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Interesting Weeding project article

Saw this article in another group I belong to and thought I would share. Some of the comments make my head hurt. http://www.wmur.com/news/thousands-of-unh-library-books-found-in-dumpster/25595304


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
Someone tried that with us when they saw us wheeling a cart out to the dumpster. Our answer was basically, "You want them? Here ya go." Needless to say, the books went into the dumpster.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 09:42 pm (UTC)
Someone got nasty with me once when they saw me with the cart of books so I whipped the top book off the cart and showed her the huge brown stains throughout the book. She looked like she was about to get sick.

I know people get pissy when they see books getting thrown away, but no one in their right minds would want the books we are throwing out.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
This has happened to our academic institution so many times! Faculty and students keep pleading with us to put these books out in a common area for sale. Unfortunately for us, because we receive State funds, we are forbidden from selling or donating the withdrawn items 'because they were purchased with State monies.' I think a really, really good project for the faculty to assign their students would be to try to start a petition and see if some sort of legislation can be passed to allow us to donate or sell our withdrawn items.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
Our library has the same problem with being forbidden to sell/donate withdrawn books. We keep people from freaking out by putting out the "gift books" (given to us by profs or tossed into the book return) we don't want onto a "free books" shelf. That way, everyone assumes the books that get thrown out are books that need to go out, b/c they can see there are books that don't get tossed.

We have major problems with weeding, though, b/c our head of acquisitions is basically against it if the book isn't damaged (she sounds like half of the comments to that article, ugh). It's not *really* her job to deal with the weeding, thankfully, but she makes our lives hell if she sees a bunch of books being weeded, so it means we essentially have to sneak carts of weeded materials around so she doesn't see them being removed.

My library is so dysfunctional.

Edited at 2014-04-23 11:37 pm (UTC)
Apr. 24th, 2014 12:50 pm (UTC)
I work in a public library, not academic, so when we weed items, if it's in reasonable condition we give it to our local Friends of the Library to re-sell. The money they take in eventually goes toward buying things like new furniture or displays for local branches. Seriously, in the last five years our branch alone has received two puzzle-piece-shaped footstools, two velvet saucer chairs and a giant beanbag for the teen zone; eight leather chairs for the newspaper/magazine area; a big ladybug-shaped display unit and a sensory play board, and some colorful tables and chairs for the kids' section.
Apr. 25th, 2014 04:06 pm (UTC)
That's what we do first - anything in decent condition that we are weeding goes to the Friends to sell in their quarterly book sales.

However, we've had a lot of books recently that we've had to discard that were in awful shape and have been finding ourselves dumping more books than we really want to.
Apr. 24th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
Better World Books. We used to have the same problem--people freaking out about books in Dumpsters--so anything that's in decent shape goes right to them.
Apr. 24th, 2014 06:48 pm (UTC)
Same with us. We have a multi-step process when getting rid of books:

* Better World Books
* Our overseas programs
* Other local institutions (i.e., underfunded high schools)
* On-campus annual book sale
* Local county book fair
* Dumpster

I think that's a pretty good way to argue against "but someone might WANT that book!" If it's not gone after 5 attempts to be rid of it, then no, no one wants it.
Apr. 24th, 2014 05:21 pm (UTC)
I was always taught the sneaky-tip-toe walk out to the dumpster with a load of books (or, rather, recycling bin). I tried to make sure no one was out there when I did it. When I first started working for the library, it bothered me, but yeah, they are usually really old and stinky books. However, in recent times our library (which I no longer work for) has gone to weeding brand-new books, like donated paperbacks (which are very popular) in mint condition. When customers asked about them, we were told we'd interfiled them (which we hadn't; they were gone).
Apr. 24th, 2014 06:38 pm (UTC)
I saw the comment somewhere, "We're a library, not an archive." It's an important difference. Old books have a place. For instance, the U of MN has a children's collection which I'm sure researchers mine to find out what was being written to kids eighty years ago (it's a special collection, not a family space). The History Center has outdated encyclopedias and city directories. But the library has to decide what their mission is, and then support it.

I understand the pain of throwing away books. I largely got over it when I had to confront my own space needs.
Apr. 24th, 2014 09:09 pm (UTC)
Those gift of public funds rules are evil, soetimes.
Apr. 25th, 2014 01:47 pm (UTC)
I too worked in a state-funded university for many years. Every so often we had weeding projects where things would go into the dumpster. The rule of thumb was you didn't toss at the top of the hour when classes started/ended and lots of people would be walking about. I had the job of vetting what was dumpster fodder and pull out the good stuff and offer them to other university libraries that received state funding (placed over 100 boxes of materials around the state).

When I used to run the book sales we would put out over 50 carts of donated books we didn't need. After two days of regular sales, we'd have a morning bag sale. I would then announce I was putting away the cash registers and going to lunch for two hours. What was left was free. When I got back there would be about 8 to 10 carts of stuff people didn't select even though it was free (including used book dealers). Those would go to the dumpster. I had complaints about that but anyone who objected I offered to turn the stuff over to them to see if they could find a good home. No one took me up on that offer. One had the audacity to say, "That is not my job. That is your job." Made me want to slap them up aside the head with a Reader's Digest Condensed Book.
Apr. 26th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC)
Those old Reader's Digest Condensed Book anthologies are in demand from a perhaps unexpected quarter: the home decor market. They're generally sold by the foot, to people wishing to create the impression that they're well-read and to fill up bookcases with pretty color-blocks.
Apr. 27th, 2014 09:56 am (UTC)
I understand that, in order to save space, sometimes they'll buy books by the yard, glue them together, and then cut off the bindings. It kind of looks like a book shelf, but it's not hanging out into the hallway where people can bump into it.
Apr. 27th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
No doubt to the surprise and dismay of any unsuspecting poor sap who might want to read a book off the display in question.

Apr. 25th, 2014 01:59 pm (UTC)
Lord, the caterwauling about saving books forever and ever, amen! Funny how quickly their tune changes when you tell them that you can't buy new materials because there is no space for any new materials.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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