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    Seminole Library shrinks collection

    The library has tossed about 5,000 of its 60,000 books, a necessary task. Still: ''It makes a librarian cringe,'' Seminole Community's director says.

    By JULIANNE WU, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 19, 2002

    SEMINOLE -- With the persistence of a gardener pulling weeds from his petunia patch, Michael Bryan and his staff have been culling books from the Seminole Community Library.

    Bryan, library director since the move 10 years ago to 113th Street, has been working with his people and the staff of Dr. Susan Anderson, director of libraries at St. Petersburg College, for about three weeks.

    Weeding is done on a limited basis every year, but Bryan said this year is special.

    "In anticipation of switching to a different automated system with the college next summer, and because we've been in this building 10 years, we are doing a more extensive 'weeding out' process," Bryan said.

    For more than a year, the library has been part of a system operated jointly by SPC and the city of Seminole. Next year, the library will be moved to a building on campus that is now under construction.

    Of the nearly 60,000 books in the collection, Bryan said, about 5,000 have been eliminated. An inventory of what is left will take another couple of weeks.

    "It makes a librarian cringe." Bryan said. "We hate to do that . . . throw out any books. But sometimes you have to."

    He listed reasons for disposal:

    -- Books in poor physical condition and beyond repair.

    -- If they contain outdated information. "A medical book from 1967," for example.

    -- Nonfiction books that haven't been checked out in a decade. "Unfortunately, we didn't keep track of the titles of the books that sat on the shelves that long, but it's not as unusual as you would think," Bryan said. "Libraries have that all the time, where a book may never be checked out."

    There are about six reference books that Bryan wants to give to the Indian Rocks Beach Library and 35 he wants to give to the Friends of the Seminole Library to sell.

    "But because they are considered city property, we have to go the (Seminole) City Council for approval first," said Bryan. "Otherwise, abuses can occur."

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