Library Tossing Out the Classics: No One Read 'Em!

The bells may toll for Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls - a Washington-area library is tossing out books that haven't been checked out in years.

Unfortunately, this means classics like books by Hemingway, Faulkner, Proust, and so on:

A software program developed by SirsiDynix, an Alabama-based library-technology company, informs librarians of which books are circulating and which ones aren't. If titles remain untouched for two years, they may be discarded--permanently. "We're being very ruthless," boasts library director Sam Clay.

As it happens, the ruthlessness may not ultimately extend to Hemingway's
classic. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" could win a special reprieve, and, in the future, copies might remain available at certain branches. Yet lots of other volumes may not fare as well. Books by Charlotte Brontë, William Faulkner, Thomas Hardy, Marcel Proust and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have recently been pulled.

Library officials explain, not unreasonably, that their shelf space is limited and that they want to satisfy the demands of the public. Every unpopular book that's removed from circulation, after all, creates room for a new page-turner by John Grisham, David Baldacci, or James Patterson--the authors of the three most checked-out books in Fairfax County last month.

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Ted, just so you feel better -- I bought a nice hardcover copy of The Canterbury Tales not too long ago and have been reading a story now and then just for fun. But the news about that library is just nauseating.
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Geez, how stuffy and elitist can we all sound today?
Dorian Gray? Come on - that's like the dullest thing Wilde wrote.

We've lost the literature of entire civilizations before. This is just the gradual process. How many people are going to check out Samuel Pepys' diary? How many plays by 17th-century playwrights other than Shakespeare are performed nowadays? How many of us have read Chaucer lately? You know, for fun.

Funny how in the "Information Age", libraries have become less and less relevant to our daily lives.
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Honestly, when I read a classic, I buy it. Classics are so cheap, and I can take all the time I need. The only books I check out from the library was rare academic books or art books, both of which are too expensive to own.
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It is sad. when I look for certain books that I thought would be standard at my library, all I come up with is audiobooks. We're talking Slaughterhouse Five, The Picture of Dorian Gray...
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