DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have seven 6-foot-tall bookcases full of books, DVDs and CDs, with much spillover. Many of the items are rare, out of print and/or unique.
All too often, friends want to borrow this or that, which I hate. In the past, I’ve had items lost, loaned to a third party or come back damaged. Should I cover up my library, place NO LOANS signs or demand a cash deposit? I’ve even had people ask for decor items on display.
GENTLE READER: Being a good host does not require you to hand over everything that is not nailed down, but it does prevent you from slapping guests’ hands when they reach for a book (an act that, Miss Manners notes incidentally, requires permission).
Signs and receipt forms are therefore out of the question. The next time a request is made, smile sadly and apologize, saying that you just cannot part with that item. But it might be less trouble to move the bookcases out of the living room, rather than the guests.