Weeding. Just like in the garden, it has to be done regularly, or the job gets out of hand. The good plants have no room to shine when the weeds are choking them out and taking up the shelves. In preparation for moving to a new building, we are weeding the shelves. Our Bookmobile collection, formerly as big as we wanted it to be, will soon have less space, and so we weed. We have been working on this for years, as the services change, and as requests from schools lessened. The collection has gone from a large overblown wild English garden to a smaller, tidier backyard cultivar. This makes weeding a little harder now, keeping only those books that are earning their spot on the shelf.
As I toss the books into the compost bin of discards, of course I find old favourites. We sell these books at book sales, so the Paul Galdones are going home with me. The sweet little editions of Randolph Caldecott’s stories are in my take-home pile. However hard it is to remove them from the collection, it must be done.
My time in the stacks becomes a lesson in mindfulness, a study in attention. I have to make careful decisions, keeping some of the award winners and diverse titles even though they may not circulate as often as I wish they would. As I spend time with these books, my mind wanders. How do I get these books into the hands of readers? How do I discard an old favourite that is in good condition? I wrote a blog post to feature some of the books. I will create displays with others. I am sending some out to our branches. One last chance for these books to make friends with a reader. How do you get the older titles out the door? Ideas in the comments most welcomed!