You probably didn't know this: some libraries aren't big enough to hold their own stuff.
Several years ago, I got it into my head to look at what percentage of our materials were checked out at any given moment. I was impressed to discover -- at least about five years ago -- that the answer was "around 25%."
Then I realized something else: if those materials came back, we had nowhere to put them. We depended on at least that level of use to allow us to buy anything new.
A LONG time ago, my wife and I wrote an article about "green librarianship." Just then -- back around the late 1980s -- a lot of information was coming out about "sick building syndrome," and the toxic effects of some chemicals.
Since then, I have tried, with varying degrees of success, to practice the principles of green librarianship.
My continuing interest in this topic is based on an administrative realization. People imagine that the costs of library facility operations are all about their construction. That's not true. The cost is in operations.
"Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat."
-- John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy, 1981-1987
I'm just going to come out and admit it. I, as director of the Douglas County Libraries, abuse my position.
I -- and let me be clear about this, I have NO intention of changing -- have let people know in our receiving department, our cataloging department, our circulation department, that I, Jamie LaRue, Library Director, get the comic books first.
That's right. Before anybody else. Before any tax payer in the county. I don't care WHO is waiting for them. I'm first in line.
There was a time when people wrote letters to their friends and families, providing a highly detailed record of people's lives and times. Those letters are archived in libraries and museums today.