Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Old Archbishop

I'm getting a late start this morning. I went out with some co-workers last night and wound up staying several hours and having four pints of beer, which for me is a lot. It was over a pretty long period of time and I did eat somewhere in there, but still, I am moving slowly this morning.

I asked my brother whether he sent the mystery postcard. He said, "That looks like something I would do but I can neither confirm or deny my involvement." I told him that sounded like a yes, and did he know if they were supposed to come regularly, because I didn't get a no. 1?  He replied, "That I can neither confirm nor deny, but yes there was a 1. "

So the mystery of the sender is, if not definitively solved, at least somewhat clearer. The mystery of what happened to the No. 1 card, and whether or not I will ever get it, is still in question.

I spent yesterday doing more weeding in the library. Some of you asked about our criteria for weeding, or culling, old books. It's usually a mixture of condition, use (or under-use) and contents. We discard fiction books when they get too old or battered, or when we have too many copies (though our library seldom has more than two of any given book), or when they don't get borrowed. Non-fiction may get weeded when it contains outdated information. We normally do not pull books just because they're controversial. For example, I will not be weeding Toni Morrison's "The Bluest Eye" anytime soon, except to replace an old copy with a newer one.

Anybody want a book on supernovas from 1989? Old science books, particularly about medicine or space, are ripe for culling, and I did get rid of that one. I'm thinking our knowledge of stars has probably advanced in the last 34 years. I also discarded a book about the marvel of the Hubble Space Telescope from 1993 and a book that touted a "new space station" due to open in the futuristic year of 2004.

Also this:

A perfectly good book, content-wise, but this was a dreary copy. People say "don't judge a book by its cover," but the fact is, readers do -- and old, yellowed, tattered paperbacks with outdated cover art are not appealing. No kid, or adult for that matter, is going to want to read that.

We've had it in the library since January 1974! Richard Nixon was still president!

And as you can see, interest in this particular copy basically collapsed about 15 years ago. It had 14 checkouts or renewals in the '70s and '80s, and only five in the years since -- perhaps because it was looking more and more tired. I weeded it and we bought a fresh copy.

So, yeah, that's how weeding works. Aren't you glad you asked?

Dave and I made some last-minute changes to our Florida trip. My stepsister, who we'd planned to stay with for a few nights when we first land next Saturday, wrote to say that she's actually going to be in New Mexico next weekend (!). So Dave and I got a hotel in downtown Tampa and we'll stay there for two nights before I go up to Jacksonville and he goes to Bradenton. That way, I can see some Tampa friends and get rested before driving long distances.

(Top photo: A Japanese restaurant in West Hampstead.)


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Have you weeded out "The Bible"? If not, it's time you did as its contents can have a detrimental impact upon young minds. By the way I thought that Tampa was a company that specialises in intimate products for ladies. Shouldn't it have an "x" at the end?

Moving with Mitchell said...

I've never read “Death Comes for the Archbishop.” I'd take that one with the ugly cover. But, you're right. I wouldn't have chosen it.

Andrew said...

You don't move slowly the next day after four pints over a long period. Fess up. You went to a pub and got pissed. How terribly English.

I am glad I asked and I like your library book weeding criteria. No book burning at all.

Bob said...

I imagine a lot of science books are outdated almost as soon as they hit the shelves.

Ms. Moon said...

Well, isn't your brother the clever one? I am interested to see what else he sends.
So you're coming to Florida next week? I didn't realize it was so soon. Come see me if you get the chance.

Boud said...

I know at least one Tampa resident who would like a visit, I bet.

I'm glad the culling is practical, not ideological! At the moment, the second is being fought out in school districts here.

Colette said...

I quite like Tampa. I hope you are staying near downtown. By the way, that exclamation point said it all.

NewRobin13 said...

I love that you somewhat solved the postcard mystery and how sweet that it may have been sent by your brother.
The Florida trip is coming so soon. I'm looking forward to the adventures and the photos.

Kelly said...

I only read my first Willa Cather last year (My Antonia) and know nothing about this one. I'm glad you replaced it with a newer copy, but do you think kids read books like that without it being assigned? (or maybe that's the only reason they read most of the stuff in the library!)

Sharon said...

Sounds like your hunch about the post card sender was right. Now you have a new mystery to work out. What happened to number one.

Margaret said...

I'm sure the postcards will all be explained...eventually! I actually like the cover of that book although I've never read it. I've never been to Tampa except to fly in there but have been to Bradenton (sp) for one of my daughter's gymnastics meets. Heck of a long way to fly from Seattle for a weekend.

The Bug said...

I've decided that the card was sent by your niece (you have one, right?) who is participating in some sort of sociology study. Ha!

Oh man, I would totally love to weed books. It's just so satisfying.

Catalyst said...

Your brother seems to have an active sense of humor.

Red said...

I've watched our librarian wedd books. It takes a lot of time. Did you have someone like me who would go through the discards and take some of them. The next book I'm reading is Silas Marner by George Elliott. And yes, it's a discard from school.

Debby said...

Your brother sounds like a hoot.

Enjoy Florida. I just got that book. With a different cover! I picked it because of the author.

River said...

I'm curious about postcard #1 too.
I read a few Willa Cather books in the past, but don't recall what they were. This one looks interesting, I hope you find a home for it.

Steve Reed said...

YP: We do have a Bible! Also a Koran, a Bhagavad Gita and the Book of Mormon. I hate to say it but that's a very old joke about Tampa.

Mitchell: I can mail it to you! What's your address? :)

Andrew: Well, I did get fairly pissed, but I swear it took only four pints over a long period!

Bob: Yeah, I imagine students will use the web for much of that stuff now, unless they're required to use a book by their teacher.

Ms Moon: I know! I really want to see what's on No. 1! Unfortunately I won't get over to Tallahassee on this trip. We have only a week so it's going to be pretty rushed.

Boud: I'm not sure our mutual Tampa friend wants a visit from me, and in any case I'm not going to have a car there so I'm pretty much confined to the downtown area. :(

Colette: Yes, we're staying IN downtown, because we won't have a car right away and need to be somewhere we can walk to things.

Robin: At this point I'll be glad to get it out of the way, having been thwarted in our travel plans in December!

Kelly: No, I imagine it would have to be an assignment, maybe in a Western Lit class. I loved "My Antonia" but like you I read it as an adult. I'm not sure how a teenager would feel about Willa Cather.

Sharon: I know! I hope it shows up at some point.

Margaret: Wow, that IS a long trip. You're a dedicated parent!

Bug: Yeah, I thought of my niece too. It's a possibility!

Catalyst: He has always had an energetic sense of humor.

Red: I wish someone would take the discards! We often struggle to find some place that will take the old books. I hate to just throw them all out (though some of them are indeed trash).

Debby: I read it years ago and don't remember much about it. I hope you like it! Does yours have the Rancho de Taos church on the front? That's the one we bought for the library. The Penguin edition.

River: I hope it shows up at some point! If not, maybe one of my neighbors is puzzling over it.

Ed said...

Nice to see I was right about the postcard number.