Careless Weeding or Something Else?

From The East Bay Express (Alameda Cty, CA):

Library administrators are discarding older books in bulk, prompting a backlash from longtime staff members.

Library administrators have ordered staff to discard books in bulk. With increased funding for materials this fiscal year, managers are making room for newer books and as a result have been trashing older ones in mass quantities, staff members said. The practice, they said, has been rushed and haphazard — and not in line with the standard guidelines for "weeding," the term librarians use to describe the process of moving books out of collections. In Albany, thousands of good books that could be donated or given away are instead ending up in the trash, the employees said. They noted that while this policy is especially widespread at their branch, it appears that this careless discarding is happening across the Alameda County Library system.

"Everyone is amazed by the amount of stuff going to the garbage bins," said Dan Hess, a children's librarian in Albany. He has worked at that branch for four years and has been an employee of Alameda County Library for fourteen years. "It's like forty years and forty different brains thinking what should be in the library [are being] swept away in two months," he said. "We're having this infusion of new money and materials that are coming very fast into the library. It's pushing us to change the criteria for what we are discarding." Hess said that managers have directed staffers to effectively remove most books bought before 2001, with little regard to the content, condition, or other factors librarians would typically take into consideration. "All you have left is the new. To me, that is not a library."


I doubt it is that clear cut. Oh those zany entrenched employees that want to hoard everything forever!

Not sure about the above comment "doubt"--books should be periodically weeded (and generally are). I have no idea why these books were just thrown away. To me, if they are usable, they should be sold to raise money for the library, donated, or recycled if they are unusable. Never should they land up in the trash. Half the books that get weeded, that are "vintage" or "obsolete"--end up being books worth a TON of money--rare and out of print. Not saying we should hold on to all rare and out of print books, but I AM saying they should definitely not land up in the trash.

If you want to try and put everything 'vintage' onto Ebay or Amazon then you go ahead.
Sometimes even if they might have a potential use in the future you have to consider the time and space and look of the library right now. At least they are getting new stock coming in.

The clue could be 'It's like forty years'. Yes, well the world has changed in forty years.

Yes, it truly is amazing what longtime staff are afraid to let go. I've worked with staff who'd rather have old, tattered, stained books on the shelf that they swear are still "popular" (perhaps twenty years ago) than shiny, new, fun books that are in demand right now. They don't understand that as new books arrive, old ones have to go to make room. Library shelf space isn't something that organically increases over time.

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