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Tomb of tomes
December 4, 2007 6:36 PM   Subscribe

An obscure 1911 British law requires a copy of every published book, journal, newspaper, patent, sound recording, magazine etc.. to be permanently archived in at least one of five libraries around the country. The British Library has the most complete collection and is currently adding about 12.5km of new shelf space a year of mostly unheard of and unwanted stuff. A new state-of-the-art warehouse is being constructed with 262 linear kilometers of high-density, fully automated storage in a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment. It is not a library, it is a warehouse for "things that no one wants." BLDG Blog ponders on what it all means.
posted by stbalbach (60 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's okay, books, I want you.
posted by erpava at 6:38 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


So, the Library of Congress?

I'm not sure how "obscure" this law could be if it's still enforced and all this high-tech money is being spent on it: "An obscure American law" requires motorists to remain below a posted speed limit.
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


It sure would be nice if libraries could just scan everything they hold and allow checkouts of digital copies. Artificial scarcity is dumb.
posted by mullingitover at 6:44 PM on December 4, 2007 [3 favorites]


DU - sorry, obscure to most people, details of the law explained in the first link.

mullingitover - digitization problems discussed in the first link.
posted by stbalbach at 6:46 PM on December 4, 2007


DU, the Library of Congress is not a depository library for all US publications.

I really hope that someone at the BL starts a blog where they randomly pick a title every week and give a bit of info on it.

(I think it is weird library buildings 'day' on MeFi)
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 6:48 PM on December 4, 2007


There are five shelves for each of the hexagon's walls; each shelf contains thirty-five books of uniform format; each book is of four hundred and ten pages; each page, of forty lines, each line, of some eighty letters which are black in color. There are also letters on the spine of each book; these letters do not indicate or prefigure what the pages will say. I know that this incoherence at one time seemed mysterious....
posted by peeedro at 6:53 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


"In general, the owner of copyright or the owner of the exclusive right of publication in the work has a legal obligation to deposit in the Copyright Office, within 3 months of publication in the United States, two copies (or in the case of sound recordings, two phonorecords) for the use of the Library of Congress. Failure to make the deposit can result in fines and other penalties but does not affect copyright protection."

-US copyright office

This is going to be a bigger and bigger problem for several libraries until our cities collapse into the subterranean bookworlds we've built to house our precious unwanted knowledge.

And I can't use a digital book without throwing a fit.
posted by prosthezis at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2007


If you ever get a chance to visit a high density library storage facility, take it. I've been to the ones at U. of Texas and Harvard, and they're both breathtaking. Walking down a long aisle where the shelves stretch up as far as you can see (well, if you're a nearsighted librarian like me) you can almost physically feel the weight of history pressing down on you. I couldn't work there, though. The cherry picker they use to retrieve the books sways terrifyingly at full extension.

Also, seconding DU, I don't know why there would be anything "obscure" about copyright deposit. That word rankles me every time I see this article get blogged.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:01 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Also, I love rooms like the main LOC reading room and the BL reading room, and I'm more thank just a little bit excited to be getting a new library this week.
posted by prosthezis at 7:09 PM on December 4, 2007


Mary Beard has a post about the 'popular' Victorian books banished to the tower of the Cambridge UL — they are a goldmine for historians of the 19th century.

The pictures that the BLDG blog has captioned "The British Library Reading Room" are in fact of the British Museum.
posted by matthewr at 7:09 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Horace, well I won't argue the obscurity of library law with a librarian, but I think what the author meant it is not widely known (in England) and/or somewhat antiquated:
In 1911, the notion of the copyright library was born, when Parliament decided that the British Library along with five others in Great Britain and Ireland would be entitled to receive a free copy of every item published. But, while the other five - the Bodleian at Oxford, Cambridge University Library, Trinity College Library in Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales - have a right to claim any book published in the UK, in practice not all are. Cambridge University Library, for example, estimates that only between 70% and 80% of everything published in the UK are deposited there (they can also request anything within one year of publication). By contrast, the British Library must receive a copy of everything published in the UK each year.
posted by stbalbach at 7:18 PM on December 4, 2007


The pictures that the BLDG blog has captioned "The British Library Reading Room" are in fact of the British Museum.

Quite right (you can see the dome through the windows), though it's also the old BL reading room. I've never been in the reading rooms at St. Pancras, which now that I think about it, is sad.
posted by prosthezis at 7:26 PM on December 4, 2007


Actually, I think most people have heard of copyright libraries, though they wouldn't necessarily be able to name all six.
posted by matthewr at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2007


I love how the British use "reckon" in formal and semi-formal writing and speech, when it always sounds so colloquial to my midwestern American ears. "Peter Fox, head librarian at Cambridge University Library, reckons between 60,000 and 100,000 books are published each year..." I'm trying to imagine the press secretary saying something like, "Well, the President reckons..."
posted by not that girl at 7:27 PM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


mmmm library posts, I'm a sucker for these

speaking of books, I just got Peacay's new book Biblioddessy. It is very, very nice. Put one in the tomb of tomes; put one in your own tomb of tomes.
posted by caddis at 7:38 PM on December 4, 2007


I imagine they're using "reckon" in the sense of "count." As in, "reckon the cost of..." or of facing a reckoning, or audit.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 PM on December 4, 2007


I'm trying to imagine the press secretary saying something like, "Well, the President reckons..."

The President himself, on the other hand... I reckon the number of times he's used "reckon" is beyond reckoning.
posted by goatdog at 7:52 PM on December 4, 2007


I get the impression that the author thinks saving all this stuff is a bad idea. I'll admit to being a grade A packrat, but I can't see how trying to save everything is a bad idea. At least, it seems like a better idea than trying to come up with an objective metric for what to keep.

Horace: I'll put finding one of those warehouses on my list of things to do. Or maybe on my list of things to have when I'm rich.
posted by systematic at 7:53 PM on December 4, 2007


If you ever get a chance to visit a high density library storage facility, take it.

The last time I was in England, one of the manuscript curators gave me a tour of the BL stacks *sigh of happiness*

Quite right (you can see the dome through the windows), though it's also the old BL reading room. I've never been in the reading rooms at St. Pancras, which now that I think about it, is sad.

The new reading rooms are nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing, but for anyone who uses a laptop to take notes, they're certainly a heck of a lot more convenient. When I was doing dissertation research at the BL in 1996, there was always a frantic race to get to one of the seats with an electrical outlet.

Speaking as a literary historian, I adore those bizarre books that nobody wants. Odd, I know.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:54 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anyone else read Nicholson Baker's Double Fold? It painted kind of a grim picture of American archival efforts w/r/t newspapers and journals.
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 7:57 PM on December 4, 2007


About "reckon": Michael Chertoff used it and Bush has used it, but so far as I can tell it's only been used those two times (recently).

I agree with you in the way it sounds to midwestern ears, but I do like the word and use it (even in formal writing) whenever it seems appropriate, which in most cases, as ROU_X said is in counting situations or very frequently with regard to distances. I suspect TV and movies have a lot to do with the hillbilly stigma, but that's just a gut reaction.
posted by prosthezis at 7:58 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


It sounds wonderful. What the fuck is wrong with Stuart Jeffries?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:00 PM on December 4, 2007


According to this research project at Berkeley the total number of books in the world is 65 million as of 2000. Let's round it up to 70 million. Assume each book is 2 inches thick (some are more some are less, I know). That makes a grand total of 11.7 million linear feet to store all the books in the world, in or out of print.

Assume a 10ft ceiling accommodates shelving units that are 8 shelves high. That's 1.5 million feet of shelving units.

Airplane hangars built to accommodate the Airbus A380 are roughly 1148 ft x 459 ft x 147 ft. Let's say you get 12 usable floors out of it. If the shelving units are 2ft deep and shelves are placed back to back and are separated by 3ft aisles (i.e. shelf, shelf, aisle, shelf shelf, etc), each "row" comprising a shelving unit, an aisle, and an opposite facing shelving unit is 7 ft wide.

At 7 ft wide that's 164 rows across the face of the hangar, with each row being 459 feet long, for a total of 75,276 ft of rows per floor. Each row includes 2 shelving units, so double that to get 150,552 ft of shelving units.

We assumed 12 floors, for a grand total of 1.8 million linear feet of shelving units, well above the 1.5 million needed (Assuming I calculated everything correctly.

In other words, a single airbus A380 hangar has more than enough room to accommodate every single book every published. The cost to build the hangar (which includes a rail link and other specialty equipment designed for aiplanes) is 150 million euro.

So what the hell is this article complaining about? Space is cheap, both in terms of abundance and price. In the US, we have more empty space than we know what to do with. They are building a tiny warehouse, not a library.

While I think that books in these facilities should be digitized, these physical depositories are essential.

Think of these warehouses as the backups of last resort.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:08 PM on December 4, 2007 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:16 PM on December 4, 2007


MetaFilter: a low-oxygen temperature controlled environment.

Ya, if the temperature control setting is chaotic.
posted by Chuckles at 8:31 PM on December 4, 2007


Pastabagel, the 65 million sounds about right, interesting to imagine (the BL has non-book stuff too, maybe two hangers). Using LibraryThing's self-selection poll of about 300,000 book owners: out of 21 million books, about 2.8 million are unique. I've watched the unique number for a while and it has not risen in proportion as fast as the total number of books. It's a proportionally small number of the total that are read (10:1 in this sample). Everything else is "obscure".
posted by stbalbach at 9:16 PM on December 4, 2007


Thanks for the post. I knew this was true in the UK at one time, but I wasn't aware it was still the case.

I've received letters in the past insisting I send a copy of stuff I've done to the National Library in Ottawa (naughty me, I still haven't)...and it turns out that Canada has had legal deposit since the creation of the National Library in 1953. That's a whole lot of Crad Kilodney.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:45 PM on December 4, 2007


Useless now, but beyond priceless a thousand years from now. Historians would kill to have the ephemeral scribblings of the Greeks and Romans.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:45 PM on December 4, 2007


The Long Tail of Babylon grows longer every day.
posted by loquacious at 10:01 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've received letters in the past insisting I send a copy of stuff I've done to the National Library in Ottawa (naughty me, I still haven't)...and it turns out that Canada has had legal deposit since the creation of the National Library in 1953. That's a whole lot of Crad Kilodney.

I recall there was some court case in Canada where somebody got screwed because they had to submit a copy of a book that cost thousands of dollars each to produce (holographic plates or something) and was produced in low numbers (like a dozen). Them the rules.
posted by bobo123 at 11:13 PM on December 4, 2007


One of my happiest experiences was a tour of the Perne Library at Peterhouse in Cambridge, which holds all the college's older books. There's something quite special about being able to hold a first edition of Copernicus's de Revolutionibus in your hands.
posted by athenian at 11:49 PM on December 4, 2007


Another Perne Library fan! Isn't it great? (I was an undergraduate there).
posted by greycap at 12:13 AM on December 5, 2007


Australia has copyright libraries to- the various state libraries plus one in Canberra and Fisher library at the University of Sydney (ugly building but lovely books).
When I used to catch the train from Kings Cross I would delightedly spend half an hour in the rare manuscripts display - ancient bibles and Domesday books of course, but also hand written lyrics to Beatles songs, scratchy recordings (was one of Charles Darwin?!) and an eclectic selection of historical documents.
I don't understand the snark in the link. Sure, many holdings are rather obscure, but if you *need* a copy of some scholarly reference printed in 1932 you can be sure it is there.
Why not collect material which is judged valuable enough to be published? It is a good standard to say that it is of interest to more than the individual, and what other standard could be reasonably applied?
And really, the resources here are pretty modest, as Pastabagel suggests.
posted by bystander at 12:36 AM on December 5, 2007


Mild derail, and possibly I got this from here in the first place, but here are some amazing libraries.
posted by vbfg at 1:52 AM on December 5, 2007


I won't deny this is interesting, especially to non-Brits. But it's not obscure in any sense of the word. The fact that there are deposit libraries is widely known in Britain. I wouldn't say everyone knows it. But anyone's who's good at pub quizzes and / or reasonably well educated probably does.
posted by rhymer at 2:01 AM on December 5, 2007


Why not collect material which is judged valuable enough to be published?

Two words: Tony Parsons.
posted by rhymer at 2:57 AM on December 5, 2007


I remember a bit of a scandal a few years ago when it came out there were not exactly keeping everything...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:04 AM on December 5, 2007


The British Library is awesome.

Back in the 80s when I was doing fanzines, our little community was rocked by a series of letters from a faceless bureaucrat demanding that all editors should send copies of their work to the BL--multiple copies! for free! Outrage! After all, most of us were running off maybe fifty copies of each issue on the school photocopier. After a little investigation it became clear that the bureaucrat in question did have a face, was in fact very enthusiastic about small-press magazines, and wanted to make sure that the BL had a representative archive of them. And it appears, quite awesomely, that they've not just ended up on a dusty shelf somewhere.
posted by Hogshead at 3:05 AM on December 5, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't think the law is obscure either.
posted by grouse at 3:20 AM on December 5, 2007


This reminds me of a bit in a book I just read (Un Lun Dun by China MiƩville) in which a parallel universe can be reached by climbing up the shelves in any library. I don't doubt that this is probably true.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:22 AM on December 5, 2007


Space is cheap, both in terms of abundance and price. In the US, we have more empty space than we know what to do with. They are building a tiny warehouse, not a library. - patabagel
Actually, there's not that much space in the UK for these huge buildings - The Bod was recently refused permission to build a new 'hangar' due to planning concerns.
posted by dash_slot- at 4:21 AM on December 5, 2007


NolanRyanHatesMatches wrote: Anyone else read Nicholson Baker's Double Fold? It painted kind of a grim picture of American archival efforts w/r/t newspapers and journals.

Exactly. Also, as someone with a publication in the British Library, I'd be much obliged if it stayed there a few years yet! Seeing as they have the only extant copy.
posted by methylsalicylate at 5:30 AM on December 5, 2007


prosthezis, the Copyright Office gets two copies of everything published, but the Library of Congress doesn't keep them all. From the Copyright site:
The Library reserves the right to select or reject any published work for its permanent collections based on the research needs of Congress, the nation's scholars, and of the nation's libraries.
Of the approximately 22,000 items sent to the Library each day, a little less than half are kept.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:24 AM on December 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was once interviewed for a temporary job at the Bodleian. It was stacking telephone directories, I think. Or moving them. Anyway, they kept them in a dusty cellar directly under Broad St.

The chap from the Bodleian was talking through why they had so many books, and said that each of the copyright libraries also stored magazines. "Even porn mags?" I asked. Even porn mags. I ventured that was a, ahem, tough job to catalogue them and was told that between the libraries they take a share each, rather than each library taking every copy of every magazine.

I asked the chap which porn mags they got and which ones they let the filthy plebs at Cambridge look after and he didn't know. I never did get the phone directory stacking job and can't fir the life of me think why.

Oh, and the Bodleian has a whole library (well, large reading room) in the main building that was funded by bequest and intended to be open for general use until they decided that the books in it were too valuable. So a whole reading room languishes, unused. Or maybe that's where Bodleian staff go to read their secret stashes of Razzle and Escort.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:38 AM on December 5, 2007


Of the approximately 22,000 items sent to the Library [of Congress] each day, a little less than half are kept.

yeah I thought this was the case. The UK law really is unusual compared to the US - what does "copyright library" mean exactly? Basically, in the UK *everything* has to be preserved *forever* and can be done so in six different libraries. I'm having a hard time believing that this is *not* an obscure law, but maybe it's just me who wasn't aware of it. It was a good idea in 1911, it's turned into a monster in the 21st century. Not that anyone seems to mind.
posted by stbalbach at 7:42 AM on December 5, 2007


Very interesting stuff, thanks stbalbach!
posted by carter at 7:42 AM on December 5, 2007


My girlfriend once ordered up a copy of Sade in the Bodleian and was made to read it in that posh old bit (the one I think they filmed some Harry Potter movie in, halfway up the stairs to the main reading room - Duke Humfrey's?) with a librarian hovering at her shoulder in order the make sure she did not use it for immoral purposes.
posted by Mocata at 7:46 AM on December 5, 2007


It was a good idea in 1911, it's turned into a monster in the 21st century.

Some of us think it's still a good idea.
posted by grouse at 7:51 AM on December 5, 2007


I agree with you in the way it sounds to midwestern ears, but I do like the word and use it (even in formal writing) whenever it seems appropriate, which in most cases, as ROU_X said is in counting situations or very frequently with regard to distances. I suspect TV and movies have a lot to do with the hillbilly stigma, but that's just a gut reaction.

Derail-riffic question on "reckon" and the hillbilly stigma: since the majority of Appalachian-dwellers are of Scots-Irish origin (a quick Google turned up this interesting page about their use of words), and the use of the word "reckon" is associated with that subgroup, do you think that this is yet another transplanted-to-the-New-World cultural difference? In other words, the WASPy and in many ways related to the English upper class culture of the US is still looking down on the Scots-Irish they once controlled in the Old World?

Also, this post rocks.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:55 AM on December 5, 2007


I've read that the British Library will only take a book if more than fifty copies have been sold, to filter out all the self-published ephemera.

Unfortunately, not only is that material often the most interesting, but this delays the accquisition of specialised reference works that may take years to sell fifty copies.

(This information is taken from an article by David Greetham (1999), who argues that it is precisely the small editions that the BL and others should be preserving, rather than best-sellers distributed widely and redundantly)

Anyone know if this is true?
posted by GeorgeBickham at 8:06 AM on December 5, 2007


The OED says that reckon, in the sense of considering, thinking or supposing something, is usually colloquial, especially in the U.S. (formerly chiefly in southern States). Using 'I reckon' parenthetically or finally, is "formerly in literary Eng. use; still common in Eng. dialects, and current in the southern States of America in place of the northern I guess." I think overall it's less colloquial in Britain, although there will be regional variation.
posted by matthewr at 8:07 AM on December 5, 2007


As far as I know It's not true that they filter out books with less than 50 copies. For example, they request copies of business publications I manage without enquiring about number of [hard] copies sold (always less than 50, but available online to wide audience).

As I understood it, the issue with specialised reference copies was that they were often heinously expensive and sold in such limited quantities that the publisher having to give away 6 copies to libraries impacted on their profitability somewhat.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:38 AM on December 5, 2007


The Old Library at St. John's College, Cambridge is one of my fondest memories of my time there. I went to lectures with the dust of centuries on my fingers.

~Matt

p.s. I've heard that when the UK libraries were deciding who should store which porn mags, the Bodleian demanded the ones with more words for their erudite librarians, leaving Cambridge to take the ones with more pictures.
posted by mdoar at 10:45 AM on December 5, 2007


(greycap - me too, 92-95)
posted by athenian at 12:57 PM on December 5, 2007


There are so many errors and misconceptions in this article, it's difficult to know where to begin. The 'notion of the copyright library' was not 'born' in 1911: in fact it goes back to the Copyright Act of 1710, which required publishers to deposit nine copies of their books in various libraries in England and Scotland. It is also quite misleading to suggest that this is some obscure piece of legislation that has survived by historical accident: in fact the legal deposit principle was confirmed very recently by the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003. (There is, incidentally, no truth whatever in the notion that 'the British Library will only take a book if more than fifty copies have been sold', a myth I have dealt with before. The 2003 Act states quite unambiguously that the BL is entitled to 'a copy of every work published in print'.)

Also from the article: 'The MPs who in 1911 established the legal deposit principle [no they didn't] for the five greatest libraries in the British Isles probably didn't realise the full consequences of their decision.' Actually, if you look at the parliamentary debates on the 1911 Copyright Bill, you find that exactly the same concerns were raised, with various MPs harrumphing about the amount of trashy material being preserved for posterity. Of course, what was regarded as 'trashy' in 1911 would now be regarded as material of great historical interest.

Again: the article gives the impression that the legal deposit principle is an absurd waste of resources (all those books! all that warehouse space!), whereas in fact it is extremely cost-effective. It's far easier, and far more practical, for the BL to demand a copy of everything, regardless of content, rather than having to operate a sort of instant bibliographical triage to determine what is worthwhile and what is not. And it is completely ridiculous to suggest that the BL should digitize its low-use material and then pulp the print copies. The net result of that would be to transform low-use print material into low-use digital material (at a cost of hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money). Given finite resources, any sensible digitization policy will concentrate on high-use rather than low-use material.

Then there is the laboured sarcasm running through the article ('my barmy idea that transferring books and journals into cyberspace would be a cheap and painless solution'; 'Rory McLeod nearly gags on his americano when I suggest he should digitise everything'), all designed to give the impression that the journalist's voice is the voice of good plain commonsense, and that the librarians he talks to are all rather clueless types who haven't faced up to the digital future.

Only once have I ever found my faith in the legal deposit principle shaken, when I was taken into the basement stacks at the BL and shown where the porn magazines are kept. Gazing at the serried ranks of Horny Asian Babes I found myself overwhelmed by a crushing sense of futility. It's hard to believe that preserving this material serves any useful purpose (except possibly to allow the BL book-fetchers an occasional sad solitary wank). But then, that was precisely the reasoning used by the Library's trustees a hundred years ago when they destroyed a large part of the Ashbee collection: they kept the pretentious French erotica (because that was 'art') which is now of no interest to anyone, and discarded the cheap Victorian smut (because that was 'trash') which would now be of great interest to social and cultural historians. The moral of that story is that one never knows what posterity will find interesting -- and librarians who chuck out books will probably be cursed by library users a hundred years hence.
posted by verstegan at 3:50 AM on December 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Great comment, verstegan.
posted by grouse at 4:34 AM on December 6, 2007


Thanks, verstegan. You really hit the nail on the head.
"Cheap and painless", my ass.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:08 AM on December 6, 2007


Again: the article gives the impression that the legal deposit principle is an absurd waste of resources (all those books! all that warehouse space!), whereas in fact it is extremely cost-effective [...] Then there is the laboured sarcasm running through the article ('my barmy idea that transferring books and journals into cyberspace would be a cheap and painless solution'; 'Rory McLeod nearly gags on his americano when I suggest he should digitise everything'), all designed to give the impression that the journalist's voice is the voice of good plain commonsense, and that the librarians he talks to are all rather clueless types who haven't faced up to the digital future.

That wasn't my reading of the article at all: rather, I thought the author showed, in a low-key and rather effective way, the impracticality of mass-digitization and the necessity of bulk storage.

He raises the idea of scanning it all - which many of the general public certainly think is the answer, and would want a journalist to press a publicly-funded body on, as would I - before giving ample space for librarians to talk about the difficulties (namely, the enormous cost and lack of an agreed preservation format). I thought he characterized the librarians as thoughtful and enthusiastic professionals (perhaps a little bit geeky - but he likes that as well). He shows them as: 1. looking after the material books on an epic scale 2. Selecting books to go north on the basis of objective criteria and 3. Heavily involved in digitization efforts anyhow, through Microsoft and their own projects.

The author came across to me as rather approving of the grand scale, quixoticism and open-mindedness of the copyright library in general, and of the BL (he talks about the beauty of the King's Library, for example.)

Believe me, I'm on a hair-trigger myself for nonchalant and ignorant calls to scan and chuck out everything, so I can see why you might have had that reaction. It's a terribly sensitive subject, and we do have to be on our guard. (Disclaimer: I'm involved with a project to digitize material held by the BL, which will also involve its conservation). But I urge you to re-read the article, because I think you are quite wrong about the author's sympathies.

By the way, thanks for the information on the fifty-copy myth (as I now know it to be).
posted by GeorgeBickham at 7:44 PM on December 6, 2007


books to go north

I wonder if this warehouse will create a popular expression about "north" ie. useless stuff that no one reads. ie. "this debut novel will go straight north"
posted by stbalbach at 9:01 PM on December 6, 2007


The other day I read a story about some library (not copyright deposit) throwing away a bunch of books. The reporter asked the Cambridge University Library if they had a similar program. A librarian responded by saying that the UL doesn't have the staff to evaluate which books it would be reasonable to throw out.
posted by grouse at 11:52 PM on December 6, 2007


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