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Weeding Guidelines

Weeding requires that you physically examine each item in your collection and make a decision about the current value of the item to the people you serve. There are a variety of criteria that can be used to determine whether to keep or discard an item. One of the most popular weeding hand books, The CREW Method: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries, recommends the following criteria:

M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)

U = Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)

S = Superseded (by a new edition or by a much better book on the subject)

T = Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)

I = Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community

E = The material may be obtained expeditiously Elsewhere…

Another set of criteria you might consider include:

APPEARANCE = Books that are damaged and heavily worn should be discarded.

DUPLICATE = Libraries often keep multiple copies of items (particularly best sellers) long after the demand has passed. Most small and medium-sized libraries only need one copy of most titles.

CONTENT = Many high interest, high demand titles are of transitory interest and should be discarded when popularity has passed. For example, there is little demand for biographies of yesterday's heroes, be they sports legends or Hollywood stars. 

AGE = This criteria applies particularly to non-fiction items in rapidly changing fields such as medicine, finance, geography, law, etc. If any portion of the item is inaccurate, it should be discarded.

CIRCULATION = The ultimate test of the value of an item in your collection is use. Before you begin to weed, decide how recently an item should have circulated to be retained (normally between three and five years). Look very carefully at any item that has not circulated within your predetermined time frame and, unless you can find extenuating circumstances, discard those items that have not. 

 

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