18 May 2009

Do what Sully says!

Remember how US Airways #1549 captain Chesley Sullenberger dutifully called in the library book which was damaged in the water landing? He's now the poster boy for a (though since ended) San Francisco public library fine amnesty campaign -- offering patrons with long-overdue material two weeks in which they're "free 2 return."

To quote the source: "If BayNewser didn't already have a crush on Sullenberger, the news that he had not one, not two, but four library books on him during the crash sets our heart aflutter." The funny thing is I usually don't fly with library books -- hardcovers, you know.

This amnesty campaign is a novel idea, but I remember reading in Nicholas Basbanes' PATIENCE AND FORTITUDE about a redesign of San Francisco's flagship public library in the early '90s that, in efforts to make the building more user-friendly, removed a lot of shelf space -- to the point that the library was forced to discard books to fit the new building. They must have since solved that problem if they're asking people to bring books that have been gone for years.

I've kept to the straight and narrow with the NYPL (I owe just $0.50 right now), but I think my old box at school is still getting collection notes from the Harvard library system (took a class there one summer and spent a lot of time in deliciously air-conditioned Lamont). I think they wanted $3.50. When I am disqualified from ruling the world, this will be the reason.

Download your Captain Sullenberger poster (detail of which, above) and hear him and others give their best lines at the SFPL website.


Wade Garrett said...

1) Sully is the man.

2) It probably speaks ill in some way that I go out and buy paperbacks to bring on trips instead of reading library hardcovers, as if the few extra ounces would make that much of a difference, considering how much extra weight I'm already likely to be carrying due to my chronic overpacking/general inability to travel light.

Ellen said...

Paperbacks travel so much easier that I can understand the temptation. Even as a packing ninja I end up taking the odd hardcover (including one of my five for this trip). But at some point the only books I own and haven't read will be hardcovers, which -- will call for another strategy, I guess.

Wade Garrett said...

I'm the same way. Since I do so much reading while I travel - this includes my commute - I tend to read significantly more paperbacks than hardcovers, which means that my pile of unread hardcovers continues to accrue. The solution, of course, is to find more time to sit and home or in a coffeeshop and quietly read - but that time can be hard to come by.

Ellen said...

Okay, Amazon, here's your Kindle sales pitch: Buy back a certain number of my hardcovers in exchange for putting them in digital format on my brand-new e-reader. (Would never happen, but would solve two problems at once.)