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From the Popular Materials Weeding for the Small and Medium Library WLA 2018 session presented by Angela Noel (Brodhead Public Library) and Jennifer Bernetzke (Schreiner Memorial Library).

How do you know it is time to weed?

  • Are you storing items? (e.g. children’s Christmas collections)
  • Are you constantly shifting shelves?
  • Are there no bookends on your shelves? Have you left space at the end of each shelf?
  • Do you have a tight budget? (Circulation and items owned factor into your library’s V-Cat membership cost)
  • Is your collection no longer attractive or inviting?
  • Are you shelving books on the lowest or highest shelves? Browsers are reluctant to bend down for the lower shelves or reach for the higher shelves.

Create a weeding schedule with staff who have less emotional attachment. Some staff may be too attached to the materials in their area. Get extreme! Have youth librarians and adult librarians help each other weed.

What should the weeding team do before a major weeding project?

  • Get the library staff and library board on board.
  • Prepare brief public statements with reasons for the weeding project. Offer options for finding alternative homes for weeded books (Friends book sale, Goodwill, library program supplies, free to teachers or a good home etc.).
  • Are dumpsters necessary? Have a quick turnaround for placing books into the dumpster and dumpster removal to avoid dumpster divers.

Methods included in the 2012 updated CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

  • CREW method: continuous, review, evaluation, weeding
  • MUSTIE criteria: misleading, ugly, superseded, trivial, irrelevant, elsewhere



-Submitted by Anne Hamland