The library at my old college did this. The books they got rid of were out dated scientific journals or publications that were digitized. I imagine this isn’t as disastrous as the headline sounds. Plus, if it gets more people in the library, I’d count it as a win.
Edit: reading through this, that’s pretty much what most libraries are doing.
Edit 2: getting more people in the library is important because that’s how libraries get their funding! Plus, if someone wants to just stop in and browse Facebook for a bit who cares?
To everyone outraged by this, I'd urge you to look at the other side of the equation: libraries are *not* just about books, and they never have been. University libraries (and let's not forget that this *is* a university library) have more of a case to be respositories of uncirculated material than your average public library, but even in this case, we're talking about getting rid of books that haven't been checked out -- perhaps even looked at -- in *two decades*. What we need here are digitisation programs, to ensure that a record of the material is kept for those students working through those most esoteric of PhD proposals, and then by all means get rid of them so that students can have space for new books, space for desks and computer access -- hell, even things like a place to grab a coffee so that that six hour shift they're planning come exam time doesn't feel quite so daunting. A housecleaning is not always a cause for doom and gloom.
If we want libraries to continue, concessions must be made. If that includes making space for things that will encourage people to actually spend the day in their library by getting rid of things like -- and I quote -- 'A book whose title, *Personal Finance*, sounds relevant until you see the publication date: 1961' -- I think that's perfectly justifiable. As much as we'd like to believe that books are forever, sometimes they just *aren't*. New knowledge can replace old knowledge, new books can replace old, *and that's OK*.
To want to keep everything regardless of its actual value isn't conservation: it's hoarding, it's unsustainable, and it's not a virtue no matter how unpleasant the idea of getting rid of books might at first seem.
Libraries are about access to information, not access to books. It just so happens that books were the primary way to capture information for a long time.
I'm a librarian. I tossed 500 books last year - and I have a small collection. Why? Because they were out of date. They hadn't been touched in years. I'm a hospital librarian, so it's also a liability issue: having that old info available could be dangerous for patient care.
Keeping everything just because it was printed and bound as a book isn't preserving information or providing access, it's hoarding. I'm not keeping volumes of the New England Journal of Medicine from 1970. I have them online, and no one has consulted them in decades. Libraries do this all the time - we get rid of old material to make way for new or to change up our space. Most of us are not getting more space, so we have to make due with what we have.
> Mr. Cashdollar argued that circulation is a poor indicator of a book's value, since books are often consulted but not checked out.
All the University libraries I know have large signs "Don't put books back yourself, place them here". That's to measure consultations more reliably and so that users don't misplace them.
Every year I go to a library book sale and get some interesting books I would never look for otherwise. Last year I found a biography on Leo Tolstoy. As I neared the end I realized there was no plastic dust jacket, this was a donated book. The hard cover had a sticker with a family name, a quick search and I found the original owners obituary in the local paper. He was a concentration camp liberator, lawyer, and owner of a local doughnut shop. A dog eared page was almost at the end of the book, I wonder if it was his last read.
I work in an academic library. Our campus has grown from about 8000 students to over 25k in the last decade. We don't have the space to accommodate the needs of the campus community. During finals, students are sitting on the floor and using the hallway benches as desks. We're in the process of building a new storage facility and we're actively marking items for removal from the main library. THESE ITEMS WILL STILL BE AVAILABLE. Storage items will function like ILL. We'll have people going over twice a day with a picklist for patron holds.
We've had our fair share of faculty blowback, but, honestly, they can just deal with it. If they want to raise about $100 million dollars to double the size of our library (or build the an entirely separate undergraduate library that they seem to not stop talking about) so we can keep all of our books on site and provide adequate services for students and faculty, then they are more than welcome to do so.
We're struggling for funding for a basic renovation at this point and are in the middle of a big fundraising push. I'm really hoping that we can make it happen. We're trying to run a 21st century library in a 1960s facility.
I'm an English teacher and librarian. I don't understand people who are outraged at throwing books away. I have hundreds of books in my library that haven't been checked out since before I was born. It's a library, not a morgue.
Go for it. Many libraries are filled with books that are out dated, or just plain unwanted. We can lose a few of them to encourage people to make more use of the rest. Heck, turn a profit on the coffee and use it to fund the books. Win win.