The season of the Davis Library.

The season of the Davis Library.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Weeding for Small Libraries

So I was reading this article on weeding library collections published by the Arizona State Library, and I realized that a bunch of what it says is completely irrelevant to a tiny New England library. Up here in Stoddard we have almost zero need for ESL books, as it suggests in the Dewey Decimal section breakdown, under "Getting Down to Business." (Scroll down 2 pages from that link.)

Another section says of Biographies, "If it has not been read by more than one person in the past three years, consider withdrawing it." Considering some of the books that I've purchased have been read by one or MAYBE two people, in which case I consider it "popular," I don't think this rule should necessarily apply. I'd say if it's wicked old AND nobody's read it, sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a vicious culler. Books that are smelly, "weird," old, offensive (someday I'll post about the terrible Juvenile Non-Fiction I've culled) etc., etc., I chuck 'em mercilessly. I make exceptions for "classics" especially in the picture book arena. Ferdinand, Theodore, Madeline, Babar, Eloise & Corduroy are safe! (We might need a new copy of Theodore, but the new art is atrocious.)

The other place I make exceptions are a handful of the insanely popular authors who seem to write 10 books a year. Not all the extremely prolific mystery writers... but enough that our mystery section is groaning. So do I keep everything ever written by James Patterson or Janet Evanovitch at the expense of any of the other sections?

"Young adult fiction should be in paperback almost exclusively, less than five years old and/or popular." Really?? So about those new books all the teenagers are beating down my door for the next book in the series... I should wait a year until it's out in paperback b/c who cares about teenagers? Hm. Not sure I'm down with that.

What about guidelines for libraries that are so small I know all the patrons by name & know what the have & haven't read & what they like & can suggest books for them? How much should I cater to my specific patrons?


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