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.
Patrick Sudlow commented
How came no Manchester Residents have been made aware of this? You do not pulp books, when there could of been good homes found for them. It is also not very green of our 'Green' council.
Graham Walker commented
Is the library run by an ex-Arthur Andersen partner..??
John Attiwell commented
This is disgraceful! How on earth did they "miscalculate?" They need to damn well recalculate! This is shocking.
Why can't they sell the books, if they really can't keep them? It's crazy.
Bruce Bingham commented
What an absolute disgrace. There must be some place they can be kept. And surely even if there is no easy and obvious place, there must be other non-destructive options. Unbelievable!
Gill Wolstencroft commented
Unbelievable. Dreadful. This should not be happening. Who knows what important, rare, beautiful books will be lost? I would happily home some.
Public consultation anyone? GIVE them away??? This is crazy.
Louise North commented
One of the ultimate beauties of a library is old books, the look, the smell, the feeling of comfort - being surrounded by history creates a sense of place. Sticking the content of a book on an ipad will never replace holding the book in your hands, especially an old book. I am absolutely devastated that these books are being destroyed, and not only destroyed but erased!!!! The people of Manchester should have been given the choice to decide the future of these books - not only that, did Manchester City Council not consider that the people of Manchester could re-house these books themselves?? I am quite sure that the people of this city have room on their shelves for these books. The books should be given new homes and if this means the Council should organise a Free Book Market day whereby the people of Manchester could come along and take a book home with them, then they should have do it. There are plenty of shelves in Manchester which could house an old, rare book - mine included. I can always makes space for a book.
So p**sed off.
A very unimaginative solution.Somebody should be ashamed.
Whoops, I missed out my name - Melvin Burgess. Please vote for this. Manchester library is a major resource of local history. It has - or had - a collection of enormous depth and breadth and it is being massacred. Save the books! - it can be done. All they need is more shelves ...