Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 month ago

How do libraries decide when to retire a title? Where do they go?

Obviously, they can't keep every book they've ever had since they have to get some newer stuff in every once in a while. How do they decide what titles to replace/retire, and what do they do with those books after?

10 Answers

  • D1218
    Lv 5
    4 weeks ago

    If it's maybe not worth having.

  • 1 month ago

    They usually see what hasn't been checked out for a long time. They have a library sale.

  • Daisy
    Lv 6
    1 month ago

    I work in a library.  During the pandemic when most of the libraries were closed to the public, our library decided to work on some long-neglected projects.  One of those projects was 'weeding' old books from the collection.

    We use several criteria to  'weed' or discard books from our collection:

    1.  The book is visibly worn and used.  The cover is torn, the pages are yellow and bent.   No one wants to check out an old soiled book.

    2.  The book subject is outdated- this is particularly important for legal resources (laws change) and medical resources- we got rid of books that were published in the 1980s that said it was o.k. to give young children aspirin to reduce fever.   This remedy has long been discouraged as it leads to other health issues.

    3. We also discard books that have been sitting on our shelves and have not been checked-out in 5 years or more.   This frees up shelf space for newer books on more popular topics. 

    Once the books are removed from the collection, they are sent to our Friends of the Library Room.   The Friends have book sales where they sell these books (minus the old legal and medical books) to the public at low, low discounts.   The monies earned from these sales go back to the library for programs, equipment, etc.

    We also pack up books for local charity groups- just to pass out for people to read.

    There are those who just want to read book or listen to old music CDs, etc and may not come to the library on a regular basis.   This practice also keeps the books out of landfills.   No one wants to throw away perfectly good books.

    I hope this helps.   

  • 1 month ago

    They look at how often the book is taken out.  Once they pull a book they usually sell it at their book sale. 

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  • 1 month ago

    A friend of mine had an odd experience once. He borrowed a book from a university library that turned out to be from the 1700s. He advised the librarian and the book went from circulation to the special collection. 

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Books that don't circulate don't get shelf space.  I work at a library, and our metric is that books that haven't been checked out in over a year get discarded.  In our case we sell them to Better World Books.  The profits are used to buy new books.

  • drip
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    They look at how popular the book is.  When and how often it is checked out. And what condition the book is in. 

    Our public library has two branches. They have a huge book sale twice a year.  The use the books donated to them and books they retired.  All money goes back to the library.

  • 1 month ago

    They retire books that aren't taken out much, which have been replaced with more recent editions, or have become too worn or damaged. My local libraries have always had a shelf or table for books they no longer want and which you can buy for a dollar or less.

  • 1 month ago

    The libraries and librarians don't decide......... the readers do. When the reader vandalism reaches a certain point - when all the blank pages have "TAKE THIS BOOK DOWN NOW!" and "GET RID OF THIS IT'S RUBBISH!" written on them, then - and only then - do the librarians spring into action and remove them from the shelves. Later, they tear out the pages and lay them out in the staff bathrooms for.... well.... you know. Hope this, etc.

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Well, obviously, age and circulation figures will be considered. A book that hasn't been checked out in eons and clearly isn't of wide general interest won't be kept.  

    Most libraries hold book sales and sometimes have a regular second-hand book sale shelf or two. All of the libraries with which I've been associated do so. I've filled my own library from them.  You can find some real treasures on those shelves and at those sales.

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