Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weeding Wednesday

It's no secret that I'm a pretty big proponent of weeding books in the public library... and in our own private lives as well! My own hoarder-ish tendencies cost me most of my book collection when the books I had in storage succumbed to a flood. (I promise you, my greed for ARCs has abated in the meantime.) Since then, I've made a (mostly successful) rule that everything has to fit on ONE bookcase. If I want more books, then I've got to figure out which ones I'm going to have to get rid of.

Weeding is
a sad, but necessary, fact of life for most librarians. Your collection won't be as enticing as it could be when it's cluttered and weighed down with stuff that no one wants anymore. When books haven't circulated in years, and maybe even decades, it's time to let them go, and make room for other exciting books on the shelf. I love it when you thin out a collection, and then sit back and listen to the exclamations of patrons who are certain that you must have bought a lot of new books (when in fact, your collection only looks newer, because of the dead weight that you've shed.)

With that in mind, I decided to take a critical look at our juvenile fiction, and found a few candidates for weeding. Most of these I'd weed on condition alone: yellowed, falling out pages, broken spines, scribble marks, scuff marks or worse on the cover. Not to mention dated topics and outmoded, unappealing covers. Most of these books have been in the library since 1989 or earlier, and have NEVER been checked out, not even once.

Here's my selection for this week.

Let's zoom in on this one: Trapped Beyond the Magic Attic by Sheri Cooper Sinykin. Wow. What's up with those girls? They look very poised... as if they'd like to get in a fight over that one-armed purple dress, but they're far too polite. This is actually one of the "newest" books in the lot, released in paperback in 1998, but its' ratty condition and abysmal circulation rate mean that I feel comfortable weeding this one.

How's your weeding going this week?


  1. You go girl! I'm all about making those shelves look VERY appealing. I'm a vicious weeder....

    Good luck!

  2. I'm stuck on the title "Moonshadow of Cherry Mountain". I think that needs to be a show dog name, or something. :)

  3. Annette, me too, although I am proceeding slowly and with caution right now. I want to win over my new co-workers by focusing on making just a few things at a time look great. When they see how good it looks, that'll build trust.

    Beth, I know what you mean. Panky in the Saddle... just doesn't sound right to me.

  4. Yikes, that cover is too funny! I'm a horrible weeder. I hate it. Our library is so small (and they won't let us get more shelves!!! *grrr* I'm very frustrated) so we need to weed every year. That means we have to get rid of books that haven't circulated in a year. I think that's just too soon for a lot of books. It also seems like such a waste of money. :(

  5. Oh, you are so right! One measly year? That's not enough time to really give some books a chance! All of these books were at least 25 years old and hadn't circ'ed in at least 7 years. (and some of them never!)

  6. Yes, it's very sad :( I keep saying we could double our collection if they would just give us more shelves. We have the floor space. Our patrons would even donate more shelves! But alas the answer from up above is no :( We call ourselves the step-child branch.

  7. Aw, drat. I hear that's the new trend... less books, more meeting room space, more play space, etc.



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