Friday, September 11, 2009

Weed them and weep...

Today, while undertaking the gargantuan task of getting the shit off the shelves, many thoughts clamored for attention. One of the most electrifying was considering that I am taking an active part in defining "the new world order" (for lack of a better turn of phrase at the moment.)

Whereas, only a brief time ago books were kept on library shelves for content, we are instead entering the arena as a browsing venue. I was pulling things off the shelves and throwing them on the floor. (We were closed so I was alone listening to the trees falling in the forest.) Books that have been securely assured of a space in some instances for 20 or 30 years were now tossed into a heap.

The name of the game is changing beyond limits of my imagination. In the simplest terms, I am getting rid of books that are tired, worn and/or dated in order that our patrons can see the forest.

Our circulation has been sickeningly low. For six years I've poured everything that I am into turning that around. Even with usage doubling and tripling, I'm still embarrased at the numbers. As I am making my way through the 160,000 volumes in our library, I now envision the tripling tripling and even quadrupling as our collection becomes smaller and more inviting.

One glimmering thought and then I'll see what else surfaces from the day's memory, we are feeding more on the image than the word in the 21st century library. This is a complete turn around for civilization. With the internet, computers, and the tendency toward identifying according to iconic, rather than an alphabetic vocabulary, we are participating in "herstory" (read The Goddess Versus the Alphabet by Leonard Shlain.)

Viva la revolution!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Apparently a librarian who hates books... Ironic...

And a Wiccan to boot!

Welcome to the 21st Century, Yuba Country..I hope you're ready...

I'm glad I'm safely in Nevada County, myself...

lorebrarian said...

Hello Anonymous is Nevada County. Was it using the word "shit" that freaked you out? Please come and have a look at some of the books on our shelves. This library has NEVER been weeded and it's history goes back to 1850's. Many of the books that are coming off the shelves are going straight into our archival collection. (Where they should have been in the first place.) Many of the books would give a collections development librarian a heart attack they are so old (physically falling apart) and outdated.

Hates books? I don't think so. You're on the site of someone whose whole life is about books and reading.

Wiccan? No, I'm a pagan. There's a difference. Look it up.

As my site suggests, I'm not "you mother's librarian" and my language may sometimes be a little rough. But as you point out, this is the 21st century and most many taboos are simply no longer relevant. Or, what exactly was the point you were making about being ready for the 21st century?