Saturday, June 24, 2006

Books: Be Kind to the Next Reader

A pet peeve of mine for years has been inconsiderate use of library books. I'm a Robert Parker fan and every time I get one of his Spenser mysteries -- even ones that are newly in circulation -- someone has gotten to it before me. This person thinks it's okay to write notes in the columns, correct what they think is bad grammar or spelling (even if it isn't) and dog ear the book every couple of pages. It's as if they think it is their very own book and no one is going to read it after them. Better yet, perhaps they think that I would appreciate their edits.

I have this vision of someone with nothing better to do than to keep a black felt tip pen, a dictionary and thesaurus by their reading chair -- ready to pounce on a run on or a split adjective.

Rather than just complain, I've decided to do something about it. I've left bookmarks at the Goleta, Santa Barbara and Eastside Library that ask people not to write in books, dog ear or otherwise misuse books. Pick one up and use it -- or better yet, put one randomly in a popular book that will be read. Let's spread the word that books that are treated with respect will last longer and be more enjoyable to the next reader.