Eats, Poops, and Weeds | Readers Respond

In our feedback roundup, we have julienne fries, a picture book classic, and a topic that inspires a passionate response among librarians—every time.

Let’s kick off our comments roundup with julienne fries. It’s the last word from Betsy Bird on her recent Fuse #8 blog post dedicated to Everyone Poops, the classic Japanese picture book by Taro Gomi. 

Serving as show notes, of sorts, to the latest episode of her “Fuse 8 n’ Kate” podcast, Bird’s post garnered her an assist from readers, who helped identify a mystery animal depicted in “the most famous nonfiction picture book in America,” according to Bird.  

“I think the mystery animal is a tanuki, also known as a Japanese raccoon dog. They’re a well-known animal in Japan, the picture matches images of them online, and the behavior fits—a Zoo Atlanta post from 2016 notes that the zoo’s tanuki poop in the same place every day,” wrote Catherine B. in the comments. 

“What’s more, it can turn into a teapot and grant wishes! I’ve read about this animal in books of Japanese folklore, but I didn’t know they were real!,” added Freda.

“I refuse to be impressed until it makes julienne fries three different ways,” responded Bird. 

Weed On

If you want a response from a librarian audience, just say “weeding.”  Readers enthusiastically took to social media after we posted our story "Winning at Weeding" to Twitter.

“If your shelves are full, kids aren’t reading,” says Vanessa Calhoun, media center specialist at Carrington Middle School in Durham, NC. “Libraries are not book museums.”—@sljournal 

“That is one MASSIVE 300's section,” quipped @hooverdah on Twitter, upon viewing this image from our feature story, “Winning at Weeding,” by April Witteveen. 

Highlights from the Twitter thread thus far:

“So much this. I did a hard weeding recently and met the "you can't throw out books!!1!" horror with "A library is not a hoard. A library is a living thing, not a sacred collection" Many of the books were over 20y old and none of them had been borrowed in a year or more”—@seawoodwrites 

“I’m consolidating two libraries, and I’ve weeded literally thousands of outdated or duplicate books, and people are SHOCKED. But the cost of keeping these kinds of materials is the loss of space for materials that are more meaningful for students.—@AmandaStreet19

“It also likely means the people before you didn't do it when they should have.” —@ThaRealDavidson

Meanwhile, on Facebook

“You never know, though. Before I could get to it, had a young teen check out and enjoy an old Somerset Maugham book. Some boys are enjoying knights and castles books from the 40s after I talked them up.”—Rob Nichol 

@mbstr8k ‏responded to our story with a follow-up query for other readers:

“I’d be interested in what do various school systems do with their weeded items? Do teachers get to take some for classroom libraries? Are they shredded? Are they sold in bulk? Our City requires them to be sold in bulk and teachers are not given a chance to claim any. 😕”—@mbstr8k ‏

“Donate to African charities who make community or school libraries.”—@GHSLibrGHSLibr

“We give teachers a chance at them but we also donate them to a book swap our SOS holds every year so they help build our students’ home libraries!”—@TracyStockwell1

“Ca ed code does not allow for the selling of library books.”—@bibliofan

“We pull bks teachers might want and let them take for classrooms. We also send books to our Pop Up lib. program and donate to Libraries of Love (a nonpft building libraries in Africa started by a former district lib). What’s left goes to warehouse for resale. #LibrariesRRock—@LibraryGirl108

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