Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weeding Project

During the 2013-2014 academic year the TCTC library has weeded 938 print and 1926 electronic books.

Some librarians are “savers”. Others are “tossers”. These terms refer to an individual’s propensity for keeping books (and now, electronic sources). In the dim, dark past (say, up to about the mid 1960’s) most libraries had to beg for materials and wouldn’t DREAM of getting rid of things no matter how out-of-date the information was, because then there wouldn’t be any books on the shelves. But in the early 1960’s as the Russians outdid us in the space race and governments began generously funding libraries practically everywhere, libraries filled their shelves up, and librarians were happy. They MIGHT have even gotten rid of a few things they didn’t need. This lasted until the mid-1980’s sometime. Funding dwindled as taxpayers expressed frustration and politicians made “no new taxes” promises.

The funding looked like this, in a totally unscientific graph of my own devising:

As you know, the mid-1980’s was a LONG TIME AGO. Unfortunately for many libraries, that’s when time seems to have stopped if the copyright date of the majority of the books on the shelves is any indicator. Many libraries still have a glut of books from 1960 through 1980. Obviously, some information doesn’t get old. The words in “Tom Sawyer” are still the same as they were when Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens wrote them. The same side still won, say, World War II, no matter what the copyright date of a history book might be, but as history is analyzed, new insights and information can be added. But other information goes out of date… some very quickly, other more

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