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Re: [ARSCLIST] Interesting WSJ Article on when libraries should discard their holdings.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Miriam Meislik" <miriam+@xxxxxxxx>
> When I worked in a small town public library many many years ago, I was
> instructed to cull anything that hadn't circulated in five years. The
> difference in our culling was that we had additional criteria. No
> classic would ever have gone away nor would anything written by those
> authors be discarded. Some books were truly dated and their information
> was no longer useful so those were removed. Anything pulled was placed
> on a book truck and reviewed by the library director. Removed books were
> then added to the annual library book sale. I agree that two years is
> far too short a period.
Well, admittedly books which provide things like "how to" information
as well as data on which decisions could be based should be removed
from regular circulation! However, like virtually all non-fiction
works (in fact, virtually all objects of ANY sort!) they pass through
1) Current...necessary for reference.
2) Obsolete...useless (and in some cases dangerous) for reference.
3) Historical...useful as "This is how it was done back in..."
For example, I have a collection of Road Atlases dating back as far
as 1936 (and a reprinted 1927 one). Obviously useless to travel with...
but VERY interesting as historic documents!
So...one hopes that some larger institution maintains copies of what
your institution is discarding...
Note also that the "historic" aspect is very valuable (and more
quickly reached!) with reference to local information and/or
documents. Our local public library has a near-complete set
of local city directories going back over eighty years...and
I use them constantly to find approximately when a house was
built, or what once stood where there is now a parking lot!
Had they simply discarded each copy as it was replaced by a
newer one, there would be NO simple source for that data...
Steven C. Barr