Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Virginia library system weeds out the Classics

The Washington Post for Tuesday, January 2, carried a story about a sobering trend among Washington area libraries. According to the Post, thousands of fiction and non-fiction works, many classics among them, are being removed from library shelves.

The Post says that The Works of Aristotle, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway are among the books in danger of being removed from the Fairfax (Virginia) County Public Library system.

Why? The system’s five most checked-out books in December: The Innocent Man by John Grisham, The Collectors by David Baldacci, Cross by James Patterson, Wild Fire by Nelson DeMille and Lisey’s Story by Stephen King.

“Public libraries have always weeded out old or unpopular books to make way for newer titles. But the region’s largest library system is taking turnover to a new level,” writes reporter Lisa Rein.

“Like Borders and Barnes & Noble, Fairfax is responding aggressively to market preferences, calculating the system’s return on its investment by each foot of space on the library bookshelves – and figuring out which products will generate the biggest buzz.”

The Post quotes Sam Clay, director of the 21-branch library system, as saying, “We’re being very ruthless. A book is not forever.”

The entire story can be read here: .

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