Thursday, March 22, 2007


The anti-Bush obsession at my library

Yesterday I picked up a book about President Bush from the sale truck at my public library branch for $2.00, The Right man; the surprise presidency of George W. Bush, by David Frum, Random House, 2003 (colophon says First Edition, but I know nothing about that sort of thing and don't care). Seems to be in perfect condition with just a tiny coffee stain on the cover. I flipped through it, didn't see anything just awful and ridiculous, so decided to buy it. Then I went to the computer terminal and looked up Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946- , which had 81 matches. Now that's not all the titles, because catalogers like to add subdivisions and they get pretty silly about it. His ethics--17 titles; his friends and associates, 15 titles; his political and social views, 14 titles. A lot of these overlap, some books get two or three subject headings, especially GWB books, and I didn't want a research project. Besides, I already knew from glancing through the 973 Dewey classification number on the new book shelves, that someone at Upper Arlington Public Library hates and despises the Bush Administration. But 81 titles--I was curious! So I started plodding my way through the excrutiatingly awkward browse feature of this library's on-line catalog. Truly a challenge for this librarian who has been using on-line catalogs since their infancy in the 1970s.

I'm guessing about 10 of the 81 were balanced, fair or just PR titles, including The Right Man. A few were about him as Governor of Texas, some appeared to be more about his family or Karl Rove than him (I'm judging from the photographs on the covers which clutter up the screen--if Bush wasn't cross-eyed, or flap earred, or the word "scandal" or "outrage" wasn't in the title or subtitle, you could sort of figure it out). UAPL LOVES Bob Woodward and Michael Moore. Oh. my. gosh. They must own stock in those men. Woodward's latest book had 15 copies (I noticed the other day they are ALL on the shelf--nothing checked out--just taking up space collecting dust). I think Farenheit 911 had 17 copies (and it has been proven to have so many errors from a number of sources that I'm surprised they hang on to so many copies.)

Anyway, I jotted down the call numbers--and UAPL doesn't mind reusing a call number/author number combination, so don't worry if you see dups. I personally think that is outrageously sloppy, but I know a number of libraries do that now. I noted 51 that I guessed from the title and full record are anti-Bush--and the number of copies. Some I combined that had separate records, like large print, regular print, and audio. But still, even if you figure publishers will turn out more negative than positive titles about a President, does Director Anne Moore (yes, her name) have to buy them all and in so many copies? Whew! What a waste of taxpayer's money. Especially in a community where Republicans outnumber the Democrats. This woman really believes books change lives, and political beliefs.

My library prints full color posters of upcoming events on sheets of paper the size of wall board, but only gives us scrap paper at the terminals.

David Frum's column



Anonymous said...

This is so strange. I can not believe you are complaining about scrap paper and call numbers. You must have way too, too, too much time on your hands.

Perhaps the library is buying additional copies of books to satisfy growing holds lists??

You must really hate the library. Why do you continue to go there?

Norma said...

You must be a library staff member. "My way or the highway" attitude. I love libraries. UAPL has a great collection in certain topics--but wastes money on anti-Bush books and enormous, wall sized posters. If you want a magazine on computers or popular music or need the latest cookbook by a celebrity, it definitely has it.

Anonymous said...

If Norma doesn't like it, its no good.

Norma said...

Found one of the Woodward anti-Bush books for sale today for $.90 at Volunteers of America. Still not worth the price, but is was a library copy discarded.