Comments: 23
Michelle's corner 1 year ago
If library staff are willing to go to this sort of extent, then they must have had a reason that's worth listening to and acting on. There may be a justification for a deep-store... takes longer to get the book, but at least it isn't lost forever.
Rane Aria 1 year ago
I don't see the problem, but the trouble I do see is when a book just sit there for awhile and has to be tossed pretty much into the trash because no one has picked it for awhile. I think that's why digtal and library sharing is so imporant.
Oh god. This fucking thing. I'm seeing it more often than Library Cake (like several threads opened about it a day in ALA ThinkTank this whole week).

So at the center of the issue is problematic policies for weeding. Weeding HAS to happen in collections, space is very finite. If there are books that need to stay in regardless of low circ, then that needs to be accounted for someway. If their system for weeding is solely based on circ stats and anything below a threshold is discarded, then there's an issue because that is a HORRIBLE universal metric for weeding (there are various reasons for books to be held on to if they have low circs).

If two staff members go and do this completely on their own without involvement of the Director to force items to fit personal preference over policy and attempted objective collection management, then there's an issue.

Darth Pony 1 year ago
As a reader I have no problem with it, as all libraries everywhere should KEEP ALL THE BOOKS!!! But I do see a problem if the librarians did this while they were on the clock. The county could rightly take issue with employees making up a fake person and checking out books while they were clocked in on the county's dime. There might also be some sort of fraud issues at hand. I don't know about Lake County, but at every library in every city I've lived in I've had to provide photo ID and proof of residence to get a library card. In Chuck's case there would have to have been some ID verification chicanery involved. I applaud their motives, but I think they should've found a living, breathing person with a legit library card willing to help.

Edit to add: After reading LA's comment (which didn't show up for me before) I'm now sort of gobsmacked that the librarians would think this was okay on any level. Thanks for the insight, LA!
I've had days of librarians arguing both sides of this in my FB feed. SO. MUCH. ARGUING. Hence my "this fucking thing" statement.

Almost every library I've ever worked at has dummy accounts for some reason. For a book club, for repair (if the ILS doesn't have a repair status), for display (if ILS doesn't have a display status), for lending out to a school library or class room that doesn't have resources, for testing databases or other electronic resources, etc.

If the argument is "check it out to a real person" - everyone who works there likely has their own card... but if they're just being checked out to raise circ stats that STILL runs into the same issues of false circ stats and cycles back to the dual issues of "problematic weeding policies" and whether they did this on their own or with official direction.
Darth Pony 1 year ago
I'm enough of an OCD pedant that, now that I know what kind of system manipulation they were engaging in, I'm more than a little disgusted. And thanks for teaching us a little re: weeding policies. Despite my many, many hours spent in libraries, I'm almost completely ignorant of collection curation processes.
I love books too much to see then discarded, so I don't see a problem I mean, it's a library. They didn't rob anyone.
Weeding is what allows us to free up shelf space after those 10 copies of 50 Shades of Grey stop circulating.

And as I went into above, we have to weed b/c we have finite space, otherwise we run out of room for new content.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
Nope, sorry. I think the only thing they did wrong was use a fake account. I would hope one or the other of them would have a couple of friends with library cards who'd be wiling to check books out based on these librarians' recommendations. That's the route I'd have taken, frankly, if I was one of the librarians in question. ("MT, go get a library card and check out these books. Just do it.")

I totally get and understand the need for weeding policies - sadly I have to implement them far too frequently in my own home library - I can't even imagine how constant a battle space is for a public library. BUT there are books - books that most people would agree are classics - that pulse in and out of fashion (Steinbeck) and shouldn't be discarded solely based on circ. statistics (if, indeed, that's the case).

It would be interesting to know what the impetus was for these two to do this. Perhaps they did approach administration to discuss the flaws in their weeding policies, were rebuffed and then took matters into their own hands. I can't work up a lot of indignation over this though; hell, I can't work up any indignation at all. I'll take the side of a librarian over statistics and algorithms any day. :)
From the titles listed it reads to me like it's a library with a seriously flawed weeding policy (or enforcement of said weeding policy). No idea who's to blame, but as someone who's currently working in a library with serious space issues so we have to weed regularly (that or stop getting new books...) we never weed just based on circ stats alone... but I know that's not unheard of in some places.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
The titles were what got my attention too; plus, it seems to me that these librarians are making their own jobs harder by going through all of this to keep the books in place (as they, presumably, are the ones that fight the shelf-space battle daily); I'm inclined to think they wouldn't make their own jobs harder unless they felt a compelling reason for doing so.
It's a shame what's happening to libraries here... there are almost no books anymore. Everything is going digital now. Which I get for wanting to keep up with the times but many of us prefer that there still be books in a library.
I'm sorry that where you are that's happening. I know in the areas I am we fit as many books as we can on the shelves, but we're limited by physical space.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
Yeah, I think this would inspire me as nothing else would, to show up at my local government's public meetings and raise hell. Digital offers excellent advantages for a lot of people and institutions, but it should compliment the print collection, not replace it. *Sigh* I'm so tired of all-or-nothing idiots. What happened to balance?
I also do have to bring up the fact that one of the issues here is fraud, and not b/c they made a fake person, but because the ~4% increase in circ related to that specific card is involved in reporting on local, system, state, and federal levels and may tie into funding.

Looks like original article is here:

And right from the text:
"That's because nine city-run libraries that are part of the Lake County library system and receive a percentage of their funding based on circulation levels."

From the rest of the text it sounds like there's little coordination or tracking of possible 'core' items within the building and between the shared resources of the library system (one of the things looked at when weeding up here usually is if lots of libraries have it or not).
(though yes, people are making noise that the fake account itself is a "fake public record" I think that's more of a stink to make noise against the library in this case)
Murder by Death 1 year ago
I agree - the fake account is just a noise maker. Reading the article, I also think the recommended termination is an over-reaction; as the article states, there was no financial gain for this; the county money doesn't go to the branch libraries.

An interesting statistic for counties like these would be how many times a book has been weeded out based solely or primarily on circulation, only to have to be re-purchased at a later date? How much money gets wasted there?

Also, that sentence you quoted isn't a sentence at all; it's two fragments connected by an 'and' - which has nothing to do with this at all, but newspapers with crap editors drive me crazy. :P
Well, in response to the editing, yeah it's awkward as all hell, but I try to pull from as close to the source as I can...

I know some libraries create special collection categories for things that are retained regardless of circs, like "Classics," "Summer Reading," etc. Other libraries just focus on awareness of what the actual titles we need to hold on to are.

Also, that library system needs to work on it's data anonymization... and I really hope there was a warrant involved before they released the "patron information" to local government and public newspaper.
Murder by Death 1 year ago
Sorry - I wasn't bagging your for that sentence and I hope it didn't sound like I was. I'm just constantly amazed at what gets printed in newspapers anymore. **rolling eyes**
Nah, didn't come across as bagging me for that sentence. I was agreeing that it was problematic.
I think that there should be ways around this: if it's not taken out in a while, can't librarians argue that it's an important work? And if not, someone mentioned weeding. It's like B&N. I want to keep ALL THE BOOKS in the store, but given how many new books come in, it's purely a space issue.

There's no way we can keep even one copy of every book currently available. (Nor would we want to; we'd only have room for one copy of every book and we sell more than one copy a day of many, many books.)

I think that these two librarians tried to get sneaky and work around the system. I may not like that the system of weeding out books that aren't popular is needed, but it is. Just like library sales: they sell so many books because, I assume, they get far more than they can keep in the library. (And also for the little amounts of money they can make off them.)

Libraries, bookstores, and all stores have certain policies about sending things back in place because they need an unbiased way of weeding through the things that don't sell - or in this case move. I'm assuming the librarians didn't do it under their names because they didn't want to be seen influencing the system, in which case they knew this was wrong according to their place of work. In which case, yes, I think they did something wrong. Or perhaps they knew that librarian take-outs wouldn't count - or count as much - in which case they're still trying to get around the rules.

Love books, hate these rules, but their in place for a reason. I want my library to keep books that are in demand, because the more that circulates, the more likely they are to get funding, and stay in business - because they're doing business. If it comes to the choice of keeping a book that flies out or one that doesn't, I'll keep the one that gets taken out. And keep in mind, the library has a limited amount of certain resources - including space. No matter how much we want that library to be Tardis-esque, it's not larger on the inside. It doesn't have an unlimited amounts of room.

Some books are eventually going to have to go. Or if they keep all the books currently on shelf, they may not be able to get new books in. I'd like them to get new books, y'all.
Linda Hilton 1 year ago
I recently purchased three DVDs containing PDF facsimiles of very, very old texts. Print facsimiles or even printed text versions (a la Gutenberg), would occupy an entire bookcase. I have the first 105 years of National Geographic in a box the size of a G R R Martin paperback. There are 5200 books in my Kindle collection. I see no reason for libraries to keep books that no one is reading -- as long as there are checks for in-house reading -- especially if there are digital back-ups and even more so if keeping books no one reads prevents the library from acquiring new/other books that people will read.
RedT Reads Randomly 1 year ago
Hey everone! Thanks for weighing in. I always like to see more than one point of view.