Monday, May 30, 2011


  • The systematic removal of materials in a library’s collection either by discarding or transferal to storage
    o storage items no longer circulate

  • Weeding policy
    • Statement of purpose
      o for policy
    • Criteria to be considered in weeding
      o no longer needed for library
    • Methods to be used for disposing of weeded materials
      o is it appropriate for another library?
    Reasons for weeding
    • To save space
    • To improve patron access
      o Patrons will see good/interesting materials
    • To make room for new materials
    • To improve library’s appearance
    • To provide feedback on strengths/weaknesses of the collection
    Subjective criteria for weeding
    • Poor physical shape
      o Either rebind or throw
    • Obsolete items
    • Inappropriate items for a specific collection
    • Duplicates
    Objective weeding criteria
    • Age of form
    • Length of time on shelf between uses
    • Number of uses within a specified timeframe
    Factors discouraging weeding
    • Sacredness of the collection
    • If I weed, they will come syndrome
    • Lack of time
    • Political considerations
    • Size and prestige of collection
    Assigning criteria by classification number range
    • By subject matter, determine oldest acceptable age of material
      o Computer books will go out of date quicker than literature
    • May be combined with circulation figure
    Weeding resources
    • Calgary Board of Education. “Weeding the School Library Media Collection: A Systematic Approach to Strengthening the Library Media Collection.” School Library Media Quarterly 12 (Fall 1987): 419-424.
    • Segal, Joseph P. Evaluating and weeding collections in small and medium-sized public libraries: the CREW method. Chicago: ALA, 1989.
    CREW method
    • Continuous
    • Review
    • Evaluation &
    • Weeding method
      * Build weeding into yearly work calendar
      * Guidelines for weeding based on DDC
      * Uses age of publication, circulation data and MUSTIE
    • Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)
    • Ugly (worn beyond repair)
    • Superseded (by new edition or better book)
    • Trivial (of no literary or scientific merit)
    • Irrelevant (to the interest needs of the community)
    • Elsewhere (can obtain through document delivery)
    From: Segal, Joseph P. Evaluating and weeding collections in small and medium-sized public libraries: the CREW method. Chicago: ALA, 1989.

    Sample CREW formula
    • 320 Political Science 5/3/MUSTIE
      o first number represents the age of the item
      o second number represents the number of years since the last circulation
    • Items removed from shelves are double checked against a standard list, if on the list item will be kept
    Sample from Calgary Board of Education
    • 320 Political Science
      o information dates quickly. To be weeded after 10 years, if not replaced sooner
    What not to weed
    • The “classics”, award winners, items which appear on standard, current core bibliographies
    • Items which may be out-of-print and which may still have some possible use
    • Materials of local interest, local history
    • Resources, in the absence of which may skew the balance in a subject area and may result in a biased representation
    Methods of disposal
    • Recycle
    • Exchange
    • Sell
      o proceeds can go towards purchasing new materials
    • Destroy (sometimes in the dead of night!)
    Some Internet sites

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