Recent media reports that claim our library system is eliminating all copies of classic literature from our shelves are absolutely incorrect. Although we occasionally reduce the number of copies of a particular title -- perhaps trimming Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls from 110 copies to 108, for example -- we’re committed to offering classic texts by western culture’s leading authors.
Here are a few examples of the number of books we offer which were specifically mentioned in the article:
Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak -- 50 copies of books, CDs and cassettes.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner -- 99 copies of books, CDs, cassettes and large print books.
For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway -- 108 copies of books, videos and cassettes.
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams -- 116 copies of books and videos, including in some volumes of collected plays.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee -- 359 copies of books, CDs, cassettes, DVDs, videos, e-books and large print books.
Because of the growing demand for more books in more formats and languages, we have to balance the need to offer classic literature, and satisfy public demand, within our limited space. We can’t warehouse every book that every resident wants to read. We use industry standards, computer data and the expertise of librarians with decades of professional experience to offer a hard-working, comprehensive collection to the public.
We take our stewardship of public property very seriously and strive to prudently manage the public’s investment in the library. Our efforts are paying off: we’re on track to have our books checked out more than 12 million times by the end of this fiscal year, a 10 percent increase over FY2005 when we began our new “weeding” process. We commend our customers for their strong support of the public library.
Edwin S. Clay III, Director
Fairfax County Public Library