Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weeding the collection

In the last week I spent a few hours weeding the Junior Non Fiction collection as we were running out of space. I was not intentionally planning to weed - I was just planning to re-organise the section as many of the shelves were jam packed so much that books could not be easily moved in or out.

While I was re-organising I found a few books that needed to go, and then I found a few more and then I was immersed in the job. Overall I think I removed between 100 - 150 books - some we had multiple copies that were not required, some covered a curriculum that we no longer covered (and would not have been of interest to the young ones anyway), there were also some that were just old and others that were in pretty poor condition.

When we moved into our new campus 2 years ago we had inherited a number of titles from a number of other schools and from our original campus. We had to re-catalogue everything and part of this process was to weed out many titles before we spent time and money on them reprocessing them for the new library. I had not evaluated this collection since then, so it was time to relook any way.

And, I am glad I did! In amongst it all were these gems ....

"You and your bones" was published 39years ago and "Race to the moon" 30 years ago and are just nasty, thankfully they were the only two I found this old.

I am going to keep them as examples of what needs to be removed from libraries and as tools / examples for using current information - but they will not be kept in the main library collection!

When I began my career in Teacher Librarianship, I had to really think hard about weeding and do alot of reading about it - not only the process of pulling books out, but also the disposal of the books. I was always taught that books were precious and that we needed to take care of them, throwing them out was not something you would do. I clearly remember in year 4 our Principal / Teacher brought in a box ful of weeded books from our school library and we were instructed to rip them to pieces. I tried to hide some, but couldn't save them and was crying as we did the deed - some students relished the job.

I have since got over the sentimentality of books and see them as a product with a limited shelf life, particularly in regards to a school library. Some of the books we pulled are current and good condition, they are just duplicates and will be given a new home somewhere else in the school. Many will be thrown out as they are no good to be passed onto anyone, and others will be given new roles as readers, performance poetry packs and some as readers, but this redefining has created more work.

The added bonus is that we now have more room for new books and the section looks so much better!

The following link has a list of great resources regarding weeding the collection


Tiffany Whitehead said...

I love the gems that are found during weeding! I found a GREAT one on computers circa early 1980's when I did my first weeding at the school where I currently work. Our students wouldn't know what to think with some of these books!

Tara said...

I must say that I love weeding just to see some of the older books. Computer books are just hilarious in watching how far we have come.
Have you seen this website called Awful Library Books? There are some great ones here. Enjoy!

Sharon Brennan said...

Thanks for your timely post. Just back from SLAQ/IASL conference with a decision to move the fiction to a much nicer part of the library. The main consequence is that I will have to cull so we fit the space. Perhaps not a bad thing after all.

Leigh Ann Jones said...

Priceless examples. I have a friend who recently moved to a different library and found a book on the USSR in her "new" collection!

Ms. Yingling said...

Weeding is SO hard. I had to pack up my entire library this summer for a renovation, so did a good job-- but it's ongoing! You might find this interesting

lw said...

I am putting together a presentation about weeding, and I was wondering if I could grab that picture (the gloved hand with the weed).