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Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it?

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Presentation on theme: "Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it?

2 Books are for use. Every reader his book. Every book its reader. Save the time of the reader. A library is a growing organism. Ranganathans 5 Laws

3 1. Increase library appeal 2. Save patrons and staffs time 4. Encourage browsing 5. Eliminate items no longer of interest to patrons 6. Save space 7. Increase use of other materials 8. Reduce duplicate copies 9. Eliminate items no longer fitting librarys mission 10. Save time inventorying 3. Protect readers from inaccurate information 10 Reasons to Weed

4 What are the reasons that weeding doesnt get done?

5 Theres no such thing as a bad book. 1.


7 (The wrong) something is not better than nothing.

8 "Librarians have a responsibility for discarding unsound books of yesteryear. In the eyes of the public, the fact that they are on the shelves confers upon them an endorsement. --Clarke, G. E. "Propaganda." Library World, 42:62-63, October 1939

9 Someone might need them 2.

10 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle) 20% of your books are responsible for 80% of your circulation

11 When Loriene Roy weeded 10% of three Illinois public libraries in 1985, only one percent of the weeded books were requested over the following eight months. - Source: Weeding without tears by Loriene Roy, Collection Management Vol. 12, #1 and 2, 1990, pp , p. 91.

12 -Source: Weeding Library Collections, by Stanley J. Slote, 1989, p. 64. The best predictor of future circulation? Past circulation

13 We havent gotten all the good out of it yet. 3. Its not worn out. OR

14 Collection Development Select Process and Catalog Circulate Weed and discard Cycle

15 Display: Good Books You Might Have Missed Photo: Newton Free Library. Available at: start with 12 books--not too many

16 It might be valuable 4.


18 What will people say? 5.

19 Like most kinds of equipment, most books eventually lose their effectiveness

20 Lets Call a Spade a Trowel Deselection Uncluttering Beautifying Making room for new materials Collection Development Reverse Selection

21 The library looks fine/ theres plenty of room 6.

22 Ask someone who is not familiar with your library, or Take pictures

23 Shelves just inside the door circulate 24% more books than shelves 15 feet inside the door. (98) (74) Shaw, 1938

24 Books Circulated from One Section of Shelves Top Bottom Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5 Row 6 Source: The Influence of sloping shelves on book circulation by Ralph R. Shaw, The Library Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 4, October 1938, pp

25 In 1973, when Stanley Slote weeded 20% of fiction, six months later circulation increased 106.2%, 20 months later the increase was 121.2%. - Source: Weeding Library Collections by Stanley J. Slote, 1989, p. 65.

26 Weed as you gowhen an item is in hand Set small daily or weekly goals Have a contest Form a support group – Reluctant Weeders Have your weeding kit ready to go Tips

27 I dont know where to start. 7.



30 C.R.E.W. (Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding)


32 CREW Summary Chart


34 What to Weed or Using CREW Copyright Date Is it more than X year(s) ago? Maximum permissible time without use

35 Musty Ugly Superseded Trivial Irrelevant to your collection Elsewhere (I.L.L.) CREW Criteria

36 Misleading refers to information that is factually inaccurate due to new discoveries, revisions in thought, or new information that is now accepted by professionals in the field covered by the subject. Even in fields like physics, that were once thought to be pretty settled, changes occur that radically impact the accuracy and validity of information.

37 Ugly, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder but the physical condition of the collection says a lot about the value we place on our collection. The ugly factor includes most of the elements related to the physical condition of the itemwear, damage, stains, tears, dirtthat make it less attractive to a library patron. If you dont want to touch the item without wearing gloves, neither will the patron. Be very cautious in repairing or rebinding items that are ugly. While a new Mylar jacket or a bit of cleaning may spruce up an item, usually it is not worth spending more than a few minutes repairing an item. Taping a small tear is worth the effort but if there will be more tape than binding after the repair is completed, discard the item. Books that smell are ugly.

38 Superseded items are those that sit on the shelf right next to newer editions or newer titles that update information. Libraries dont need to keep more than one or two previous editions of almanacs, trivia books (Guinness Book of World Records), cookbooks, and other titles that are frequently updated. Be sure to watch for books that are still circulating but include outdated pictures, products, and ingredients. The recipes in the 1975 edition of The Joy of Cooking may still be accurate but the photographs and brand names of ingredients have certainly been replaced many times over in later editions.

39 Triviality implies that the material included in the item was popular for a brief period of time but interest has largely waned. Books are published, often seemingly overnight, when there is a new fad, or when a new celebrity hits the scene. Biographies of pop culture performers, games and consumer products, television shows, diets, and fiction series come and go very quickly. The interest may last a few years but usually fades fast. Even if a fad returns, as happened after two decades with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the lapse between periods of intense popularity means that the books from the original fad are outdated. Trivial books can also be published immediately following a major event, such as the death of Princess Diana. For topics that have lasting interest, better written books come out a year or so later and the instant books that may trivialize the subject can be discarded.

40 Irrelevant means that the interests and needs of your community may have changed over time. Perhaps an issue, such as xeriscaping, mass transportation, or solar power, was very popular for a period of time but demand in your community has waned. Frequently, we purchase multiple copies of a book or a wide variety of books on a topic to meet intense local interest, only to have that interest dissipate after a few years. CREW doesnt recommend that you eliminate all items on any topic from a collection; if a particular topic is no longer as relevant to the community as it was at another time, the collection may have too many items just sitting on the shelf. Even though the last use time period may not have passed, these irrelevant items are prime candidates for weeding.

41 Elsewhere reminds us that no library is an island! We are not alone out there in the vast information wilderness. It can be difficult to let go of items that are still in good condition even though the information covered is trivial or irrelevant. Many librarians hesitate to discard an item because someone might need it someday. True, many of us have had the experience of discarding an item only to have someone request it the next month. However, you can feel more secure about discarding an item if the information contained within is available elsewhere. Interlibrary loan is ubiquitous. With the exception of local history and regional documents, almost everything is available someplace else. GALILEO has reliable information on many topics.

42 Worn Out Out of Date Rarely Used Supplied Elsewhere Trivial or Faddish CREW Criteria

43 Steps to Weeding 1.Gather usage statistics 2.Maintain a weeding kit 3.Study the area you will be weeding 4.Weed 5.Double check in indexes & bibliographies 6.Dispose of weeded materialsdiscard, recycle, sell, donate 7.Order replacements or put on a wish list to reorder when funds are available 8.Merchandise low circulating, high-quality items

44 Think boutique (high-quality, current selection) Be aware of ephemeral interests Board books should be replaced more often since they get the most abuse Replace worn copies of perennial faves (multiples) Advice for Specific Sections: Picture Books

45 Advice for Specific Sections: YA Fiction Be ruthless in this section Currency is key Paperbacks >5 years, remove if not circulating well

46 Advice for Specific Sections: C&YA Non-Fiction Anything is not better than nothing Be aware of online resources Better to lack books that have bad information Use CREW Guidelines by Dewey Class as in adult sections

47 Advice for Specific Sections: Reference Older editions may be weeded when superseded Materials should be periodically evaluated, (not as often as circulating collection and not as continuous) Different replacement schedules (new editions may not be as frequent) Keep websites and databases in mind Consider integrating reference materials into the circulating collection, especially if usage is poor

48 Keepers Volumes of sets and series with special merit Older reference works augmented by (not superseded by) later editions i.e. Bartletts Familiar Quotations Local history Works by local authors

49 Classics Debate Its our duty as librarians to expose people to great literature. Unless a movie comes out based on a classic, are people still reading them? Rea d

50 Keys to Weeding Success Make weeding part of policy Build weeding into the regular work schedule Inventory as you weed Follow up on questions/problems Consider the collection as a whole

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