Deselecting books, also referred to as weeding, is necessary for maintaining a school’s library collection of resources. The process of deselecting includes removing damaged, outdated, or books no longer relevant to the curriculum. Prior to deciding what should be removed from the library, librarians often use Titlewise by Follett to analyze the collection’s strengths and weaknesses based on industry standards. For example, a book on computers with a copyright date of 2000 will likely be outdated, (perhaps not if the focus is on the historical aspect), and books on robotics, forensics, and artificial intelligence may be recommended for strengthening the sciences.
When recently asked to help a librarian ‘weed’ the elementary library, I found a book on New York City with a copyright date of 1998. Although it appeared to be in new condition, the Twin Towers were pictured, and Governor Pataki has since been replaced. Some other examples of weeded books include The Lincoln Library of Sports Champions featuring Terry Bradshaw, Peggy Fleming, and other popular athletes at the time this text was printed; and The Chinese in America with a copyright date of 1959.
When a library has not been ‘weeded’ for many years, the process can be overwhelming. Making room for new materials offers an additional opportunity to make the library attractive and inviting. Similar to marketing strategies used by retailers, displaying products often piques the interests of those who may be visiting for another purpose.
Research studies have shown college students prefer to read materials in print rather than in electronic format (Baron, 2016; Foasberg, 2014; Mizrachi, 2015), and a large percentage of students ages 4-15 enjoy reading print books (Kleeman, 2016). Although the popularity of Amazon Kindle and Apple’s iPhone beginning in 2007 made reading books electronically convenient, print publishers have remained constant for the past ten years ( Mcilroy, 2017). Balancing the library collection with print and electronic resources is a necessary duty that not all librarians have time to do.
Schools needing assistance with the deselection process may contact the school library system coordinator: Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Baron, N. (2015). Words onscreen: The fate of reading in a digital world. New York, NY: Oxford University Press,
Foasberg, N. (2014). Student reading practices in print and electronic media. College & Research Libraries, 75(5), 705-723.
Kleeman, D. (2016). Books and reading are powerful with kids, but content discovery is challenging. Publishing Research Quarterly, 32(1), 38-43.
Mizrachi, D. (2015). Undergraduates' academic reading format preferences and behaviors. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 41(3) 301-311
Mcilroy, T. (2017). Startups within the U.S. book publishing industry. Publishing Research Quarterly, 33(1), 1-9.