jonaskaite (jonaskaite) wrote in libraries,

Recently weeded?

Background: bootstrapped, self-taught collection manager in a small rural public. I know a lot of what works, but not a lot about the correct way to do things or how they are done in bigger systems, and sometimes I don't realize we have a problem until it smacks me in the face.

A volunteer who's sorting donations just brought me a book that we don't have and asked if he should add it to the "tentatively keep" pile - and I realized that it was the very same book I'd weeded LAST WEEK. It's not the first time I've looked at a donation and thought, "I'm sure we used to have that, but evidently we don't anymore. Hrm." Which makes me wonder if previously-weeded items do get added back in... and if we should do anything about it. Seems like a lot of staff labor wasted.

Do you keep track of titles recently weeded? For how long? What's the procedure? The first thing that comes to mind is just to run off a "titles to be destroyed" report before hitting the big red button on each weed batch, and then either 1.) physically filing those reports by classification category or 2.) merge them into one giant master spreadsheet by classification and date and then periodically purge entries before $-x date. Also seems like a lot of staff labor wasted on... things we got rid of because we don't want to waste our resources on them anymore.

It's a dilemma!
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je_reviens

November 28 2011, 23:56:37 UTC 2 years ago

If you have a policy for weeding, and not just "I don't like that any more" then when you look at a book, you should be able to tell if it falls under the weeding policy.

Example: Any computer books pre-2006 copyright get weeded. You get a book that is from 2005. No need to look, that book is weeded.

Take a look at the policy excerpts here: scroll down

The hardest thing would be you are weeding something due to non circulating, non use, but still that would be an older book.

I guess the question is, why did you weed out the previous copy of the book? Was it based on a policy decision? Do yur volunteers know the weeding policy?

jonaskaite

November 29 2011, 01:26:31 UTC 2 years ago

The hardest thing would be you are weeding something due to non
circulating, non use, but still that would be an older book.


That's exactly the problem. Our weeding guideline - for fiction at
least, which this one was - takes both date and circulation into
consideration, as well as physical condition and factoring for the
impact or removal on other books in series or by the same author.
(Some areas of nonfiction have harder boundaries, like your computer
example - we follow the CREW system, with some local modifications.)
This particular book was a standalone published in 1998, but there are
certainly a fair number of pre-98 books still circing well.

Our volunteers don't get anywhere NEAR weeding. This particular guy is
very sharp with the accession side of the collection policy, he's just
really sharp at culling out stuff that is actually unsuitable for the
collection before it gets to me, but where specific individual titles
are concerned, he just doesn't have access to information that's not
actually in the ILS at this very moment... and I realized, neither do
I, except in my imperfect recollection.

aardy

November 29 2011, 01:23:28 UTC 2 years ago

In general, your collection developent (including weeding) policy should cover what should and shouldn't be in your collection well enough that a title that gets weeded shouldn't unknowingly end up getting re-added a few days/weeks/months/years later unless some buzz stirs up interest somehow.

In practice, borderline titles (those that seem like they *should* circ, but for whatever reason, actually don't) may occasionally bounce in and out of the collection over time.

As for telling whether you've previously owned a title, the consortium to which my library belongs runs a monthly list of everything that was deleted from the system, and each month I've been saving those files to a local drive for a few years, so that if there's ever a question of "did we own this title?" (or "when was our copy deleted?"), a simple "search text anywhere in file" search in that directory in Windows Explorer will usually turn it up right quick. Doing that sort of search probably isn't practical for *every* donation, but it works great for those that set your spider-sense a-buzzing.

jonaskaite

November 29 2011, 01:46:36 UTC 2 years ago

In practice, borderline titles (those that seem like they *should* circ, but for whatever reason, actually don't) may occasionally bounce in and out of the collection over time.

That's exactly what's happening, I think. Thanks for the reality check.

monthly list of everything that was deleted from the system, and each month I've been saving those files to a local drive for a few years, so that if there's ever a question of "did we own this title?" (or "when was our copy deleted?"), a simple "search text anywhere in file" search in that directory in Windows Explorer will usually turn it up right quick.

See! - this. *pounds table* Here I was trying to figure out how to make my ILS jump through hoops to do this, and I didn't even THINK about Windows being able to do internal file searches. It's quite easy to run a report and drop it into a fileserver directory and never look at it again, until I need to!

je_reviens

November 29 2011, 16:38:14 UTC 2 years ago

excellent ideas.

longstrider

November 29 2011, 01:24:55 UTC 2 years ago

If you do start keeping a record of weeded you need to be keeping reason weeded as well, Damage/Low Use/Out of Date/Etc Because I might add something back in if it was weeded for Damage but not Low Use (Out of Date should be obvious even on the donated copy.) I've got more thoughts on this issue (I've been running into it at my branch of a big city library as well) but am pressed for time at the moment, I should be back with another post.

galileah_galile

November 29 2011, 03:48:20 UTC 2 years ago

I recently weeded 400 books from a collection of 4000 due to space reasons (huge rearrainge where we were going to lose a ton of shelf space to make room for more computers). I tried to use the CREW method, and the existing collection development policy. When it comes down to it, if you get so many donations of material of high enough quality, you might risk putting it back in, then yeah, keep a record. We use Resourcemate as we are a small special library. Don't know if millenium runs those reports. But if you weed continuously (maybe quarterly?) it really shouldn't take that much longer to put a title or isbn in excel for easy searching later. I'd go that route.

heathergalaxy

November 29 2011, 18:07:44 UTC 2 years ago

One thing you could do in your system is keep minimal bib records of weeded items and suppress the records in the OPAC. That said, if it's a matter of these in between items you may just want to keep an excel file of the items weeded.

aisling178

November 30 2011, 18:25:09 UTC 2 years ago

We do something really simple: when we weed something from the system, we stamp the word "DISCARD" on the inside cover. That way, our Friends volunteers know that we don't want it back in the system.