Saturday, December 17, 2005

Tis the Season to Weed the Travel Books

As the snow piles higher and the wind chill gets lower and lower, you might think that a lot of people would have taken our travel books away to exotic places. The reality is that the travel shelves are pretty full right now. The guides to Florida are out, as are a few books on the Caribbean, but most of the collection is here. With recent deliveries of Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, Moon, and Mobil guides, all over on the new books display, it is a great time to weed.

I have it somewhat easy. I have been weeding the nonfiction collection at our library for over ten years now, and I go through the travel books every year, so I have my decision making process ingrained. I can slide along the shelves spotting books whose departure time has come. It helps that the Mobil Guides have changed colors every year recently and most of the Fodor's guides are dated at the bottom of their spines. Other candidates for weeding can be spotted by their conditions: curled corners, yellowing pages, smudges, peeling tape, loose binding.

We keep some of the series, such as the Fodor's and Mobil guides, only three years because there is a lot of out-of-date information by the third or fourth year. Users expect the prices to change, but critical information like hours of operation, business names, locations, and menus change. The guides sometimes also change their ratings.

We keep some series, such as National Geographic, Eyewitness, Insight, and Moon Travel Handbooks, longer. The emphasis of the first three series is timeless descriptions of the local attractions. They are filled with maps of neighborhoods and parks, floor plans of museums and archaeological sites, and photos of natural wonders and architecture. These books are useful for travelers and for students doing country or state assignments for years after the Fodor's and other guides are gone. The Moon Travel Handbooks we keep longer because they update less frequently and are less used.

With our moderately tight budget for books, we try to get as many travel books as we can. The Internet has not reduced our need for a good collection of travel guides. We can not buy every series for every location, but we do try to have at least a representative book for even less visited locations, like Jordan or Kenya. Some even less visited countries are covered only in regional guides. I see that we have let our African and Asian collection slip a little. I have some work ahead.

In the meantime, I may look at our new
Let's Go New Zealand. Swimming with the dolphins in Kaikoura sounds nice. I like the name Bay of Plenty. Oooo, we could go to Hobbiton, Rivendell, and even Mordor. Book a flight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, do go to New Zealand if you have the chance. I went in 1990, to Kaikoura, in fact. But I swam with the seals, not the dolphins. They were very playful, and I remember lots of bubbles and very cold water!

I was interested to read about your weeding procedures for travel books. Thanks for sharing!