Monday, November 8, 2010

My New Hero's Fate

Stanley J. Slote literally wrote the book on weeding.  Most recently updated in 1997, Weeding Library Collections remains a fascinating read. In his view, regular weeding was an integral part of good collection management practice, even at a time when circulation rates were higher than now and when digital surrogates were rare.

He has become a hero to me because he makes the case for weeding so clearly: 
  1. To save or recover space
  2. To increase book usage
  3. To increase reader satisfaction
  4. To save staff time
  5. To make room for new technologies

Since my own copy of the 4th edition of his book was obtained from ABE as a library discard, I was curious as to how well Stanley remained represented in both the print and digital worlds. It is mystifying indeed why such a book would circulate so little as to meet the very fate is prescribes. Clearly vandals and visigoths walk among us. But given that the deed has been done, how difficult would it be for a library to replace this life-changing content? And how much would it cost?

Google Books: has full text of the 4th edition with limited previews, options to "find it in a library" and to purchase directly from the publisher and from several online booksellers.

Hathi Trust has full text for the first 3 editions, with limited preview, and options to "find it in a library."

WorldCat: shows that 2,150 libraries worldwide hold print copies; 8 of those are within 50 miles of me, plus it offers three places to buy a copy:

-- Amazon for $62.40
--Barnes & Noble for $62.40
--Better World Books for $3.98

Open Library has records for all 4 editions (though the cover shown for the 4th ed. is inexplicably that of a different book) and offers the option to borrow (via a WorldCat link) or buy from an online bookseller.

From which I can only conclude that my hero is immortal, and his message duly confirmed as timeless.

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