Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Weeding The Collection

For today’s entry, I’m going to tell you a story that Scott claims I’ve told him four times before. Maybe I’m losing my mind, but I only recall ever telling him the story twice. Anyhow, here it is:

Once upon a time and a very good time it was I worked with a librarian who everyone but myself hated. She was by far the sexiest librarian I ever worked with, and hers is the image I imagine writers of "Librarian Erotica" conjure up when clacking away at their keyboards. This was not why her and I hit it off, however. I am by my nature drawn to people who others loathe, since my instinct is to question the wisdom of the crowd. On a few occasions, they have been right, but more often, dead wrong. Anyhow, this librarian was a cut above the others since she legitimately cared about libraries and, surprise surprise, was actually a reader. She not only read, but she also liked classic Hollywood cinema, and we talked frequently about films and books. When I wanted to listen to classical music, she gave suggestions and even told me some operas that she enjoyed. While my coworkers dreaded closing with her, I looked forward to it. She wasn’t an overly tough supervisor, she just expected people to do their jobs.

She was in charge of the fiction collection, and at one point we needed to do a massive purging of books. For the past few years I had made it a point to regularly check out my favorite books just to make sure that, when someone checks their status in the computer, it shows up that the book circulates. My favorite author is James Joyce, and one thing I prided my old library on was the fact that it carried all of his works, which a lot of libraries do not. The one book of his that I wanted to make sure we kept was Finnegans Wake, so I checked it out every now and then. One day when I came into work I was given a cart of books to be discarded, and lo and behold, my beloved copy of Finnegans Wake was among them, laid out to rust. I asked her why she was getting rid of it, barely containing my disgust, and she said simply, "It doesn’t circulate." I tried convincing her to keep it, asking her again with my eyes, but she said, "Sorry. We need to make room for other books."

I later joined my other coworkers in loathing her. When she transferred to another branch, I could barely contain my joy. I realize that this is a completely irrational reaction to something fairly trivial, but emotions don’t follow logic, and the moment we discarded Finnegans Wake was the moment I knew that even the greatest librarians can sometimes be no better than swine. I brought the book home, while some went to the book sale racks and the rest were tossed unceremoniously into the dumpster out back, with banana peels and cored apples falling faintly upon all the discarded and the unread.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm personally not a fan of Finnegans Wake, but still how can some one discard Joyce? Blasphemy!