Leo Klein wrote:
"As my contribution to librarianship, I volunteer to appear as one of
the 'pin-ups' for the LJ Swimsuit Issue this year. I can only hope
that my example inspires others."
Count me out, Leo. Not only would my natural shyness and reticence
prevent me from doing this, but when I go to the beach, the women
mentally DRESS me.
As for the peregrinations of our books, I have always wondered just
where they have been, especially when I'm weeding in 914-919. Once,
a little gold souvenir bookmark from a temple in Osaka fell out of
one of the books. It was still in its original cellophane wrapper.
And I always expect to find a Mozartkugel wrapper tucked in Frommer's
Austria. These materials check out long enough (three weeks) for
them to be taken on overseas trips -- indeed, I once took a call from
a patron who was in England who needed to renew her travel guide.
(Which I did, of course, though the trickster in me wanted to say,
"Sorry, there's a hold on that one. You'll need to bring it in.")
I was also rather touched by someone so concerned with a potential
overdue that she called our desk from England, when there are plenty
who live around the corner who can't be bothered with a call to us at
all . . .
I've always thought it would be fun to have a summer reading program
for which patrons submit photos of our travel books (or any of our
books) in exotic locations. So you'd have someone on an ice floe,
with one hand on the penguin's shoulder and the other holding up our
copy of Fodor's Antarctica. Or, in more maudlin fashion, a photo of
our bio of Jim Morrison, resting on his gravestone at the Pere
Lachaise in Paris. Or our copy of Lonely Planet's Vienna perched on
Franz Joseph's sarcophagus in the Kapuzinergruft in that city. We
could award a prize for the photo location most distant from the
library, another prize for the most unusual location for a book, etc.
The downside would be encouraging our patrons to tote our stuff all
over the place, and the attendant wear and tear (yes, I know that is
a big red stain, but I'll have you know that was a charming Chateau
Haut-Bages-Liberal!), but, heck, I figure they're going to haul our
stuff all over the place anyway. You'd also have to insist that the
photo be sharp enough to show the library's markings on the book.
They do something like this over at the Degree Confluence Project
except that instead of a book they ask for a photo of the participant
holding a GPS device at the exact confluence of an integer latitude
line and an integer longitude line:
Those patrons with a literary or musical bent could have a lot of fun
with this program -- Someone could pose with our copy of Wordsworth
in front of Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District; another
could hold our CD set of Tosca at the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome
(though the less literary may prefer to pose with one of our copies
of Angels and Demons).
The winners' photos could be displayed in the library and on the
If I were to do this at my place, I'd also award a prize for the most
unusual connection of a book to a locale: A shot of the patron
speeding down a Nevada highway in a convertible, beer in one hand,
our copy of Fear and Loathing in the other, steering with his knees,
and waiting for the bats to appear.
Hmmm. There may be liability issues with that one.