I was much impressed by Camila Batmanghelidjh’s Mind the child: the Victoria line and Nick Davies’ Dark Heart: The shocking truth about hidden Britain and thought these were important books for Leeds public library to have in stock. The library kindly ordered in a copy of Mind the child and I donated a copy of each book to the stock, so there are now two copies of each in the system.
I like to think that people will see the books on the shelf, have a flick through and think, “This looks like an interesting and important book”. They’ll borrow the book, read it, absorb the information and let it shape their lives. They’ll treat the book well and return it promptly so other people can read it.
Other things that might happen to the books:
- They might be borrowed by someone with kids who reads at a rate of about a chapter a fortnight and therefore keeps renewing the books preventing others from reading them (ahem…)
- They could be stolen from the library, perhaps with the cover being used as roach material and the pages being used as toilet roll.
- They could be borrowed by the kind of people who make books mouldy or whose dog takes a chunk out of the book. (These are real-world library book problems. See the Awful Library Books website for examples.)
- The library may make the books unattractive to the potential borrower (or attractive for the wrong reasons) by misplacement of library stickers (see Ass in the Cathedral below). Although I think this is unlikely due to the way Leeds Libraries sticker their books. Dark Heart could be turned into Dark Fart, but that would require stickering bordering on the malicious. Besides, Leeds Libraries staff would never do a thing like that.
So it’s a speculative effort – but an effort none the less. I’m going to leave some copies around the building I work in too.