Thanks to TeacherNinja (a librarian-to-be who blogs) I have discovered a blog to add to my already too full reader. As my colleague and I launched a weeding project this week, this blog is highly relevant AND downright entertaining to boot. Awful Library Books is written by public librarians Mary and Holly who work in a medium sized public library in Michigan, and is based on their opinions, laughter, and chuckles as they share titles of old that are on the chopping block (or shared with them–yes, you can send them covers of books you’ve found.)
Reminds me of the Sunlink Website of old that used to have a weed of the month of something like that. It is no longer a part of the Sunlink site, though this is a great model for other states to pattern after for collection development, resource sharing, and obtaining marc records for books to add to the collection.
I like to weed
I enjoy weeding books too, I find, as I do the same thing, laughing aloud and sharing jewels that I find as I weed. Weeding can REALLY help you get to know your collection too. I’ve often wondered why weeding was not done before, and often I can side with the previous steward of the books. Reasons I’ve heard are listed below, and I will share my responses/questions to these excuses in parenthesis after each excuse–brace yourself.)
There is no budget to replace titles
(so no budget calls for outdated books? Wouldn’t an empty shelf send a message to the money holders about your budget?)
- The library can’t get rid of the old books until we can replace them.
(Have you shared your collection age and the number of books that need to go with admin? Empower yourself by educating those that do not see or understand the need.)
- There was a time not too long ago where we did not have enough books.
(Is offering quantity better than offering quality?)
- History is history and doesn’t change.
(What about the current events now that will become tomorrow’s History? Think about the environmental issues of today, diseases like Swine Flu, or the President. Do these topics or people not deserve representation in print form? Do teachers no longer require print sources at your school?)
- Nonfiction books while old still contain some valuable and relevant information.
(So if there is a percentage of truth or fact, it’s okay to leave the misinformation on the shelf in that book?)
- I don’t update the nonfiction like I used to because students and teaches now prefer to do their research online using search engines and databases. (Do you teach how to valuate websites, because there is plenty of misinformation out there online too? What do you tell the students or teachers who hit the stacks where the old outdated books are? Are they warned at checkout the book is old and could be inaccurate or outdated with its information? Do you slap a warning label on the inside of the book stating as much?)
- The classics are the classics, and deserve to stay, no matter their age.
(While I can agree that having classics is probably standard, does it bother you at all that the covers are ugly, plain, faded and the books when opened smell really bad, and pages practically disintegrate in your hand?)
- If I weeded my outdated books, I would have too many bare shelves.
(Again I say so quantity is more important than quality? I also ask did it ever occur to you to share the plight of the collection, and show the statistics when asking for funding in a funding proposal? If the proposal is not responded to positively, I guarantee empty shelves will get a response.)
I know, for some it truly is not possible
I realize there are many out there in schools who truly are not willing to enter this battle. In the grand scheme of things going on in the school and library, the collection is not the most pressing need for everyone. It could be staffing or serving classes or even technology. But in my opinion, one is not being a very good steward or advocate if the collection does not get addressed through weeding and developing at least some. A collection development plan allows for rotating though the collection, and that way it is not such a huge, time-consuming, or monumental task. It is but one facet of a library program, and deserves attention just as much as the rest of the program.
Weed more than just books too
Speaking of weeding, I guess I should go back to my reader and whittle it down some. It really is too large, and there are some feeds in there that are daily “marked as read” without any guilt. I guess I should unsubscribe from them first. Sigh. I should practice what I preach in my 21st century activities as well, no?
The Personal Computer Book – 1982
Empty Graphic Novel Shelves