An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

New Addition (a.k.a. Gassy Dogz II Men)

Last summer, we received a mysterious donation in our book return drop box. It was a bright yellow children's book called Walter the Farting Dog, written by William Kotzwinkle and illustrated by Audrey Colman. It's the tale of a dog named Walter, who is rescued from the pound by a kind family, only to find himself in danger of being returned to the pound due to his uncontrollable and graphically illustrated flatulence (which persisted even after a heavy application of Low-Fart Dog Biscuits).

We loved it. The entire staff thought it was one of the funniest things we'd ever read. We passed it back and forth amongst ourselves, crying with laughter. Then we were forced to show it to some of our patrons, who had inquired as to why we were all standing around crying with laughter.

None of us had any idea who had bestowed this gem of gassy brilliance upon us, but it was in pristine condition and we were grateful to have it.

However, when it came to actually adding this work of joy and light to our library's collection, Mrs. A put her foot down. It's not that she was offended by the book--far from it, she thought it was fantastic. Instead, Mrs. A was afraid the first parent whose child came up wishing to check out a book about a farting dog, no matter how well-told, would be deeply offended and begin raising a very different kind of stink.

We begged and pleaded with Mrs. A to add it anyway, pointing out that as much as we the adults adored fart-humor, kids adore it ten times as much and would get an even bigger kick out of it. Besides that, if patrons truly wished to be offended, there are plenty of other books in the children's room they could find that were far worse, (though, granted, most of these are in the Young Adults section and many were added at my suggestion, but the point still stands). Mrs. A remained steadfast in her refusal.

And so Walter the Farting Dog remained on a shelf behind the counter, with no call number, date due slip, book-wrap, nor bar code...

...that is, until last Thursday.

When I came into the liberry on Thursday, I found our copy of Walter lying flat atop the hold bin cabinet, fully processed and added into the system. I was ecstatic. When I inquired about Mrs. A's change of heart, Mrs. C explained that one of our local highschool English classes is requiring its students to choose a children's book to read in class and one of those students had heard the legend of Walter and called to request it. Mrs. A had no choice but to enter it into our system, as it would be utterly unthinkable to simply loan it to him otherwise. (Librarian logic, you see.)

When the kid arrived to pick it up, I thanked him profusely for his choice of books and told him that he'd helped expand our collection with quality material as a result.

Now I have to start a lobbying campaign to see if I can get Mrs. A to order the sequel, Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale, which was recently published.

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