Friday, October 4, 2013

'Hey mister, can you spare a dumpster?'

My work here with the LRC reminds me each day how much we take for granted in the United States. The LRC is located in a sixteen-floor office building in downtown Johannesburg. The entire building is serviced by 6 rolling dumpsters that are randomly emptied by the vendor. There is no building-wide recycling of paper and other materials.

Dumpster #12
All week we have been playing dumpster roulette with the building's dumpster vendor. That is Meryl Federl, LRC's law librarian, and I have been taking turns trekking down to the parking garage to see if any dumpsters have been emptied. If yes, we nab them and fill them with library discards. If dumpsters had been available, we could have filled twice the even dozen that we did fill this week!

All our efforts to expedite the process with the service vendor have failed. Neither of us finds palatable what appears to be the only other available option--to hire one of the street car guards to use a dolly to move the paper stacks a few city blocks to a larger dumpster. I guess we could go the Jonathan Swift route and use the whole process as a library fundraiser -- buy a chance to guess how many trips it will take to get all the discards to the big dumpster. In the meantime I'll keep trekking to the parking garage. It is becoming a matter of honor -- how many dumpsters can I score each day!

So Meryl and I continue to stack the discards and occasionally use them as furniture. Its good to have a partner in the process that has a good sense of humor!

Alternative Use for South Africa's Gazettes

The stacks keep growing!
I started weeding the library's collection of US legal materials. The first pass weeded out-of-date case books and secondary materials from the 80's and 90's. Not sure why the collection included case books--especially the ones that came complete with yellow highlighting and extensive margin notes. Reminds me the library needs a gift/donation policy! 

The library could use a current constitutional, environmental, and human rights horn book or treatise. Let me know If you have a current edition you can spare and would like to donate. We can figure out how best to get them here.


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