This week I encountered what I suppose could be considered a graduate school and library milestone. A book that I had checked out, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (WorldCat), had been renewed too many times and was being recalled despite the fact that no one else at the University of Michigan seems to want it. It was a good book that laid the foundation for much of the subsequent work on public goods and helped me explore a new area of literature for my dissertation proposal. One of Olson’s main lessons in the book was that as groups increase in size, their ability to act collectively act in the service of common goals decreases because the logistics of organizing become increasingly difficult. It also becomes easier for people to become “free riders” and benefit from collective action without contributing to its acquisition.
In any case, the main point of this post is that I’ve never had a book recalled because I renewed it too many times. When I return to writing my literature review for my dissertation I’ll be back in library to get it once again.