Read On! Weeding Materials

Our library building in its current configuration can house just over 30,000 physical items. There’s some wiggle room there, but that’s our comfortable capacity. Now that we’re finally receiving new books, our physical item number is creeping upward. This means a more thorough weeding is in our future!

Weeding in libraries is a lot like weeding in a garden. We look at each item in our collection and decide what is worth keeping and weed out what isn’t. Of course, weeding in a library is a little more nuanced than weeding in a garden, but like garden weeding, library weeding is necessary to ensure the library remains healthy.

We look at a lot of different criteria when deciding whether to weed an item. We examine whether the item checks out, if it’s in good condition, for nonfiction we also look at the subject’s relevance, if the information is still accurate, copyright date, and whether newer items on the subject would be more appropriate.

Weeding library materials can be a hot-button issue in some communities. Some people feel the library is violating a sacred oath when it gets rid of “perfectly good” materials. I certainly understand where that reaction comes from, but we simply do not have the space to house items our community is no longer interested in. We would not be upholding our mission if we allowed our shelves to get so overcrowded that it becomes impossible to find anything.

We believe in giving weeded material one last chance at a forever home though. As long as the weeded item is usable, we place it on the sale shelves or on our free cart. This means, if we’ve weeded an item you may have the opportunity to buy it (for up to a quarter) and take it home with you.

Weeding is a continual process, so it’s worth checking our sale shelves and free cart often.