Tuesday, August 28, 2012

'Weeding' books

I was going to post about how I got a project at work: I am going through all of the books in the Dewey Decimal 500s (science) that haven't been checked out in the last three years and making a recommendation about which to keep and which to 'weed' from the library's collection. But I decided that that would give things away. So I have a question for you instead.

One of the strange things about public libraries is that, even though the public pays for the books, we have almost no influence over what is in the library collection. Although people can make purchase suggestions in most systems, I've never heard of a method by which non-employees can directly influence whether or not something is kept once we have it. So before I tell you about what we actually do,

how would you decide which books to get rid of if it were up to you?

(P.S. We are having a massively intrusive upgrade to our intergrated library software today which has taken down the self-checkouts, the ability to log into a computer with a library card, and the public catalog. Most of the patrons have taken it very badly. Only Research Guy is unaffected and cheerful as ever.)


  1. I don't like getting rid of books so I would be conservative. I can see getting rid of old technology books--that's easy. Old science books, especially ones for kids (since adults might be interested in reading "old science" to see how things have changed, but kids probably wouldn't). I know some people say get rid of the old genre fiction, and I guess that makes sense if the books are battered. But with some genre fiction, the old stuff is just as good....I'd get rid of old biographies of uninteresting people...but everyone has different ideas about who's uninteresting. Maybe the reason librarians do the weeding is that "the public" would be stubborn and quirky and refuse to do what was needed.

  2. Research Guy sounds awesome, and is a model to all of us who use technology way way way too much when the info we need ("need", in his case it sounds like) is in a book anyway.