It's not that I never write anything useful in this column. Letting people know about library doings is, I trust, a public service.
But lately, I've had a powerful need to document a few things that are REALLY useful. For instance, here's one that I got from reading a kid's book about a Jewish grandmother: when you break an egg, and a piece of the eggshell falls in, the best way to get it out is with the rest of the eggshell. Spoons, knives, fingers just don't work. An eggshell does.
When one of our patrons asks for a book, we usually buy it. Sometimes we can't.
Many titles are no longer in print. Borrowing it from another library -- a process called "Interlibrary Loan" or ILL -- is the only way to get it. Sometimes an item is unusually expensive, or of little general interest. In that case, ILL is more cost- effective. (Even then, if such a book is requested several times by more than one person, we usually try to pick it up.)
A few days ago, I got a call from a patron with a complaint. Why didn't any of our libraries provide public computers? It happened that her son was in town and needed to crank out some resumes. She was, she said, shocked that her local library -- and even the Koelbel Library in the Arapahoe Library District -- didn't have a computer, equipped with a word processor and laser printer, available for such a task.