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Author Topic: Is it true that....  (Read 1946 times)

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sunseenli

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2015, 03:35:16 PM »
I humbly submit this site for your perusal:

http://awfullibrarybooks.net

Best explanations as to why certain books should be weeded...

I never realized how empty my life was without "The Psychic Sasquatch and their UFO Connection" in it.

MaryR

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2015, 04:06:49 PM »
I'm an archivist by nature. I've worked in libraries or archives for most of my life. I was constantly butting heads with people who are librarians by nature. Archivists only want to store things of value and don't care where they are filed as long as they can be found. Librarians want everything in alphabetical or numerical order and want to keep everything forever.

Historical documents should be kept forever. Reference books should be updated and the out-of-date ones discarded unless they fall into the historical documents category. While every public library needs many copies of the latest Stephen King book, they only need 1 copy of Firestarter.

The libraries I worked at didn't destroy books. They went to the Friends of the Library to be sold. Those the Friends couldn't sell during their bag sales (pay a token amount for a bag and fill it up), they would be sent to the pulp mills.

Funny to me story ensues: Back in the day, DH and I used to go backpacking. I'm a much faster reader than he is. I'd buy a beat up paperback that we both would enjoy and bring it with us for camping trips. As we were relaxing by the fire, I'd read a page, rip it out, hand it to DH who would read it and then toss it on the fire. I can't tell you how many people were outraged by us BURNING BOOKS!!!

The world was not lessened by the loss of a nickel Dean Koontz paperback.

One Fish, Two Fish

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2015, 04:57:41 PM »
I humbly submit this site for your perusal:

http://awfullibrarybooks.net

Best explanations as to why certain books should be weeded...

I never realized how empty my life was without "The Psychic Sasquatch and their UFO Connection" in it.
This site has made my day.
I'll get there.  Eventually.

Jocelyn

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #18 on: June 16, 2015, 06:21:16 PM »
I once helped a library digitally code all their books. I got assigned the closed stacks, which thrilled me until I realized how absolutely filthy with dust the books were! If you can't keep the books dusted, then you might want to reconsider keeping them....

I have been an asset to many libraries as a volunteer, because I love to shelf-read. But I did suggest to the librarians at that library that perhaps they didn't need so many books about how to use a slide rule. This was after the advent of the PC and at the beginning of the Internet, and slide rules were really not a viable tool any longer. Now, I'd say get rid of ALL the books, people who want to learn about slide rules can access Wikipedia.

Nuala

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #19 on: June 16, 2015, 06:38:15 PM »
I'm a library technician and I laughed when I saw that title. No one will read that, or so few people that it's not worth keeping on the shelf.

I visited the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum when I was about 7.  It was in San Jose, CA and I remember it as being pretty neat.  It had huge columns out front like an ancient temple, and there was a room sized replica of a tomb that you could walk through.  I'm guessing that book was something put out by the museum gift shop.


Actually, I just visited the museum about 3 months ago.  Neat place! Lots of interesting stuff. A Dennis the Menace comic about it, though....naaahh. I think that could be tossed without guilt.

Sure. But had it been Calvin and Hobbes, it would be a whole different story.

Hillia

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2015, 06:38:19 PM »
My father in law is a major gun rights believer, and can be a bit...reactionary in his attitudes.  The last time we went there, he presented DH with a large hardbound book, somewhat the worse for wear, about weapons of WWII; it had been culled from the local high school library.  He had a lot to say about how the 'PC liberals' etc had probably forced the school district to remove the book and so on.  I don't think so...the copyright was 1952, and the latest checkout stamp was 1975.

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camlan

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #21 on: June 16, 2015, 11:14:42 PM »
When I worked at a university library, the literature collection was divided into two parts. The older books had Dewey Decimal call numbers, and the newer books had Library of Congress numbers. At some point when the library was changing all the call numbers from Dewey to LC, someone had made the decision that it wasn't worth re-cataloging the older literature books.

So we got a new library director, who was chosen to drag the library kicking and screaming into modern times--we still needed things like an online catalog that synced with the check-out system so people could tell which books had been checked out and which were on the shelf. He was very much a science and technology kind of guy, and he was very good at that part of his job.

He decided that the library needed to weed out a lot of older books. And the first place to start was with the old Dewey Decimal books--they should just all be tossed. Clearly, they were old and therefore outdated and there was no need to keep them. The newest book in the collection was about 25 years old.

There was a frantic week or two after that announcement while people pleaded with him not to toss the only copies the library had of books like Moby D!ck and Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace and Great Expectations. And while the English professors explained to him that while science books might date fairly quickly, Shakespeare scholars still need to read criticism that was written 100 or 200 years ago. And an enterprising librarian did a bit of research and found out the library had books that were not in any other library collection in the state, not even the big Ivy League university that was the main rival of our university.

The Dewey collection was weeded, but gently. But it was a tense couple of weeks there, with faculty and grad students from the English department conducting an on-going "sit-in" in front of the Dewey stacks for days.
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Thipu1

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2015, 08:20:15 AM »
I humbly submit this site for your perusal:

http://awfullibrarybooks.net

Best explanations as to why certain books should be weeded...

Thanks for the link.  I just spent an hour and a half there.

QueenfaninCA

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2015, 12:11:10 PM »
He decided that the library needed to weed out a lot of older books. And the first place to start was with the old Dewey Decimal books--they should just all be tossed. Clearly, they were old and therefore outdated and there was no need to keep them. The newest book in the collection was about 25 years old.

There was a frantic week or two after that announcement while people pleaded with him not to toss the only copies the library had of books like Moby D!ck and Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace and Great Expectations. And while the English professors explained to him that while science books might date fairly quickly, Shakespeare scholars still need to read criticism that was written 100 or 200 years ago. And an enterprising librarian did a bit of research and found out the library had books that were not in any other library collection in the state, not even the big Ivy League university that was the main rival of our university.

Even in science some textbooks are still standards although they are a few decades old. You know, classical mechanics haven't really changed much since Newton and the theory of relativity has also by  now been established for over a hundred years.

As an undergrad you mostly learn the foundation and established theories of your field which in most fields tend to be stable for a few decades at least.

If a physics undergrad would ask me for a good introductory textbook, I'd still recommend the Feynman lectures which first came out in the 60s. That part of physics hasn't changed since then (there might have been a few experiment confirming something to even higher precision, but stuff like Maxwell's equations are still the same thing) and his lectures are just really, really good.

TeamBhakta

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2015, 01:40:24 PM »
I once helped a library digitally code all their books. I got assigned the closed stacks, which thrilled me until I realized how absolutely filthy with dust the books were! If you can't keep the books dusted, then you might want to reconsider keeping them....


I've said this before, but my town's library had one particular book on the sale shelf for 17 years. All the other books & magazines would get bought or tossed, but not that one. I think I spotted the book in a local thrift shop recently, but I didn't check to see if it was the same one. If I find the book again, I'll probably buy it just to see how awful it is  >:D

Thipu1

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2015, 03:29:40 PM »
An interesting part of Awful Library Books is the section on 'Processing and Condition'. 

In our  library we were putting together a show of early European writers on Egypt.  One of the books we wanted to include in the show dated to the 16th century.  We found that, someone who decided that it was a good idea to 'hide a book in a bookshelf', had sent it to a commercial bindery with our regular semi-annual shipment.  This treasure had an ugly lime green binding from   Heckman.  That's rather like seeing Queen Elizabeth I wearing flip-flops and yoga pants. 

You can bet that there were massive fits when the book was assessed by Preservation before exhibition. It took a lot of work to make sure it was stable and properly housed.  Thank the Deity that 16th century paper is almost as sturdy as concrete. 

VorFemme

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #26 on: June 17, 2015, 07:58:58 PM »
Linen rag paper is the correct acid/base level to be stable.

Cheaper pine pulp paper is rather acid - hence the derogatory term used in early 20th century publishing about cheap books & stories printed exclusively on the cheapest possible paper - "pulp fiction".  Note - that is not a movie title, that was a slang term for cheap magazines and paperback books written quickly for a few cents a word as entertainment (after movies and radio were invented but before television was more than a gleam in some inventor's eye).
Let sleeping dragons be.......morning breath......need I explain?

zyrs

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #27 on: June 17, 2015, 09:06:08 PM »
I humbly submit this site for your perusal:

http://awfullibrarybooks.net

Best explanations as to why certain books should be weeded...

I am not sure what it says about me that I have two of the books listed and I am not a fiftieth of the way through the pages yet.  Also, a couple of them look like an interesting read.

MommyPenguin

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Re: Is it true that....
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2015, 09:37:42 PM »
Ever had a question that you really wanted to ask someone?
To our librarian friends: Is it true that books that haven't been checked out in a certain number of years will be destroyed?

I used to work at a library.  In my system, there was a binder that went through all of the different sections of books, like "970-990" (Dewey Decimal) to "Paperback Science Fiction."  For each section, it would tell you the weeding guidelines.  The guidelines were a combination of last checkout time and age of the book, and, occasionally, edition/version.  The age of the book mattered because some subject areas change more rapidly, and older books would be out of date in terms of the information they conveyed, regardless of how often they'd go out.  Older computer manuals and health guides, for instance.  Computers and health had the shortest lifespan of all the books I can think of.

So, for instance, for fiction, age of the book didn't matter at all.  All that mattered was whether the book was going out.  Now, if you had, say, three copies of the same fiction title, and two had gone out regularly but one hadn't gone out for four years, and your weeding guideline said to weed all books in that section that hadn't gone out in two years, then you'd need to weed one.  However, it might turn out that one of the copies that had gone out regularly was ratty and torn, and the copy that hadn't gone out for years was pristine.  So you could weed the oldest of the three and keep the nicest.  However, if you only had copy of a book that needed to be weeded, and it was in great shape, then you still had to toss out a great book.  Often the books of the least interest to customers were the nicest, newest-looking books--because they stayed so nice because nobody ever checked them out!

If you were weeding the travel guides, you might have an age guideline of 10 years, which means you'd weed anything with a copyright more than 10 years ago, a checkout date limit of 3 years, which means you'd weed anything that hadn't gone out in three years, and you might also weed out old versions if replaced by new ones.  Fodor's 2010 Bermuda would be replaced by Fodor's 2015 Bermuda and you'd get rid of the 2010 version.

If condition was really bad on a book that was still going out, you could try to replace it with a better copy that was going out less, or you could try to order a replacement.  I'm not sure how often the replacements actually got approved, though, as it was generally something you requested through the system and not a quick process.

Sections that tended to be bursting at the seams with books would get weeded more frequently out of desperation, because shelvers couldn't fit all the books in that section.  Sections that didn't get as many new books and didn't increase much in size, those sections would tend not to get weeded as often.  Paperback romances tended to have to be weeded *constantly* and I was sometimes told to override the weeding guidelines and weed even more aggressively, because there simply wasn't room (that was one of my sections).  Foreign language, however, could often skip weeding for a long time, because fewer new books came into those sections, and they were used regularly, which always results in culling books overtime because of loss, damage, etc.

In my system, though, books were sent to be sold at a large system-wide booksale held every 3 months.  It usually brought in in the range of $10k for the library system every sale, so it was a huge benefit to the system.  There were a few books that we were not allowed to send down for the sale (mostly those outdated computer and health manuals) because people would not notice the age of the book, buy it, and then complain about the information being outdated.  Those went straight to the recycler's.  But in general, it was great.
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