I have 6 feet by 20 feet of text books (probably about 2-300), double stacked. 50+ years in the engineering profession.
Primary subjects are: Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Hydraulics, Electronics, and heavy on Mathematics.
My heart will not let me throw them away. Gladly give them for free to anybody that could use them.
What have you all done with your library after your career winds down?
Admittedly, the books are old, and all the information therein could be found on the internet today.
Few years ago I took 7 boxes of computer books and gave them to my local used book store. Found out a few weeks later that all were thrown out (many were only 2-3 years old) because people buy novels only. Won't do that again!
There was an age when all these books were necessary. How could you get by without "King's Hydraulic Tables"? GE's electronic tube characteristics, transistor data books etc. Math books on Boolean Algebra, Mechanical Vibrations and so forth.
Yes, I have not looked at these books for five years except the math books. Don't really NEED any of them, but they were my life. When I pass they will simply be thrown away. Maybe I should do it now.
Any experience with this down-sizing would be appreciated.
I'd probably give them to Goodwill.
Modern textbooks are not written as a labor of love (authors seldom made
much money) but now for making money. They make sure of this by
charging exorbitant prices and putting out new editions every year.
I look at my old textbooks as souvenirs but otherwise would toss them if
they took up too much space.
On Sat, 29 Aug 2015 15:21:42 -0700 (PDT), Ivan Vegvary
If you keep any, only keep the ones devoted to basics and theory. Any
that are practical applications are probably out dated by new codes
and so are useless except for those dealing with applied physics. If
you haven't been practicing in the field they do you no good anyway
since you've forgotten most of what you learned. I used to know
structural design but the methods (working strength, Ultimate
strength, etc) have changed a couple times since I learned it and I
didn't go into the field so what good are old textbooks teaching me
how to do it "wrong" by today's standards? All I kept was Static's
and Dynamics Text, Hydraulics, and one or two others on the basics.
Ashton, you make a very good point that I hadn't considered. The books are outdated as far as current practice goes. I will keep gems, like and 1860 and 1888 Calculus book (almost same as today), a few radio repair books, and CRC handbooks etc.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply,
That's the problem I have currently. Very few computer books are
timeless. We did a clean up at work and I put a lot of books on a
cafeteria table. A few went away but after a week what was left went
into the dumpster.
I did some volunteer work at a group that recycled books, etc.
Complete *sets* (i.e., enough copies for an entire classroom)
*sometimes* were preserved -- if they were reasonably current
(they would be distributed to low income school districts,
Individual titles that made their way into our "book store"
almost universally languished -- until they were recycled for
their paper content.
In my field (EE/CS), it is not uncommon to accumulate hundreds
of pounds of "databooks". These tend to be dated -- parts go
obsolete reasonably quickly and new parts come along in their
OTOH, I have some "classic" databooks that contain a lot more
(ancillary) information than is commonly present in new offerings
(which are invariably PDF's or distributed on CD-ROM).
Of my college TEXT books, I've saved some of those that were
seminal texts (e.g., my copy of Winston's _Artificial Intelligence_
is a stack of photocopied pages in an informal "binding"). Plus,
those that never truly were text books -- despite their size.
I keep things like CRC Handbook's, NEC codebook, etc. and the
rest I preserve "on disk", if at all.
I dropped all my paperbacks (80 "ten-ream copier paper boxes") off
at the local library in the hope that they can sell them for $0.25
a piece and use the money for <something> worthwhile. At the very
least, *reward* patrons who drop in by giving them a "deal" on
That's where most donated materials wind up at the local library. I
volunteered at a library that was culling its book. The reality is shelf
space is limited so they strive to use it most effectively. One of the
criteria was it had to be in Books in Print. That seemed backwards to me
but so it went. I got an entire collection of John Burroughs, a late
19th early 20th century naturalist from the project. I considered it a
treasure; the library considered it two feet of shelf space for books no
one would ever read.
Yup. Ours takes all sorts of things that will NEVER make it into
the stacks (CD's, jigsaw puzzles, etc.). Plus, they routinely cull
their collection and sell the "discards". It makes some sense
to supplement revenues from taxes.
Here, they track how often titles are checked out. After "a while"
(some vague amount of time), they get pitched. The number of volumes
going out every week is *staggering*! It takes a volunteer staff
of more than a dozen just to sort them to go on the "for sale" shelf
(or, warehoused for the annual book sale)
Yup. SWMBO would visit the annual booksale to stock up on "art" books
that had been culled or donated over the course of the previous 12 mos.
She's now got a rather extensive collection! So much that she dreads
encountering other titles that she might be tempted to purchase!
It wasn't the end of my career but I downsized prior to a move. I had a
similar collection plus development boards, EPROM burners, and so forth.
I found a high school teacher who was trying to put together an advanced
computer class and he was ecstatic to get the whole mess.
I also had some Thorton Burgess books from my childhood. I knew a
pre-school teacher that was thrilled to get them for the kids too.
I've donated books to libraries with mixed success. Most of the last
batch went straight to the library's book sale shelf. They were not junk
either. Some were philosophy books in areas where their collection is
weak and so forth.
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