Saturday, October 3, 2009

Self Enduced Amnesia

The older I become (when I figure out how to become younger, I'll be rich) the harder it is on my short term memory. I've been telling people my brain cells are leaking out, turning my hair gray. It's an excuse.

I'm not interested in memory loss.

I'm concerned about isolation and amnesia.

As the library moves through a massive weeding process I've noticed an attempt to isolate those weeding from others so no questions are asked. Staffing levels drop, especially at Central, and the professional selection workload has shifted from on-site Librarians to a few off-site people. We're given a list of titles to weed and the only criteria for exclusion is lack of circulation. We don't get to buy anymore. The collection shrinks and so does our knowledge of it.

I've seen books weeded I think should have stayed. But, I and others are isolated in the over all process of weeding. I take care of my collection. No body else better touch it. Still, I'm weeding areas I have no clue about, so, I ask colleagues. Otherwise, there's no procedure for peer-reviewing materials sent away, or trashed. These are radical changes.

Once gone we're not getting them back, and frankly, they're forgotten. I'm not saying we shouldn't weed, or my colleagues weed too much. I'm saying let's not throw the baby out with the bath (a coined phrase). Err on the side of keeping.

Gerald F. Ward

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