Book ‘Em.

Years ago I worked in a library with a guy who’d get strangely annoyed by the books that were coming in. This was a university library and you could say some of the titles that passed through our hands on their way to the shelves were a little obscure or specialized. Or you couldn’t say that. I mean, you don’t have to. Anyway, he’d bring me something like So, You Want To Learn Coptic? and he’d almost yell, “Who reads this stuff?”

Somebody, hopefully, I always thought. And libraries make a lot of purchasing decisions based on patron requests, so even if he didn’t want to learn Coptic chances are somebody did. I never could figure out why it annoyed him so much that other people read books that didn’t interest him. I even kind of wanted to follow him around to see if it wasn’t just books. I imagined him in the grocery store pointing at random vegetables and yelling, “Who eats this stuff?” Or in a department store pointing at paisley shirts yelling, “Who wears this stuff?” Or at home channel-surfing and lingering over some show he didn’t like just so he could yell, “Who watches this stuff?”

I thought about that guy when I saw my first Little Free Library, pictured above, on a trip to St. Louis a few years ago. And I remembered it again just a few days ago when I found a Little Free Library in a neighborhood near where I live.

It’s funny to me to find two copies of The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin–an author who inspired another post last summer.

In fact it turns out there are a lot of Little Free Libraries near me, in addition to the regular libraries.

And, thinking about it, I realize I do wonder, who reads this stuff? Somebody, hopefully. I’d only really be annoyed if no one did.

10 Comments

  1. Bookstooge

    ….Danno!

    I’ve seen posts on these before and love the idea. Sadly, where I live it’s just not viable. Winter potentially being from October to April tends to put a damper on the accessibility.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Give yourself five bonus points for spotting the Hawaii Five-O reference.
      Anyway I imagine harsh winters must put a damper–no pun intended–on little libraries outdoors.

      Reply
      1. Bookstooge

        Just as another fyi, like I commented in an earlier post, I was not notified of this reply either wordpress OR through email. So something is up with your hosting services, either something isn’t setup correctly or there is an error with your actual host.

        Reply
        1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

          Thanks for the heads-up–I think there was a setting I either hadn’t checked or had unchecked that I’ve now fixed. I think. Hopefully it works now.

          Reply
  2. gerald l franquemont

    I loved the quick read— 25 years in now for me at our Library district in Gainesville, Florida…thanks…. franque23@wordpress.com

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thanks for stopping by and for your work as a librarian.

      Reply
  3. Ann Koplow

    I never get strangely annoyed by you and your posts, Chris. Who reads your stuff? Me and many others and I’m sure we’re all grateful.

    And it’s interesting to me, after readng Bookstooge’s comment, that I see these where I live, and we have similar weather. I know that whenever I see one of them, I take a photo and put it in my blog, but I just can’t find one this morning, no matter how I search through my old posts. Who reads this stuff?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Now I want to go through your old posts and see if I can find some little library pictures. It’s just a pleasure to go through your old posts anyway. What’s fascinating to me is that little libraries, as well as used bookstores, not to mention regular libraries, are all growing even at a time when traditional publishing is supposedly losing importance.
      Emphasis on the “supposedly”. Who thinks that, anyway?

      Reply
  4. Tom

    Who questions everybody’s choices about stuff?!

    Scanning the shelf I don’t believe I’ve read anything in that library. Off the cuff “A Reliable Wife” sounds good, but who doesn’t appreciate that? The first one I’ll pull out to peruse, though, would be “Bud, Not Buddy.” I just gotta find out why. I mean, who calls themselves that?!

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      And where do you keep your stuff? And why is your stuff shit to everybody else?
      Anyway if I could recommend a book from that little library it would be The Westing Game which I first read back in grade school. When I reread it as an adult I had a much greater appreciation of its quirky sense of humor.

      Reply

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