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08-17: Computers


In many libraries, the computer books can be a real weed patch. But don't be intimidated! Even if you are not a techie, there are some sensible guidelines to follow.

Basically, your audience for this section falls into two groups; the user and the aspiring or current IT professional:

  • The user is an average person trying to figure out how to use various devices, cope with the software on a new laptop, and use social media for work or recreational purposes. Basic books on how to use devices, software, and social media should be as simple and visually-oriented as possible. Look for senior-friendly materials. Bear in mind that the “Dummies” series, despite its casual presentation, is not always geared to the casual user.
  • The IT worker is interested in updating certifications or expanding areas of professional expertise. These tend to be creators or administrators. They want exam prep such as A++ or Security +, exams from major vendors such as Microsoft or Cisco, or information on how to use languages and other tools such as Python, C++, or Visual Basic. Keep the newest releases only, if you are buying them.

The primary focus in a public library is really on the average user, rather than the professional, unless you decide to specialize. Also bear in mind that, for the most part, this subject lends itself to online learning as much as print. Only keep books on software and devices up to one release back. Patrons with earlier versions or older devices have had a while to learn them and can easily find user manuals and instructions online if need be. Something is not better than nothing here.

The CREW guideline for 004 Computers is 3/X/MUSTIE - 3 years since publication, and X is the maximum time since the last circulation. MUSTIE stands for Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, and easily found Elsewhere. The CREW guideline designates “X” to mean “not applicable to this subject”. The thing you want to know is when a new release comes out. Otherwise, the publication date is enough.

The Easiest Way to Weed It - collectionHQ

Finding the good, the bad, and the ugly at your library will be simple using two quick reports in collectionHQ:

  • First, run the Dead Items Removal report (Manage > Non-Fiction > Collection Removal > Dead Items Removal) using the Dewey range 004.000000 to 005.999999. Look at publication date, date added, last use date, and circulation (the circulation column might need to be added from the Hidden Columns area to the left of the report). Your course of action will be obvious - if an item is outdated but was popular (i.e. had high circs), you might consider finding updated versions of books on this topic.
  • Next, using the same Dewey range, run the Popular Subject Summary (Manage > Non-Fiction > Collection Demand > Popular Subject Summary). Here you will see which Dewey groups in this subject area (if any) are actually moving at your library. Click on the link to subject's top titles to see individual titles that were popular, keeping in mind that publication date is still important to consider, although it is not displayed in this particular report. From this view, you can also toggle to the System-wide View hyperlink to see what's moving at other libraries, again, keeping publication date in mind.

Suggestions for Weeding

  • BlackBerry for Dummies by Robert Kao, 2006 (0471757411)
  • CompTIA A+: Exams A+ Essentials (220-601), 220-602, 220-603, 220-604 by Charles Brooks, 2008 (9780789735652)
  • How to Do Everything iPad 2 by Joli Ballew, 2011 (9780071780919)
  • iOS Cloud Development for Dummies by Neal Goldstein, 2012 (9781118026236)
  • PowerPoint 2003 for Dummies by Doug Lowe, 2003 (0764539086)

Suggestions for Purchase

  • Comp TIA A+ Certification All-in-One Exam Guide (Exams 220-901 & 220-902) by Mike Meyers, 2016 (9781259589515)
  • Create Your Own Website the Easy Way by Alannah Moore, 2016 (9781781572900)
  • The Gamer's Guide to Coding by Gordon McComb, 2017 (9781454922346)
  • iPhone for Seniors in Easy Steps: covers iOS 10 by Nick Vandome - 3rd ed., 2016 (9781840787436)
  • My Facebook for Seniors by Michael Miller - 3rd ed., 2017 (9780789757920)
  • Office 2016 Simplified: Step-by-Step Instructions for Easy Learning by Elaine J. Marmel, 2016 (9781119074748)
  • Sams Teach Yourself Java in 21 Days: Covers Java 8 and Android Development by Rogers Cadenhead - 7th ed., 2016 (9780672337109)
  • Teach Yourself Visually Excel 2016 by Paul McFedries, 2016 (9781119074731)
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