Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to Build Your Personal Library for Free

The other day I got into a crowded elevator at the library along with several other people, including three young artfart/alt/punk males. The one to my right had several dvds in his hand ready to check out, and his friend behind me said happily, "Oh, I can't check anything out from here, I owe them way too much money! Where do you think I got my Harry Potter collection from? I have this thing, it's like, I check books out and I just forget that I have them; I just believe that they should belong to me." At which point we reached the second floor, the doors opened, and we filed out.

As usual, my reflexes were slow. I thought, wanted to say, should have said aloud, "What a dick!" Very often library books or other materials that I (and no doubt other people) would like to use are unavailable, listed as "Missing" or "Never returned" in the catalog. I wonder how many are now the property of some stupid, selfish twit like the guy in the elevator. If he didn't want to pay the fines, he could still at least have returned them so other people could use them. I'll be the first to admit that there are worse people in the world; but given the difficult condition of public services everywhere, abusing them like that, and bragging about it publicly, deserves notice. And while the boy may consider himself a bold nonconformist, an independent free spirit, there's nothing more Republican than that kind of contempt for the commons.