Alene Moroni, Forbes Library, Northhampton @surlyspice
Anna started off by joking they are “pro weeding.” They said an un-weeded collection is a danger to itself and others. No one wants to use a collection that looks “scary.”
Considerations for weeding library collections
Methods for wedding
Talking points for communicating about weeding
If you are weeding all along in small chunks, people won’t point and say you are getting rid of all these books. This is ideal, but we all know of libraries that haven’t weeded in 10 or more years.
What should we consider?
- Library mission - who are we serving and how?
- Community Needs - Some things go like wildfire, and other things don’t. DVDs vs. adult non-fiction.
- Space: we don’t have it. Our libraries are full enough.
- Professional discretion: Apply your weeding criteria
- Needs and interests of public
- Author qualifications
- Unique points of view
- Receipt of major awards or prizes
- Quality of Production
Everything can be applied on a sliding scale. We need to make the methods fit the needs of your library, community and space.
Travel and medical information are great examples of things that need to stay current.
Saying “this is our only book on….from 1989,” is not a good reason to keep them in your collection.
-Item by item
Item by Item;
- This is the most time consuming. Every item is checked for age, condition and circulation.
-Run a report and see that items haven’t circulated since (5 years, 3 years, 1 year). At Forbes, they look at 5 years. Some libraries look at things at 6 months.
- Can serve as de facto inventory
- Does not catch high circulating, worn-out items
- Quick and Dirty
- All Staff involved
Anna talked about a case study of 790s. Before there were 4700+ items and the average publication year was 1996. Turnover was 24.4%. After, she weeded to 3,000+ items, pub. year was 2000 and the turnover was 50%.
The goals were to remove books from the top and bottom shelves, because patrons can’t reach them anyway. You also want to update the collection, create space for on-shelf display and increase circulation.
Case Study at Forbes (fiction):
- 5 year dusty list
- Remove books from the bottom, drop shelves (forces them to not use the bottom)
- Create space for on-shelf display
- One in/one out (1,000 items/year)
Keep or Weed?
There are some cases where you need to keep something, Local materials or donations sometimes are part of our discretion. We know our communities' needs. Alene told a story of a patron who liked looking at out of state phone books, even though they were out of date. He did this a lot and it was easier for the library to keep them.
Find reasons to KEEP something.
- Room for new items
- Welcoming spaces
- Display opportunities
- Increased circulation
-Discards - Book sale, resale, recycling
-Stakeholders - staff, volunteers, trustees
Last copy: What to do about this? If your library has it, it could be you are just the last to weed it. It isn't necessarily a reason to keep it. In other words, NO. :)
Questions were taken from the group.