Olga Lachenmeier: what’s precious and what’s just old?

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The academic libraries often get older (scientific) books as a gift, but it’s clear – we cannot take them all. Each book needs time and a place, but can we invest our time in something, what’s outdated and not interesting for the most of our users?

Clearly – there are rules. For example: the prints older than 1850 have to be catalogued, but what can we do with one, printed after 1851, already in our library and just plain text? The decision is often not easy.
Must we take each book just as a thing, or a part of our history? As a silent witness of a person’s life? Is a short handwritten sentence on the site edge worth to be mentioned then? An underlining, a drawing, a bullet hole?

What’s precious and what’s just old? And how can you explain your decision to others?

Olga Lachenmeier

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