The Sacramento Public Library branches are all closed today for staff furloughs, which is tough when the hours are already pretty terrible. Trying to find a branch open near you after business hours is like trying to find swim trunks once Summer has already started (amirite?). Wednesday night, though, the family and I visited McClatchy Library, the only central city branch open past business hours on that day.
At the moment the branch looks less like a library and more like the house of a book-loving couple (with a really pretty house). The pleasantly (IMHO) cramped quarters are less cramped these days, because almost all the books are stored on wall shelves with only 2 freestanding shelves. We saw an excited young patron park her bike out back, stroll through the branch for about 10 seconds before storming out, muttering something like “Not even worth it!”.
As it turns out, the branch did in fact jettison about 3,000 items from its collection in order to build a teen space. I don’t know why anyone would propose removing books from the library for any reason other than not having enough space. Before you make fun of me, think about how you are going to bequeath that DRM’d Kindle e-book version of your favorite novel to your grandson one day. (“As opposed to borrowing it for 3 weeks from the library?” Yeah but you get my point. Paper books are awesome.)
The Friends of the McClatchy library questioned this move (PDF newsletter) but were not able to stop the library from going forward with the changes. Apparently teen spaces are part of the master plan for all the libraries. I suppose getting young people interested in reading and learning in a public space like a library is great but not when you do it by getting rid of all the books. They can play video games and look at posters everywhere else.