September 22, 2010

Library Hoarding

I stole this post idea from Doug Johnson.

I went off on this in a comment on his blog, but I have a couple more minutes of lunchtime to rant.

So I just found a box (yes and entire box) of USB connected DISK DRIVES in one of the library's back rooms.  That's bad enough, but the clerk tells me some were in use as recently as LAST YEAR.

Not anymore they're not.

Some other things I've tossed, surplussed, or otherwise made disappear:

An entire box of cables!  Some of them were still in their original packaging, that don't go to any equipment we have.

Extra overhead projectors.  We have a bunch of document cameras, so some teachers didn't want them anymore.  Can't blame them.

Broken CD players that cost more to fix than replace.

Old promotional bookmarks that have coupons that expired a long time ago.

Magazines going back to before my daughter was born.

And speaking of magazines, a whole set of brittle National Geographics.  No one has even asked about them.  If they do, you can get all of them ever made on CDs for like fifty bucks.

I still have to deal with some digital cameras that are so old, they probably take worse pictures than your phone's camera.  I think I may have even seen some Polaroids back there.  Sheesh!

And I have a little box full of shiny brass keys!  Unlabeled.  Anyone want to take bets on what they're for?


doug0077 said...

Ah, I took over a library that had NEVER been weeded. Cleaning it up served as the inspiration for my first published article:

I feel your pain.


Kathy said...

WELCOME to the county! I am starting my fourth year and I am STILL getting rid of stuff - not to mention that the surplus/discards program in the county right now is a MESS - I have had piles of stuff waiting to be picked up since May of last year. Luckily I have one of the larger elementary media centers, so I have lots of places to hide things. Best way to clean- get new carpet and/or paint like we did last year and have to pack up all that cra - I mean stuff!

Peaceful Reader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peaceful Reader said...

Let me try this again without errors. I have a whole box of Polaroid cameras in my back room-I've been told to "hang on to them..." they used them years ago for a carnival event and "we might need them again!" :)

Jim Randolph said...

Oh, I know those overheads will be gathering dust for a while, but I got them moved to another room. And when I get to surplus a CD player, it usually means it goes bye-bye. So I'm mostly focusing on things I can make go away.

Peaceful Reader,
Um, do they know that you can no longer get the film for those? Might want to clue them in so you can dump 'em!

Eric Carpenter said...

old digital cameras can potentially be rigged into document cameras. If the camera excepts dc or usb power all you need is a stick, some tape and a light source...presto-chango new document camera. Some googling should yield some viable plans.

Ms. Yingling said...

Welcome to my world! I spent TWELVE YEARS cleaning stuff out of my library. I am actually pretty much done, but the district surprised us with LCD projectors for every room, and now I have innumerable televisions, overhead projectors, etc. that will need to go. Sigh. At least you are not alone:

Victoria said...

I can see the reality show now..."Hoarders...The Library Edition".

NatalieSap said...

You are so brave to weed through all that junk, to put it nicely. I have a teacher workroom to pack up before winter break, and I am not looking forward to cleaning and clearing it out first. The dust and the dirt and the outdated technology - yikes!

shannon said...

i know exactly what you're experiencing. i won't even tell how many books i weeded last year, but suffice to say it was a lot. a lot. and i've experienced the same thing with zip drives, boxes of remote controls, wires, and other miscellanies. good for you on cleaning up!

it's not so easy, is it? i don't know how you stand on discarded books, but my take is that they don't need to go in classroom libraries. obviously, teachers would disagree. so i find myself having to be sneaky about weeding. sucks.

Jim Randolph said...


Our district has a process for weeds. We send the boxes to them and they deal with them, so I don't have to deal with sneaking them out.

I've primarily been weeding our most damaged and worn books as I find them. I've probably already weeded 20 boxes.

I haven't had much time to do other weeding, but if I see something radically out of date, it goes in the box. I just found a biography of Saddam Hussein that ended at the FIRST Gulf War.

I did a collection analysis and our average is 1995. With the paltry funds I have to buy new books, it'll be a while before I can improve it, but I have no compunction about getting rid of the old stuff.

At some pint it'll become obvious that we are in desperate need of more new books!

shannon said...

just weeding will help the average age of your collection, but i know what you mean. it'll take a while for you to get a lot of new titles. i haven't bought any books this year and not sure how many i'll be able to buy. budget was cut big time. but i did buy lots last year.

the best weeding story i have is the time i found George Washington Carver, Negro Scientist. i think it was from the 1800s. not really, but a long, long time ago. i also found one called Visit West Germany.

Jim Randolph said...

Visit West Germany? You should have sent that one to the Awful Library books blog!