21 Comments

  1. I’m not sure if I need to point this out, or if readers routinely look at who authored the post, but this post is from Bill.

  2. @Danny Boy – yes, but with books! So a superior advent calendar in most ways. @WW, I noticed that. Every time I see one of his pre-loaded posts, it makes me a bit teary.

  3. If you’re thinking of “new, not seen before” CIDU Bill posts, then indeed we should eschew spoilers.

    But as has been already noted in one of the Thanksgiving threads (Alice’s Restaurant, or WKRP flying turkey, I forgot which had this), some posts have already been “annualized” in Bill’s process. And I think we can say the plan generally should be to try to continue those, in a similar way.

  4. A book store here somewhere on the left coast of the United States had an idea I thought was cute that they had a pile of gift-wrapped books for a $1$. You’d buy them and then unwrap them for a surprise.

    To account for personal taste the general department the book belonged to was labelled (and sometimes themed in the wrapping people– did I mention they were all individually wrapped? They were) so if you wanted Sci-Fi, or Travel, or a novel, or non-fiction science, you could select from those.

  5. woozy: Now that you can’t browse at my local library, they do something similar: You can get a surprise bag, with five books in a particular genre (Sci-Fi, Travel, etc. . .).

    I have pretty specific tastes in books, so I’m unlikely to end up reading any book that’s randomly selected for me, though.

  6. It’s always nice to discover a new genre you didn’t know about, or didn’t think you’d like.

  7. Could we ask for the genre “SF” (or “Science Fiction”) but excluding the genre “Sci-Fi,” or would that just cause a “Does Not Compute” log jam? Bless their librariany hearts anyway, though.d

  8. Shrug – depends on the librarian, I suspect. If I were picking, that would make sense to me (not that I’m a librarian), but not every librarian is an SF fan… Repeat for any individual genre. I help with the library book sale, and regularly have to shift stuff between romance, SF, action/adventure, mystery…

  9. Winter Wallaby – thank you, I did not realize the post was by Bill.

    Danny Boy – thank you for mentioning Advent calendar. I have a teddy bear one that I made decades ago – it hangs on the back of the door in the teddy bears’ (aka spare bed) room all year – time to hang it on the office door so I can hang its ornaments on its tree all month. It has slipped my mind it was time to set up.

  10. @ Brian – Back in May Bill confirmed that he had placed a “long distance” submission of mine into the CIDU queue. I can’t spoil anything, because I had suggested three possible appropriate dates, but Bill did not reveal which of those three dates he had selected. However, he also wrote: “Believe it or not, there’s something scheduled for even further in the future…“, without giving any indication of just how far off that might be.

  11. Advent books…I married a good Methodist 6 years ago and I’ve just learned about Advent customs; the book idea meshes. And a Hanukah card from Robin Bickel; it fits right in. And this fits CIDU: My new-ish wife quit her librarian job when we married, and once a week she forwards me a comic: http://librarycomic.com. Library patrons might not like it so much. It isn’t drawn for them.

  12. Bob, I enjoy Library Comic also, and generally read it from their e-newsletter rather than regularly visiting the site. I don’t know what it is, but I feel like the focus has changed somewhat over the last year.

  13. Shrug: At my library, the surprise bags are prepackaged in specific genres, so asking for anything other than those specific genres causes a “Does not compute” error. You can ask for “mysteries” or “YA,” but not “YA mysteries.”

  14. The unpleasant patrons at Library Comic remind me that for a long time, I’ve had questions about the operation of my library that I’m genuinely curious about. But I haven’t wanted to ask at the library, since I’m afraid that they would sound like complaints. (And the post-Covid pickup system doesn’t leave a lot of opportunity for chatting, anyway.) Maybe some librarians or librarian-adjacent commenters know the answers.

    1. Why, ever since Covid, have they shut down the automatic return system (scan the book, and it goes down a conveyer belt), with an old-fashioned system of “drop in a box, and wait for a human to check it in”? I don’t see why the latter system is better for quarantining.

    2. When I put a book on reserve, to be picked up at library A, and the book is in fact available at library A, why do they often (in fact, a majority of the time), spend several days moving the book from library B to library A, rather than just taking it from library A? It would be less work for them, and I would get my book much sooner.

  15. Gene Ambaum did the Unshelved comic with Bill Barnes for many years. Barnes moved on to other endeavors, so Ambaum started Library Comic with a new artist. He has since gone through a couple more artists. With each iteration, his humor has grown more caustic toward the library patrons. I’ll leave it at that, without further comment.

    As to WW’s questions, different libraries have different procedures. Our library still has drop boxes, so I can’t speak to the automated system. They quarantine the books for 4 days before any processing. That means if you return it on the due date, it sits there overdue for 4 days. The library is well aware of this, and does not issue fines or anything, but the system doesn’t know this, so if you check your account online, it looks like you have overdue books.

    As to your second question, there could be lots of reasons. They probably couldn’t find the copy in library A (miss-shelved, lost, improperly checked out.) You say it happens a majority of the time, but maybe you just notice it more.

  16. guero, yep our library has also gotten rid of fines for this year, presumably at least in part because of the tracking issues.

    Regarding the second question: A few times, when I see the item listed as in transit from another library, I’ve checked to see if it’s still listed at the original library, and it usually is. If they checked, and it was lost, presumably they would have updated its status in the system.

    It really is a majority, or close to it. I recently ordered 10 books from library A, to be picked up at library, and for more than half of them I had to wait a week while they were in transit. (I’ve been a little obsessive about tracking library books and transit times on my library account, now that it’s the only way I can get new books. 🙂 )

  17. My county library had dropped fines prior to C19. The only physical items I get much anymore are CDs and DVDs. I haven’t checked out a paper book in quite some time because of the selection of e-books.

  18. I’m certainly not trying to argue with you, WW. If that is truly the case, there may be something else going on here. Like I said, different libraries have different procedures. Generally, if a book is not in its proper place, there are steps to follow before running off to update the catalog. Check the surrounding shelves, double check the records, check the work area to make sure it hasn’t been checked in, but not yet reshelved, or is being repaired. This usually takes time, and there may not be staff available to handle it immediately. Some neighborhood libraries may not even have authority to change the catalog, and it has to be passed up to central processing. Who knows, your library may have some system that tries to circulate its books equitably, so the book in library B hasn’t been checked out as much as the in one library A (yeah, I just pulled that out of my okole, but with today’s technology, it is possible.)

  19. guero: I’m not trying to argue either. I really am trying to understand (or get an educated guess). It could be that the books are often lost; it just seems like then there are more missing books than I encounter when I’m physically at the library. (Movies in the catalog are only the shelf about half the time, but with books I have had a much higher success rate.) My guess was that there was some equitable system like the one you suggested, but it sounds like that doesn’t sound typical to you (despite the fact that you suggested it).

    Maybe some time I will ask a librarian at my local library. I just have to figure out how to do it without sounding like a Library Comic patron.

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