Weeding the Obvious
Let's squash a misconception about Librarians.
We want people to take out books.
We just want them back. In good shape. When they're due.
Some books wear out. Accidents happen. The shelf life of a book is shortened for any number of reasons. When this happens we "discard" (gasp!) the book. Let's dispel another unfounded stereotype. Librarians have to get rid of materials for myriad reasons. To think we keep everything forever mistakes us for an Archivist or Museum Curator. If we were one of those nothing would leave our collection.
So what forces us to get rid of a book? Anyone who has worked any length of time in a Public Library has seen some pretty despicable examples of abused books. If you cannot touch it without washing make it go away. Or, it looks like a science experience gone awry. Use tongs. Sometimes people don't want the whole book, just part of it. Of course, no one else in the community, including the Library, needs that part, so out it comes.
I had a guy borrow a ruler one time, then take it and a newspaper to the back of the room. He wondered how I knew what he was going to do. I don't lend out rulers anymore.
Most of the time blowing dust off the top and discovering it hasn't moved for 20 years makes it a candidate for a Friends Box. Just a candidate. Some we keep.
Gerald F. Ward