Friday, November 15, 2013

Weeding, Echidnas and Gravity

If you're like me, you've probably thought of a library as a place where books find a home pretty much permanently. (I know my college library, back in the '80s, had tons of books that were a good 30 years old or more.) But ideally, that isn't the case at all. Librarians regularly weed their collections, removing outdated books or volumes that don't get checked out. Studies have shown that a well-weeded collection actually gets used more robustly than one that is permitted to simply accrete material over time.

We're involved in weeding at work. Yesterday one of the librarians pulled a bunch of metaphorically dusty books from the shelves and we all looked through them, deciding whether we should keep any of them. One slim volume was all about the Australian echidna -- a spiny anteating critter. The librarian was uncertain whether to dispose of this book, even though it had not been checked out since 1994, because it is our only book about the echidna.

So we got to looking through it, wondering whether we really even need a book specifically about a spiny anteater from the other side of the planet. We were laughing at some of the pictures. (Echidnas can be remarkably cute for something so spiny.)

It struck me that this is what's cool about working in a library. Where else could I get paid for reading about echidnas?

(We kept the book.)

Last night, Dave and I went with some people from work to see "Gravity," with Sandra Bullock. It was excellent. The special effects were amazing, and the time passed so quickly -- the movie is virtually all action, in the here-and-now, burdened with very little exposition or backstory. I was a bit reluctant to see it because being in outer space is my idea of a nightmare, but I'm glad I went. (We even saw it in 3-D, which I almost never pay extra to do, and that made a difference, I think.)

(Photos: An old Volkswagen Karmann Ghia parked on the street near our flat. My brother or father, both Volkswagen enthusiasts, could probably tell us what year it is.)


Lynne said...

I was wondering what "Echidnas" were! They are cute!

And, how very strange that you went to see Gravity -- we just saw it yesterday too! I was going to write something about it on my blog. It sort of reminded me at times of 2001 Space Odyssey. I think you HAVE to see it in 3D otherwise it would not have the same impact. I have to admit to being slightly off-kilter when she was spinning round and round.

We were at a 3:30 showing and for the very first time in my life, there was no one else in the theater with us--we had it all to ourselves.

I needed a glass of wine afterwards to calm me down! :)

Vivian said...

I went to see the movie a week or so ago, the ending was very disappointing...

Ms. Moon said...

Haven't seen Gravity. Don't know if I will.
I have always wanted a Kharmann Ghia. Always. My husband and I saw one a few months ago parked in front of a restaurant which was beautifully restored. I lusted after it.

The Bug said...

Ooh love the little car! I always think I want a tiny car & then I remember that part of my work commute involves an interstate & I'm pretty sure I want to be in something larger in the midst of all those trucks. Sometimes that rationale even works!

I think it's so cool that you guys all review the books & have input about their fate. You're reviving my early dream of being a librarian...

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm so glad you kept the book!

Weeding through the collection sounds like my kind of activity. As you know I do that periodically at home, often getting rid of lots of things, or if not, rearranging what I do have.

Have I mentioned that I worked at the little college library when I lived at Lake Tahoe? I loved that job. Lately I've been spending a lot of time at the Library of Congress. I LOVE librarians! They're interested in all kinds of things, well versed, well rounded.

I'm so glad you're enjoying your job.

utahDOG! said...

Nice car. Designed by Italians and built by Germans and rusting away in England. What's not to love.