The Discard Dilemma
For the past two weeks I’ve been doing something shocking, some might even say evil.
No, I’m not talking about writing this blog.
I’ve been throwing away BOOKS.
I work in a high school library. I’m not a librarian, but I run the circulation desk, do all the displays, new book prep, and supervise the after school library program. My official title is Library Educational Technician III. It may sound fancy, but it absolves me of all the tough stuff: the purchase orders, painstaking cataloging and making the crucial decision each year as to which books get tossed. The teachers and library staff are offered the discards, but most of the books are outdated and/or in poor condition, fit only for the school dumpster.
This year we’re weeding the 900s. For those of you who don’t know the Dewey Decimal system, that’s geography and history. Out goes Life in the Soviet Union, a biography of the five Eisenhower brothers, Singapore 1983 and Hallam’s three volume Middle Ages history set….printed in 1864. No way could I throw the latter away. I’m not writing medievals, but you never know. They’re going on my bookshelf, joining Lucille from last year’s purge, written by Owen Meredith c.1880 (real name Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton and son of that dark-and-stormy-night guy).
Another great find: a month-by-month accounting in 1815, “the most dramatic, exciting and pivotal year in history,” according to its author John Fisher. From Wellington to Waterloo to Byron to Barbary pirates, I just might learn something about the era I write about. And it’s illustrated!
I weed my own collection, too, usually giving books to friends or donating them to the public library. Who’s on your permanent reserve (keeper) shelf? Do you discard? Don’t send any volumes my way; the dumpster’s pretty full.
And for future reference (another library allusion), I’m starting each week with a new post, so Mondays mean Maggie Robinson Means Romance!