Monday, May 30, 2011


  • The systematic removal of materials in a library’s collection either by discarding or transferal to storage
    • 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    o Computer books will go out of date quicker than literature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  • Superseded (by new edition or better book)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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