Have you ever seen one of those cute mini libraries? We are often invited to take a book and leave a book, it’s a sweet notion and a friendly gesture, but maybe its because I work in an actual library that something about them just rubs me the wrong way. Strange because I love sharing ideas and this seems like a great way of doing it.
Here’s why I don’t like them:
I Have yet to see one with a good book on offer. Maybe I would like them more if I enjoyed sci-fi series and cheap airport novels. But I don’t. You see, no one puts their favorite books on a dusty shelf for somebody else to take home, because that’s the book they grab when they need comfort, reassurance or a laugh. I am seriously considering giving my copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to one of these mini libraries with a hand written review on it. because:
There is never any information on why the books in there are worth reading. I am not going to read a self help book called How to be a creative entrepreneur in a corporate world. if nobody tells me why it’s worth the read. It’s too random.
It feels like attention seeking. Especially in shops and bars. Again the idea is not bad When you buy an ice cream you can take a look and grab a book if one appeals to you, especially if you’re in a queue deciding which flavours you want. But who is going to leave home and think “Hmm let’s go get an ice cream….”Wait! I need to take a book for the mini library”?
In my opinion you are better off getting a library card and using it. But of course I would say that wouldn’t I?
And It also goes the other way: I’m not sure I agree with Libraries which have coffee shops attached. People can take their borrowed books to a coffee place nearby, Or at least they can in Utrecht, where every other shop sells some kind of hot beverage. And If you do want to make your books available to others free of charge there are other options open to you. And now that I’ve ranted on about these mini libraries I’ll have to do a post about that soon.