Library gift will place more hot titles in La Jollans’ hands


By Pat Sherman

Though a section for new books is located near the entrance to the La Jolla Riford Library, it’s not often people walk out with the buzz-worthy selections they seek.

The library’s paucity of popular titles may soon be coming to an end, however, thanks to a $10,000 donation intended to place more

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bestselling books on the Riford Library’s shelves.

Longtime La Jolla resident Moreen Fielden, a member of the nonprofit Friends of the La Jolla Library and the Gillispie School’s former head of school, made the donation.

“When I was the head of the Gillispie School, one of the things I enjoyed most was that I got to choose all the books to put into our school library,” Fielden said. “Libraries and books have been part of my life, my whole life. I think it’s very important for people to have (access to) books.”

The shortage of new books is caused by a demand that far exceeds the library’s supply, said Riford Library’s head librarian, Catherine Greene. For example, the San Diego Public Library ordered about 10 copies of Rachel Maddow’s No. 1

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bestseller, “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power,” to be split between its 35 branch libraries, Greene said.

However, about 200 or more people typically place holds on such popular new titles, she said.

“Just because a book comes to us doesn’t mean it stays with us,” Greene said. “There are a significant number of people who find out what books are coming out before they’re even released. They’ll go into the library’s (computer) catalogue, find out it’s on order and place a hold before the system even receives the book.

“There’s not enough books to meet the demand,” she said.“It’s pretty frustrating.”

Greene said Fielden’s gift will be used to purchase books that cannot be sent to other branch libraries. Greene will begin purchasing the Riford-only bestsellers in the near future, as soon as a method is devised allowing them to be recorded in the Riford Library’s computer system without permitting them to be shipped to other branches.

“A hold can’t be placed on any of these books,” Greene said, noting her buy-in from officials at the main library downtown. “It’s fulfilling a service that a community public library is supposed to fulfill.”