I’m reading the book The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less by Barry Schwartz. The book is about the wealth of choices we have, and how their abundance leads to stress, dissatisfaction, and paralysis. I was acutely aware of the truth in Schwartz’s premise last weekend when I stood totally flummoxed in front of the array of kidney beans at my Cub supermarket. Where on earth were the plain-ol’-kidney-beans-for-chili?
Reading a survey response this afternoon, I muttered to myself, “uh huh, Schwartz got it right.” We’re preparing to shut down the behemoth library on wheels/bookmobile that is draining our budget with repair and fuel bills. It should have been replaced a while ago, but lacking the $100,000 for a replacement, we’ve kept it running. The Board has taken action that this is the last year of its existence in these parts, so we’re surveying its existing customers to find the best service alternative for each.
One response gave me serious pause. She didn’t say she couldn’t get to a library. She said she preferred the bookmobile. She said “It’s easier to find books there as the choices are limited.” Then she went on to say “Also, one does get to know the driver/librarian and it is chummier.” Wow, I hear her loud and clear . . . the comfort of a limited collection, pre-selected to suit the clientele is preferable to a library with endless shelves. Furthermore, she likes chummy. And I thought our library staff was pretty darned friendly — guess we’ll continue to work on that.
So, where I see an expensive, diesel and aged-carpet-smelling truck, she sees the bookmobile as a place where she feels welcome and befriended. Wow! And I’m going to replace that with dropoffs of bags of books?
I miss the TV show Cheers (1982-1993). I still sing the song — maybe we could make it the theme song for our library.
Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows your name.
You wanna go where people know,
people are all the same,
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.