My mom is a bit of a pack rat. She’s not even close to qualifying for Hoarders. In fact, most of my parents’ home is spotless. But pull out a few drawers, nose around on a bookshelf in the study, and you’ll find stacks of month-old professional journals and so many pens they could never all be used in a lifetime. Mom has passed this preservation gene down to me, and I recently discovered my classroom library was in need of a major weeding.
I started my classroom library my first year of teaching. I relied on student donations, scoured second-hand stores, and used my gift cards at Barnes & Noble to build my library. I’ve now amassed around 500 books.
Earlier this summer my friend Heather saw my library and some its disintegrating contents and urged me to weed. (She also recommended the funny blog Awful Library Books.) So a few weeks ago before my eighth year of teaching began, I decided it was time to examine my collection. I knew I had a few books that were falling apart. It was time to let them go.
A handful of students answered my Twitter call for help in this process. I knew it would be easier for my students to get rid of books. In the past, I’ve usually just passed books on to another teacher who could use them, instead of just throwing them away. I gave them some guiding questions in their quest to weed books:
- Is it damaged?
- Is it falling apart?
- Will it ever be read?
They tossed all the discarded books onto a pod of desks. Of the 23 books they weeded for me, I only rescued one: a paperback of The Firm, which only had a crinkly cover, but was otherwise fine.
My library was then ready to receive some new acquisitions from the summer. I’m so glad I weeded my library. Will you weed yours?