The Library Camel

Awhile ago, I wrote about Luna the Library Horse.  Well, this time, it’s a camel.  I don’t know if this camel has a name or not but it travels the Gobi Desert, transporting an array of children’s books.

Its owner Dashdondog Jamba writes, translates, and publishes children’s books – and then carries them via camel to remote areas in the Gobi Desert.  He has gone 50,000 miles throughout Mongolia – by camel, by horseback, by oxcart.  Recently, he has purchased a van.

Hopefully the camel keeps up its job as a library, even if it’s getting help from the van.

Read more at The Trumpet.

Dashdondog Jamba on his camel.

Mental Health in Academia

butterflies by Vargas
By Eugenio Cruz Vargas. CC by SA 3.0.

I have written about mental health and libraries before, for #LISMentalHealthWeek 2016.  Therein, I wrote about micro-aggressions that those suffering from mental health issues can experience in a library.  Mental health is important to me, so when I saw an article about mental health services in academia, I thought I would write about it.

The Chronicle of Higher Education published an article called “Stigma, Stress, and Fear: Faculty Mental-Health Services Fall Short” (Emma Pettit).  Pettit’s article notes that while mental health services for university students have increased, universities’ faculty and staff do not see the same support.

In my experience (though I cannot say whether this is true for everyone), academia is receptive – at least – to the idea of individuals dealing with mental health issues.  We understand that students and our coworkers might be going through a mental health crisis, at least in the vaguest sense.  The library workforce (staff, faculty, and volunteers) seem to have a better grasp of mental health issues than other workforces.

But still, yes, academia seeks to help (undergraduate) students dealing with mental health issues – but can ignore the faculty’s, staff’s and (frequently) graduate students’ needs for similar services.  And plenty of students (undergraduate or graduate, traditional or non-traditional) have stories of inadequate mental health services.  For all involved in academia, mental health services are hard to access.

Though academia has these problems (even with a seemingly receptive attitude), I argue that it is not really academia’s problem. Instead this mental healthcare debacle is a problem the world over.  Everywhere people feel stigmatized by their need to take time off, or their supervisor/employer won’t let them have time off for therapy visits or rest days.  They have to wait 3 months to see a psychologist, and even longer to see a psychiatrist.  All therapists within driving distance refuse to accept their patients’ insurance (forcing patients to forego treatment, or pay hefty fees out of pocket).  Professors, students, academic staff, and librarians aren’t the only ones facing these issues – and, depending on the environment they work in, they might not have the added strains of no paid leave.

For mental health services, we in academia should not simply think that our workplaces should be sheltered utopias – and forget that the rest of the world have these same problems.  Instead, we need to focus on changing the entire landscape, not just our campuses.

Books that are going to be stolen

Candice Huber published interesting findings on the books that are most likely to be stolen from libraries.  I couldn’t resist posting about her findings here.  So, which books are most likely to be stolen from a library?

  1. The Guinness Book of Records.  Maybe it’s because these books are expensive to buy for your personal library.  Maybe it’s some weird thing about breaking the record for the most-stolen book.  Okay, I don’t know why people are so into this book, but it apparently flies off the library shelf. (And never comes back.)
  2. The Bible. The Bible is one of the most printed books in the Western world.  It should be reasonably easy to pick up your own copy, but people still like to take Bibles and never return them.  Huber says that patrons must think that the Word of God should be free.  All I can think of is running up to the religion section of my library, collecting the Bibles, and throwing them outside.  All while chanting, “Free the Logos!”
  3. Exam Prep Books. Yes, I never wanted to buy these. And they’re so heavy that you kinda can’t carry them back to the library.
  4. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and other racy books/magazines. These are more likely vandalized than stolen in a complete manner. So, basically, people will rip out a particularly enticing page rather than take the whole book. Some of my reading also suggests that it’s library staff that walk off with the stuff in its entirety, not patrons.
  5. Art Books. These things apparently have great resale value.