Why a New Zealand Library’s Books Kept Vanishing, Then Reappearing

“‘It was really odd and we couldn’t quite figure it out,’ Auckland Libraries manager Rachael Rivera told The Guardian. ‘We thought someone was playing with us, or it was bored kids.’ It was only in one of their regular meetings with the library’s homeless patrons that the solution revealed itself. Unable to get library cards without an address, or fearing damage to books that they checked out, many people had been tucking their books beneath couches or under shelves so that they could return to them without losing their place.”

“‘That community really values the services we offer and treats the books with a great deal of respect,’ Rivera told the British newspaper. ‘A lot of the guys that come in are extremely well-read and have some quite eccentric and highbrow literary tastes. People are homeless for so many different reasons, and being intelligent and interested in literature doesn’t preclude that.’ The library has since established a special bookshelf behind the front desk to store books for this group of about 50 homeless readers.”

Auckland Central Library
Auckland Central Library has a vast collection of books, as well as computers with free internet access. PARENTINGPATCH/CC BY-SA 3.0

Everybody Reads Picks Evicted

“Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City” , by Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond, will be the focal point of the Multnomah County Library’s 2017 Everybody Reads community reading program. Desmond follows eight Wisconsin families who struggle to pay their rent. The book has received much critical praise – The New York Times described it as an “unignorable book,” adding, “after ‘Evicted,’ it will no longer be possible to have a serious discussion about poverty without having a serious discussion about housing.” The New Yorker excerpted it over two issues.

The library’s director, Valley Oehlke, who chose the title, called it “a very timely selection for our community.”

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