Needin' Some Weedin'

Travis over at 100 Scope Notes has a wonderful post on weeding -complete with pix. He also includes the handy MUSTY guidelines and ALA resources. As you look at the books that are getting the heave-ho, it is obvious just how out-dated they are. I mean these were totally weed-worthy! I am a huge advocate of weeding and these pictures remind me of a favorite episode in my weeding adventures.

Many years ago, I started a new job at a library whose non-fiction had not been weeded in...I don't know, maybe forever? The collection was jammed with junk- pre-50-states-books; the famous 629s filled with the proverbial pre-moon landing books; science and social studies books "in color" - which meant the black and white line drawings featured a wash of puke orange or hideous pea green or urine yellow; weather books with 1950's photos and other books with fabulously nerdy photos of 1950's-'60's kids far removed from the rockin' 80s looks our community kids were sporting. I weeded with a vengeance.

My co-workers were visibly upset - worried that I was taking out too much and that too many good books were going. So I put everything I planned to weed on book carts, put them in the workroom and invited everyone to pull out and save anything they thought should stay. It wasn't a challenge. I really wanted them to feel comfortable with what I was doing - they knew the customer needs better than I did.

After a week, both co-workers came to me and said that they had no idea we had such old stuff. Once they saw what was going and really looked, it made perfect sense why such outdated, old material was no longer relevant. We all sat down and made lists of areas of the collection we needed to update. Those lists became our guidelines for purchase and we strengthened and rebuilt the collection into a vital one within two years.

Seeing was believing. And weeding became an accepted part of everyone's work.

Photo from Awful Library Books

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