Saturday, June 04, 2011

Boston Public Library Lending Library

More from Boston Public Library, this time from the lending library.

It's big...

I have to be honest and say it looks rather old-fashioned. Lots of brown, lots of old looking bookshelves, very formal. This is the kind of library and lay-out I started out in back in the eighties.

And the other thing I noticed is that they have a large stock, and tehy do not seem to weed it much. There are lots of very old looking books, rebinds in plain covers, which you just don't see in the UK any more. Once upon a time I would have written this as a criticism but not any longer. I think it is a strength. The best way for libraries to compete with Amazon, Abe, et al, is not to compete with them. Rather, they should play to their strength, which is a back catalogue of out-of-print books. But in the UK we are throwing them all out. Boston has the right approach.

This is their collection of the Best of American Short Stories - and I can guarantee that there is no possibility of anything so comprehensive in any UK library.

Ah, the shelving trolley. Very relaxing, shelving...


Richard said...

You worked in library and now you write yourself?

Did you ever read the book "The Library at Night" by Manguel. I actually got if from my local library here in New Zealand. I copied some of it concerning an eccentric but brilliant librarian who had a strange philosophy of knowledge and classifying his books were not in alphabetical order or the more recent Dewey decimal system and he might have books that he felt belonged together "supported" each other ... even (say) biology beside literature and some other subjects not normally associated together.

I forget his name but Alberto Manguel's (who was a friend of Borges) book is great.

Richard said...

Boston library has a huge collection by the looks. Keeps the old books. Good.