About three months ago, I wrote of my extreme disappointment that my local county library system had outright refused to purchase any copies of the latest book by the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — Dr. Alveda King’s book King Rules: Ten Truths for You, Your Family, and Our Nation to Prosper.
There’s actually a small follow up to that article, which was called “No ‘King Rules’ in Wake County Libraries“. (Click title to read the original, if you want to find out the reasons they gave me for not adding it to their collection.)
Today I found a wonderful add-on app for my Chrome browser, called Library Extension. Here’s how it works. After you install the app and set it up with the name of your library (or library system), every time you look up a book on Amazon.com, the app appears on that page and does the following: (1) tells you if your library has bound or electronic copies of the book, (2) reports how many of each type the library has in total and how many are currently available for check-out, and (3) gives you a link back to your library’s website so that you put a reserve on the book.
How wonderful is that?!?! As one of my library system’s biggest supporters and most frequent users, I was thrilled — and I immediately downloaded and installed the app.
Because of my clash with the library over Dr. King’s book, and because I truly hope they reverse their decision one day, I decided to look up her book first. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw this:
Wowzers! It wasn’t the 13 copies they often buy of new, “deserving” books — but there it was on the screen: the library system had purchased 2 copies of the book! Yippee!
Immediately, I clicked on the link that said “Place a hold.”
It took only a few seconds looking at the library web page to which I had been taken to figure out (1) that the book that the app took me to was not King Rules, but instead Gillian Day’s critical Stratford edition of Shakespeare’s play Richard III; (2) that, even if Richard III were a suitable substitute for King Rules (it, of course, was not), the Library has only one copy, not the two divined by the app; and (3) that therefore, it appears that the app has severe bugs in its search code, and the Wake County Library’s collection is far from accurately linked with Amazon.com’s inventory.
It’s a great idea for an app, folks. I’m sure in time you’ll get it all together, and make it work smoothly and correctly.
And Wake County Public Libraries — please buy Dr. King’s book!