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'Bothersome' books shelved by library in novel initiative

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: February 24, 2009

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A RADICAL Bodmin librarian has come up with a novel idea for getting people to read more interesting books – by letting them know the ones he can't stand.

Books That We Hate, Books to Help You Fall Asleep and Great Classics or Boring Books are some of the new sections dreamed up by library manager Jesse Foot.

Books he can't stand include those by chef Gordon Ramsey, The Insider by Piers Morgan, Michael Barrymore's autobiography and a thick tome devoted to garden gnomes.

Books to nod off to include a huge volume on world politics, The Gold Book and the mammoth 825-page Building Regulations in Brief by Ray Tricker.

Mr Foot said the new sections were intended to make people think about what they were reading and he hoped his innovative approach would be adopted by other libraries in Cornwall.

He said he felt people would be able to get more out of books if they altered their reading habits and avoided titles like 101 Things to Do in a Shed.

"The new sections are intended to catch the eye of readers and get a reaction," he said.

"I've asked staff to put books that really bother them in some of the sections.

"But we don't want to stop people reading them, and we are not criticising their reading habits.

"It's more to do with getting a reaction and to make them think a bit more about what they're actually reading."

Mr Foot explained that the idea of the Great Classics or Boring Books section – which contains novels by the likes of James Joyce, Tom Wolfe, Daphne du Maurier and Emily Bronte – was to persuade people that although titles like War and Peace may not be an easy read, such books are worth persevering with.

"Some of these books are really great, but people can find them boring because maybe they aren't an easy read. But if they take their time and keep going at them, they will find reading these books is extremely rewarding."

Mr Foot said he had received some positive feedback from borrowers about the new sections.

"We certainly haven't had any complaints. In fact, some people have taken to putting their own choices in the various sections – and removing others where they don't agree.

"It's all been very positive so far."

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    tina, outside cornwall  |  March 02 2009, 11:00PM

    great a sense of humour in a library. Sounds a good place

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    Vincent Smith, Pendeen  |  February 25 2009, 8:57AM

    hmmmm a "radical librarian".Won't belong before Mr Foot is under surveillance.

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    Rachel, Winnipeg  |  February 25 2009, 12:43AM

    Sounds like a good idea to promote the library. Unfortunately though, if someone comes in asking for one of these bothersome books, will the library staff be able to find it for them quickly? The staff will clearly need to be kept on their toes following this initiative!

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