Greetings, patrons and patronesses! I get to spend all week (when not behind the desk) trimming brush and cutting off tree limbs, ’cause I need the extra $$$ to supplement my meagre librarian’s salary. Prior to collapsing into restorative yoga poses, I wanted to weigh in on a couple library-related stories for y’all:
News from the Book Price War Front: As I discussed in my last post, Walmart and Amazon have gone into battle over who can offer the lowest price on hardcover bestsellers. As you may have heard, Target has entered the battle, offering selected titles for $8.99 — matching Walmart’s price. Walmart subsequently dropped their price to $8.98. Plus, if you buy three books or more, one of their toothless employees will give you head in the packing room (please note: this is not true).
At the time of my last post, I had yet to hear about Sears‘ offer: send them the receipt for books purchased from any of the above companies, and Sears will give you a credit for that amount to be used on their own online store when making a purchase of $45 or more.
On the surface, this seems like a great thing for the book buyer, and even more so for libraries, who often buy in bulk. Problem is, the big stores can handle losing some money on books, while the independent stores — which are already treading water at best — will surely close should the discounts branch out to more than just ten bestsellers. In this instance, the publishing companies will be forced to severely cut costs, resulting in inferior physical products. Most reports are focusing on the problem of less money going to authors, but the problem for libraries will be when the books start being made with cheaper paper and glue. Sure, a cheap price is great, but if we have to replace the book after it circulates three times, we end up spending more money.
That said, my library saved approximately $30 this month as a result of these discounts. On our budget, we have to be thankful for that.
So. Everyone knows librarians are pretty smart, right? Well, not all of us. The joint winners of the Fuckwit Librarian of the Year Award are Sharon Cook and Beth Bovaire, former librarians in the metropolis of Nicholasville, Kentucky. Sharon and Beth decided that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the brilliant and highly literary comic book series by the grandmaster of the form, Alan Moore, is pornography, and therefore refused to let a 12-year-old girl check the book out. Those familiar with the book will remember that it does show breasts, but think for a moment: how much great art would be left if we remove every item that depicts breasts, butts or penises? Hell, 80 percent of the posts on this site would have to be removed.
What the Twin Fuckwits forget is that librarians are not here to decide what is appropriate for our patrons to read or view. We are here to provide it for them, and let them decide. So parents may not know that these books contain “adult content?” That’s their fault, not ours. Thankfully, the two were fired, and they are now the laughingstock of the entire library community. Way to go, Sharon & Beth: you’re dinosaurs, but not nearly as smart.
Here’s me giving my disapproving-librarian look:
(Please note: this is not me. Or is it?)
Author’s note: I forgot to mention that, while Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is most notably not pornography, his extraordinary collection Lost Girls most certainly is. Just this month, he published 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom, a book expanded from his original essay for Arthur Magazine. Point being, Mr. Moore has proudly written porn, which makes the comments made by the Twin Fuckwits even funnier.