Saturday, 22 February 2014

The shortened shelf life

Weeding.  I find weeding to be quite difficult although I think I can say I am quite good at it.  My mentor, Carol, told me that students shouldn't have to search for the good books amongst all the books that should have been weeded long ago.  I live by that advice but I still find it hard to pick a book off a shelf and deem it no longer worthy for my library.

I especially find it difficult to weed books that I have a personal connection to. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a prime example.  I enjoyed that book but it is old (wait, is it so old that it is now a classic?) and it really takes a certain special reader who will enjoy it.  I've weeded it twice only to discover a quirky student who would have really appreciated Douglas Adams' humor.  Currently, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (copy #3) is still on the shelf. (Side note here: our Harry Potter book club just picked The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for our next read.  Our book club kids rock.)  The same debate goes on in my head over the Robert Jordan books, Sue Townsend's book, and Guy Gavriel Kay's books as I weigh my personal connection against the student use.

I am noticing though, and maybe it is just my library, that books have a shorter shelf life than they did when I was starting out.  Divergent series and Hunger Games series aside, what was popular last year is not popular this year.  Indeed, I would go a step further and say that they are not circulating at all.  Why is this?  Are students simply moving away from the dystopian genre? Is YA literature just so good that what's the point of reading something that's is so last year when there is a new book with an uncracked spine waiting to be read?

No matter what the reason, I know that the fiction is due for another weed this week.

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