Sunday, 29 April 2012

"You know there aren't many

here," one of the knitters told me.
We were looking for something on the shelves in the library yesterday. It was the day the knitting group meets there and she was looking for help. I was looking for an illustration to show her.
She was right.  All but three of them were out on loan.
There are not a lot of knitting books in the library. Those that are there tend to come in as donations. Anything else is likely to be of the "remainder" nature, bought cheaply by those who do the central buying.  Knitting, unlike patchwork or embroidery, is not considered to be a "serious" craft - and even they do not get the consideration of some other areas of non-fiction. The cookery section takes up multiple shelves. Oh yes, food is important. There are often cheap remainder books available. It is a problem with libraries. How do you cater for all tastes?
Our library has had very little in the way of new material for the last few years. The previous Chief Librarian was very good at getting money out of the local council. The new one has to work under a different system. This makes it very difficult for everyone.
When I first started using the library - a very long time ago - there were just books and a few magazines and two newspapers. The catalogue was a card catalogue. The checkout system was manual.  Now there are books, CDs, DVDs, videos, magazines, eight different newspapers and other items which can be borrowed. There are eight computer terminals for public use (you need to show your library card or other ID and book a slot). The catalogue is now on computer. The checkout system is computerised.
It is all very nice - but people still need reading material. It is, after all, still the primary function of the library. There are now moves afoot to change this. Our library is going to be one of the first involved. You will be able to have just one library card for all the libraries in the state. The catalogue will be statewide.  At the conclusion of the changeover we should have access to a much bigger data base and be able to borrow from anywhere in the state. That is the theory.
A staff member and I were discussing this later. We both know that there will be some initial problems. And what if the computer system crashes?

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