Yes, this really is a blog about mystery fiction and not about gardening. Weeding is what I have been working on since the beginning of the year and it involves a thorough reivew and evaluation of all the books in WPPL's mystery collection. All of us who select books for the library must weed our sections each year and it is not an easy task. It is difficult to discard a book for any reason - ask anyone who has boxes of textbooks in their attic.
Fiction and mystery books are usually weeded from library collections based on several criteria. One is the popularity of the book. It if hasn't circulated in several years, it often will be discarded. We also check the condition of the books. Repairs can be made for loose pages and bindings, but if there is significant damage to a book, it will also be weeded from the collection. And if I've ordered multiple copies of a title by a popular author, like Evanovich, Grafton, or Coben, I'll discard several copies of those books as the demand decreases.
I have to consider a few other things when I weed the mysteries. Because many mystery authors write a series, it is important to me to try to have copies of all the titles in the entire series, if possible. So even if the earliest titles in a series aren't circulating, I don't discard them because at some point someone new to the series may want to read it from the beginning.
If a mystery title, but not the entire series, has to be discarded because it is damaged beyond repair or if it's lost, I try to order a replacement copy. Unfortunately, some early series titles are out of print. You may see some early titles on the shelf that are not in the best condition. But they still go out regularly, so we nurse them along to keep them in the collection. Recently I was contemplating weeding the last copies we have of Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason series, as they are very worn and tired paperbacks. They were added in 2000 and each has circulated over 40 times. And I discovered that one of the titles had just been checked out! So they'll stay on the shelf a little while longer.
One thing that has made weeding a little easier is WPPL's becoming part of SearchOhio, which makes public library items availabe to library patrons served by a number of cooperating libraries throughout Ohio. So if you find that a title you'd like to read in a mystery series is not available at WPPL, we can try to borrow it from one of the other participating libraries for you. If I have to discard an item, I'm now more optimistic that another library will have a copy available for a patron to borrow.
And most of the titles I weed, if still in decent condition, find their way to the Book Nook, the book room off the lobby that is run by the Friends of the Library. The Friends sell the books at a nominal cost and then use the money to support programs here at the library. That's a win-win arrangement!
So now that I've made more room in the mystery stacks for browsing, here are some new titles recently added to the WPPL mystery collection:
Clark, Mary Jane - Footprints in the Sand - Piper Donovan Wedding Cake Mysteries #3.
Crais, Robert - Suspect - stand-alone featuring LAPD K-9 officer Scott James.
Fluke, Joanne - Red Velvet Cupcake Murder - #18 in the Hannah Swenson series.
McCafferty, Keith - Gray Ghost Murders - 2nd in this new series about a fly-fishing PI in Montana.
Rankin, Ian - Standing in Another Man's Grave - Rebus returns as a civilian volunteer in the cold case unit.
Robb, J.D. - Calculated in Death - Eve Dallas appears in her 37th full-length mystery.
Stabenow, Dana - Bad Blood - Investigator Kate Shugak's 20th Alaskan adventure.