Shelf Reading and Shifting ALB

change 1Like any collection, monitoring, shifting and keeping it fresh is the job of the librarian. Awful Library Books is no exception. ALB began as a platform to preach about the perils of ignoring a collection. Since we are still here almost five years later, we decided to expand our mission a bit. ALB will now include some of our own experiences and advice we have for taming a collection. To begin with, we have posted basic articles on getting started in collection management, weeding, etc. If you are a newbie, you will find this particularly helpful. Also, you will be happy to know that since we both have the attention span of fly, these articles are pretty short and to the point.

Regular ALB postings will continue, but now we have added a tab on the menu called Practical Librarian. Feel free to join us for some quick and dirty professional development.


(Image creative commons courtesy of



  1. Thank you for this. I’m currently in the process of taming an out of control non-fiction collection. I don’t think it has ever been properly weeded – I have about 11,000 titles that haven’t been checked out in three years. These articles will definitely come in handy.

  2. I use several discarding factors one is any item that has not been checked out in 2 years is subject to discarding. If it’s a last copy, I will check to see if another branch has a copy and available for the public.

  3. Thanks for doing this! Collection Development isn’t a required course any more for Indiana University’s MLS program, and it’s nice to know I can point students this way for some practical advice.

  4. Our collection hasn’t been properly weeded since “The Great Purge of ’96” when it was gone through by a team that was in High Dudgeon at the time. And they left a ginormous amount of science books going back to the 1950’s (my guess? they were original to the library’s beginnings and they were afraid to chuck them). Anyway, I have to deal with these dinosaurs as well as replace the information with some physical and some e-books (frankly, I believe our e-book provider is not really that great at adding new materials).
    Weeding? Pretty easy. Replacement? Not so much.
    Sure wish there was an Awesome Library Books webpage out there!


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