Library Illiteracies

Stand in the vestibule of Abbotsford’s Clearbrook Library, look above the inner doors to the Library’s inner sanctum and one finds this quotation from Henry Ward Beecher:

“A library is not a luxury; it is one of the necessities of life.”

Illiteracy: a mistake in writing or speaking.



Hours of Operation requires one to be in the state of being operative.

If you are closed (in a state of non-operation) on Labour Day, you do not have Hours of Operation but Hours of Non-operation.



In order to ‘grab & go’, isn’t it necessary to have something to grab?

Internet social media made making a ‘Christmas Tree” using books a HOT thing to do for Christmas 2012 which led to the Teen Advisory Group at Clearbrook Library creating this ‘Tree’.

And topping the tree with…….



Using books to build a icon of a Christmas tree makes sense on many different conceptual levels, presenting numerous opportunities for interesting, even ingenious, use of symbolism.

Which is what makes topping the tree with the German Dictionary (whose only recommendation as the tree topper seems to be its thickness) so jarring and out of sync with what would be a appropriate symbol to top off a Christmas Tree.

It is sitting in the entrance foyer to the library. A building whose shelves are filled with books, videos and music rife with iconic representational symbols. A building whose back wall contains a fantastic tableau consisting of carved tiles.

Setting aside the assault on one’s artistic soul, a great disservice was done to the members of the Teen Advisory Group by a seeming ‘good enuf’ attitude where a big fat German dictionary was close enough (hey, a dictionaries a book – right) even if it is not  in anyway befitting as the topping of their Christmas Tree.

Astronomy, astrophysics, physics, star maps, mathematics, collections of Hubble photos……….metaphysics, spirituality, philosophy, mythology, Faerie………even fiction. So many possibilities to consider and stretch the mind, the imagination; so many opportunities to examine how ‘the devil is in the details’ and just how important the details can be in creating the effect you want OR accepting ‘good enuf’ and going wityh an icon as disturbing to the mind as the wailing of a banshee.

A library should embody excellence, not ‘good enough’.



With all the reference books in the library you think someone would have thought to determine that Summer 2013 arrived on Thursday June 20 for places west of the Central Time Zone (10:04 pm in Vancouver); and Friday June 21 for the Central time zone eastward (1:04 am in Toronto).



Say What? Is Clearbrook Library is holding a going out of business sale?

Yes a library needs to manage the materials on its shelves. And yes, it is a good thing that the books are sold to good homes where they will be read and appreciated.

But a screaming, in your face BOOK SALE sign at a library? I say, it is just not on.


Next thing you know the Library will be hosting a …………

All those books trapped on the shelves of the Library, forced to listen as page after page is fed into the voracious maw of the shredder and chopped into tiny pieces.

Page after page of paper made from trees, just as the library’s books are made from trees. Library books that could, (shudder) easily be converted to confetti by the insatiable monster in the east parking lot.

OH, the inhumanity of the psychological torture as the library books can only huddle together on the shelves, praying some kind patron checks them out and takes them away from the carnage taking place in the east parking lot.

We end this edition of Library Illiteracies with this pièce de résistance:


Perhaps, had this been the Stupid Persons Corner they might have gotten away with it. No, I am not referring to the failure to use the possessive form of the noun person as required in The Thinking Persons Corner.

You do need to use the possessive form with nouns referring to people, groups of people, countries and animals. You form the possessive by adding apostrophe + s (‘s) to the noun; thus Thinking Persons (apostrophe + s) Corner is the proper form.

In a library, with its foundation of language, the ‘good enuf’ attitude reflected in the lack of an apostrophe + s (‘s) appended to the work person in the sign pictured above is disconcerting and discombobulating.

But that is not what makes this the pièce de résistance.



No, what makes this such an entertaining Pièce de Résistance is the fact that they have located the “Thinking Person’s Corner” in the middle of the library, far from any corner.

A spatial positioning, the absurd whimsical drollness of which, thinking persons have an appreciation of.

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