Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Letter to a Whale Regarding the Dismal State of Modern Libraries

Dear Moby Dick,

I went to the library several weeks ago to check out Herman Melville's account of Captain Ahab's unreasonable persecution of you, but unfortunately the Central Branch of the Denver Public Library didn't have one copy of the book.  Not one.

While I am sure you do not mind this oversight, I feel obliged to point out that there are many other classics missing from the shelves of the central branch, which should (in my opinion) be the most complete collection of books in the system.  In addition, there are four copies of Sarah Palin's masterpiece Going Rogue: An American Dream.  Four copies, and we can't afford one copy of Moby Dick

You might be interested, Mr. Dick, in reading the following article, about a library that is in fact bordering on getting rid of the classics because there isn't enough demand for them: "Checked Out: A Washington-Area Library Tosses Out the Classics."  I guess my question is whether or not demand for the classics should dictate general availability of the classics, or whether a high school student who is interested in reading a novel featuring perhaps one of the best examples of hubris should be able to get his hands on a copy right away, or whether he should have to send away for a copy from another branch?


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