Library Facts

There are two bits of information about libraries that people tend to have in their heads which are largely inaccurate. Not evil or silly: just inaccurate. I’d like to point these out to you.

1. The Constitution guarantees that a library will be open whenever it’s convenient for you.

Yes, marshmallowed mutton, I fear this is another on of those “We are closed for the holidays” columns. The Newberry will be closed July 2, 3, and 4. It’s an imposition, I know, that the joint should be staffed with human beings who think they, also, deserve a three-day weekend just at a time when you’re so free to come in, but that’s the way it is.

That means, ahem, we don’t want you to drop off books. I hope this interferes with no long-laid plans for a glorious Fourth. I hope you did get the message that we’d rather you didn’t drop off books for a while now. I need the time to tidy up, to put away, to prepare…to decide what I’m going to do with all these old Zez Comfrey records. I need a little leisure to decide what price to put on this 1888 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook and this U-505 submarine brochure signed by the officer who captured her AND the officer who commanded her. I need to decide what to do with all these sixty year-old posters. I can’t concentrate, lobster loaf, if I’m hauling in your set of World Book Encyclopedia. PLEASE hold off for a while.

2. All libraries have an After-Hours Drop Box.

I will not take you through all those discussions in Library School of whether the Drop Box is a helpful or harmful invention. I will just note the donor who came to the back door one day and asked, “Your drop box for book donations isn’t much use. I can’t get this thing open.” And he pointed to our trash compactor.

Have a wonderful holiday, play it safe, don’t east too much at Taste of Chicago, and please hold back on hauling books. Save your strength for all those books you’re going to haul OUT of here at the other end of the month. 

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