About Me

Llantwit Major, Wales, United Kingdom
I am mother, librarian, avid reader, sf fan, writer (unpubished), singer(amateur), animal lover, needlewoman.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Throwing out books

Part of being a librarian is throwing out books as well as buying books. My job is to run the small department which buys the stock for the public libraries. However as well as buying all the new stock, which does take up most of our time, I also do a certain amount of sorting out of older stock All libraries have to throw out the old and tatty books, decide which to replace if possible, but we also have to throw out the ones which don't work.

There are books which are bought which for some reason no one takes out, and which are therefore taking up valuable shelf space and need to be evicted to make room for something which people do want to borrow. We are there to provide books for people which they want to read, not to provide shelf room for those which people don't want to read.

Sometimes you get a book which has been on the shelves for maybe a couple of years, maybe moved from branch to branch, and no one has ever taken it out. I sometimes feel so sorry for the book, for the writer. Some of the books would have required years of research in order to write them, and then no one reads them. Someone has slaved away, got their manuscript accepted to their great delight, especially as they probably spent years trying to get it accepted, and then no one reads it.

I do sometimes wonder what criteria the publishers use for some of these books. Some of the ones which aren't read in the Vale of Glamorgan will find keen readers elsewhere. We are a county of little ethnic variety, and so there are lots of books which don't issue well here which may well work their socks off elsewhere, but even so I do wonder why some of them ever get published.

Nevertheless it still goes against the grain to throw out books in almost mint condition. The branches will try to sell withdrawn stock, but if no one is going to take the books out for free, then no one is going to pay for them, even 50pence.

Sad books, going to the recycling bin.


Kate said...

Ahhh that is sad - maybe we should set up a retirement home for unwanted books, build a new 'wing' onto Number 1 Grange Gardens to house them :)


oreneta said...

It is totally sad....Wish I could be there with empty suitcases on the right days...