March 16, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, January 2014 Issue

“We love the profession and the service we provide…. Three of the four librarians [in our library] are over 60. We aren’t going anywhere soon”

We’re not leaving!

The time to retire should not be a function of age but of, well, tiredness. I have some colleagues, younger than I am, who really do need to get out of the way, but they need to get out of the way of the profession (Steven Bell, “Hey, Boomers: Let’s Talk About Retirement,” From the Bell Tower, LJ 10/15/13, p. 21). They are the ones with the sour attitude and unpleasant demeanor, the ones who apply rules like weapons and scare small children.

Mentoring new librarians and librarians new to our small organization is exciting. We learn together here and take every opportunity to question our decisions. We love the profession and the service we provide to the community. Three of the four librarians here are over 60. We aren’t going anywhere soon.

­—Lisa Richland, Dir., Floyd Memorial Lib., Greenport, NY

Weeds from Amazon

John Berry’s “The Weeding War” (Blatant Berry, LJ 11/1/13, p. 10) caught my eye because in nearly 50 years as a librarian in both public and academic libraries, weeding has always been controversial. I’ve dived into dumpsters behind public libraries to pick out books for myself and family before the garbage trucks hauled them away.

If I wanted recreational reading or scholarly resources for myself, I bought them. In academic libraries, I worked with foundations to send outdated texts (for shame) to developing/needy countries. As an academic library director, I was threatened by faculty members who said they would immolate themselves in compact shelving stacks because they needed access to precious print volumes that the library deemed best to have in microform or e-form.

Now, retired, what do I do? For fiction, I go to a public library for the first time in my life. Since I like to read Nordic crime fiction in series—Jo Nesbø, ­Camilla Läckberg, Henning Mankell, Stieg Larsson, and the like—if my library has weeded the earlier novels in a series, as it did recently, I simply ask that they get them for me from elsewhere. And I get them. Good old interlibrary loan!

As for my function as editor of an annual book series, I turn to the Internet when I need to verify references. Ninety-five percent of references can be verified there without turning to bibliographic databases (which I predict will see less and less use)…. One 1960s book not easily accessible locally but which I needed…I bought from Amazon for $4. Whoopee! I even sold it afterward through Amazon….

—Anne Woodsworth, Editor, Advances in Librarianship, Glen Cove, NY

Selling our weeds

I read John Berry’s “The Weeding War” (Blatant Berry, LJ 11/1/13, p. 10) and Ian Chant’s “Books in Dumpsters Spark Debate” (News, LJ 10/15/13, p. 14ff.) about Fairfax County. I was devastated. I have worked as a library director for a year and a half now at Tremont District Library. I also worked at Tremont Library when I was in high school and various other libraries since. The thought of just throwing books in the trash because there is not enough room or the book is old is so strange to me.

The Tremont community has a festival each summer. The library contributes to that festival by having a book sale. We use all of the books that we have weeded from our collections due to damage, age, or few checkouts. We encourage our community to donate books they don’t want to the library so we may use them in the sale…. At the book sale, we ask for donations, all of which go to the Tremont Betterment Community to be dispersed to different businesses, organizations, or volunteer groups in Tremont.

If I lived in a community that didn’t have something like a festival or project where we could do this, I would think the weeded books could be sold within the library….

Tremont Library would only ever “toss” a book because it is not readable due to torn-out pages or severe damage, etc. Then we recycle the book. We do not throw it in the trash or “bury the discarded books at the bottom of the barrel,” as Berry suggested. Books are one of the most valuable resources. I was so surprised that someone who works with books…would actually throw books out….

There must be some other way to “rid” the library of weeded books!

—Lauren E. Bale, Dir., Tremont Dist. Lib., IL


Owing to an error in calculations, percent change figures in LJ’s 2013 Placements & Salaries feature, “The Emerging Data­brarian,” have been updated. For the corrected version, please visit the online story. LJ regrets the error.

Repent at leisure

LJ apologizes to the architects whose information was listed in error in the annual architecture roundup (“Something for Every­one”): the architect for the Lane Library, Armstrong Atlantic University, Savannah, is Cogdell & ­Mendrala; the correct phone number for HGA is 414-278-8200; and the complete phone number for Noll & Tam is 510-542-2200.