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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

What, will these hands ne'er be clean?

Our library is soon to be getting a new and much-needed lift, to make room for which we are undertaking a large collection management exercise (aka "weeding", though I personally prefer the "pruning" metaphor - getting rid of both deadwood and of nice enough shoots in order to make the collection as a whole bear more fruit) in part of our collection.

While studying for my MLIS, in a temporary fit of determination to actually study, I came up with a mnemonic for twelve ways pruning could benefit a collection. I can't remember it anymore, but I'm still a great fan of the process, so this post title doesn't refer to any kind of guilt, but rather much more prosaically to the fact that, while we're working our way through this, for approximately 7.5 hours of each day my hands are grey with decades-old dust.

My favourite candidate for deaccessioning so far is Objections to removal of Fendalton shops: shops proposal in doubt (this link may not work for very long...). It was a slim A5-sized thing, the kind of quarter-flushing-type work our bindery used to do decades ago. I opened it up to find the barcode and discovered it wasn't a bound report; it was a pocket. A pocket containing two newspaper clippings. From 1966.

It's now being recycled. The relatively nice books (duplicates and such) we put out for students to browse through, but the really ridiculously thick-with-dust what-were-we-thinking? ones we put in the recycling bin; we're green that way. We've also been dismantling plastic ringbinders to extract the cardboard inside for recycling, and tearing apart spiral-bound reports to recycle the paper and throw out the wire/plastic. Today (possibly a little bored by now of wielding the "cancelled" stamp) I used some spiral-binding wire to make a bracelet for my sister (Merry Christmas!); and my colleague, inspired by the artistic possibilities in the length of wire I tore from another ancient report, made the sculpture you see above, which she's kindly allowed me to name "Lampshade".