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initial part of the process by immediately getting rid of any books that were in terrible condition or were incredibly out of date, before protests could be raised.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