National Public Radio has been doing a series about libraries in August. One of the stories caused this librarian to laugh out loud, and caused tears to flow. A famous feminist said “a library is a place where you can lose your innocence without losing your virginity.” They also mentioned that Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards was a big library user, and ran up thousands of dollars in overdue fines.
The Apalachicola Municipal Library does not charge overdue fines at all, but the library does like to get its books back. This year, at the Summer Reading Program, each child signed a “pledge” saying they understood that the books they checked out needed to be returned. To date many fewer books are still out than previous years, but parents need to help with getting those books back. Even some adults don’t seem to understand. One patron has had several books out for a year. They need to be returned.
Another one of the NPR articles talks about the unusual things you can check out at some libraries, from fishing poles to snowshoes. It makes me think what unusual items might the AML offer patrons. If you have any thoughts, let us know. I’m still thinking.
Some time ago, another piece on the radio was about a branch library in Texas that was opening with no intention to ever have a single physical book. I meant to do some research, since I think that this leap toward digital media will leave non-digital patrons by the side of the information superhighway. In my opinion, the American Library Association promotes digital so much it disenfranchises small libraries with limited budgets. The cost of a bestselling eBook is three times that of a physical book, and many patrons still do not have an e-reader.
The Apalachicola Municipal Library is still an all-physical library. We do have audiobooks, which of course are also physical (CD and tapes). The Franklin County Public Library is going digital for some books. They are part of a consortium of three county libraries, Franklin, Wakulla and Jefferson, with more buying power than the independent Apalachicola library.
I visited the new county library facility in Eastpoint, and was impressed with the size and brightness. I couldn’t help but be jealous of all the space. I am very happy for them, and hope that a larger space is in the future for Apalachicola’s library as well. Otherwise, where would we store the fishing poles and snowshoes?
Caty Greene is the librarian for the Apalachicola Municipal Library. To reach her, call 653-8436.