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Bookless libraries of the future?


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#16 dirac

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 01:59 PM

Regarding the notion that libraries can be trusted to hold on to rare and valuable volumes. I was recently browsing online for a hard-to-locate book. Its available for about a hundred dollars. Ex-library copy. That bookseller probably picked it up for a few dollars, maybe less, at some library sell-off. I did some more looking, and found many similar items.

#17 Helene

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:25 PM

Regarding the notion that libraries can be trusted to hold on to rare and valuable volumes.  I was recently browsing online for a hard-to-locate book.  Its available for about a hundred dollars.  Ex-library copy.  That bookseller probably picked it up for a few dollars, maybe less, at some library sell-off.  I did some more looking, and found many similar items.

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Most of the out-of-print books that I've bought from Alibris.com are ex-library copies.

#18 dirac

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 02:53 PM

I didn't mean to suggest that I'd never seen the term "Ex-library copy" before, only that I was struck to see it by a number of quite rare books.

#19 bart

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 03:12 PM

I love the euphemism "de-accessioning."

#20 Anthony_NYC

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 03:35 PM

Not every library can, or should, keep every old book they have. The great university libraries, Library of Congress, New York Public, etc., are charged with preserving rare books, and they try to coordinate amongst themselves to cover as many subject areas as possible. Most other libraries don't have the facilities or the money--or the demand--to keep everything. The great thing about the Internet is that the books that get sold off, rare or not, can now find their way so easily into the hands of the people who want them rather than simply getting tossed into the trash.

#21 Estelle

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 04:30 PM

That discussion reminded me of the most depressing library I ever entered: the library of my high school (where I studied, not the one I teach in now). Theft was alas a common problem, even for books which didn't exactly look easy to steal- for example a volume of the Encyclopedia Universalis was missing. Their literature collection was quite awfully empty, and one of the librarians even told me that at least, since they had so few interesting books, there would be a smaller chance for them to be stolen :flowers: I remember a friend who was quite depressed when realizing that the copy from "Henry V" that she had borrowed still had most of its pages uncut, and it had been printed around 1947. They had a grand total of two books about dance (that was the period when I started being interested in ballet), dating from something like 1956 and 1964 (that was in the early 1990s). And one day a friend and I found that they had a collection of books of Victor Hugo printed in 1882 (so it was before Hugo's death in 1885) and several other books dating from the mid and late 1800s (well, that's not so rare, but we were impressed), and they were all dusty on a forgotten shelf... I'm not blaming the librarians (I suspect it must have been a really un-rewarding job, and with a small budget) but really it was a depressing place (even the library of my junior high school was much better).


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