Yes, Library! Oh yes!

Angelborough looks vaguely obscene these days. We’re voting on a new library, and everyone has an opinion.

That is to say, everyone has an opinion that we need a new library, as the current library is smaller than my house, and my family may have given away more books before leaving Angeltown than Angelborough has in their collection. Recognizing the inadequacies of such a cultural center, everyone has rallied behind the cause of a new library, showing it with signage.

For weeks, every street in Angelborough has been liberally sprinkled with lawn signs that read YES LIBRARY!

It’s a bit dangerous driving here nowadays, as drivers have to fight the urge to go, “Yes! Yes, Library! Oh yes! Yes!” while driving through normally sedate city streets, past City Hall, past the retirement complex and the expensive restaurant. Oh, yes! More library!

To be fair, there are the opposite signs, the ones that have the red circle-slash and say “No library.”

There are exactly three.

I’m not sure those folks will have any friends when this is done.

Now, if you drive up the road ten miles (you knew that) to TenMilesAway, they have identical signs all over their lawns reading Yes, Library!

These signs, then, are mass-produced for every community voting on a new library, and most likely distributed by someone who has no opinion on whether it would benefit any particular community to build a new library.

Meaning — the same individual may well be selling both signs.

Think of the racket: you grab a domain name like “build a new library-dot-org” and part of your “ideas to raise awareness” page would be “clever library signs, such as this one,” with an image of Yes, Library!  Viewers click the image and it brings them to “library signs dot com” which you also own, and they purchase signs.

Now here’s the glory: with their addresses, you know which towns are voting on new libraries.  Using those addresses, you send a mass-email to anyone you can find from that town advertising your “new libraries are too expensive dot org” website to combat those bibliophile prodigals who want to spend your tax dollars on books and bricks, urging them to buy your “No library” signs.

This is, my wonderful readers, free-market democracy in action. Thomas Jefferson would have shed a little tear.

Cynical much? Well, maybe a bit.  I’m only sorry I didn’t think of it first, oh yes.


  1. christopher

    And where does your loyalty lie in the great Angelborough library kerfuffle?

    1. philangelus

      You couldn’t tell? Oh yes? 🙂

  2. Ivy

    Reminds me of a library in Florida. Please understand, my family moved to Florida and they have superhuman book repulsion abilities. I wouldn’t doubt they combed prospective neighborhoods and chose the one least infested with book stores. In any case, there was a single library there. There were, I asked, less than 800 books.

    1. philangelus

      Yikes! Did they at least have a good interlibrary loan system? I think you clear 800 books in a year!

  3. cricketB

    We’ve been working on a new main branch for almost two decades, but even the pro-library people only agree that the new one being too small and we want some presence downtown — and they’ve been rethinking downtown for equally long. I suspect we’ll have to wait for the next Dale Carnegie. Once they have a good chunk that can’t be used for anything else, other groups will start fundraising and City Hall (in their shiny new offices) will stop making excuses.

    Fortunately, we’ve got a good branch system. Neighbourhoods get a branch almost before they get a grocery store, complete with fenced-in kiddie area, story-time, internet terminals, and great librarians. Inter-library loan takes no more than one business day.

    Our library now has eBooks and audio books, which I think I can get without leaving this chair. It’s not the same as dropping in while wandering by, or lugging the library bag back before the fines get too high, but it’s a nice alternative.

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