Library books end up in trash


Complaint by patron about library weeding and response from the library. Article here.


A bunch of the comments focus on whether or not libraries should have warehouses of worthy, but rarely needed books. The librarians point out that this would be too costly.

But the warehouse already exists. Not through libraries, but through the secondary book market. The article points out that the book was available for a penny through Amazon. Plus $2.00 for shipping, it is still cheaper than an ILL request, or running a van service between branches for occasional use items. And probably faster too.

Should we show these items in our catalogs?

now we're getting somewhere...provocative.

I tell patrons that the book is available for (total cost) under $3 but they still request the ILL... FREE always WINS. they don't care how much money it might save the library.

I think the person is suggesting that the item is purchase don demand. When a person says I want "Book ABC" and it is available on Amazon for .01 and $3.99 shipping the library orders the book on Amazon for $4 instead of putting in an ILL request.

I think this is an interesting idea.

Actually, I was going one farther. Alibris already facilitates purchase on demand (or used to, I haven't checked in a while) by being listed in ILL systems. If the patron specifies a maximum cost that is higher than the Alibris price, you can buy it.

My thought is this: What if the books that were available for below some set amount were displayed in our catalog (not cataloged, but somehow intermingled with the results.) The status might be "Available for request - allow one week" If someone requests it, we buy it.

I think your comment and my comment just made this fedex ad

Let's see, $3.99 for shipping, plus .05 for the book, plus the cost of someone placing the order, then seeing if the order is fulfilled, which can take up to a week, then making sure if the book you ordered is in fact the book you wanted, and in some kind of shape for circulation. So, you still have the same cost in processing, cataloging (however briefly), then either processing the book out of the system, and recycling it. But, still, a viable option, if all goes well.

If you are doing this to replace an ILL transaction don't do any processing. Just hand the person the book and it is theirs to keep. Don't spend another $5 to protect the initial $4 and then be out $9. Just hand the patron the book and let them take it home. Tell them not to bring it back.

Subscribe to Comments for "Library books end up in trash"