“Weeding” is a task that some library workers avoid, and others do with enthusiasm. The term refers to deaccessioning, or in less technical terms, getting rid of items in your collection. Sooner or later, you will need to discard items that have become too worn out, are out-of-date, or just plain not getting used by your patrons. Your ILS can help you make those tough decisions.
Identify Outdated Items
Sometimes resources are simply out-of-date. Items dealing with legal and medical topics are often in need of updating as new legislation is enacted or practices change. You can use your ILS to run reports that give the publication dates of items to see if they might be outdated. Information about which edition your items are can also be used—there might be a new edition of a resource that can replace the old one.
Check Circulation Data
Reports can also show you how many times a given item has circulated during a period of time. Often, library workers will run reports for the past five to ten years, showing the numbers of checkouts and renewals in that time frame. If an item hasn’t circulated in the past few years, it isn’t likely to in the future. You can then “weed” that item in order to free up space for resources that will be more likely to be used.
Condition of Items
If your ILS allows you to track the physical condition of items in some way, you should be able to run a report listing items in poor condition. The list can then be taken to the shelves and the resources examined to see if they need to be withdrawn and possibly replaced.
It can be very difficult to decide which items to withdraw from the collection. The ability to gather objective data about your resources can help you make tough decisions and help you maintain a relevant collection.
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