Monday, January 19


Bryce A. Suderow, DC Watch - I was upset when the head of the DC Libraries "weeded" the collections, removing classics and valuable texts in history and the humanities from the branch I use - the Southeast Branch. The weeding was explained as then-new Library Director Ginny Cooper's "refreshing" of the collections, to bring them up to date. What she did was remove most of the serious books, substitute DVDs, CDs and comic books, and add more computers to branches. In less than a year, she claimed greatly improved circulation statistics at Southeast - and she applied the same plan at all the libraries.

I tried for months to find out what happened to the books from Southeast from Cooper's bureaucrats. I was told various stories - that they were added to the collection at Martin Luther King, Jr., that they would be "always available" - but they would just not take up valuable shelf space at more than one place. Not quite true. Today I learned from librarians that Ms. Cooper sold the books on She didn't bother to remove the stamps and bar codes that identify them as Southeast library books. As a result, conscientious buyers, who bought them for pennies, are returning them to the library, saying there must be a mistake - that these books belong to Southeast Library. Seems as though she just can't get rid of those classics.

DC City Desk - The Fenty administration's contempt for such essential community places as libraries with real books is further exemplified by recent comments by Deputy Mayor Neal Albert who wants the Tenleytown Library stuck in a high rise as though it was just another Starbucks. Said Albert, "a stand-alone library would eliminate any potential cost savings for the library, would make any future development on the site cost prohibitive." In other words, DC is to be one of the few cities in the world in which stand alone libraries are not considered cost effective. If Fenty wants Washington to be world class, a good place to start would by ridding his administration of people like Albert.


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