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

  1. 1. Weeding: Why is it so difficult and what can we do about it?<br />
  2. 2. 10 Reasons to Weed<br />1. Increase library appeal<br /> 2. Save patrons’ and staffs’ time<br /> 3. Protect readers from inaccurate information<br />4. Encourage browsing<br />5. Eliminate items no longer of interest to patrons<br />6. Save space<br />7. Increase use of other materials<br />8. Reduce duplicate copies<br />9. Eliminate items no longer fitting library’s mission<br />10. Save time inventorying<br />
  3. 3. Rule of Thumb:<br />3%<br />(required for NE public library accreditation)<br />
  4. 4. Average % Weeded Last Year<br />Average % Withdrawn<br />Libraries Serving<br />Population<br /> 100-499<br /> 500-999<br /> 1000-1999<br /> 2000-4999<br /> 5000-9999<br />10000-49999<br />5.00<br />5.22<br />7.90<br />6.10<br />7.81<br />8.71<br />Source: 2009 NE Public library statistics<br />
  5. 5. 3% of the Average Collection<br />Population <br />Served<br />Average # Books in Collection<br />3%<br /> 7472<br />11568<br />15284<br />27225<br />36093<br />85525<br /> 224.16<br /> 347.04<br /> 458.52<br /> 816.75<br />1082.8<br />2565.8<br /> 100-499<br /> 500-999<br /> 1000-1999<br /> 2000-4999<br /> 5000-9999<br />10000-49999<br />Source: 2009 NE Public library statistics<br />
  6. 6. What are the reasons that weeding doesn’t get done?<br />
  7. 7. 1.<br />“There’s no such thing as a bad book.<br />
  8. 8.
  9. 9. (The wrong) something is not better than nothing.<br />
  10. 10. "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.“<br />--Clarke, G. E. "Propaganda." Library World, 42:62-63, October 1939<br />
  11. 11. 2.<br />“Someone might need them”<br />
  12. 12. 80/20 Rule (Pareto Principle)<br />20% of your books are responsible for 80% of your circulation<br />
  13. 13. 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. <br />- Source: “Weeding without tears” by Loriene Roy, Collection Management Vol. 12, #1 and 2, 1990, pp. 83-93, p. 91.<br />
  14. 14. The best predictor of future circulation?<br />Past circulation<br /><ul><li>Source: Weeding Library Collections, by Stanley J. Slote, 1989, p. 64.</li></li></ul><li>3.<br />“We haven’t gotten all the good out of it yet.”<br />OR<br />“It’s not worn out.”<br />
  15. 15. Collection Development<br />Process and Catalog <br />Circulate<br />Select<br />Weed and discard<br />Cycle<br />
  16. 16. Display:<br />“Good Books You Might Have Missed”<br />Photo: Newton Free Library. Available at:<br />start with 12 books--not too many<br />
  17. 17. 4.<br />“I don’t want to admit I made a poor selection.”<br />
  18. 18. books<br />All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else. - -Mae West <br />
  19. 19. 5.<br />“It might be valuable”<br />
  20. 20.<br />
  21. 21. 6.<br />“What will people say?”<br />
  22. 22. Like most kinds of equipment, most books eventually lose their effectiveness<br />
  23. 23. 7.<br />“We won’t have anything left”<br />
  24. 24. # Books Purchased for Every Book Withdrawn <br />Additions/Withdrawals<br />Libraries Serving<br />Population<br />2.16<br />3.39<br />5.098<br />4.97<br />1.26<br />1.10<br /> 100-499<br /> 500-999<br /> 1000-1999<br /> 2000-4999<br /> 5000-9999<br />10000-49999<br />Source: 2009 NE Public Library Statistics<br />
  25. 25. American Book Production<br />(New Books and New Editions)<br />1920……..….……6187<br />1957……..…...13,142<br />1977……..…...35,469<br />2007……..….185,969<br />--Bowker Annual, 1959, 1978, 2009<br />
  26. 26. 8.<br />The library looks fine/ there’s plenty of room<br />
  27. 27. Ask someone who is not familiar with your library, <br /> or <br />Take pictures <br />
  28. 28. Shelves just inside the door circulate 24% more books than shelves 15 feet inside the door.<br />(74)<br />(98)<br />Shaw, 1938<br />
  29. 29. Books Circulated from One Section of Shelves<br />18<br />Top<br />29<br />Row 2 <br />18<br />Row 3 <br />28<br />Row 4 <br />16<br />Row 5 <br />13<br />Row 6 <br />5<br />Bottom<br />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.<br />
  30. 30. In 1973, when Stanley Slote weeded 20% of fiction, six months later circulation increased 106.2%, 20 months later the increase was 121.2%.<br />- Source: Weeding Library Collections by Stanley J. Slote, 1989, p. 65.<br />
  31. 31. 9.<br />There isn’t time<br />
  32. 32. Make everyone (staff and volunteers) part of the Weeding Team<br />
  33. 33. Tips<br />Weed as you go—when an item is in hand<br />Set small daily or weekly goals<br />Have a contest<br />Form a support group – “Reluctant Weeders”<br />Make a chart of the stacks and color in where you’ve weeded<br />Have your weeding kit ready to go<br />
  34. 34. 10.<br />“I don’t know where to start.”<br />
  35. 35. CREW<br />
  36. 36. Download at:<br /><br />
  37. 37. CREW Summary Chart<br />
  38. 38. What to WeedorUsing CREW<br />Maximum permissible time without use<br />Copyright DateIs it more than X year(s) ago?<br />
  39. 39. CREW Criteria<br />Musty<br />Ugly<br />Superseded<br />Trivial<br />Irrelevant to your collection<br />Elsewhere (I.L.L.)<br />
  40. 40. To Weed or Not To Weed? Checklist of Weeding Factors<br />Physical Condition<br />Intellectual Content<br /><ul><li>Author
  41. 41. Publisher
  42. 42. Date
  43. 43. Reading level
  44. 44. Current interest?</li></ul>Circumstances<br /><ul><li>Circulation Stats
  45. 45. Any more copies?
  46. 46. Expense to replace
  47. 47. Similar resources?</li></ul>Aesthetic Content<br /><ul><li>Illustrations
  48. 48. Format
  49. 49. Visual Appeal</li></ul>Suitability<br /><ul><li>Contributes to Mission
  50. 50. In school curricula?</li></li></ul><li>Your Library Selection Policy<br />Includes :<br /><ul><li>De-selection criteria
  51. 51. Weeding schedule
  52. 52. Disposal methods</li></li></ul><li>Sample Policy Language<br />Each item, through its quality, reliability, current usefulness and<br />appearance, must earn its place on the shelf, and contribute to the reliability, reputation and attractiveness of the Library.<br /><br />WMRLS_sample_weed_policy.pdf<br />
  53. 53. Quick & Dirty<br />Consider weeding:<br />Duplicate copies no longer needed<br />Items in obviously poor condition<br />Drab items that get lost on shelves<br />Older single title authors<br />Obscure or ephemeral titles<br />Knockoffs of popular authors (Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter)<br />Lesser works of authors who have died<br />Minor author/poet collections<br />Series books when titles are missing<br />Simplified/abridged classics<br />Jeanette Larson, Small Library Mgt. Training Program, <br />Collection Development Course<br />
  54. 54. Steps to Weeding<br />Gather usage statistics<br />Maintain a weeding kit<br />Study the area you will be weeding<br />Weed<br />Double check in indexes & bibliographies <br />Dispose of weeded materials—discard, recycle, sell, donate<br />Order replacements or put on a wish list to reorder when funds are available<br />Merchandise low circulating, high-quality items<br />
  55. 55. Swiffer Duster Coupon<br /><br />
  56. 56. Advice for Specific Sections: <br />Picture Books<br />Think boutique (high-quality, current selection)<br />Be aware of ephemeral interests<br />Board books should be replaced more often since they get the most abuse<br />Replace worn copies of perennial faves (multiples)<br />
  57. 57. Advice for Specific Sections: YA Fiction<br />Be ruthless in this section<br />Currency is key<br />Paperbacks<br />>5 years, remove if not circulating well<br />
  58. 58. Advice for Specific Sections: C&YA Non-Fiction<br />Anything is not better than nothing<br /> Be aware of online resources<br /> Better to not have books that have bad information<br /> Use CREW Guidelines by Dewey Class as in adult sections<br />
  59. 59. Other C&YA Issues <br />Abridged classics (often poor quality)<br />Series books (often poor quality, replace if titles don’t stand alone and collect for various reading levels)<br />Older titles – beware of dated look, torn pages, shabby bindings<br />Worn classics should be replaced (Don’t be sentimental!)<br />Geography titles older than 5 years – toss<br />Science, medicine, inventions – rapid changes so update every 5 years<br />Textbooks – gauge by demand in community and homeschool population<br />
  60. 60. Advice for Specific Sections: Reference<br />Older editions may be weeded when superseded<br /> Materials should be periodically evaluated, (not as often as circulating collection and not as continuous)<br /> Different replacement schedules (new editions may not be as frequent)<br /> Keep websites and databases in mind<br /> Consider integrating reference materials into the circulating collection, especially if usage is poor<br />
  61. 61. Advice for Specific Sections: Periodicals<br />Current use – use declines drastically 5 years after publication date<br /> Interest in circulating older issues – do you allow back issues to circulate?<br /> Full-text availability<br /> Space<br />
  62. 62. Advice for Specific Sections: Media<br />Subjective Criteria<br />Worn out<br />Out-of-date<br />Rarely used<br />Supplied elsewhere <br />Trivial or faddish<br />
  63. 63. Keepers<br />Volumes of sets and series with special merit<br />Older reference works augmented by (not superseded by) later editionsi.e. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations<br />Local history<br />Works by local authors<br />
  64. 64. Classics Debate<br />It’s our duty as librarians to expose people to “great” literature.<br />Unless a movie comes out based on a classic, are people still reading them?<br />Read<br />Read<br />
  65. 65. How Often Between Systematic Reviews?<br />Biography 2<br />Fiction 2<br />Large Print 2<br />Paperbacks 1<br />Children’s 2<br />Young Adult 3<br />Scores 5<br />Media 2<br />Software 2 <br />Dewey Years<br /> 000 3<br /> 100 4<br /> 200 5<br /> 300 3<br /> 400 5<br /> 500 2<br /> 600 2<br /> 700 3<br /> 800 5<br /> 900 4<br />
  66. 66. Keys to Weeding Success<br />Make weeding part of policy<br />Build weeding into the regular work schedule<br />Inventory as you weed<br />Follow up on questions/problems<br />Consider the collection as a whole<br />
  67. 67. Weeding library collections: library weeding methods, 4th ed., by Stanley J Slote. Englewood, Colo. Libraries Unlimited, 1997. ISBN: 1563085119 9781563085116. <br />
  68. 68. 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. <br />
  69. 69. 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. <br />
  70. 70.<br />libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet15.cfm<br />
  71. 71. Reward Yourself & Your Team<br />
  72. 72. Laura Johnson<br />Continuing Education Coordinator,<br />Nebraska Library Commission<br /><br />402.471.2694 or 800.307.2665<br />