We have a series of entries, from several faculty members in several departments, on the faculty feedback form for our weeding project that just say “Please do not remove from the collection. These are classic works [in my field].”
The ruthless inner collection manager in me wants to say “I don’t care.”
Fortunately for everyone, my ruthless inner collection manager is not actively in charge of this project. Instead, the librarians doing the work are putting them onto the Keep And Discuss Later list, and odds are that we’ll keep them because of the expressed faculty interest.
The question I find far more interesting than “should we keep it or should we discard it”, though, is how to compellingly present my argument about our collections, the idea that relevance and utility to today’s curriculum as demonstrated by active teaching strategies and student assignments is more important than the “classic” status of an unused work, to our faculty. I have made the argument several times, in several venues, in writing, in our newsletter, by blast email, in person, one on one, to groups, at the Senate, by proxy as librarians work with faculty… but still the message is not as valued as I would hope. The older model of “libraries have good books, and that’s a good book, so we must have it” continues to prevail in the minds of many over the newer “libraries have good books that are needed and used by users”. So I think I’m failing to communicate that as effectively as I could.
Of course, I also continue to acknowledge that you can’t win ‘em all. Some of my colleagues will never agree with me, never believe in that argument, will never relinquish their conceptual ideal of The Library as a repository for knowledge. And that’s okay, too. It’s a great ideal.
I just wonder how many more people I might be able to communicate with more effectively if I could just figure out how.