A couple of weeks ago, I called for comments from the public about successful or useful library innovations.
Thank you! Many of you took the time to submit often brilliant analyses of various trends and implementations. All of you, without exception, were kind even when making criticisms. Douglas County patrons continue to be among the savviest library users I've run across.
But your communications also pointed out two troublesome trends. They deserve a straightforward response.
I admit that I don't get it. Why would somebody steal something they can borrow for free? Particularly when most of us have too much barely-used stuff as it is?
I hasten to add that the loss rate of library materials -- about 2%, according to our last inventory -- is surprisingly low. It's higher, I'm told, in retail.
On the one hand, how could they fail to be popular? Electronic books (ebooks) would seem to have clear advantages over paper. No more dog ears or gum wrappers -- you just create an electronic bookmark, or search the whole book for some phrase.
Some of the ebook readers -- whether the now vanished RocketBook or Sony's new entry into the market -- can hold a dozen titles or more. So in one paperback size package, it might be possible to cram, for instance, a whole summer's worth of light reading.
About a month ago, I got a "martenitsa" in the mail -- a red and white bracelet of string with a couple of wooden beads. Per instructions, I tied it to my wrist, where I've worn it for weeks.
The martenitsa is a Bulgarian tradition. I wear it in honor of the Dora Gabe Library, in our sister city of Dobrich, over by the Black Sea. I visited there several years ago now.