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.
Effective today, this column has a new name. It's not just a title. It's a disclaimer.
First, I thought about adding a more formal statement to the end of each column. It would read something like this: "The opinions expressed in this column, unless stated otherwise, are not the official views of the Library Board of Trustees." The Trustees are my bosses.
Does that mean some of the things I say are NOT endorsed by the Trustees? Yes.