This is a basic overview of how I handle weeding for my collection. I handle the discards for the collections that I purchase, so I only worry about my sections. At the start of the new year, I’ll create a weeding strategy that has me analyzing all of the collections that I manage. I divide up the expected work into monthly and weekly projects and I prioritize collections for weeding based on need. Sometimes, it’s a lack of shelf space, sometimes it’s a collection that is getting dangerously outdated. I try to stick to the plan as much as possible, but of course I make adjustments when needed.
Get circulation involved. A lot of weeding instructions urge librarians to go to the shelves and put hands on books to see if they are in good physical condition. I think this is kind of funny, because most books don’t go bad from disuse. Most of the books that get beat up are the ones that are getting checked out and ending up in someone’s bathtub. Make sure that you have a procedure for circulation staff to be able to suggest books for repair, replacement or discard.
Be prepared for your weekly weeding project. Run reports based on the CREW manual or your specific weeding policy. So, for example, according to CREW, I would run a report for books in the 640-649 Dewey class that are 5/3, so five years old or older and not checked out in three years or more. Once I have my list, I grab whatever size book cart works best for that project, a clipboard, pen and a bottle of water. I head to the stacks and don’t come back until I have all the books on my list or a note for anything that was missing.
Once the discards have been collected, they have to be officially removed from the collection. It will be decided if the book will be sold at the Friends book shop or if it will be recycled. Your library might have a different policy on what to do with discards, some donate or trade with other libraries if it is appropriate. Anything that is going to be sold will need to be stamped as a discard to avoid confusion if the book is accidentally returned to in the future.
That’s pretty much it, just repeat every week and adjust when needed. Easy Peasy!
Let's Collaborate! What is your weeding strategy? Comment below!