Posts Tagged ‘books’


Book waiting to be discarded

While most people hate to think that libraries throw away books, with the limited shelf space that libraries have, weeding and discarding books are an unavoidable task. Recycling and donating are great, but what if your library has limited funds and you can’t get to a drop-off point?

We were looking into Books Through Bars, which donates certain books to prison libraries, but between their restrictions and the fact that we’d have to bring all the books ourselves to Brooklyn, this wasn’t feasible.

Now we’re checking out Better World Books, a for-profit organization that pays for all shipping costs, and has a good history of both recycling and donating books to a series of non-profits. As a student, I bought very high quality discarded library copies from Better World Books at reasonable prices. The student sustainability committee here has teamed up with BWB for the end of the semester, providing book drop-off boxes for students who don’t want to lug their books home.

While I have my qualms about teaming up with a for-profit organization, it might be nice to get some money back for the books we can’t keep. At the same time, many of our books are in too poor a condition to be donated to BWB. So what else is there? I wish I could go to Radical Reference’s event on Discards and De-accession on Monday, but I’m busy.


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Congratulations to me, I’ve finished my coursework at Drexel and now have my MLIS! This past quarter was particularly difficult, since I was moving and starting a new job while still taking three classes online.

Since it’s Spring Break for the College but the library stays open, I’m using this quiet time to work on weeding and mending books! I came across this little gem just now: Child of Pleasure by “D’Annunzio.”

"Child of Pleasure" by D'Annunzio

Trying to figure out if we should bind, fix, discard, or reorder this, I open it at random to see what it’s about and find this gem of a page:

The carriage was standing at the foot of the great stairway; a footman held open the door. ‘To Madame Van Hueffel’s,” said the duchess to him, while Andrea helped her in. The man left the door and returned to his seat beside the coachman. The horses stamped, striking out sparks from the stones.

“Take care!” cried Elena, holding out her hand to the young man. Her eyes and her diamonds flashed through the gloom. “Oh, to be in there with her in the shadow -to press my lips to her satin neck under the perfumed fur of her mantle!”

He kissed her hand – pressing his lips to it as if to leave the mark of his burning passion. He closed the door and the carriage rolled rapidly away under the porch, and out to the Forum. And thus ended Andrea Sperelli’s first meeting with the Duchess of Scerni.

….what IS this book??

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Good-Book Hiatus

Sorry about the quiet! I’ve been caught up in a series of good books. I received Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series and was glued to that until I found a copy of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, which I’ve been reading voraciously for the past two days (it takes a lot to tear me away from Jasper Fforde). Cory is a journalist, science fiction author, and contributer to the blog Boing Boing, and also referenced on the webcomic XKCD. He was one of the first people to publish a novel under a Creative Commons license (Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom), and he very kindly published Little Brother under the same license.

What does this mean, you ask? Well, this means you can download the book for free, and distribute it for free, and create derivative works for free as long as you don’t capitalize on them. So, head on over to Cory Doctorow’s website Craphound and download the book, or go to your local library and snag a copy, or go ahead and actually buy it, because it’s a pretty awesome book.

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For my class “Professional And Social Aspects Of Information Services,” the one required textbook is Complete Copright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians, edited by Carrie Russell, published in 2004 by the ALA. When I went to Borders to pick up the book, I was a little surprised by the pastel green spiral binding, and the picture of the sassy librarian on the front, but these were the least of my surprises from this book…


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Also in my research, I’ve come across some unrelated, fantastic works that really deserve a mention on their own:

There might be a part two to this with some more content later!

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Cut up missal in evening – hard work,” – Ruskin in his diary, 1854

I’ve been doing a lot of research, both for work and fun, on the destruction of manuscripts, mostly during the Victorian era, for collages. Most of the articles and books I’m finding on the subject are interesting and well-written, and I thought I’d share some of them with you:

  • Medieval Alphabet Soup: Reconstruction of a Mosan Psalter-Hours in Philadelphia and Oxford and the Cult of St. Catherine, by Judith Oliver, from Gesta, Vol. 24, No. 2, (1985), pp. 129-140. This article is particularly interesting, since it tackles the problem of how to reconstruct a manuscript that’s been so destroyed.
  • Disbound and Dispersed: The Leaf Book Considered, by Christopher de Hamel and Joel Silver, particularly the essay “A Legal and Ethical Look at the Making of Leaf Books” by Michael Thompson.
  • Connoisseurs and Medieval Miniatures 1750-1850, by A.N.L Munby. A good source about the people who collect these things.
  • Books, Collectors and Libraries: Studies in the Medieval Heritage, by N.R. Ker. Not necessarily about this particular issue, but good background to the field. Talks about how unwanted manuscripts were turned into wrappers for other books.
  • Cutting Up Manuscripts for Pleasure and Profit, by Christopher de Hamel. At one time a lecture, now a fairly short (25 pages) book that reads very well and gives a good, modern account of this dastardly practice.
  • John Ruskin the Collector, by James Dearden, from The Library, 5th Ser., XXI (1966), 125.
  • Enemies of Books, by William Blades. Really, really fantastic book about those who destroy books from 1881- one of the enemies is “ignorance.” In the “other vermin” section, the list of vermin includes “the black-beetle, the Croton bug, lepisma, codfish, rats, mice, and the Westminster Abbey Library.” Even better, it’s available for free online!

If you know of any other good books on the subject, feel free to post them in the comments!

(Note: I added one more title, which just arrived for me via ILL. De Hamel is quickly becoming a favorite of mine)

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