Archive for the ‘Weeding’ Category

Since I arrived at my library nearly 6 months ago, I have been engaged in the struggle to weed, update, shift, and organize my collection, which includes hardcover, paperback, manga, and magazines.  My supervisor, who had been maintaining the collection before I was hired had to cycle the YA stuff in to her youth department weeding schedule so she hadn’t weeded in over 3 years…between the scotch taped spine of Patricia McCormick’s Cut and the presence of an entire series of (original) Beverly Hills 90210 books, we were in serious need of some attention!

Without question, this first weeding experience has been a challenge.

First, it’s hard to know if you’re doing the right thing…especially if the stats are telling you to rid your shelves of Robert Cormier and you know there’s nothing right about that.  (I kept him, and stuck The Rag and Bone Shop on my horror book display this month and it was one of the first books to go out!  Decision justified…to me anyway!)

On the flip side, I found books that had decent circulation, but were in pretty bad shape.  Lots of those kind of books couldn’t be replaced, but at some point, you just have to face the music and toss the book.  My supervisor has given me 2 excellent pieces of advice on this particular conundrum.

  1. If a book is out of print there’s a reason.  In other words, if the publisher thought there was money to be made, they’d still be selling the book.
  2. If a librarian from another library came in to browse the collection, would you be embarrassed to have that torn to shreds R.L. Stine book on the shelf?  If you can’t honestly say no, get rid of it.

After all this pulling and shifting and analyzing and recycling, I’m finding that all the work has really been worth it.  Not only does the collection look a lot better, but we have also really improved access to the collection.  Particularly in our YA Paperback section, we were having some major access problems, which were finally able to be addressed last week after I got everything officially withdrawn and reordered (where relevant).  We have been having a lot of trouble with mishelving, in large part because there were just too many books (ratty and otherwise) living on those shelves.

I had 3 teen volunteers come in and help me pull every paperback book off the shelf and re-alphabetize/reorganize the entire section.  We added shelf labels for all the major authors/series to help those shelving in the section get things back in the right place and we got everything back in the right order.  When we finished, it was a thing of beauty!

And my bit of instant gratification…department heads get circulation reports for every Sunday and when I checked yesterday’s, the YA paperbacks were 10% of the library’s total circulation.  That’s pretty darn good–it seems that when people can actually see what’s on the shelf and find what they’re looking for, those YA books are pretty hot commodities!


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