Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weeding

When I started working as a page at the Nashua, NH, public library back in the 50s, one of my first tasks was to pull the covers off weeded books. This was my introduction to the concept of weeding a library collection. At the time, I was a high school kid and very active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship. And I had in the stack of books to be destroyed a two-volume history of the Methodist church. I was devastated. If they library no longer wanted/needed these books, couldn't I have them, please? No. That would be totally against library policy.

I ripped the covers off, of course. In 1955, a regular job (two hours a day, 3 to 5, five days a week, 50 cents an hour) was a real prize for a teen. Especially a teen who didn't NOT want to babysit!

But I've never forgotten.

A while back there was a story about a Library Director in a large public library (I've lost the reference) who directed staff to severely weed the collection. This was done while the Head Librarian was on vacation, and raised a lot of flak among patrons and staff.

And now the University of New Hampshire is in on the act, as in the article below. I sympathize with the library, but also with the faculty. There is no easy answer.

http://www.wmur.com/news/thousands-of-unh-library-books-found-in-dumpster/25595304