Weeding Collections for the First Time

I’ve had a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” experience with weeding our collection over the past year. I have written before about the mammoth task of weeding our library’s collection, amounting to near 1200 books, mainly non-fiction. A list and criteria were provided to me through our district library services and all books over 10 years old and those that had not been circulated for over 3 were highlighted. There were an extraordinary number that fit that bill.

Library staff took the advice that was passed on by more experienced teacher-librarians and undertook the initial part of the process by immediately getting rid of any books that were in terrible condition or were incredibly out of date, before protests could be raised. Out of respect for our staff, I emailed and asked that staff members interested in the process and/or wishing to argue for keeping a selection of books or taking books for their classroom use. In her article, Eleonora Dubicki suggests involving others, namely faculty, in the process of weeding a collection. As I got others involved, there were a variety of reactions about the process, the most common being “why are you getting rid of all of the books?”, while the most frustrating was those staff members that had no response at all as there was clearly no engagement or interest in the way that the space was developing. Continue reading

Collection Evaluation Report

Our school library learning commons (SLLC) is undergoing a substantial change. Simply put, over the last year there has been interest and encouragement to transform from the traditional form of school library to something that could be truly referred to as a learning commons. To become a place “where student success is the highest priority, and learning objectives are ambitiously pursued through collaboration between teacher-librarians, teachers, and students” (Ekdahl, Zubke, & Contributors, 2017, p. 3), the SLLC must have a collection that will allow students to achieve this success as well as offer support to the teachers who are to guide them there.

In a previous paper, “Community Analysis and Report,” our International Baccalaureate (IB) science curriculum was identified as an area that could be supported by the library, that has the most impact on our students and one in which support has been requested. To reiterate elements of the need in this area from the previous analysis, 80.6% of our 227 senior IB are taking two sciences. In each, biology, chemistry and physics, students must complete an individualized internal assessment (IA) worth 20% of their grade in each course. This is to be a scientific investigation resulting in a 6-12 page write up from about 10 hour of work (International Baccalaureate Organization, 2014). It has also been identified that students require support in choosing an appropriate topic for their IAs and finding sources at an appropriate level to support them in their research.

Before looking directly at the collection itself, there are factors that must be considered for the evaluative process to be fully understood. Continue reading