In reply to Letter: A library fable:
I asked some people with library cards and they told me that after many years of library use, the cards would suddenly come alive and try to kill them. No one knows why. But it happens to everyone with a library card eventually. Poor Tom. Poor Us.
I recently brought up this issue in the Calix listserv and sadly I have been met with way too much of "We can't judge our own" and this sort of attitude is making me embarrassed and saddened by the lack of professional integrity we should have.
I've already posted on other sites how angry this makes me; not just Lissak's actions but her refusal to be held accountable.
However, here among my colleagues I must bring up another aspect to this issue that is even worse in some ways.
I've been a children's librarian for 10 years and I know (as all of us do) that "weeding is fundamental." I'm not one of the Luddites who is constantly trying to justify why books can not be weeded. Indeed, even in a newly renovated building with plenty of shelf space, my staff and I continually weed for condition and age. We often say that if a book is old enough to drive, it probably needs to be replaced.
We all understand that Ms. Lissak's disregard of the library's collection development policy is inexcusable, but what sort of message does this send to the average library patron.
All over the country, librarians and directors face scrutiny from the public for weeding. In the majority of those cases, the librarians have acted prudently. But what do Ms. Lissak's actions say to the portion of the public who believes that all books are *sacred* and should never be weeded. Or, conversely, to those who believe that libraries are just "book warehouses" and no one needs libraries anymore because "everything's online."
And what does it say, that in a town that has a GSLIS program, that the director had temporary workers doing tasks that should be handled by library professionals. How, after this, do we justify to our patrons and boards that staff with advanced degrees are "worth it," when UFL is using glorified volunteers to make collection maintenance decisions.
Not only are Ms. Lissak's actions a blow to Urbana Free Library, they are equally disastrous to librarians and librarianship. She deserves to be severely reprimanded if not fired.
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Here is the article that features her responce to the weeding incident and she blames her staff which I think is really crappy on her part for something she had decided to implement: http://will.illinois.edu/news/story/urbana-free-library-scrutinized-over-book-weeding
In reply to Peter Singer: Authors at Google:
Currently the Kindle version of the book is .99
The director has issued an apology, clarified the procedures, and assumed full responsibility for the incident, and initiated corrective action, including the return of a book shipment made to Better World Books. The incident appears headed to a satisfactory resolution. Certainly the library board and concerned patrons will be monitoring this.
HOWEVER, this incident raises a question about whether all books and which books should be culled when not borrowed for three or some other number years--a question that applies to any library, not just the Urbana library. I remember once going to the Urbana library to look at a book containing drawings of the artist Giacometti. I thumbed through it for a hour or so, appreciated that I could do so at the library, but did not borrow it. And sometimes a patron might take extended looks at several books, before deciding to borrow one for whatever reason. So maybe a book's "cullability" should also be in part be measured inversely to how many times it has been reshelved. With a new a RFID system, maybe this can be tracked. Again this issue is important to all libraries, especially now considering the technological changes now coming to libraries.
Better World Books has responded to people saying that they are willing to work with the Urbana Free Library to fix this situation. Unfortunately the Library is still not responding to people's concerns, so we can only hope that they will reconsider and follow their culling guidelines. I hope everybody in the library community and anybody with ties to Champaign-Urbana will keep up the pressure on the Urbana Free Library to fix this situation and return any mistakenly culled books to the shelves!
Rogue directors are a pain. They have the power to implement dumb decisions. In our town the director went on a major weeding campaign. As a librarian I totally understand the need to weed but our library got rid of local history books that no other library had. The books were about the history of our town so they clearly fell into the mission and collection of our library. The books were actually fairly rare and they got snapped up at the FOL sale. Some of the books were sold online for more than $100 and at the FOL sale the library got $2 book.
They've put the pictures up at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151566880737648.1073741838.59287977647&type=3 for anyone who wants to see the visual part of the story.
I don't know, Birdie! You can now get e-cigs. Can e-seeds be far behind?
Smile Politely has placed this article (sans stunning pictures of bare shelves) up at https://www.facebook.com/notes/smile-politely/do-you-ever-read-any-of-the-books-you-weed/101... for anyone to read if the heavy traffic slows their site too much.
They'll never make e-seeds (or will they?)
We launched a seed library this year, and response has been incredible! La Crosse Public Library Seed Library
How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank
In reply to The Card Catalog is Dead; Long Live the Card Catalog:
I'm 27 and the last time I used a card catalog was when I was in elementary school. By that time our public libraries had already switched to an OPAC (I used it when I was pre-2nd grade), but my tiny school library still had a card catalog (which I believe they got rid of soon after...around when these kids were born).
I'm sure if they had looked closely at the cards they could have figured out what they were, but I don't think we should ever expect young people to be able to identify an archaic piece of technology just on sight.
In reply to The Card Catalog is Dead; Long Live the Card Catalog:
Very cool idea! Wonder whose signatures she's amassed...
Between the title and summary, which are on one topic, and the link, which is on an entirely different topic. Must be that online reading comprehension bit... (Serious comment: The study itself, or at least the reporting on it, is flawed to the extent that it's entirely about short passages, and if there's a comprehension or learning difference, it's almost certainly related to long texts, which are very difficult to test.)