Please Weed the Weeding Book

weeding book

Weeding Library Collections – II

It’s National Library Week!  Holly and I have saved some library-oriented titles for this week.  If you truly want to support libraries and librarians, write a nice check to your local library, or at least buy your favorite librarian a gift.  I am trying to get my family to embrace this idea, but I don’t think it’s working.

To kick things off, I present the case for weeding a book about weeding.  Slote has written quite a few books on collection management, and his latest was in 1997. Fortunately, there aren’t very many public libraries that have this sitting around gathering dust. Most of the holdings are in academic libraries.  I would imagine that Slote’s work is appropriate for a library science collection. It looks like he systematically updated his work regularly, since he published regularly after this particular edition. Use today’s post as a reminder to weed your professional collection.







  1. Unfortunately, he’s right about the book card method. Nowadays we have to run the books through the checkout system on the computer, check the circ details and then decide whether they indicate it should be weeded. It takes twice as long, at least.

  2. Hmm. It seemed to me, as I switched from the “book card” method to the computer, that I saved hours upon hours of time after the switch, so I find KathyP.’s comments interesting.

  3. But KathyP, shouldn’t the database involved with said collection also be able to tell you with a short number of keystrokes which specific books haven’t been circulated in, like, for-EVAH?? In the little private museum collection with which I work, I can sort the books by when they were added to the collection, even.
    Okay, maybe it SHOULD be able to tell you this, but that doesn’t mean it will. Heck, I wonder how many libraries still actually use cards in pockets inside the book covers?

  4. Hm, I’ve done two different weeding projects at two libraries (I’m an intern). For both projects, I was considering aspects like condition, scope, and quality, which are better assessed by looking at the actual item, as well as circulation statistics. One place does not stamp due dates on items anymore, so I had to either carry around printouts of circ stats or load up the items I was thinking of weeding and take them back to the desk, scan them, and look at the circ data there. Either way was fairly cumbersome, and I never figured out which one I liked better. The other library has due dates stamped on the books, so I could stand there in the stacks and see the circulation history as well as the other relevant criteria, just by looking at the item itself, which was much, much easier than having the circulation history separate from the item.

  5. Alex does weeding the same way our librarians do it. And we do still put date due cards in the pockets- we no longer have the cards that have the circulations on them in the pockets before checkout though. We have a new librarian that thinks paperbacks should be given 10 circs then weed it, rather than mend it. Some of them are well circulated though and still in demand. So how do you weed something like that? It’s not really my department – I’m just paid to check them in and out.

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