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A few days ago a woman came to the reference desk to complain. Why is it, she asked, that we have tons of books about Islam and Buddhism, but few about Christianity?

I tried to point out how many books we do have about all religions, but she was not satisfied. Where were books by Billy Graham, she asked. So I showed her that we had books by him. She was still not satisfied. Then she asked who was responsible for ordering books. I told her that it was centralized ordering, not in the hands of the individual branch. She did not seem to believe me. She asked me why it was that they would order so many books on Buddhism and Islam and not enough on Christianity. (Her words.) I made the mistake of conjecturing that maybe they ordered books according to the demographics of the neighborhood, and that this neighborhood is heavily Asian and Pakistani. At this (pure guess) she raised her eyebrows. Then she looked me up and down. And asked me if I was Muslim.

I am not Muslim, but I really wish I had told her, yes, I am. Or that I had asked her, How does it matter?

July 2020