May 25, 2022

“Half of Library’s Books Unused in Last Year” at San Diego Public Library

Before we Get to the Story from San Diego a Quick Comment from Gary:

The entire library community needs to do a better job across the country and world for that matter in explaining and demonstrating the library and librarian’s role as a keeper of the written, recorded regardless of format. Lack of use doesn’t automatically mean it’s not worth keeping and a digital version doesn’t mean always getting rid of the print version.

Yes, all of this falls into the poor job we do of marketing what we do and the services and resources we offer (or CAN offer).

Many impressive exceptions to this statement exist but I think most of us would agree that we need to improve (a lot) in marketing/promoting our responsibilities our skills, and our collections.

Nevertheless, what do we do in clearly explaining and demonstrating “librarian as keeper of the record” and other crucial library/librarian/archivist responsibilities?

If we don’t market/promote ourselves no one else is going to do it for us.

History matters! Access matters!

Librarians are about books but also about so much more. Librarianship have never been more relevant. We know this but do others? I’m not so sure.

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A grand, $185 million public library is set to be dedicated downtown on Saturday, with Wi-Fi and fiber-optic technology, computers and e-readers, terminals set up for patrons to FaceTime with staff, and a multimedia gaming area for teens.


More than half of the books in the stacks had not been used in the previous 12 months when the old library on E Street closed on June 9, according to a data review by U-T Watchdog. Taxpayers still spent $450,000 moving the whole collection to the new domed building on Park Boulevard.

About 19 percent were last used in the 2000s. And about 5 percent, or more than 20,000 books, had last been used sometime between 1985 and 1999.


Library officials said scant use is no justification to give up on traditional libraries, or to begin purging little-used items — particularly since taxpayers already paid for them. They likened throwing away a book to discarding knowledge itself. Around the country, large-scale efforts to weed books from a public collection, especially when haphazard or conducted without transparency, have been met with public protest.

Lee Rainie from Pew Internet is quoted in the article.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: A Look at the New $185 Million San Diego Central Library That Will Be Dedicated on Saturday

See Also: Charter High School Opens INSIDE New San Diego Central Library Building

See Also: Company Moving the San Diego Public Library into New Central Facility Profiled

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.