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09-19 Drama


Weeding your collections might cause some drama, but we're not talking about that. We're discussing how to tackle weeding the drama section of your nonfiction collection! Here are some tips to get you started.

Let's Get Started 

Use the usual CREW literature weeding standards regarding your drama collection. You can weed most items after 5 years of no circulation. Inspect the single-copy plays for griminess, highlighting, and margin notes. You may choose to keep all the works of classic playwrights (Shakespeare, Sophocles, etc.) keeping one edition of their “complete works.” The same is true of prominent modern playwrights (Harold Pinter, Sam Shepard, Lynn Nottage, Arthur Miller, Tom Stoppard, etc.) as well as the classic plays such as A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. In a note sent by Martin Luther King, Jr. and read at Hansberry's funeral, he wrote, “Her creative ability and her profound grasp of the deep social issues confronting the world today will remain an inspiration to generations yet unborn.” Dr. King's words provide a great weeding tip for librarians.

Local Theater Websites- A Valuable Asset

As the northern counties of New Jersey are close to one of the great theater capitals of the world, a great time to evaluate your drama collection would be in the summer before the official new theater season starts in the fall. Check theater websites such as Playbill (http://www.playbill.com), TheaterMania (https://www.theatermania.com), and Broadway World (https://www.broadwayworld.com) for Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional theater news. New York Magazine and the Sunday NY Times will put out a season preview edition for drama, books, art, music, etc. For New Jersey only, check the NJ Theatre Alliance (https://njtheatrealliance.org) and websites for your local theaters: Paper Mill Playhouse (https://papermill.org), Nutley Little Theatre (http://nutleylittletheatre.com), Bergen County Players (http://bcplayers.org), and Studio Players (https://studioplayhouse.org), etc.

Deciding What to Order

Find out what play is being performed or studied at your local high school this year. Consider doing a display to promote local arts or the school curriculum. If a production of Death of a Salesman is in the works, in addition to the various DVD film versions starring Lee J. Cobb and Dustin Hoffman, do not forget to put out other plays by the prolific Arthur Miller. Perhaps think of purchasing the Oscar winning Best Foreign Language Film from Iraq, The Salesman, 2017 (043396505797). This is a film about a married couple who perform Miller's Death of a Salesman on stage.

Do not limit yourself to investigating only theater productions when deciding what to order and weed in your drama collection. A Streetcar Named Desire is not just an infamous play and movie but also an opera and ballet. Angels in America is a TV movie as well as an opera. Now this classic is also an audiobook narrated by the full cast of the National Theatre's 2018 Tony Award‒winning Broadway revival. It provides the unique opportunity to hear one of the most honored and timeless plays in American history.

Never weed a Dewey number in isolation from the rest of the collection. Human creativity as expressed in the performing arts often has interesting connections. Think of it as a variation of Six Degrees of Separation!

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