Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thing I've noticed: Sometimes I need to weed my television

One of the most underrated jobs in the library field is that of weeding, that is the process of removing books and other materials to make space for new ones. I think the reason for this is that at the most basic levels of library work, we kind of want to be archivists – we want to acquire new materials and never let go of old ones, because what if someday we need that title? What if some future student, or kid or just a regular reader comes into our building looking for a title and when they don’t find it they decide to leave and spend the rest of their days complaining about how useless the library is?

Here’s the thing, weeding is necessary to make space. Sometimes books are ridiculously simple to weed (computer manuals, legal texts, etc.), but eventually you need to make the hard choices and decide which books you own need to go and which need to stay.

Last week my wife and I decided to weed our viewing habits.

First off, a little context, most nights we watch about three hours of television (not including commercials, which we usually skip past); a show with our kids and then a couple hours for ourselves. Depending these are current shows, TV shows on DVD or sometimes movies, depending on our mood and the fact that we now use a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) means that we aren’t locked into any specific time to watch any show (the concept is called Timeshifting in Communications Studies and a great example of it is to think back to your viewing habits before you had a VCR if you are my age and realize that a lot of what you watched came down to what was on, rather than what you wanted to watch).

There are three good times a year to do some TV series weeding, these being late August, early January and late May – or if you will the times when current series are about to begin or end.

We try to have a one-to-one trade policy. If there is a new series coming out (such as Alcatraz) we look at the length of the show (1 hour) and try to find a comparable show we are already watching that maybe we have been losing interest in (such as Persons of Interest) this way we keep our evenings free for other stuff and can be reasonable sure that the series we watch are actually the series we want to watch. Sometimes we’ll continue to tape a show for a few weeks until we decide whether or not we’ll want to go back (for example we just started taping 30 Rock, so Whitney is currently on notice – we’ll tape both for the next two weeks, but then a choice will be made).

I know this may seem like over thinking our viewing habits, but considering that I enjoy watching television, why shouldn’t I take a little time out of my life to make sure I’m enjoying it the best I can?

1 comment:

  1. That's a wise and sound policy! Don't get overwhelmed by the underwhelming I always have never before said. Also, did you see the pilot for 'The Finder'? It doesn't have all that many robots but I somehow liked it a lot anyway.