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[BKARTS] [Fwd: [BKARTS] Secret book repair and JP's writing]




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__________________________________________________
**********************************************************
J. J. Foncannon
Philadelphia, PA  19139

 The Belgian surrealist painter Renee Magritte entered a cheese store in
Brussels to purchase a wheel of Swiss cheese.  The owner pulled a wheel
from the front window, but Magritte said he preferred the one on the
back counter.
 ?But they are identical,? the owner protested.
 ?No,? Magritte insisted.  ?This one?s been stared at.?
**********************************************************


             ***********************************************
     The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.

                  Both at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>
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--- Begin Message ---
Hi,
I'm on the BKARTS list but my postings keep on bouncing back so I'm writing this directly to you.

I've worked in academic libraries for 10+ years and am pursuing my Master's in Library Science (you need an MLS to be a librarian).  I can tell you that libraries of all types and sizes regularly discard books, from the University of Chicago to small, in-house law firm libraries.  Among the many reasons, the two most important:  more books are published all the time and need to be acquired, and all  libraries have finite space in which to store books.  Another reason is that some books go out of date pretty quickly and should not be used at all (medical and legal books).  Therefore, some books must be removed.  Book sales are well and good, but sometimes it isn't worth the effort in staff time for the amount of money that is brought in; and the medical/legal books should probably be recycled or thrown out directly.   People go nuts when large quantities of books are thrown out, so often times libraries sneak them into dumpsters at night.

In my current academic library, we used to have a truck of books for sale by the Circulation Desk, but our university president decided that it looked tacky.  So no more book sales.

Every librarian loves books.  But we constantly run out of room.  Libraries are usually understaffed and often the librarians don't have time to make detailed, well-informed decisions about what to withdraw from the collection.  Particularly because it is such a hot topic, librarians have a tendency to put off withdrawals until the space problem has reached a crisis point, then it's off to the dumpsters.

Some ways you can help: form or join a local Friends of the Libraries club and offer to lend a hand, organize book sales, etc., so the whole dumpster thing can be avoided.  Help them prepare guidelines for regular weeding of the collections.  Organize a tax increase in your community to enlarge the library so there's enough space to add to the collection for X number of years.

Diane Westerfield

>>> bolu.bolu@xxxxxxxxxxx 03/15/05 10:47 PM >>>
    Good words, from the real world, JP.
    Concerning the vaunted stewardship of librarians:  in practice, that
stewardship is often abrogated.  About year ago in Philadelphia, several
dumpsters full of books were spotted near the main branch of the public library
(in Philadelphia, known as the Free Library.)  No one could explain how or why
those books were discarded.  Many were in excellent condition, and many were
books of intrinsic interest.  If they were superfluous copies, not needed by
the main branch of the library, they could certainly be used by the volume
starved branch libraries.
    It turns out that in this case the "stewards" had been as casual in the
disposal of their charges as they were and are in maintaining the condition of
same.  Only after a relentless investigation on the part of the Philadelphia
Inquirer, which required an assault on the conspiracy of silence the library
was maintaining about the situation, was the history of the discarded books
solved.  A typical bureaucratic snafu, as I recall. A grudging admission of
error and a promise not to repeat the offense was wrested from the librarians
at the Free Library.  God knows how many previous dumpsters had been filled
with books, then emptied.
    You see why I can't take very seriously such assertions as,  "However, they
[librarians] are the duly appointed caretakers of the books and have been
chosen
for their knowledge, experience, and training.  They are responsible for
developing and maintaining the collection under their care."  This may be true
in some theoretical world.  In the real world, I will do what I think is is
right, as JP's wife did.  In fact, in JP's situation occurred at our own Free
Library, I would consider it purely laughable to "obtain permission first [to
clean a book] or leave it to the Librarian, as the duly appointed caretaker, to
clean those books by accepted practices and procedures that are acceptable as
determined by the policies of the library....."  Why should I timorously beg to
clean one book while mountains of books were being shovelled out the back door?

JP wrote:

> quote:
> > Librarians do not own the books, it is true (the libraries do).  However,
> > they are the duly appointed caretakers of the books >and have been chosen
> > for their knowledge, experience, and training.  They are responsible for
> > developing and maintaining >the collection under their care.  They are
> > also responsible for ensuring that patrons who use the library treat the
> > materials in >ways that are acceptable as determined by the policies of
> > the library.
>
> If this is so, then please tell me why that book or any book ends up back in
> the stacks in that condition or that needs repair?  If (as stated above)
> librarians are "responsible for developing and maintaining the collection
> under their care"  and  were so concerned about their(our?) "property", they
> wouldn't allow a damaged book back on the shelf.  I wouldn't with my own
> collection.
>
> And those folks that will fix with scotch tape will continue to do so
> regardless of what we say here, laws of ownership or not.  IF a hinge is
> loose, would it violate some moral code to take 5 minutes to fix it?  Or
> dump it in the drop box and have it back on the shelf 2 days later to be
> wrecked more? Which is more responsible?
>
> Also, we have a Friends of the Library here.   They sell books from the
> stacks as a non profit and the library then uses the money to buy more
> books.  I have seen brand new books on relevant current topics for sale
> there, and a WHOLE section on American Indian history ( in a county where
> there were LOTS of Indians around (central valley, CALIF).  These were some
> REALLY old books that had definite historical research value.  ANd they went
> to FoL to be sold at 5 cents on the dollar..... And they are no longer
> available to be used for research.  I can think of a lot of other books that
> could be eliminated if they need room in the stacks for more books.  They
> could start with the romance novels......
>
> As an aside, when my boys were toddlers, my wife went to the library every
> week and checked out the maximum number of books (I think it was around 40)
> for us to read to them and as they got older, for them to read.  Obviously
> these were children's books, (I'm not sure what the life expectancy of a
> children's book in the library is...) and they were FILTHY.  The first thing
> my wife would do is CLEAN the covers (she's a nurse....).  She, over the
> years, probably cleaned most of the books in the children's section of the
> library.  Was that wrong?  Did she change the the value of the book because
> she cleaned the cover from sticky to at least being reasonably clean?  Was
> that defacing?  No sarcasm here, as those who are purist  would contend that
> she should have gotten permission first or leave it to the Librarian, as the
> duly appointed caretaker, to clean those books by accepted practices and
> procedures that are acceptable as determined by the policies of the
> library........
>
> Interesting discussion...............
> Jim
>
>              ***********************************************
>      The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist
>
>              For all your subscription questions, go to the
>                       Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
>
>                   Both at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>
>              ***********************************************

--

__________________________________________________
**********************************************************
J. J. Foncannon
Philadelphia, PA  19139

 The Belgian surrealist painter Renee Magritte entered a cheese store in
Brussels to purchase a wheel of Swiss cheese.  The owner pulled a wheel from
the front window, but Magritte said he preferred the one on the back counter.
 "But they are identical," the owner protested.
 "No," Magritte insisted.  "This one's been stared at."
**********************************************************

             ***********************************************
     The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.

                  Both at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>
             ***********************************************

             ***********************************************
     The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist

             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.

                  Both at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>
             ***********************************************

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