Post contributed by Jeremy Robichaud, Maynard Public Library
This week we had a very interesting mix-up that I thought would be worth sharing. In the mail we received the book Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe from Cornell College in Iowa. I process the majority of our library’s loan requests and I had no memory of anyone asking for this title. I logged into our online list of requests through the Mass Library System and couldn’t find it anywhere. My next step was to check with the fabulous staff at the MLS Interlibrary Loan team and they showed no request for it either.
Confused, but not yet defeated, I looked up the book in the library catalog and was surprised to find that many libraries in our network (Minuteman) own this book! Upon further research, it turns out that Things Fall Apart is a critically acclaimed Nigerian book and according to several sources appears to be a staple book in schools throughout Africa and around the world.
Then while looking at the paperwork that came with the book, I found the numbers “563-637-2330” listed next to where it read “Maynard Public Library” that I didn’t initially pay much attention to because my brain is so hard-wired to associate phone numbers with our typical 978, 617, 508, etc area codes of Massachusetts. I searched on Google and behold, there is ANOTHER Maynard out there!
Maynard, Iowa is a small town with a population just over 500. I felt that I should let the staff at the Maynard COMMUNITY Library know that their book would take a little longer than expected to reach the Hawkeye State, but I was also excited to talk to someone in another Maynard! I spoke with the director, Lezlie Barry, and we both learned a little bit about each of our respective Maynards. They had requested the book through their in-state ILL system and someone at Cornell College (not Cornell University! That could be a whole other mix-up!) presumably did a Google search for “Maynard Library,” found us up at the top of the search results, and just sent it away.
Many towns in Massachusetts have names that are found in many states all around the country and around the world (I’m looking at you Springfield, Concord, Lincoln, and Newton) and I’m sure this sort of thing happens for those libraries a lot more frequently, but this was certainly a first in my five years of doing interlibrary loan here. At any rate, hopefully we will all be a little more alert when sending or returning ILL items and double check exactly where we’re sending things off to.
Side note: Upon further investigation, it appears there is also a Maynard in Arkansas (population 422) and Minnesota (population 353). Maynards of the world unite!
Head of Reference Services
Maynard Public Library