The library has a request form that I've employed at least two dozen times to have only one request pending fulfillment. Even that one took months for a response. I've inquired a few times with various librarians at the largest branch about how books are chosen for the inventory and how quickly are new releases added. That was pretty much a bust. I got some vague, dismissive response. Honestly, I don't think she knew the answer. I know some might think it harsh I'm bitchin' about public libraries but it's because they are important to creating a vibrant image for a city and because I'm a bookhead...HELLO!
I commented earlier on a post by another book blogger that I'm given almost no choice but to purchase most of the books I read as I cannot get them from a library here. I've been asked about an interlibrary loan system. Huh? I've always only thought such a thing existed in academic libraries. This prompted me to prowl around some other cities' library systems and I was rudely awakened.
So, I called the branch closest to my home which happens to be the largest and spoke to a really kind woman who responded as best she could to my questions. Basically, as I mentioned before, it comes down to money. I did let her know that I wasn't just some griper who doesn't contribute to the pot. I've patronized every book sale for the last two or three years and the used bookstore which helps fund the library. As a matter of fact, I purchased four books from their used bookstore in the last week. She did tell me that we do have an ILL system. I asked if it's on the website anywhere and she was certain that it's not. So am I. And she seemed to get my frustration with that. However, that hasn't stopped it from amassing a high volume of requests. Now I know.
I feel like my patronage at the library's book sales is for naught. It seems to be funding the attainment of everything I don't enjoy reading. Should I just spend my money only on what I want to read and not care if the library flounders? And I'm not suggesting that my support will bring the library's demise but I know that every little bit helps.
Is the problem merely the allocation of tax dollars to or public libraries shamefully low?
How are things at your local library? Does it sufficiently feed your reading habits?
And, lastly, what trends do you see in the inventory in your libraries when it comes to literature by authors of color?