When I was in middle school and high school, I could spend an hour or more browsing school library shelves and come home with a few thousand pages of content to read.
I’ve always found it so exciting to come home with new stories to read, new characters to fall in love with, and new worlds to explore.
When I arrived at Simpson, I was thrilled to continue feeding my voracious appetite. I expected to find new, more mature books that they don’t put in high school libraries.
But when I first walked into Dunn’s Library, I quickly realized there was no fiction section. I also found that when I used the search tool on the website, there were no more books available at the library than there were.
Dunn owns nearly 100,000 printed books, ranging from Emperor Hirohito’s biography to a Warren County groundwater survey. Yet, there are very few fantastic playback options and, therefore, no way to navigate through them. Despite this gap in the collection, Dunn retains a considerable number of books that have not been borrowed for decades, if at all.
This created two problems.
Number 1: I can’t search for fantasy novels.
The purpose of library sections is to provide general-interest browsing, which is one of the best things about physical libraries. Not having a section for fantasy makes the already difficult task of finding fantasy novels I haven’t read yet even more difficult.
Number 2: To get fantasy novels, I either have to get interlibrary loan or go to the public library. Both are inconvenient and often don’t allow me to read the books I want.
Interlibrary loan due dates are much tighter and harder to renew (I once had a week to read a 700-page novel) and the public library doesn’t fill all the gaps in Dunn’s collection . It would also require me to go off campus and get another library card.
I’ll also point out that Dunn already has some fantasy novels and even children’s books. Let’s not pretend that Dunn is only for research and learning.
Nor do the fantasy novels that are present suggest a pattern behind the selections. The Lord of the Rings is part of the collection, probably because of its cultural and literary significance. Elric of Melnibone, however, isn’t there, despite being the next step in fantasy and hugely influencing works like Game of Thrones.
These books aren’t hard to get, nor are they particularly hard to find if Dunn is restructuring his collection.
Dunn is currently undergoing renovations, so now is the perfect time to go through the collection and remove unnecessary books to make room for exciting, illuminating and memorable novels.