Boston Public Library to Purge Thousands of Books

Boston, MA 080714 Jebeh Mitchell (cq) stocked the new fiction and non-fiction area of the Dudley Branch of Boston Public Library in Roxbury, Thursday, August 7 2014. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff) section: Metro slug: 08bpl reporte:r Faiz Siddiqui
Jebeh Mitchell restocked empty shelves at the Dudley Branch of Boston Public Library in Roxbury.
Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe

Boston Public Library branches around the city are culling their stacks to make room for new books and book-free computer and study spaces.

BPL administrators say they aim to sift through 180,000 items by the end of the year, according to The Boston Globe:

The plan, instituted in February, targets books that have not been checked out in varying periods: three years for small branches, four for medium-sized ones, and five for large libraries like Dudley. The volumes are to be sold at book fairs, listed on sites such as, digitally archived, or, in some cases, recycled.

Proceeds from the book sales go towards the BPL’s collections budget, according to a statement from BPL Chief of Communications Gina Perille.

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The fire sale of underutilized books might affect some library patrons more than others. While the BPL adds 11,000 books, CDs, and DVDs to its collection every month, critics, such as a librarian at the Dudley branch interviewed by The Globe, believe many of the culled books still hold value for the community:

“What we’re losing is things pertaining to minorities particularly,” the librarian said. “There’s a book about [blacks’] contribution to literature, which is an old book. The slave narratives are going to wind up being weeded, a lot of them.”

Read the Globe’s full coverage here.