Wednesday, April 21, 2010

News? What News?

Just about every media outlet under the sun has been reporting (most with a breathlessness approaching hysteria) on the "discovery" that George Washington borrowed two books from the New York Society Library in October 1789 and appears not to have returned them (see coverage in the New York Daily News, Christian Science Monitor, CNN, AP, Guardian, for example).

Don't get me wrong, I like to see library history in the news - but the ridiculous angle taken by most of the press coverage (the amount of the fine Washington would have to pay today) is eye-rollingly inane. Yes, I know this shouldn't surprise me, but it's still annoying.

Also, this is not new news. The ledgers containing the entries were found in 1934, and there's even a 2007 article on the NYSL's website mentioning the books (and refuting the claims in most of the media stories that all the other "famous borrowers" returned their books - John Adams doesn't appear to have returned the second volume of Kames' Elements of Criticism, either).

This is probably way too curmudgeonly - forgive me.