Monday, April 15, 2013
Weeding: A sad, sad story.
And it kind of needs some glue. Not in good shape.
I had a weeding epiphany this week when I had students help me remove books from the shelves. The stark reality is that if I buy 600 books a year (and my budget isn't that large, but my money management skills and ability to get free books are EPIC!), things have to go. Not only for space, but if I am constantly trying to give The Moves Make the Man to boys who want basketball books who check it out and bring it back right away, what am I doing?
The books in my library collection represent a huge amount of my time, since I have read all of the fiction. If I read the book and thought it wasn't good at the time, I got rid of it. Now the collection is full of books that I liked. This is not, however, always indicative of what students will like. And it's their library.
I used to think that if the content were good, I should keep the book. This week I came to realize that styles change, books become weary, and my idea of OLD and the students' idea of old are wildly different. Also, I thought that if a book was super awesome, it didn't matter if the back cover was taped back on and there was a huge mud stain on the front page. This is not true for my students.
The bottom line is that I want students to get excited about reading and books. It's better to have a lean and mean collection with a bunch of fresh, awesome books than to pack the shelves with multiple copies of Madeleine L'Engle books in various stages of disintegration.
I will chant this to myself all day as students peel my fingers from crumbling copies of Fitzgerald's The Great Brain, Robertson's Henry Reed, and duplicate copies of The Chronicles of Narnia. And little piles of paper that were once Lois Duncan and Joan Lowery Nixon books. The students are letting me keep The Mark of Conte, Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones, and some sports books from the early 70s that still circulate.
They also hand me tissues.