The new Sandy Springs Library has already descended into the bureaucratic mediocrity so prevalent in Atlanta and Georgia.
The staffers, who no longer have to check out books, are harried by a steady stream of patrons and their complaints about broken printers, malfunctioning checkout machines and mixups on fines.
Fairly recent books displayed on the regular fiction and non-fiction shelves rarely change. Sometimes a recently published book shows up among the regular collection, whether by mistake or consciously. But that seems rarer and rarer.
At the front of the library, new fiction and nonfiction books trickle in. Those who place books on hold have weakened the selection. Taking care to cater to the tastes of the surrounding heavily Republican neighborhoods, books in support of the Trump presidency arrive quickly. Seeing those brings out my latent book-banning instinct. Don't worry, I'm a staunch freedom of speech supporter.
The new screed by Fox News Morticia double Jeanine Pirro had already come, spewing its malevolent message, ready for a member of Trump's "base" to devour. Earlier, I saw a Trump defense by Victor Davis Hanson, the man standing tall in case Troy falls again.
I also noticed Starbucks founder Howard Schultz's campaign biography, which no one has checked out. Schultz's presidential candidacy has been colder than a frozen cappucino. I wonder why old Schultz didn't catch fire. There are at least two Starbucks on my route home from the library. Guess people figure a man who can ruin a cup of coffee and sell it at a high price shouldn't be president. Too bad the same thought process didn't occur about a bad real estate man.
When the library on Mount Vernon first opened, George Packer's biography of Richard Holbrooke was available, along with David Maraniss' "A Good American Family: The Red Scare and My Father." Those books raised my hopes that the new library would offer a greater variety and timeliness of new books. Unfortunately, the selections lag as badly as they did at the old library. I even noticed some of the books I used to see at the closed Northside Library.
On the other hand, the shelves sparkled with new biographies of George Marshall and Franklin Roosevelt, those great World War II and Cold War leaders. I was especially drawn by Debi and Irwin Unger's study of Marshall, but left it for some World War II buff with more energy than me. Andrew Roberts' 1,1105-page bio of Churchill made me realize that I would soon surrender, against the Churchill spirit.