We all think of spring cleaning as a time to get rid of those unwanted clothes, and do a little extra dusting around the house, but in a library, getting rid of the books you don’t need anymore is simply called weeding. And while spring time at my high school brings droves of kids to the library to check out books that teachers assigned last minute, or research materials for a final project, the fall is usually a time to get those major projects done. You know, the projects you’ve been dogging for months and you’ve finally decided to get done?
Weeding the reference section is one of those projects that my librarians Lisa and Marjie had said they’d been meaning to do for awhile. They knew that many titles were out of date, and were not being used, especially since our school’s databases covered much of the same material. They decided it would be a good experience for me to have the initial run through of the section, marking the books that I thought should be weeded, and why. I spent about 5-8 class periods pulling each reference title off the shelf, flipping through it to look at what information it held, how current the title was, and if it was still of good use to students and teachers. I also compared each book to the databases that our school has access to, evaluating if the title we had in print was redundant to a database or vice-versa. I put a sticky note with my reasoning on every book I deemed fit to weed, and in the weeks following my completion, Lisa pulled those titles and made the final call of whether to weed the title or not.
I had discarded books before while working at the town library, but never before had I been given the opportunity to make the decisions on weeding. I came in one Monday, however, to see all the books on which Lisa agreed with me, lined up on the top of the bookshelves. She told me there were only 10 or so titles that she disagreed with me on, but for the rest of the books she felt that I had correctly evaluated that they needed to be discarded.
Here are all the discarded books aligned on top of the shelves!
Here are the remaining reference books in our now less crowded, and less dusty reference section!
And so goes the success of my fall weeding! The discarded books were not at the end of their lives, don’t you worry! In my next post, I’ll talk about the many crafts we used the books for before finally donating the remaining titles to a book store.