Weeding Your Collection

August 26, 2022
Lisa Nabel
Weeding Your Collection

Collection Development. When librarians and library staff see this phrase, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the purchasing of shiny, new materials for the collection. There is little a librarian or library staffer enjoys more than cracking open a new book, from the smell to the feel of the crisp new pages in their hands.  But there is another side of CollectionDevelopment that is not nearly as much fun for most people and that is weeding.  

Weeding is the systematic removal of resources from the library based on specific criteria; these criteria can vary slightly across different library systems and even different collections within a system but there are a few basic tenets we all accept in the library world.  If the resource is in bad shape, or no longer used by your community, or has a new edition, for example, they are removed from the collection. And even though we all accept that this should be done, this is difficult for some of us to do.  This is a judgement free zone but admit it: the“what if” and “something better than nothing” thoughts are prevalent in our minds when it comes to weeding.  My personal favorite reason for not weeding an item is “but I love this book”.

Regardless of all this internal chatter, this is a large part of library jobs.  We do not have infinite space on our shelves nor infinite funding for storage of these materials so weeding is necessary. If you are one of those individuals that does not enjoy this process, I suggest finding a weeding buddy or weeding mentor. This person can be someone in your system or a colleague at a different library but someone you can talk to about the joys of weeding.

Prior to my current position, I loved weeding.  I loved training people on weeding.  I enjoyed cleaning out the overly loved(condition weeding) and unloved (low circ weeding) materials from my system’s collection. Allowing some of the other items on our shelves to shine.  I then loved finding within ipage the resources needed to add to my collection when weeding was done…you know the part with the shiny new materials mentioned above.

Take a moment to refresh your memory on the CREW method of weeding from the Texas State Library (some truly great resources in this manual) then visit ipage to see what resources the Collection Development team at Ingram has put together for this month.  My favorite is the Virtual Book Display ideas.We update these monthly and they cover a variety of subjects and topics, plus these resources cover items for children, teens, and adults.

Weeding Your Collection
Lisa Nabel

Lisa Nabel

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