I suggest a campaign about ...

Manchester Central Library is pulping hundreds of thousands of books due to a shelving mistakeelection, due to a miscalculation of shelving.

Manchester Central Library has been closed for a while for refurbishment. What people are not aware of is that senior management at the library seriously miscalculated the shelf space needed to house the reference books when the library is re-opened in 2013.

At this very moment library staff are engaged in a continuing process of segregating for destruction a large proportion of the very thing that makes Manchester Central Library unique amongst British public libraries – its extensive and historic reference stock. It is probable that up to half the reference and lending non-fiction stock (up to half a million volumes) will have been destroyed by the time Central Library re-opens. These texts, which were housed in the old ‘stacks’ in Central Library, represented a storehouse of non-fiction reference volumes, many of which date back to the late nineteenth century. The criteria for the selection of books for destruction is unclear. The staff charged with responsibility for this job are not subject specialists, indeed many of them are not trained librarians. Many of them feel uneasy about what they are being asked to do, but they fear for their jobs, particularly in the current economic climate.

Once these books have been pulped (and many thousands of them already have been) there will be no record of them ever having existed, they will simply be erased from the system. There will be no way of knowing how many of them were rare volumes, or even unique. This is cultural vandalism on an industrial scale.

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    AnonymousAnonymous shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    31 comments

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        hi i have quite a l;ot of hard back and paperback books for pulping would u please3 let me know where to take them and how much per ton . many thanks barry e mail is barrym4@hotmail.co.uk or on my mobile which is 07952772145 many thanks barry

      • EmilyEmily commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Appalling. Information is priceless and even if the library can no longer store them they should be offered to other institutions so that they can be preserved.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Who is getting the books, they will probably end up on ebay. The rate payers of Manchester should be allowed to have them.

      • Riding WestwardRiding Westward commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        According to the latest (June 7th) article in the Manchester Evening News these 'items will be given to an outside company which will sell, give away or pulp the works.'
        Any clues?
        Write to your MPs & your councillors, folks

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        No. I'm afraid you have messed the point, Gill. The special collections are in the salt mines in Cheshire and have been since 2010. The other million or so non-fiction books are being ruthlessly 'weeded' in a building in Ardwick as we speak (where the staff are working to a criteria of very high percentage, not cultural importance, historical significance, possible rarity or silly old-fashioned things like that). Thousands have already been pulped and we will never know what they were because all reference to them will also be destroyed. This is not about a decision to be made in the future, it is about a decision that needs to be made NOW to halt an ongoing process of destruction.

      • Gill BladenGill Bladen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The books are currently being stored in a salt mine cavern in Cheshire. Rather than destroy them for ever (and no sane person would want to do that) why can't they be kept in storage there until somewhere permanent and safe can be found for them.
        There doesn't need to be instant public access to them as most of them weren't on display anyway. At least people would know where this priceless collection is.
        When sanity returns to the nation the nation the books can be returned to the Library where they belong.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It was widely realised that the MEN article from June last year contained several 'inaccuracies'. For example, the 'titles' replacing the destroyed volumes are actually the contents of the city record archives, not actually books at all. Also, these books are NOT being donated to anyone, they are being pulped so that no one finds out the quality and quantity of books being destroyed. Once they're gone, they're gone. And it is now way way more than just 300,000. People who work at the library all have family and friends who they talk to about their concerns and this is why this information is becoming more and more widely known.

      • Andrew HAndrew H commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Disgusted by this. It says the staff are afraid to act for fear of losing their job but I implore them TAKE A STAND.

      • Frances PittFrances Pitt commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As a writer and reader I find this news horrifying and disturbing. It is also unfair to the staff faced with doing the actual deciding and pulping.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Some interesting omissions in Mr McInnes' response http://www.twitlonger.com/show/hl9o1j. Absolutely no mention of NUMBERS or PROPORTION (40%? 50%? 60%? 70%) of books being selected. Also no mention of the FATE of these volumes - are they being pulped, given away, sold? If you read this response carefully it actually doesn't really deny many of the charges made in the above letter, it merely justifies actions that it does not provide any details about. This response is actually further evidence that something very dodgy is going on in Manchester Libraries...

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        If there is a short term problem. I'm sure people will house them temporarily in their homes at no charge at all.

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Disgusting act of the ignorant. You expect book burning from fascists ....... oh yeah !

      • AnonymousAnonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        What a loss, to a community, a nation, to the people who love history or just love finding out about things.

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