What Librarians Think About: Throwing Out Books

Before I became a librarian the thought of filling a dumpster with books seemed wrong and grossly irreverent. Nowadays I have zero problem with throwing out books and can’t wait for my next chance to weed the collection. We order hundreds of new titles every semester, and we have limited space, which leads to the inevitable conclusion — in order to not run out of space we need to move books out as we move them in.

Over at Perfect Whole, librarian Julie Goldberg explains the importance of weeding the collection.

I Can’t Believe You’re Throwing Out Books!

I am a librarian but no longer a bibliophile.

Throwing out thousands of books in three libraries over the past nine years has cured me of bibliophilia, though nothing on this side of mortality can ever release me from my thralldom to stories, to the written word, to the English language in all its bastardized brilliance.

What I’m done with is the fetishization of the codex, with books for books’ sake. I see no point in stockpiling stories that no longer speak to anyone, scientific knowledge decades out of date, speculations about the future that never came to pass, information shaped blithely by the racism and sexism of its time. But more than anything else, I’m finished with the idea that books just by virtue of their existence are precious things that can never outlive their usefulness.

The visceral response some of us have against a threat to books is rooted deep within us. When I was a child, if my mother saw me writing in a book or treating it carelessly, she would scold, “Never do that to a book! Books are our friends!”

Read the rest here.

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2 responses to “What Librarians Think About: Throwing Out Books

  1. Thanks for sharing it!