Why Libraries Must Get Rid of (Some) Books

Do libraries really destroy books?

Aren’t libraries expected to keep everything forever?

Well, yes, librarians are forced to get rid of (some) books. They always have, and always will.  Not because librarians enjoy disposing of books. But because no library is vast enough to store, perpetually,  every book it ever acquired – much less every book ever published.

“Weeding” library materials is one of the most difficult, and delicate, jobs a librarian must do. But there’s no librarian – at least in the non-digital library world – who manages to evade this necessity. Responsibility, really.

Librarians call this difficult, dreaded task weeding: getting rid of the least useful stuff so library users can more easily find the (currently) most useful stuff.

This article, posted to a National Public Radio blog, describes, better than most,  a fact of library life that many library users find difficult to understand and accept.

Found at The New Yorker’s Book Bench


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