Category Archives: Weeding

Weeding Resources

Weeding, also known as culling or de-selection, is a process of removing library materials form collections based on a certain criteria. Weeding is a necessary process that libraries continuously perform.

Weeding is vital because it saves shelf space (removes overstuffed shelves and creates room for new books), makes it easier to browse the collection and thus saves time, removes outdated material, makes the collection more appealing, etc.

Librarians are often hesitant to weed for many different reasons. Don’t let any hesitations get in the way of weeding; you don’t want your collection to suffer because of it. One such hesitation is the potential reaction from the public/ patrons. They may look at the process and say, “Why is the library throwing out books?” Transparency is needed to avoid any negative publicity. Get the word out before the project begins, and explain the process and why weeding is essential.

It is important for librarians and patrons alike to remember that libraries do not have unlimited space; and libraries are not museums or warehouses.

If you need guidance, THE definitive resource on weeding is CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, which was created by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  The Crew manual explains why weeding is important, it covers the weeding process, and it also offers weeding assistance on specific categories (nonfiction, fiction, graphic novels, periodicals, children’s books, young adult fiction, etc.).

Before starting a weeding project, you should make sure your library has an updated weeding policy. One is available on the State Library’s website (and in the resources below).

If you ever need assistance with weeding, don’t hesitate to contact your Library Development representative (and we’ll come running!).

Now that we’ve covered some weeding basics, it’s time to start weeding! Here are some great resources on weeding:

Videos/ Webinars/ Tutorials on Weeding:

Recommended Reading:

  • Allen, M. (2010). Weed ’em and reap: The art of weeding to avoid criticism. Library Media Connection. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/V2Nx0P
  • Chant, I. (2015). The art of weeding: Collection management. Library Journal. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2sqVUqc
  • Vnuk, R. (2016). Weeding without worry: Transparency and communication help ease weeding woes. American Libraries. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1Zi73Rm

What to Do with Weeded Books:

Factors for Weeding:

  • Consider things like age, last circulation date, number of circulations, condition, multiple copies, etc.
  • Also, you can use the acronym MUSTIE – Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, and Elsewhere (more information on MUSTIE can be found in the Crew manual)

Inspiring Quotes on Weeding:

  • “A good library collection is like a good haircut. It’s not what you cut–it’s what you leave.” – Anne Felix (CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries)
  • “…it is better to have worthless books in the trash than have trash on your shelves.” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “Overflowing shelves give an overall impression of chaos and make it harder for people to fine the resources they really need.” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “…lack of funds to replace outdated or worn items is never an excuse for not weeding.” – Jeanette Larson (CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries)
  • “Try to avoid a situation where weeding is a massive project that is done once in ten years requiring you to weed hundreds of items. It is much better to make weeding an ongoing process…” – Melissa Allen (Weed ‘Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism)
  • “Patrons lose patience trying to find items that are crammed onto overcrowded shelves.” – CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries
  • “Circulation can be increased by simply making the shelves look more attractive and user-friendly, even if there are actually fewer books.” – CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries
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NDLCC Standards Compliance: Weeding

Guest post by Mary Soucie, State Librarian (first published in the November 2016 issue of Flickertale)

This is part of our ongoing series regarding compliance with the ND Library Coordinating Council’s Standards for Public Libraries. This month we will focus on weeding.

Weeding your library, similar to weeding your garden, is vital if you want your collection to thrive and grow and produce good fruit. I know many librarians who are reluctant to weed. “Someone might want this” is the cry of these librarians. And that could be true, someday someone might want that material. If so, chances are good that you’ll be able to get the item through InterLibrary Loan. The fact that someone, someday *may* check out an item is not a good justification to keep it on the shelf. Each item needs to earn its space in your collection.

Statistics show that when you weed your collection, circulation naturally increases. I have personally experienced this multiple times. Once you pull out the items that aren’t circulating, people can find the gems that were hidden by the bulk. There are standard criteria that you should consider when weeding, such as number and last date of circulation, condition, age of the item, other items in the collection that are similar or on the same topic, availability through ILL, historical significance or local interest, and for nonfiction, the accuracy of the information. Personally, I always employee the “smell test” if an item is older and it smells musty or makes me sneeze when I sniff it, the item is pulled. Part of weeding is also identifying items that are out-of-date but still valid to have in the collection in an updated version. The Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding method (CREW), developed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is the gold standard for weeding. You can download a free copy of the CREW manual at http://bit.ly/2fwM266. We strongly urge libraries to utilize the CREW manual when weeding.

At the Mountain Plains Library Association conference in October, I attended a fabulous session on the politics of weeding or in other words how to not get caught up in a weeding scandal. Our patrons may not understand the need for weeding our collection. The presenter, Mickey Coalwell, suggested taking a proactive approach when undertaking a weeding process by writing an article in the library’s newsletter about why we weed and how it is necessary to not only add to the collection, but also remove items for the various reasons stated above.

Mickey also stressed that libraries need to have a weeding policy in place. Weeding should be an ongoing function of the library. It is often when the library undertakes a massive weeding process that the community gets outraged. The “whistle blowers” are often staff, trustees or volunteers that don’t understand that the weeding process is a core function of the library. Each of those groups should be trained on the “whys of weeding.” You should know your weeding policy as well as you know your library’s elevator speech. You also want to make sure that you are following local and state policies for disposal of public property.

Once you’ve withdrawn the items from your collection, what do you do with them? One option is to allow the public to purchase them through a book sale or book cart. You can work with Better World Books or other similar entities that will attempt to sell them on your behalf and will share a portion of the proceeds. Goodwill Books may be willing to pick them up and resell what they can, recycling the other items. You may be able to work with physicians’ offices, oil change places, and similar businesses where people typically have to wait to set up a “Take and Read” service. Recycling, after the covers are removed, is another option for disposal.

Weeding is an essential function of the library and one that all libraries should undertake. Corinne Hill, Director at Chattanooga Public Library, summed it up best when she said “weeding is a complex issue. That’s why it’s done by the professionals.” If you have questions about weeding, please contact your Library Development Specialist. If you’d like assistance with getting the ball rolling, I have assisted a number of libraries with weeding projects during “Librarian for the Day” visits and would love to help you out as well.

Decorating for Valentine’s Day

Brighten up the library for Valentine’s Day with some heart book art!

valentine craft decor idea framed hearts how toFramed Hearts Valentine’s Decor

Heart Punch V-Day Craft 10Heart Punch Valentine Art

If you don’t happen to have any spare frames laying around, use a book to make a picture frame. Or for a really simple frame, just attach your art to the front of a book with a red cover!

heart flowersMake a bouquet of flowers out of heart shapes.

Don’t have any weeded books? Not sure how to start weeding your collection? Check out the CREW manual, or if you’re in North Dakota contact, your Field Services librarian. We can help you get started!

Old Journals as Insulation

Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia had a problem. They had about 50,000 bound volumes of academic journals to store and were running out of space. Most universities are confronted with this problem. Some rent off-campus storage, others attempt to recycle. However, recycling poses problems; covers have to be removed because the glues and binding compounds jam the mechanical shredders.

David Cameron heard about the problem and saw a possible solution. David is a builder and his Blockhouse School Project needed a way to insulate the school to save heating money. The project is transforming an old schoolhouse into a community center. Cameron realized he could solve two problems by using the journals as insulation. Basically, he and his helpers stacked a wall of books and covered them with earth plaster (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw).

Discards

The Blockhouse School illustrates one successful way to use old books and journals, but the storage of bound journals is still an issue that many universities must confront.

[Adapted from: Asgarian, R. (2013). Library Discards Find New Life as Insulation. Library Journal, 138(21), 17.]

“People are like bicycles. They can keep their balance only as long as they keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

 

Winter Book Page Crafts

Now that the Christmas season is over, it’s time to update the library decor with more art made from your weeded books!

book page snowman

Make a book snowman.

book page snowflakes

Fold and cut some snowflakes.

For help with constructing the pinwheels, check out this tutorial.

Or try a super easy, no-scissors-required snowflake.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, try a woven book page snowflake.

snowflake wreath

Hang a snowflake wreath.

For a hanging decoration involving less cutting, try a snowflake banner instead.

Don’t have any weeded books on hand to craft with? Get a jump on spring cleaning the library by starting a weeding project. If you need help getting started, consult the CREW manual, or call your Field Services librarian.

Book Crafts for Christmas

Spread some holiday cheer by decorating your library with weeded books!

book christmas treeFolded Book Christmas Tree

honeycomb book page ornamentsHoneycomb Book Page Ornaments

book page wreathRolled Book Page Wreath

How are you decorating your library for the holidays?

For more inspiration, check out the decorations the staff of the Edna Ralston Library in Larimore made for their 2012 Holiday Open House:

edna ralston book page rose detail
edna ralston book page star garland
Check out the decorations for their 2013 Holiday Open House on Facebook.

Book Page Turkeys

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. If you’re feeling thankful, why not decorate the library with turkeys made from weeded books?

bookpage turkey1

Clothespin Turkeys

bookpage turkey2

Book Page Turkeys

bookpage turkey3

Rolled Book Page Turkeys

If you would like help getting started weeding your library, you can consult the CREW manual, or call your Field Services librarian for assistance!

What do you have to be thankful for this year at your library? Share your stories in the comments!

Spooky Book Crafts for Halloween

Halloween is a great time to make decorations with your weeded books! There are so many great themes from which to choose!

book page ghosts
Make some pop-up ghosts.

Or try this with another shape, such as owls.

book page pumpkin mask
Did you Mod Podge a pumpkin last week? Disguise it with a mask!

Or make a book page mask for yourself as an easy costume.

book page skullMake a book page skull, inspired by Edgar Allan Poe.

For another crow-themed craft, check out the faux taxidermy from Dollar Store Crafts.

If you’re giving out goodies, you can make treat bags out of book pages. For a different style, check out this design.

For another decorating option, turn pumpkins into book characters!

Do you have a great Halloween decorating idea using weeded books? Share it in the comments!

Fall Book Crafts

Fall began a couple of weeks ago, and if you’re sad to see summer end, why not lift your spirits with some crafting and decorating with using your weeded books?

bookpage pumpkin1

Mod Podge Book Page Pumpkin

bookpage pumpkin2

Orange Book Page Pumpkin
Or trim it up a bit, paint it red, and make it an apple instead!

bookpage leaf garland

Leaf Garland

For an easy leaf art project (no cutting involved), paint watercolor leaves on book pages. For a more ambitious leaf project, try book page oak leaves.

If you would like help getting started weeding your library, you can consult the CREW manual, or call your Field Services librarian for assistance!

Spring Cleaning and Weeding

The first day of spring was last week, and Easter is this weekend, so if you’re in the mood for some spring cleaning, start by weeding your library! Then make some springy book decorations to celebrate!

book page egg

Make some book page eggs with a little Mod Podge.

book page basket

Then make a book page basket for your eggs.

book page bunny

Make a book page bunny with a pompom tail.

book page bunny trio

Get a little more advanced and turn plastic eggs into 3-D book page bunnies.

If you’re looking for more crafty inspiration and programming for your library, plan to attend the upcoming Spring Workshop session “Crafts in the Library,” and check out the ODIN catalog for crafts books available at the State Library.

If you’d like to weed your collection, but don’t know where to start, check out the CREW manual or call your Field Services representative. We’ll be happy to visit and help you get started!

Have you used weeded books as decorations before? Share your ideas in the comments!