Friday, July 19, 2013
Just Weed It!
I love weeding! I seriously love it but I feel like it is such a taboo in library land. Say it with me people, public libraries are not archival collections!! It is not your job as a public librarian to keep and cultivate a collection of every book published on every subject. Hoarding is not a collection development policy!
But, you do need to know your policy. Personally, when I was tending my lovely garden of middle grade chapter books, I said if it hasn't circulated in five years, it's gone. There were of course exceptions of the Newbery and Caudill winning variety, but for the most part I stayed strong. Occasionally I would find a book that I loved growing up, like Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, that would get a year's pardon while I worked harder to book talk them, but for the most part, I was just plain mean. And I loved every minute!
Then there were the paperbacks! Ugh, those red-headed stepchildren of literature. I made it my mission to weed a Mary Kate and Ashley series every summer regardless of circs. I reasoned that Hannah Montana and Lizzie MacGuire were serviceable readalikes and newer at that. Sadly, my mission was not complete and I fear that if I returned I would still find Mary Kate and Ashley pb's all over the place, but I did what I could.
Why weed? Simple--to show off the good stuff! Shelf space is valuable and most libraries do not have the room to accommodate shelf-sitters so when buying and when weeding, I wanted to know that the books in my collection would live fantastic lives adventuring at reader's houses. This is also why I never fretted over a damaged book. I saw it as a life well lived.
If you are interested in actual weeding methods, I suggest that you check out Awful Library Books helpful list of weeding resources. And while you are there, you should check out what awful gems are sitting on library shelves. Then, after you are sufficiently horrified, go weed your own collection. You'll be glad you did!