What Proportion of Academic Library Books Never Get Read?

AskMetaFilter recently featured an interesting question about how many books in a typical University library rarely or never get used.

It was timely for me because, although I'm in a public library setting, I'm in the midst of a major weeding project so I've had occasion to look at the usage statistics for over a thousand books in the last couple weeks. 

I'm happy to report that it is extremely rare to find a book that has never been used.  Slightly more common are books that haven't been checked out since the early 1990's (which is when our system automated) and unfortunately quite common to find books that haven't been checked out since the late 1990's to early 2000's (which corresponds to the emergence of the Internet in the consciousness of the general public which is my best guess for this decline/shift in reading habits.)

Make sure you read down to the comment marked as “Best Answer”

On a semi-related note, does anybody know of an organization or method to dispose of a large number of weeded books short of the perennial “LIBRARY BOOK SALE – ON NOW!!!” As always, AskMetafilter has a couple suggestions (I'm only linking to one thread because I can't find the other one that was on the same topic that I saw last week.)

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    For donations, there's Better World Books (http://www.betterworldbooks.com/Programs/Library.aspx)

    Posted 10 Aug 2008 at 3:19 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Thanks for the tip Mark!

    Posted 30 Aug 2008 at 6:15 am

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