“I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down”*…
Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, two Michigan public librarians, have struggled for years to prune their collections.
As The New Yorker notes, librarians call it “weeding,” and the choice of words is important: a library that “hemorrhages” books loses its lifeblood; a librarian who “weeds” is helping the collection thrive. The key question, for librarians who prefer to avoid scandal, is which books are weeds…
Seven years ago, we visited the blog on which they memorialize their choices. Now Kelly and Hibner have written a book, Making a Collection Count: A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management, which proposes best practices for analyzing library data and adapting to space constraints.
Learn their lessons at “Weeding the Worst Library Books.”
* Edgar Allan Poe
As we dither over deacquisition, we might recall that it was on this date that “the brave engineer” Casey Jones died in a train wreck in Vaughan, Mississippi, while trying to make up time on the Cannonball Express. He was killed when his passenger train collided with a stalled freight train on a foggy, rainy night. His dramatic attempt to stop his train and save lives made him a hero; he was immortalized in a popular ballad sung by his friend Wallace Saunders, an African-American engine wiper for his line, the Illinois Central, and later recorded, among others, Mississippi John Hurt, Pete Seeger, Furry Lewis, Johnny Cash, and played live by the The Grateful Dead (hear it on Spotify here).