Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Does RAW's work disappear from libraries?


Toby Philpott (from official site.)

My recent post on "Keeping RAW's work alive" didn't get much of a response, but Alias Bogus (aka Toby Philpott) posted a comment recently suggesting that Robert Anton Wilson's work is not much evident in libraries because it tends to get stolen. The library in question is, I believe, in Wales; does this apply to the United States? Here is his comment:

I love libraries, and after a long career as a self-employed performer I got my first steady job as the computer whisperer for my local library, and did that job for about 17 years.

One of the reasons you don't find much of RAW's works in libraries arises from the fact that it (sadly) becomes impossible to hold onto copies. Unlike bookshops, we had no 'store detectives' guarding the stock against shop-lifting, and anyway, people can simply borrow things (quite legally) and just never return the items. It seems that many people these days do not understand the principle of "borrowing", and "shared resources".

Part of my work involved assessing stock turnover, using the computer inventory, and certain kinds of items always disappeared and had to get replaced, until (with many restrictions on budget) several departments simply stop buying new copies of those kind of items.

Generally, cult material, or relatively rare imports. RAW, The Invisibles, Mondo 2000, etc. All sorts of occult and conspiratorial stuff. Also, obscure reference material that you might need for more than three weeks (like silversmith's hallmarks).

Sad, but true.

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