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damaged books

Paperback Retirement

damaged cover of goosebumps

Escape from the Carnival of Horrors

This book was given to us by a Page with the note slapped on the cover. You can see the back cover also suffered some stress as well. This particular paperback had nearly 100 checkouts when it was retired. Given the condition, I am going to guess that was maybe 50 circs too many. Damaged books are easy weeders and can improve the look of a collection without too much trauma on those folks who maybe like to hang on to stuff a bit too long. It is also a good strategy if a library hasn’t been weeded in a while. In a way, we should be proud when books like this have served the public well. I am quite sure that this book was pretty much loved to death.



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RIP Anne Frank

ripped cover of diary of anne frank

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
This edition: 1993

Here’s a good example of a book that every public library should have, regardless of its copyright date.  There is no question as to its usefulness to patrons.  When you find an item like this on your shelves, though, it needs to be replaced.  It is quite literally falling apart.  The pictures here only show the front and back cover, but the pages were stained and brown and falling out too.  I’m embarrassed to admit that this example is from my very own, beloved library.   That’s right, folks, we’ve got skeletons in our closet too.  We weed regularly, and we lay hands on our items through physical inventory regularly, too.

I chose this book for today’s post because it slipped through the weeding and inventory cracks because it has been constantly checked out.  It came back in and went right back out, so the only time it came into contact with staff at all would be at the check-out and check-in desks.

So here’s the thought for today: have we empowered our non-professional, part-time staff at the check-out desk to weed items in this kind of condition?  Are they aware that they should at least bring items like this to a collection manager’s attention? I got my hands on this little gem because a 10-hour-per-week Circulation Clerk brought it to me and said, “Don’t we have more copies of this? Can we retire this one?”  Thank God, because it actually had a hold on it that we moved to another copy.  It would have gone out yet again.

When a patron puts a hold on a classic like The Diary of Anne Frank, and they end up being given THIS, what do they think of the library?


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