January 22, 2022

Watertown, MA: “Library Trustee Defends Culling of Historical Volumes, Despite Public Outcry”

From The Boston Globe:

A Watertown library trustee last night defended her board’s June decision to move some historical books out of the local library’s history room to clear shelf space, despite the uproar it has caused among local genealogy and historical experts.

“There just isn’t enough room,” said library trustee Raya Stern in a Town Hall hallway Tuesday night. “This is stuff no one looks at. Not everything in there is valuable to Watertown.”

The volumes are not directly related to Watertown’s history. However, the decision has prompted a letter and email campaign by local historians, and brought nearly a dozen protesters to Tuesday’s Town Council meeting to rail against the move.


The books are being cleared to make space for the Army’s Arsenal property cleanup records – which are federally mandated to be housed there – as well as new incoming historical volumes, Stern said.

The non-Watertown materials would either be moved to general shelves in the library, offered to various communities’ libraries and historical societies, digitized for online use, or put in the local circulation network, Stern said.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.