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Patience rewarded

One of the few areas where I think my taxes are well spent is the library system. Over the last few months I've been exploiting the Hennepin County Library to the hilt and especially enjoying its online request system, which allows you to "get in line" for a desired book and notifies you via e-mail when it shows up. This week my ship came in big time: not only did John Scalzi's The Ghost Brigades show up, but The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross came with it; not only that, Twelve O'Clock High arrived via interlibrary loan. I'm really looking forward to that because it's a twofer: I used to love the TV show when I was a kid, and I'm thinking the book will help prod me to get moving on some parts of Blood Red Skies that I've been stuck on for a few months.

It looks like the County libraries will be taking over the Minneapolis library system in the not-too-distant future. The Minneapolis Library website does a lot of dancing around the issue,
but when you look at the minutes of the "Committee on the Future of Libraries" that's actually looking at the merger, they make it sound like it's all over but the paper shuffling and rubber stamping by the polities concerned, two of which are solidly in the bag for the DFL and the third of which (the county) isn't likely to fight over this. I rather doubt that any of the three Minneapolis neighborhood libraries that were closed in the wake of the asinine decision to completely rebuild the downtown library (instead of, say, buying an assload of vacant office space downtown and relocating everything but the planetarium) are going to be reopened once the merger/takeover is done, but it's possible that the new HCL system might be able to squeeze enough efficiency out of their staff and the MPL holdovers to manage this. Of course, if they'd made more aggressive use of volunteers and library aides instead of insisting that all the work be done by union librarians, those libraries might still be open, but as anyone who's watched the city government knows, customer service is not exactly the first priority of the system.