Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama
Circle of life is moves us all
through despair and hope
through faith and love
Here is a quick run through of the life of the average library book.
Disclaimer: This is the basic cycle of the books at the specific library I work at, not all libraries are the same.
A general warning – As I was writing this, my writing shifted from “informational” to “personification”. It’s a terrible habit but I got so attached to the books I had just personified that I couldn’t go back to informational.
- Stage one “Marriage”: The books arrive at the library! Whether if they were donated, purchased by the Library Volunteer program, or purchased by the library, they arrive. They all get entered into the system, get some lovely labels, and are released into the library
- Stage two “The Honeymoon Phase”: The new book is placed in a “new arrivals” section. The book is on display and shown off to everyone that enters the library. They get picked up, their backs are quickly scanned, and most get checked out at least once.
- Stage three “Settled In”: The honeymoon phase is over; the book has now been in the library for a while and is ready to be settled in. After a certain amount of time (different for each library) the book is moved into the general population of the shelves. Thanks to the good old Dewey, the book feels right at home and is exactly where it belongs.
- At this point, the cycle of the book differs depending on the exact circumstances of the book.
- Stage four (a) “Social Butterfly”: Not being on display all the time hasn’t stopped this book from being a hit. Being kept on hold for months at a time, being checked out like no other, this book is always out of the library. It interacts with new people, tells them a story, and lets them jump into a new world, without leaving the comfort of their recliner.
- Stage five (a) “Tired out”: After being out for so long, being around so many people, and being taken everywhere, the book is tired and in need of some rest and relaxation. The binding is a little worn, the edges of the cover hurt, and it looks like a little kid may have even taken a crayon to one of the pages. Luckily, there are people who know how to fix this and the book is taken out of circulation and mended.
- Stage four (a) and five (a) repeat until stage six (a) has been reached
- Stage six (a) “He’s Dead, Jim”: The book has been through a lot. It has been beaten, abused, and mended. Each time it has been marked for mending has always been nice, but this time felt different. The book felt more tired than usual. And then the person who has always mended him said a word that all books in the library feared “Withdrawn”. The book’s time in the library was done. They withdraw the book from the shelf, and placed it in a box with others like it.
- Stage four (b) “The Lonely Recluse”: While in new arrivals, this book wasn’t as popular as the others. Occasionally, someone would pick it up, on the rare occasion the book was even checked out. But it was usually a secondary thought on people’s mind. The book was a little nervous at first, but was fairly excited when he saw how great of condition it stayed in despite the state of the other books around it. After some time in the “new arrivals” section, the book was placed in its proper place on the general shelves and has found his new home quiet and peaceful. No one has checked it out, but he got so close the other day when he thought he saw a spark in a patron’s eyes as he read his back. But, alas, something shinier caught his attention. But no matter, the book was happy with its quiet life.
- Stage five (b) “Locked away”: After months and months of not being checked out, the book has appeared on the computer screen…unfortunately, it is now a part of zero circulation list (a list of books who haven’t been checked out in a certain amount of time). As the book says goodbye to the others around him, he is grabbed from the shelves, and taken by cart to storage. This is where books that are the least popular go. But the book is still hopeful, he hears rumors that even these books are checked out every so often.
- Stage six (b) “He’s Dead, Jim”: After spending months in storage, the book has been checkout out a few times. It’s a nice, quiet existence but suddenly the book hears a rumor that a book just like him has just come in to the library. Excited to see a book of the same kind, the book doesn’t realize what this means. It means it’s not needed anymore. The librarian comes to storage, grabs him off the shelf, and places him in a box with others waiting to be withdrawn.
- Stage seven “withdrawal”: The books are all scared in the box. They have heard that those that go to the box never come back, but they never though it would happen to them. The more popular books are yearning for the touch of eager readers, while the less popular books just want to go back to their spot on the shelf. No matter what their circumstance, they get withdrawn.
- Stage eight “A New Home”: The books have been withdrawn from the library; they have been taken to the Library Volunteers. Each gets sorted into a different pile and they sit there for months, waiting, not knowing what is coming up. Then they see a light, and a big sign appears “Used Book Sale: Support Your Public Library”. People come flooding in, the books are looked through, and most find new homes
- Stage nine “The Circle of Life”: The money raised from the used book sale is collected, and new books are purchased for the library. With that, the cycle begins anew.