Tuesday, June 21, 2005


University library dumps rare books
A spokesperson for the university said: "We had only a very short window to remove a large quantity of books."
via wood s lot

An old problem? Anger grows after British Library junks rare books August 2000

Weeding isn’t just for Gardens
Weeding the collection is a somewhat furtive activity that librarians engage in. There are even a number of euphemisms that we in the profession employ in order to disguise our actual activity. “De-selecting” is a very proactive word we sometimes use, trying to convey the active engagement of the weeder with the weeded, so to speak. “De-accessing” is a more passive description, suggesting the weeded books just sort of evaporate into the ozone. But, truth to tell, there’s a strong feeling of defensiveness among librarians about the whole activity of weeding...

Actually if you google library books + dumpster you see a fair bit of weeding activity, furtive and otherwise.
A few specialist stories: A Chiropractic Library in the Dumpster
A few Dumpsters and anonymous tipsters

All About Deselection for Librarians - a lighter view.

Comments: weeding

Incredible really. You can understand if the books are just worn out novels, or mouldy or something, but the BL? Throwing away deposit copies? Bloody hell. I read somewhere about a USA university burying books they could no longer "afford" to store.
Posted by laura at June 21, 2005 08:30 PM

Important note: Ron Sexsmith on The Basement tonight ABC TV I think
Posted by Francis Xavier Holden at June 21, 2005 08:50 PM

Burial. Very Grave.
In the last link they suggest a bonfire.
Tongue in cheek. I think. Who knows.

FX - Thank you!! Would have missed it! I'm a big fan.
I think I caught it last time - but liked it enough to watch again! Another Corner gig I missed, damnit.
btw - general music note. I wonder if you have seen this blog?

Posted by boynton at June 21, 2005 09:03 PM

Whatever happened to the good old fashioned table with books labelled 'FOR SALE'? Or did a surplus of thousands of books just appear in a stealthy fashion?
Questions only answerable by Miss Marple.

"That's Christie. Was 3rd row down on the left but those were moved. If you go out the back and take 32 steps east and dig you'll find it there".
Posted by Russell Allen at June 22, 2005 08:53 PM

Over the years I've done pretty well at the tables, at the local reading/weeding establishment.

I've never tried digging for books, though.
Posted by boynton at June 22, 2005 11:50 PM

The deselecting/weeding process was my least favourite part of my library training. At my local library one day I was given a list of items that had been deselected from the children's section and told to go pull them from the shelves. I hated that. Not because it was hard, but because I didn't like the idea of having to do it. I know libraries have only limited space and resources, especially public ones, but I think people have a view of libraries as repositories of books and other things.

That said, I'd understand it better if the library at least tried to sell or donate the things rather than just throw them out. And whichever clown at the BL came up with the policy of discarding last copies should be shot.
Posted by James Russell at June 23, 2005 12:17 AM

Would it be infra dig to comment that the safest place for a Chiropractic Library would be in a dumpster?
Posted by Francis Xavier Holden at June 23, 2005 01:36 PM

Nice to have an insider's perspective, James, and I think the idea of de-selection might weed me out as a potential Librarian. I can see the obvious necessity, but have let my own collection run wild.
It's scary to think that occasionally you might have a rogue minimalist in charge of the aesthetics though.

The remark, like the fate of the books, might be considered spineless, FX.
Posted by boynton at June 23, 2005 07:37 PM

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