I love my library, the Glenview Public Library. I don’t know how many times and how many ways I’ve said it since we arrived in Chicagoland just under six years ago.
My library is large. It’s a brand new facility, opened not too long after we moved here. At first, we missed the tiny little building it used to be but we’ve grown to love the big space — plenty of room for new books!
The librarians are outstanding. Really excellent. They’re friendly and helpful and go out of their way to resolve the occasional problem. When we leave this godforsaken place in a little more than two years, our library and our librarians will be missed.
Which is all why it pains me to write this blog post.
I am really disappointed with the recent decision to segregate the new arrivals — the non-fiction new arrivals have been moved upstairs, with the other non-fiction. The reading club books have been moved to the shelves that used to hold the non-fiction new arrivals.
This pains me. In more ways than one.
We go to our library at least twice a week. We check out dozens of books, of all kinds — and I do mean all kinds — every time we go. Almost every time we visit, we peruse the new arrivals and almost every time, we pluck at least one non-fiction book from the new arrivals shelf. Biographies, poetry, cookbooks, craft books, self-help, travel guides — you name it, we’re interested in it. (Those who read my blog fairly regular know how often I say, “I don’t know how this ended up on our library cart.” — or “I plucked this from the new arrivals shelf.” SO OFTEN. This happens because we peruse the new arrivals shelves so often.)
Because we often visit our library early in the morning or during a lunch break, we have very little time to peruse the stacks. We grab our holds from the holds shelf, we walk to the new arrivals shelves and then we check out. In and out in 15 minutes, which includes chit chatting with our favorite librarians.
With the non-fictions all the way upstairs … we just do not have time to go all of the way up those stairs and back down again, (even if my knee could handle all of the stairs), or deal with the elevator to get up there to look at the non-fiction new arrivals.
And lest you think this is all about me — In this time of library budget cuts, we’re lucky that we’ve got a fairly strong budget — you want to keep that budget, don’t you? Think about those who aren’t heavy library users. The occasional visitor. You want those people to be able to see the wealth of resources and entice them to check out a wide variety of books, just as quickly as you possibly can. You do this by having really interesting displays in easy to access areas. Like the new arrivals shelves. By hiding the new arrival non-fictions upstairs, you’re doing a bloody good job of keeping those books out of circulation. Shouldn’t one of your biggest goals be to get books circulating?
I polled my friends and family members about their libraries, assuming I was over-reacting. None, not a single person, said that their new arrivals were segregated in this way. None. They aren’t all in exactly the same area but they are all very in visible browsable spaces and absolutely not segregated to different floors!
Come on Glenview Public Library — think this through. You’re a big library but you’re not Chicago Public Library or New York Public Library big. There’s no need for this.
You’ve removed highly circulated books from a high visibility, browsable area in favor of non-browsable and low circulated books being in a browsable, highly-visible area. Nobody wandering around the library is going to decide to a) join a book club b) choose books for their book club via those shelves. That’s just now how book clubs work. Shouldn’t you know that?
I was trying to give the Glenview Public Library the benefit of the doubt — maybe they need more space for new fiction that’s coming in? But I took a look at the shelves where the book club books used to be and those are empty. Completely empty. And even if this decision was made to help free up space downstairs for fiction — I think there are better ways to do that.
- Move the book club books upstairs, maybe? Wouldn’t that seem like a smarter move?
- Reduce the number of new arrivals you display — though I’d be disappointed, that would at least make some sense.
- The first row of new arrivals is not a very eye-catching display. Just do away with it or move it to the area by the rental books, that frees up an entire shelf right there.
I need to run to the library and pick up some reserves, as well as books for this weekend’s #readathon and the very idea depresses me. It’s only been a couple of weeks since the non-fictions moved and it just makes me sad every time I go in, now.