2017-01-11 Wed

The Toronto Public Library

Christopher Greaves Home_IMG_20170107_104308038.jpg

Late last week I submitted a proposal to the Toronto Public Library that a “Purchase” system would be basically congruent to the current Holds system, that as titles were culled the material could be issued to a borrower with the Holds system, with the borrower forking over a privileged fee, say ten dollars, when a title was destined for the Book Sales Trolley. I reasoned that such a system guaranteed a sale, since the money could be deducted from the borrower’s account up front.

Further to my thoughts: I rather think a “Pay” system would be an almost-congruent system to the current “Hold” system. The same programming mechanisms would be at work.

Think of a “Pay” button alongside the “Hold”” button. Clicking “Pay” would put a special Hold on the TITLE, so that when it was time to cull, a book with that title would be routed as if it were a HOLD!

The nice man who drives the truck would roll up behind the Yorkville Public Library, wheel the books into the staff office. Staff would elastic-band those slips of paper to the spine, and Muggins would come along, grab the book  labeled “0436 GR” and trot over to the checkout station.

At the checkout station Muggins would learn “You can’t borrow this book, but you can take it away and keep it IF you pay $ at the counter”.

Muggins is delighted!

Suppose Muggins has bought his own copy in the meantime and no longer wants/needs this copy: Then when the Hold expires, the Yorkville Public Library staff learn that the book can be shoveled straight onto their Book Sale trolley, because the library system has already declared that the book no longer exists on the shelves. The only question is whether or not Muggins wants first shot at the book before it reaches the Yorkville Public Library book trolley.

Further to my thoughts:

I have just read Noah Richler's “The Candidate” This book was reviewed by Steve Paikin sometime in 2016; I listened to the TVO Podcast and raced into the library to place a hold. Let’s say that I learned “15 copies, 638 holds”.

The library has bought fifteen copies because the book is about a local candidate for a Toronto riding; there will surely be a lot of interest amongst readers who belong to the Toronto Public Library.

So far so good.

Six months later the Library is over-stocked with fifteen copies and wants to cull, say, ten copies, leaving five on the shelves.

Since the day I placed a hold there were (say) 638 holds, probably one thousand people have read the fifteen library copies over an eight-month period.  Of those 1,000, there are probably ten who would like their own copy (”I’m thinking of running for parliament”, “I have a friend who is thinking of running”, “I live in that riding” and so on).

From the Toronto Public Library’s viewpoint, there is INSTANT CASH to be made by tapping into the audience for any book that has an anticipated high demand followed by a steep decline in demand.

Hence my delight on the snippet of news in the Saturday papers. Shown in the image above.

The Toronto Public Library

Christopher Greaves Home_IMG_20170109_102834449.jpg

I am gradually taking over the second shelf of the Holds area in Yorkville Public Library. Right now the staff have taken to lying my holds on their sides to save space. I will have on hand a small adhesive label “Chris Greaves” when the day arrives ...