Not quite burning books…

Reading this week’s copy of Private Eye I came across a small piece in connection with libraries. Wakefield in West Yorkshire is planning a new city centre library and the inevitable restructuring of branches.

It alleges that Balne Library held a book sale where one avid reader got their hands on 19th century leather bound copies of Boy’s Own and was told any leftover books would be skipped.

Wakefield Council management claimed these books were not of interest to book dealers or the public.

A retired cataloguer is attempting to index the library’s collection. The librarian has found a major collection of bibliographies, Victorian and Edwardian children’s annuals and claims to have unearthed a rare copy of Diderot’s Encyclopedie from the late 1700s.

Does anyone else have experience of the disregard of our professional expertise in favour of chucking it all out at the behest of management?

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3 Responses

  1. I don’t have any direct experience of this myself but I did recently speak to an archivist who told me that the management in his organisation viewed the proposed digitisation of documents/texts and the making available of documents on-line as a handy way to get rid of old or under-used items.

    Which I thought was quite alarming. And so, obviously, did he!

  2. Perhaps if you hear of any more libraries ready to junk their collections you could point them in the direction of Better World Books (www.betterworldbooks.co.uk).

    We are a book redistribution and recycling business that aims to keep all books out of landfill. We first try to sell them online in support of literacy charities, next we offer them to the literacy charities for use in their work and finally, as a last resort, we recycle them.

    Please feel free to spread the word. We’re already working successfully with libraries up and down the country.

  3. As a collector of older children’s books and especially Victorian and Edwardian annuals this item made my blood run cold…

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