With space on the library shelves scarce, the characters of your most beloved genres are banding together into gangs to secure their books' places - and their lives.
The little town of Stonewood sits in the forested hills of East Tennessee. Like most towns, it has a public library, and like in most libraries, a strange and entirely invisible war rages.
Gangs centered around major book genres battle one another for space on the shelves. The more books in their area, the better the chance of their own novel being read. Readership determines life or death, so it's every genre for itself.
But if survival alone wasn't enough, genre rivalries and biases leave some gangs not only fighting for shelf space but pushing their own agendas as well - even within their own groups.
Welcome to Shelf Space. Let the war resume.
of the month
Jan. 1 Welcome to 2018! This month's newsletter is short and sweet, but don't let that stop you from reading it.
No special event this month, so let's really use this time to further our gang sub-plots!
" Nothing brings you together like a common enemy.”
― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
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Posted: Feb 27 2017, 05:02 PM
Because this is a realistic way of handling library books, I'm planning to implement the following ideas. These are aspects of library life that all characters are typically aware of. Any role staff has in deciding certain aspects of these areas will be kept to a small and realistic limit. Please read each of the categories below, especially the final two. They are important to keep in mind when choosing what book you want to play from and how old you want that book to be. If there are any questions or concerns, please PM me.
It occurred to me that we have copies of some books that are particularly old. For books that are out of print, this might be fine. Their book will be kept around because the library can't get another copy anywhere. However, for popular books that are frequently reprinted (ex. Romeo & Juliet), once the book becomes too old, the librarians will replace the books with fresh copies.
Accordingly, I will be changing the first section of the application to include a spot for people to specify how long their copy of their book has been in the library. This is not how long the book has been in print, just how long it has been on the Stonewood library shelves. For example, Johnny would put "2002" in the "Here Since" section.
I will also add or update a claim for this. That way, we can all keep track of how old a book is.
Duplicates of books may not be kept around for a long time. Popular books (ex. James Patterson novels) may be purchased with three or four copies so patrons can all read it as soon as possible. However, after a few years, these copies may be cut back to only two. Furthermore, some books may start out with two copies (ex. a cookbook people are raving about) but will be cut back to only one copy a year or so after the fervor dies down.
People are still welcome to make duplicate copies of books. However, know that your duplicate might be selected for withdrawal from the library system if the book is not extremely popular.
Try as the gangs might to hurt each other, the bulk of a book's damage comes either from the wear and tear caused by being read over the years or from patron damage. This can be in minor ways (getting spots of pasta sauce on the bottom of the page) or major ways (tearing pages, significant water damage). These damages might immediately, or over time, lead to the book's withdrawal from the library system. If a patron severely damages a book (ex. spilling water on it), they must pay for it. They then have the option of keeping the book or letting the librarians throw it away.
In the case of patron damage, there are two formats I'll be implementing.
2. Surprise! If no one wants to spice things up on their own, then they leave that to the staff. I don't plan to make this a frequent happening, but every now and again I might alert you to patron damage of some kind. These will typically be in small ways (ex. writing in the book, torn corner). The perk of this method is that it will be out of the characters' control, just as it would really be when in the hands of a patron.
Don't forget that patrons misplace books at home and in the library. Additionally, looking for books on the shelves mean the shelves get messy. Books might get knocked behind others and not be found for months. They could fall down between the shelves, too. They may or may not be found, and new copies may or may not be purchased to replace them. If the old copy is found but a new copy already exists, the book may or may not be kept as a duplicate. It's up to your characters to try and get their book noticed, but it won't be easy.
As above, there are two ways for a book to get lost or be found. The first is that you choose, with permission from others who are from that copy of your book, if applicable. The second is that staff chooses.
Finally, books that are not often used (ex. a teen series that was modestly popular but hasn't been circulating much for the last six years) will eventually be withdrawn from the library system to make room for new books.
When a book gets too old and worn and the librarians can get a new copy of it, they'll withdraw the book. Duplicates may also be withdrawn. Again, there are two ways this can play out. You can choose when this happens, if it's alright with others who play characters from your book, or staff can choose when it happens. We won't be getting rid of books all over the place, but books that are particularly old or damaged are at risk of this, so bear that in mind.
What happens next?
All books that are withdrawn are examined for their condition. If your book gets withdrawn from the library, it has two places to go: the book sale (or ultimately the bookstore) or the trash. If they are in moderately good condition, they will be stored in the back of the library for their book sale. These books have a good chance of going to a home where they'll be read at least once. Books that are not sold at the library after a year of trying will be donated to a used book store. Books that are deemed to be in poor condition and unfit for sale are trashed.
2. Trashed. You can choose if your characters try to weasel their book into the "book sale" bags (note: this is difficult since the books will be reevaluated before they are set out on the tables). Or you can resign them to their fate.
Either way, the books are not going to be able to participate in the shelf space wars. So you have a few options.
B. Start with a new character. You're welcome to use this as a chance to retire that character and create a new one from a different book. Additionally, if your book is not very popular (ex. the only book by a little-known author), the librarians are unlikely to replace that book, so you won't have the option to rebirth your character (see below).
C. Rebirth your character. Only books that get new copies have this option, and you must first inform the staff that you wish to take this route. Your old account will be renamed with a "1" (ex. "Johnny Cade 1") and will be added to the Withdrawn member group. Next, you will create a new account for your character with the same name as before (ex. "Johnny Cade").
Then, you must make a new application for that character. They are brand new to the library and will not have the same experiences. Remember that they will start out exactly like they are written, but over time they can diverge from their canon somewhat. They also don't have to follow the same trajectory that your original version of them did. (Ex. Johnny Cade does not get frightened by the Horseman, so he is not traumatized by that experience.) Note that new characters will be pestered by older characters to join the gangs--or to avoid them.