Being a library, people think that we are a dumping ground for books they have lying around. They don’t have to be in good condition or current, the library will take them.
I wonder if that says something about the library, do our collections look so old/tatty/moldy that people think we want their unwanted crap?
Today’s case, the Agencija za Iselenistvo of the Republika Makedonija (aka the Agency of Emmigration of the Republic of Macedonia). Within a three week period I have received 2 parcels from them containing books. Not just any books, boring books. They were all in Macedonian and mostly about Macedonia. From a critique of Macedonian philosophy at a level which most of our readers would have trouble understanding (even if they read Macedonian) to an entire book dedicated to analysing the poetry of an obscure (and quite dead) Macedonian poet to the history of Macedonian fantasy fiction (which, for what it’s worth, is a lot longer than I would have expected).
Firstly: They’re all old-looking books. I don’t know if it is the paper the items are printed on, the bland covers or the fact that they’re mostly 5 or 6 years old.
Secondly: They are not suitable for a public library. I know that the concept of a ‘free public library’ is different from culture to culture (and, honestly, I am unsure if Macedonia has a public library system), but why on earth would you pick a small library service in the middle of nowhere to send your crap to?
Thirdly: I don’t want donations! These books are all freely available for me to purchase through our suppliers. If we thought they were worthy of adding to the collection, I’d have added them to the collection.
Donations are a wonderful thing when they are done right. We receive a heap of Mills and Boon style romance books from readers who read the book once and then think “I’ll never read it again”. These books are immaculate and we have our own special collection of them (all catalogued with a title of “Romance paperback” and a call number of PB ROM).
Honestly, I am just a bit confused as to why a government department in Europe would be sending libraries around the world books that they may not add? Postage is not cheap, especially for heavy items like books. We’ve received letters from them before in the past, they never mentioned they would send us anything.
All of this aside, I did actually add a number of the books to our collection. A book of short stories, some things on Macedonia which would be of interest to ex-pats living in Australia, those kind of things.
Ah well, that’s my rant for today. (Can you tell I was struggling for something to say this week?)