I am not one of those librarians who is afraid to pull the weeds. I actually really enjoy cleaning up a dusty old collection, especially when it comes to pairing down a mostly obsolete and outdated nonfiction collection like the one that I have inherited in my new library. My problem is that there is just an overwhelming amount of weeding to be done. It’s not so much for space—there’s still a little breathing room on that element, thank goodness—but more so for content. A book about “The Personal Computer” from 1991, an opposing viewpoints type text about “The Third World” from 1988, books with countries that no longer exist, books that haven’t checked out (or been touched, from the looks of it) since they were added to the collection in the 60’s, etc. There is also the issue of the large, 20+ volume outdated reference sets that weight down my shelves. What’s a good librarian to do? Some of these books are beautiful, many of them are interesting, but most of them are no longer supporting the curriculum or development of my students. So I weed, right?
And then there’s the issue of what to do with all these discards. I don’t even want to go there yet!