Books Spice Up Your Life
July 24, 2009 —
It’s been said that variety is the spice of life, and I think that goes for a library’s collection of books, too.
“We strive to buy a wide variety of genres and topics because our goal is to have materials on the shelves that appeal to a wide variety of people,” said Lisa Sampley, who manages and purchases the books, CDs and DVDs for the ten branches and bookmobile in the Springfield-Greene County Library District.
With a budget of $1.5 million, she and her co-workers each month add 5,000 to 8,000 new items to the District’s collection of approximately half-million books. “About 24% is fiction, about the same percentage nonfiction and the rest is children and teen titles,” she said.
A stroll through the “new books” shelves at the Library Center was an easy demonstration of Sampley’s focus on variety. Here’s what I found:
- “The Eco-Travel Guide" by Alastair Fuad-Luke, billed as the “first all-inclusive world-wide resource on traveling responsibly.” The book is full of beautiful illustrations of suggested destinations for travelers who want to “touch the earth lightly.”
- “Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time” by nature writer Richard Conniff is subtitled “My Life Doing Dumb Stuff with Animals.” Enough said.
- “The Book of Dead Philosophers” by Simon Critchley chronicles nearly 200 of the world’s greatest thinkers, which sounds heavy, but he does it in such an engaging and breezy way that you hardly realize that the book is “a profound and moving investigation of meaning and the possibility of happiness for us all.”
- “Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution” by historian Richard Beeman captures the dynamic debates and characters who came to a fragile consensus that produced an enduring, influential document.
- “Weather,” another in the series of “Eyewitness Companions” books published by Dorling Kindersley, tracks forecasting, weather phenomena, climate change and meteorology through hundreds of photos and charts.
- “Our Life in Gardens” by garden designers Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd is a “mixed bag, a gypsy trunk of this and that.” If you’re a gardener, it will inspire you to plant more; if you’re not, it will inspire you to be one.
Jeanne C. Duffey, community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.