One of the truly sad, unbearable, nitty gritty parts of being a librarian is that you have to weed on a regular basis. When librarians say “weed” we mean throwing books away.
AWK! What did she say?
It’s true. Librarians throw books away. Some of us do it better than others. My colleague, who is a fabulous jewel at the heart of our library, is a vicious weeder. She unpacks the boxes of new books and does a lot of the purchasing, so she knows full well that we have a very generous budget for new books and we have a physically limited amount of shelf space. We can only hold so many books. This is an undisputable fact of life.
So some of the older, less circulated, less attractive, less child-desired books have to go.
I am not a good weeder. I tend to rescue as many as I can. I haven’t been a librarian long enough to be a good weeder. I drag a book cart full of the ones I just can’t bear to see go away into the teacher’s lounge and beg teachers to take them into their classrooms. I look for places to give them away. But bottom line, some of these books are out of date and even just plain inaccurate. Pluto was the eighth planet when Buster was in third grade, but it was the ninth when I was in third grade.
So yesterday I had to drag a huge dolly full of boxes of books out to the dumpster and throw them in. Heartbreaking but also somehow oddly liberating, the way scratching poison ivy makes you feel good.
One book I did rescue in intense, passionate, scandalous revolt and keep for my own overflowing bookshelves. It is Wendell Berry’s Collected Poems 1957 – 1982.
How dare she delete Wendell Berry?
Oh. My. Stars.
Berry is a farmer and poet. Here is my favorite one from this volume.
The hand is risen from the earth,
the sap risen, leaf come back to branch,
bird to nest crotch. Beans lift
their heads up in the row. The known
returns to be known again. Going
and coming back, it forms its curves,
a nerved ghostly anatomy in the air.
friday poetry blogging