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January 29, 2013 at 5:00 PM

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Caroline Kennedy speaks at American Library Association meeting

Libraries should stock more books of literary value

With 10,000 members of the American Library Association convening in Seattle, I hope one topic of discussion is the tension between stocking “good” books as opposed to books that are merely currently popular [“Kennedy sings praise of libraries: ‘tabernacles of personal freedom,’ ” NWMonday, Jan. 28].

The Seattle Public Library (SPL) does not replace “good” books that go missing or fall apart; for example, Jessica Hagedorn’s novel “Dogeaters,” which was nominated for a National Book Award in 1990. It assigns the task of choosing books for purchase to a distributor who bases its recommendations on what is in current demand. Never mind that a number of these books are hardly literary.

It seems to me a critical mission of the library is keeping in stock books that have survived the test of time and/or are critically acclaimed. While a borrower may make a special request for a book from another library, SPL now charges $5 for the privilege. This has the ultimate effect of damping down curiosity and limiting library patrons to a catalog that, day by day, is losing its store of literature.

--Carole Glickfeld, Seattle

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Can I pay some additional tax to support the library, and not have it go to support a... MORE
$5 for intra library loan? Shame on SPL... MORE
@pugnus populi - That's for INTER-library loan. If you are at the Capitol Hill... MORE

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