HomeVoorhees NewsLetter to the editor: “De-friended” by the library?

Letter to the editor: “De-friended” by the library?

Letter to the editor: “De-friended” by the library?

Over time the evolution of friend has been adapted. Initially, used in the Latin and Greek societies, as sort of a combination of the emotions to like and to love. In looking-up other variations, friend is considered a person whom one knows, likes, and trusts, or a person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty.

This thought came up recently as I attended an event announced in the newspaper for local authors to sell their publications. The specific event happened to take place at my hometown library; of which I have been a card-carrying member since second grade, a certified volunteer providing countless hours to guide folks through English as a second language tutoring, and an organization which solicited and persuaded me to donate money as a “Friend of the Library.”

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Well, as I excitedly and cautiously approached the event with books and poster in hand, the head librarian, who knows me by name and face, told me I was, “not signed-up and was not on the list.” She corroborated with another librarian who asked if I was on their list. Now, I am not aware of what constitutes “the list,” but I am aware the head librarian has my email, had communicated with me previously and tried to implore me to donate my book to the library when it was newly published.

I was shocked and dismayed. First, many far-reaching library systems not only welcomed me to their author events, but they awarded me tokens of appreciation after purchasing a copy of my book for their collection. Since I have a bounty of determinism and stick-to-it-tive-ness, I asked head librarian if I could walk around the author event anyway. So, I stashed my book poster and inventory in the immediate corner and walked through the author-cramped venue.

Straight away I caught eyes with author-friends, who we have appeared at other related events and they advised how they did not sign-up for this event, rather were sent an invitation all the way from two counties away in Vineland.

In meeting other authors who listened to my plight, one questioned her table-mate who happened to be the library manager, selling a book — May that be conflict of interest? He said there must have been an oversight why I did not sign-up for the event. Yet, the oversight seems more like a discrepancy as the library invited the appearing authors. It is during this exchange, I reviewed my alliance to my hometown library when I highlighted I was a sponsor in the “Friends of the Library” program, which the manager retorted, we haven’t had “Friends of the Library” in four years. The surrounding authors looked quizzically by this odd response.

This brought me to another thought, does that mean that I was “de-friended” by the library? Maybe the erroneous grand assumptions is that a town library is a place to learn, study, convene and exchange ideas; which integral for academic relationships and possibly even conducive to friendships. I have established and enhanced friendships from various activities within the library walls, but it appears the librarian staff does not want to augment its existing friends, contacts, relationships, etc. You get the picture. I would hope my friends lead me on a more positive, truthful direction.

Along with many books, maybe the value of digital friends may one day exceed the interchanges that used to mean so much among friends in traditional brick-and-mortar libraries.

-A. Feller


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