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

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Join Laura Johnson, Nebraska Library Commission, to explore weeding and hear some solutions to the problem. We’ll discuss what weeding criteria are, and how they vary according to subjects and types ...

Join Laura Johnson, Nebraska Library Commission, to explore weeding and hear some solutions to the problem. We’ll discuss what weeding criteria are, and how they vary according to subjects and types of material, as well as according to situation. We will also offer some tips and techniques for keeping the library collection user-friendly, useful, and well-groomed. Come with your favorite tips, and with some weeding problems you’d like to discuss.

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  • One of the most inspiring ideas in librarianship is S. R. Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science. The third law is”Every book, its reader.” This law, in Ranganathan’s words, "urge[s] that an appropriate reader should be found for every book.” Robert Shaw’s 1938 experiment with library shelving proved that library shelves do not allow all books equal chance to be seen by patrons. The graphs in this slide reveal the difference in circulation caused by differences in exposure to patrons. Books on lower shelves are harder to see and reach than books on upper shelves. Shelves further back in libraries are less likely to be browsed than shelves in the front of the library. Look at the circulation pattern of the shelves in the top graph. I have seen this exact same pattern on each section of a whole range of shelves weeded in Great Bend Public Library. The one exception from this pattern was the section with Danielle Steel books shelved on the lowest shelves. Weeding based on past circulation is a measure of circulation. If you see this pattern when you weed, then about 45% of the books you are weeding from the lowest shelves are being removed because they are shelved on the lower shelves, not because they are unwanted by patrons. At least 24% of the books you are removing from the back shelves is because they are on the back shelves and not because they are unwanted. Weeding books because of their location is unethical. Fortunately, there are two things you can do to correct this injustice. First, your book displays should be stocked with books from the lower shelves and the back of the library. Second, weeded books should be displayed before they are completely removed from the library.

NCompass Live: Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it? NCompass Live: Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it? Presentation Transcript

  • Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it?
  • 10 Reasons to Weed
    1. Increase library appeal
    2. Save patrons’ and staffs’ time
    3. Protect readers from inaccurate information
    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 library’s mission
    10. Save time inventorying
  • Rule of Thumb:
    3%
    (required for NE public library accreditation)
  • Average % Weeded Last Year
    Average % Withdrawn
    Libraries Serving
    Population
    100-499
    500-999
    1000-1999
    2000-4999
    5000-9999
    10000-49999
    5.00
    5.22
    7.90
    6.10
    7.81
    8.71
    Source: 2009 NE Public library statistics
  • 3% of the Average Collection
    Population
    Served
    Average # Books in Collection
    3%
    7472
    11568
    15284
    27225
    36093
    85525
    224.16
    347.04
    458.52
    816.75
    1082.8
    2565.8
    100-499
    500-999
    1000-1999
    2000-4999
    5000-9999
    10000-49999
    Source: 2009 NE Public library statistics
  • What are the reasons that weeding doesn’t get done?
  • 1.
    “There’s no such thing as a bad book.
  • (The wrong) something is not better than nothing.
  • "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
  • 2.
    “Someone might need them”
  • 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle)
    20% of your books are responsible for 80% of your circulation
  • 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. 83-93, p. 91.
  • The best predictor of future circulation?
    Past circulation
    • Source: Weeding Library Collections, by Stanley J. Slote, 1989, p. 64.
  • 3.
    “We haven’t gotten all the good out of it yet.”
    OR
    “It’s not worn out.”
  • Collection Development
    Process and Catalog
    Circulate
    Select
    Weed and discard
    Cycle
  • Display:
    “Good Books You Might Have Missed”
    Photo: Newton Free Library. Available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/newtonfreelibrary/4727837472/
    start with 12 books--not too many
  • 4.
    “I don’t want to admit I made a poor selection.”
  • books
    All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else. - -Mae West
  • 5.
    “It might be valuable”
  • http://www.abebooks.com/books/RareBooks/
  • 6.
    “What will people say?”
  • Like most kinds of equipment, most books eventually lose their effectiveness
  • 7.
    “We won’t have anything left”
  • # Books Purchased for Every Book Withdrawn
    Additions/Withdrawals
    Libraries Serving
    Population
    2.16
    3.39
    5.098
    4.97
    1.26
    1.10
    100-499
    500-999
    1000-1999
    2000-4999
    5000-9999
    10000-49999
    Source: 2009 NE Public Library Statistics
  • American Book Production
    (New Books and New Editions)
    1920……..….……6187
    1957……..…...13,142
    1977……..…...35,469
    2007……..….185,969
    --Bowker Annual, 1959, 1978, 2009
  • 8.
    The library looks fine/ there’s plenty of room
  • Ask someone who is not familiar with your library,
    or
    Take pictures
  • Shelves just inside the door circulate 24% more books than shelves 15 feet inside the door.
    (74)
    (98)
    Shaw, 1938
  • Books Circulated from One Section of Shelves
    18
    Top
    29
    Row 2
    18
    Row 3
    28
    Row 4
    16
    Row 5
    13
    Row 6
    5
    Bottom
    Source: “The Influence of sloping shelves on book circulation” by Ralph R. Shaw, The Library Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 4, October 1938, pp. 480-490.
  • 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.
  • 9.
    There isn’t time
  • Make everyone (staff and volunteers) part of the Weeding Team
  • Tips
    Weed as you go—when an item is in hand
    Set small daily or weekly goals
    Have a contest
    Form a support group – “Reluctant Weeders”
    Make a chart of the stacks and color in where you’ve weeded
    Have your weeding kit ready to go
  • 10.
    “I don’t know where to start.”
  • CREW
  • Download at:
    http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/
  • CREW Summary Chart
  • What to WeedorUsing CREW
    Maximum permissible time without use
    Copyright DateIs it more than X year(s) ago?
  • CREW Criteria
    Musty
    Ugly
    Superseded
    Trivial
    Irrelevant to your collection
    Elsewhere (I.L.L.)
  • To Weed or Not To Weed? Checklist of Weeding Factors
    Physical Condition
    Intellectual Content
    • Author
    • Publisher
    • Date
    • Reading level
    • Current interest?
    Circumstances
    • Circulation Stats
    • Any more copies?
    • Expense to replace
    • Similar resources?
    Aesthetic Content
    • Illustrations
    • Format
    • Visual Appeal
    Suitability
    • Contributes to Mission
    • In school curricula?
  • Your Library Selection Policy
    Includes :
    • De-selection criteria
    • Weeding schedule
    • Disposal methods
  • Sample Policy Language
    Each item, through its quality, reliability, current usefulness and
    appearance, must earn its place on the shelf, and contribute to the reliability, reputation and attractiveness of the Library.
    http://www.infopeople.org/training/past/2007/weeding/
    WMRLS_sample_weed_policy.pdf
  • Quick & Dirty
    Consider weeding:
    Duplicate copies no longer needed
    Items in obviously poor condition
    Drab items that get lost on shelves
    Older single title authors
    Obscure or ephemeral titles
    Knockoffs of popular authors (Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter)
    Lesser works of authors who have died
    Minor author/poet collections
    Series books when titles are missing
    Simplified/abridged classics
    Jeanette Larson, Small Library Mgt. Training Program,
    Collection Development Course
  • Steps to Weeding
    Gather usage statistics
    Maintain a weeding kit
    Study the area you will be weeding
    Weed
    Double check in indexes & bibliographies
    Dispose of weeded materials—discard, recycle, sell, donate
    Order replacements or put on a wish list to reorder when funds are available
    Merchandise low circulating, high-quality items
  • Swiffer Duster Coupon
    http://www.swiffer.com/en_US/home.do
  • Advice for Specific Sections:
    Picture Books
    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: YA Fiction
    Be ruthless in this section
    Currency is key
    Paperbacks
    >5 years, remove if not circulating well
  • Advice for Specific Sections: C&YA Non-Fiction
    Anything is not better than nothing
     Be aware of online resources
     Better to not have books that have bad information
     Use CREW Guidelines by Dewey Class as in adult sections
  • Other C&YA Issues
    Abridged classics (often poor quality)
    Series books (often poor quality, replace if titles don’t stand alone and collect for various reading levels)
    Older titles – beware of dated look, torn pages, shabby bindings
    Worn classics should be replaced (Don’t be sentimental!)
    Geography titles older than 5 years – toss
    Science, medicine, inventions – rapid changes so update every 5 years
    Textbooks – gauge by demand in community and homeschool population
  • 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
  • Advice for Specific Sections: Periodicals
    Current use – use declines drastically 5 years after publication date
     Interest in circulating older issues – do you allow back issues to circulate?
     Full-text availability
     Space
  • Advice for Specific Sections: Media
    Subjective Criteria
    Worn out
    Out-of-date
    Rarely used
    Supplied elsewhere
    Trivial or faddish
  • Keepers
    Volumes of sets and series with special merit
    Older reference works augmented by (not superseded by) later editionsi.e. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations
    Local history
    Works by local authors
  • Classics Debate
    It’s our duty as librarians to expose people to “great” literature.
    Unless a movie comes out based on a classic, are people still reading them?
    Read
    Read
  • How Often Between Systematic Reviews?
    Biography 2
    Fiction 2
    Large Print 2
    Paperbacks 1
    Children’s 2
    Young Adult 3
    Scores 5
    Media 2
    Software 2
    Dewey Years
    000 3
    100 4
    200 5
    300 3
    400 5
    500 2
    600 2
    700 3
    800 5
    900 4
  • 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
  • Weeding library collections: library weeding methods, 4th ed., by Stanley J Slote. Englewood, Colo. Libraries Unlimited, 1997. ISBN: 1563085119 9781563085116.
  • Less is more: a practical guide to weeding school library collections, by Donna J Baumbach and Linda L Miller. Chicago. American Library Association, 2006. ISBN: 0838909191 9780838909195.
  • Collection development and resources access plan for the Skokie Public Library, 3rd ed., by Teri Room and Barbara A Kozlowski. Skokie, IL. Skokie Public Library, 2008. ISBN: 0838985068 9780838985069.
  • http://www.ala.org/ala/professionalresources/
    libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet15.cfm
  • Reward Yourself & Your Team
  • Laura Johnson
    Continuing Education Coordinator,
    Nebraska Library Commission
    laura.johnson@nebraska.gov
    402.471.2694 or 800.307.2665