Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Books I Didn't Read

One book I did read and liked-- Malterre's The Last Wolf in Ireland (1990). A good story of a boy trying to save three wolf cubs. I'll have it in someone's hands by noon.

Occasionally, I have to go through the pile of books I have waiting for me, take a deep breath, and read things that don't appeal to me. I started with two that were 20 years old, but shiny and new because they had never been off the shelf. When I read them, I could see why. Bleah.

I have to weed. This library comfortably fits 14,000 books, which is what we have, but I add about 200 books a year. Books that are wasting space must go. This is so hard. The two odd, unused books were nothing that I could put in someone's hand and say "This is really good". If I am ever in doubt, I will give the books to a student who really likes to read, and if that student thinks the book is bad, then it goes. This is my general list of what I look for when I pull books:
1. Condition (Falling apart.)
2. Appeal ( Is it any good? Do students ask for this sort of book?)
3. Circulation (I've had books that have not gone out in 20 years!)
4. Age (Especially nonfiction-- any book that starts "Someday, when man walks on the moon...")

Usually, a book fits in at least two of these categories. What do I do with books I pull? Generally, I try to sell (for $1 or under, just so the student has some investment and doesn't just destroy the book) or give them to students, or send them to schools in Appalachia. Some nonfiction is so dated that it really has to be pitched. It's hard, but they are of no use to anyone because the information is incorrect.

This is why I am so careful in buying books. Books I looked at last night but won't be buying:
Ingold, Pictures, 1918-- WWI, but didn't grab me.
Davis, Jake, Irrepairably Damaged-- Too graphic and disturbing.
Page, Rewind-- Too many Britishisms.
Soto, Accidental Love-- Good, but can't pin down an audience.

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