Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Odd correspondence

One of the interesting aspects of library management is the unusual correspondence that occasionally crosses my desk, such as the following exchange of letters:

Friends of the Library
225 N. Oneida Street
Appleton, Wisconsin 54911-4780

Dear Sir or Madam:

My name is Kenneth Snipps and I need upir help.

I was recently “invited” to join an organization calling itself “Friends of the Library.” Now this sounds innocuous enough, and I certainly enjoy reading books, (in fact I’ve authored several - none of which currently appear in your library, but that’s another letter) but there are a few things keeping me up at night.

First, my neighbor Mr. Biggs has told the story about the initiation required to join this little group, and frankly it’s terrifying. I know all about “The Crypt” located in the subterranean caves deep below the library. I know how the floor is littered in dried bones. I know how every “applicant” is forced to his knees, hooded and vulnerable. And I know about the blood sacrifice.

My question is do I need to bring spelunking equipment, or is there an elevator that goes directly to “The Crypt”?

Thank you for reading and responding to my letter.

Your friend,

Kenneth Snipps
Since this was not sent specifically to our friends group, FOAL (Friends of the Appleton Library), Mr. Snipps may have simply had a wrong address. In any event, the provenance of the attached reply is unclear:
Dear Mr. Snipps,

Thank you for your kind note. Personally, it provided an interesting diversion, as there is little to do here after the cherry harvest. In my official capacity, I must express alarm that your friend Mr. Biggs is irresponsibly spreading such stories about our fine family-friendly institution. His time at our library should have left him with no such “delusions.” Clearly something has gone wrong with our techniques.

We must therefore insist, with gentle firmness, that you and Mr. Biggs both remain calmly in situ until library officers arrive. These fellow friends of books will bring you to a quiet place where your concerns will be addressed, alleviated, and quite permanently removed.

In the meantime, there is a service you can perform as a friend of the library. We are running out of shelf space and will soon be shipping to you numerous cartons of books. Please store these cartons in a cool, dry area until such time as we can expand the library and are able to retrieve them. You may, if you wish, read the books, but be careful not to change their order within the cartons. On no account modify any of the Dewey Decimal Numbers written on the books spines in careful “library hand.”

Do not worry; brighter days are ahead. Trust us.

Edna Houdini, Security Officer
Friends of the Library

cc: Lazlo Toth, Friends Chairperson

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