We're taking a bit of a breather while the world rearranges its underpants. Meanwhile, the other blog is here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Empowerment

Canal Man's been in the library again. He's a source of gentle backstage amusement and nods of recognition, one of the regular irregular customers.

He's what is technically known these days as a "vulnerable adult," a bit slow on the uptake and with the reading age of a child but very, very keen on books. He'll sometimes borrow a dozen at a time, take them home and then bring them all back the next day so that he can get some new ones. He goes through sequences of obsessions: for a long while it was canals and narrowboats, then it was church architecture and now it's lighthouses. It's a challenge to satisfy the demand from stock but it gives some of the books from the reserve collections an airing, which is no bad thing.

Odd though this behaviour is, I think it's brilliant. Oh yes, the cynic in me will be happy that he's improving our visitor and circulation statistics but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that he's happy. He's found somewhere he can visit safely by himself, he can decide for himself what he does or doesn't borrow and he genuinely likes the books for their own sake. How often does he get to be in control of any transaction or activity? I'm glad we're giving him the opportunity.

And I'm glad he's taking it.

I need to remind myself of these things occasionally.

8 comments:

zmkc said...

Wonderful - I love every word (except the one at the top

Pat said...

I used to take a short cut through the reading room at Keighley and it was usually full of people who looked as if they had nowhere else to go.

geraldgee said...

Thank God for good librarians.

wendy house said...

How wonderful. I've met some vulnerable adults this week, mosty they have an undephinable charm, a sort of innocence about them. Some might call them stupid but it seems to me like they have something we should all be lucky to have, a way of seeing the world that has a special magic in it.

Madame DeFarge said...

I agree with you completely. But this is why we need public services - to ensure that people like this, and many others, have a stake in society.

Macy said...

Ditto every comment above.

With that title, for a terrible minute I thought you were going to discuss Wimmins Issues...

Happy Frog and I said...

I also agree with all the above comments. One of my cousin's teaches special needs children. We were talking about it today and he says that it really touches him how disappointed they are if he does not know the answer to something they are interested in such as capital cities or flags of certain countries.

I think it is great that this chap is embracing the library in this way. If only more people could follow his good example.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Many thanks all.

I have my reasons for using that particular title (it's been that sort of week).

And God bless librarians. Some of them are almost human.