves aren’t what they used to be. Financial restraints have taken their toll too (all the more reason to accept donations, I’d have thought) and politically correct culling, particularly from children’s libraries. But what a dead-head defeatist attitude. And you know I’d have been a lot more forgiving if the librarians I spoke to today had displayed the slightest hint of regret or frustration. That’s what happens to you when you work long enough in the public sector. It sucks the oomph out of you.
Surplus books. Crisp and never been opened. Can’t give them away. Well actually that’s all I can do.