Tuesday, October 07, 2008

In which, as it were, I rant.

I've finally had it with our little library. It is small, but worse: the selection [collection] is nauseating. I would say 60% or more of the children's library consists of bore-me-to-tears cartoon character stories from Nickelodeon, Pixar, or Disney. Sickening; enough to make me roll my eyes into an oblivion. I can't read that pap to my children! I'm so bored by the second sentence I can hardly stand it. Furthermore, it is less of a "learning opportunity", like, i.e. "Help Blue [of Blue's Clues] find the most healthy snack!" than it is one more avenue of branding their product. Complete malarkey.

The teen section is mostly grotesque novellas of jealousy, love and betrayal - certainly not worth a second glance. Think Sweet Valley High amped up to a revolting level of shallow materialism and sexual obsession. I just can't take it. It is like we are spoon-feeding our children self-absorption. As if the media isn't doing enough of this via ads, mags, television, blockbuster hits, and laughable music videos. We have to hit 'em up with books as well! Gross.

The adult section is mostly shoddy mysteries, westerns, paperback romances, and grocery store aisle best-sellers. Dull. Dull. Dull. Some of my best finds have come from simply browsing library shelves, something that is almost impossible amidst the small pond [I was going to say ocean, but then realized that, no, this library is like a stagnant pond - not the sea] of driveling dribble we have for a book selection in this little town. It is disheartening more than I can describe. There is no Great Literature in this library. It is pap. P-A-P.

I have complained of this before, but after a year - I just can't take it anymore. I'm starting to explore libraries in other towns. It almost feels like a betrayal - like I am cheating on my library. I feel like I have to be very secretive about it and hold my tongue (something that is very hard for me) when I am elsewhere, otherwise that infamous small-town talk will work it's way back to the Small Town librarian and then I am truly done for.


I've found a library that makes my heart glad. It is in the town just west of us; a bit farther of a drive, but the children's section does NOT have cartoon characters painted on the wall (ours does) and they actually have a solid selection in both the children and adult sections. It is almost as small as "my" library, but it feels like a library. It smells like a library. They have tall shelves where you can get lost in the aisle and it gets a little darker when you're in the thick of it.

This leads me to the beginning of an understanding of how much the librarian probably influences the aura-sense-feel of a library, not to mention the collection itself. This is a real DUH!! Moment for me, but being used to large libraries that employ, say, 10-15 people, and going to libraries that are run by one person and a handful of volunteers, it is quite revealing indeed. Those who run it are directly responsible for what it is.

This new library actually feels like a library instead of a book-only garage sale. They have books that are old alongside books that are new. It looks as if quite a bit of thought goes into the collection - there is more variety, more intrigue. The poetry section takes up two four-foot selves instead of a quarter of a shelf. The children's section is chock-full of literature with nary a Buzz Lightyear book in sight. [I did see a couple of Dora books, but they were off to the side and limited in number.] The librarian is a fancy older lady. She wears big jewelry! She looks at home with books! I've overheard her talking about what she is reading!! I can browse!

And now...I feel better.


Sandy said...

Oooh the children's section description CRACKED me UP! You made me appreciate our little library all the more. It's small by most people's standards but it has a wide range on interesting stuff -- that left by myself without children I could burn hours on. Even I have gotten books for myself out of the children's section! Anyway, good for you ... embrace the "new" library. Live it up! -Sandy

Emily said...

Hey I never used drugs because Regina Morrow from SVH died from a rare heart condition and using drugs. Maybe I have that same undetected heart condition. I never knew. If I had never read SVH I might be a drug addict now. I have an addictive personality you know. ;) But don't worry I read my share of Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, The little Prince and anything by Noel Stretfield. I'm not spelling that last name right. ;)