Thursday, September 27, 2007

Returning Media

Sometimes the smallest things can make a difference in our lives. Here’s one little change the Ridgefield Library has made that will save time and money for many of our patrons.

<>All materials, including media formats such as DVDs and CDs, may now be returned in the outside book drop near the main entrance to the Library. In the past, we did not allow borrowers to put these more fragile items in this slot because of the risk of expensive damage. The cost of repair or replacement of such items has steadily decreased, and we no longer feel it is necessary to require this special treatment. We do, however, ask that you secure the cases of DVDs, music recordings and books on CD and cassette with rubber bands or wrap them in a plastic grocery bag before dropping in the return slot, to reduce the likelihood of cases popping open and spewing discs hither and yon. <>

This change means that you no longer have to make a separate trip during Library hours or park the car to come into the building to return these items. We hope this will give you more scheduling flexibility and eliminate late fees if you can’t get here when we are open. <>

By the way, did you know that all items returned in the outside book drop are considered returned the previous day up until the time we open? So, something due on September 15th and put in the return slot at 8 AM on the 16th will not incur a fine. <>


Fall storytimes and after school programs start this week, and the pace of homework assignments has picked up as well. This results in an increased population of children using the Library at all hours of the day, including in the darkening hours at the end of the day. Please moderate your speed as you drive into and through our parking lot and be especially alert to youngsters who may be partially hidden behind parked cars or preoccupied with friends, backpacks or skateboards. Thanks for your cooperation!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Banned Books Week 2007

Here's a contribution from Adutl Services Librarian Dorothy Pawlowski:

From September 29th through October 7th, the Ridgefield Library will join with other libraries and bookstores throughout the country in observing the 26th annual Banned Books Week, which celebrates one of our most precious rights, the freedom to read.

<>During 2006 alone, a staggering 546 titles were challenged in this country, and the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom estimates that for each formal challenge, four or five go unreported. This year’s list of the “Top Ten” Most Challenged Books includes Beloved by Toni Morrison, Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, while titles in the Harry Potter series lay claim to being the most challenged books of the 21st century. <>

We invite you to explore displays throughout the library of books that have been challenged or banned, and hope you’ll elect to read one. For anyone who is curious about why a particular title by authors such as John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, or Mark Twain has been challenged, visit the Fiction Room for a look at the publication Banned Books, which spells out the exact nature of a request for a book’s removal. A resource list of publications on Intellectual Freedom is also available. And while supplies last, pick up a bookmark commemorating this year’s theme: “Get Hooked on a Banned Book.” <>

While not every book is intended for every reader, Banned Books Week celebrates our right to decide for ourselves what to read. So come to the Ridgefield Library and join us in celebrating this freedom. As the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, said, "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."

Hello, Columbus

Library Lines come to you this week from Columbus, OH, where I have had the opportunity to visit the main branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML), one of the most-used library systems in the country. Here are a few interesting things I observed.

<>CML uses a self-serve circulation model for almost all transactions, allowing patrons to check out their own items and even pick up reserves, without waiting for staff assistance. The traditional circulation desk is lined with self-check stations facing the public, but there is plenty of staff right at hand, where they are working on other tasks when not needed to help resolve issues of overdue or lost books or new card registrations.

<>“All adults must be accompanied by a child” reads the sign at the entrance to a special area in the children’s library outfitted with colorful, small-scale furnishings, toys, “games computers,” and picture books for the pre-school set and their parents. <>

The adult non-fiction collection does not run in straight sequential order by Dewey Decimal number. Instead, it is broken up into thematic groupings, such as “Fine Arts and Humanities” and “Genealogy, History and Travel.” In the fiction stacks, the alphabetical sequence is indicated by signs featuring pictures and quotations from authors whose last name situates their books in that row. <>

Self-contained computer “pods” on wheels allow reference librarians to move to high traffic areas as needed, concentrating service in the teen area after school or in the large print section when the senior van arrives. <>

A large lobby features not only a gift and used book store run by the Friends but also a coffee stand and even an ATM. <>

Not everything I saw at Columbus would be appropriate or desirable at the Ridgefield Library, and thankfully we have no need of the “No Weapons” signs displayed at their entrance. But I did gather some interesting food for thought.