To Weed, Or Not To Weed: That Is The Question

Too much of anything cannot always be a good thing. That includes overstuffed shelves in a library.

Another goal my first year is complete another weeding project. In the past few weeks, I’ve done research, talked with colleagues and researched some more. Finally, a weeding policy has been created.

Being a first-year librarian, it can be nerve-wracking to complete big projects like this. You need to know the collection, what resources the curriculum requires and what students like to read.

The ultimate goal is to go Dewey-free for the fiction collection by the end of the 2015 school year. So, I need to get my butt in gear now. I’ve pulled the circulation statistics for biography and fiction collections; I’m slowly going through the data to analyze.

Here is the criteria used to decide if a book should be weeded or not for my library:

  • Has the book been circulated in the past three years? (It was hard to decide how many years to go back for circulation. Three, five, 10?)
  • What year was the book published?
  • Is the content of the book still relevant, or is it outdated?
  • What is the condition of the book? (So many times, I’ve seen a student become excited about a story, but they take one look at the old, worn-out covers and put it back on the shelf)
  • Is this something I would want to read?

After asking these questions for the individual book, it goes in the keep or weed pile. The goal is to print and review all the circulation records, then weed. Then look at best processes for going Dewey-free, then actually completing that step.

I’ve received some comments that have made me think about this decision: “Why are you getting rid of books?” “Aren’t librarians supposed to love books?” “How could you even think of throwing a book away?”

I love books; I love reading. But, students deserve the best resources possible in the library. This includes updated, relevant books and book of high-interest to read for pleasure. Each book has its time and place. Some are long-lived classics, while others are current trends.

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2 thoughts on “To Weed, Or Not To Weed: That Is The Question

  1. Weeding is 100% necessary. The first library I worked in hadn’t been weeded in at least ten years, although I suspect that it had been much longer. I found a book from when women had just entered the workforce that said that if your boss hits on you, you should either sleep with him or reject him in a flattering way. Made me start an immediate weeding project to make sure things that were inaccurate and waaaaay outdated went away. 🙂

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