There are all kinds of ways of marking events and transitions in the life of a library.What might immediately come to mind are occasions such as retirements of longtime staff, the addition of a "milestone" item (the hundred-thousandth book, etc.), or the dedication of a new library building.
Busy as things are, no events fitting these categories have occurred recently at our library. But something more distinctive and therefore well worth noting certainly has: this past week we replaced our bookdrop.
If that's not a familiar term to you, you are likely in good company: a bookdrop is just one of those things that is always there, not really needing a name or label. But I'll also bet that the next time you enter the library's main entrance, you'll notice something different right away. The bookdrop is the big metal box provided for you and others to return library items (mostly books and DVDs) when you are done with them.
Here to the left is an example: a functional, stainless steel receptacle.
What I'm noting here is that, with considerable help from you (the library users) and the notorious Minnesota weather,
we wore one of these things out, completely.
Rusty, broken, cumbersome to use and no longer a healthy place for books and other resources, the venerable orange unit had to be decomissioned, hauled away to the junkpile, and replaced by something shinier and more attractive. (Manufactured in St. Cloud!)
Here's why I think so: wouldn't it be interesting to know how many books passed through the old rustbucket-of-a-bookdrop over its lifespan at Luther? Think for a just a moment about all the assignments due, sermons prepared; all the sources – read, skimmed, never-gotten-to-in-spite-of-good-intentions – dropped off here after use. This whole process of our "conversation" with the voices of the past and present, is fostered in such a profound way by our interactions with books and other resources, and in its own humble, silent way, the bookdrop is part of the equipment that helps make that exchange possible.
So long, old bookdrop, hello shiny new one: we'll lay on a more public celebration sometime soon!