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CREW Method

CREW Method: Overview

The CREW Method is a guide to weeding developed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.  

Click here to view the full CREW Method manual.

If done routinely every day, this review of the collection will expand your knowledge of the library's holdings, give you a reservoir of possible information sources, and prepare you for informed selection of new books on the basis of actual usage and the real strengths and weaknesses of the collection. Try to coordinate selection of new materials to coincide with the CREWing of that section.  


CREW Method in Ten Steps

  1. Make weeding a part of policy. Obtain the Board's approval of a written weeding and discarding policy as a defense against possible controversy, and as a guide to the day-to-day weeding. If a selection policy already exists, the weeding policy could form an amendment or appendix to it.

  2. Build weeding into the year's work calendar. Set priorities (areas of the collection most in need of weeding should be done first) and schedule the times to weed. Allow sufficient time. If done in a careful manner, weeding is a slow process requiring thought and judgment. Plan to do weeding during slack hours and slow seasons when there will be minimal distractions.

  3. Make sure the shelf has been read to insure proper order.

  4. Gather equipment on a book truck at the shelf intended for CREWing:

    1. A report displaying dusty materials.

    2. Slips of paper to indicate disposal status (e.g., bindery, mend, replacement/new edition, sell, discard). (Click here for sample slips.)

    3. Pencils, etc.

  5. Study the shelves one unit at a time, allowing breaks to keep alert. Using the dusty list, first review the books that have not circulated. Use the Guidelines Tables as a guide, but also feel free to alter the formulas to fit your particular case, using your experience and knowledge of your community. Pull and place a slip in those books needing treatment or discarding, and replace the books you feel should be kept. Then review the other books on the same shelves. Just because a book is circulating does not mean it must be kept. Consider marking the date on the book pocket and any pertinent comments that influence its status. Indicate missing books on the dusty list and later check the database to see if they are in circulation. After checking, delete missing items from the database.

  6. Evaluate the library's holdings. As you weed, evaluate the currency and sufficiency of the collection in that subject area.

  7. Check books you have pulled against the indexes (Short Story Index, etc.) that your library uses. A book in poor physical condition might be kept if cited in an index, but see if a new copy or edition is available.

  8. Treat the pulled books according to their slips: mending, discard, replacement.

  9. Replacement checking and ordering. Order replacement at the conclusion of weeding a major Dewey Classification.

  10. Set up displays for low-circulation, high quality books that could benefit from better exposure. Consider other ways to promote less used sections of the collection. 
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