Wednesday, June 10, 2009

250 Words: Last Copy

Last Copy

Should the Central Library keep the "Last Copy" of a book?

Weeding should not be automatic, based upon broad predefined values. Simply because a title hasn't circulated lately, if ever, doesn't mean it should go into a Friends box. Nor should a title automatically disappear just because it looks worn. Questions must be answered before a title is removed from the collection.

Ask intelligent questions to determine the value of a title found within the its subject universe. The decision to weed should be made by someone with experience and expertise in to ask those questions. It takes keen discernment to know a title, no matter how old, needs keeping because it continues to add to the discussion. Look for those qualities which are not so obvious.

Just because it's a book doesn't mean it's worth keeping. Just because its old doesn't mean it needs tossing.

We have, throughout the collection, volumes of the "Great Books", a collection compiled by Hutchins and Adler, published by Britannica. The translations of these works are old and the format does not make for easy reading. We need these writings, not just a link to them on the Internet, but the actually, physical copy, which can be picked up and read.

Deciding to eliminate the "last copy" of a work needs deliberate, experienced, consideration. Automation discards according to a predefined set of physical values. We are not robots.

Gerald F. Ward

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