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Questions to Ponder:

  • What happens to the weeded books in your district?
  • What if districts decided to ship books to specific villages in Africa? Perhaps we all ship to the same village, and enrich one village at a time. See http://www.booksforafrica.org/. Is this a feasible goal?

11 Responses

  1. At our HS & Jr. High, we offer the books to students and teachers first, then we see if our local jail or local prison want them.

  2. I do manage to send most of my weeded books to friend who takes them to a village in Uganda.

  3. Folks, here’s a question from an elementary school librarian. I’d like to hear a variety of opinions to see if we can decide on a solution. Thank you, Mona:

    I’m an elementary librarian and have a concern about the age of collection. I have those wonderful OLD Newbery and Caldecott books. They bring down the age of the collection but I don’t want to weed them. Should I? Or perhaps could I catalog them in some way that they don’t mess up the average age of my collection? Age is very important to Central Office!

  4. You do not mention the condition of the books. I think this is an important consideration. If they are in good condition perhaps keep them. Also, are they checked out. If they haven’t been checked out in a few years, I wonder why you are keeping them–unless your goal is to have a “complete” collection of the award winners. Just a few things to consider.

  5. Perhaps, if you ordered new copies of the old Newbery and Caldecotts? They should have a new publication date.

    What should be done with discarded books (and other materials) is a very sensitive subject. Environmental impact and social needs are important issues.

    There is expense involved in shipping books to China, Africa, etc. Where would the money come from? A large school district will (hopefully) have more schools than prisons. Is there anyone on the receiving end (prison, village) to determine the difference between trash and treasure?

  6. I am a secondary (7-12) librarian. Faced with much the same problem – classics in good condition that were cluttering the fiction collection – I came up with this solution. I moved the age appropriate materials to literature (800’s), and created a new collection of E (Elementary) for the Newbury works that I wanted to keep – since I have plenty of room – which were not appropriate for secondary. Why keep them at all? Because I am building picture books into the E collection to support Language Arts teaching. Newbury books on a lower reading level can also support the LA teachers by offering good literature to less accomplished readers. Since all students are using the E materials, it’s no big deal to be seen with an E book. Both the E books and the 800’s are considered to be academic choices, not pleasure reading, and teachers assign accordingly (“You may not pick a Fiction book; you must use…)

    The circulation for my Fiction collection has quadrupled, and the teachers are happier with the distinction between literture and fiction. As far as I can see, it’s a win-win.

  7. I am just finishing my graduate studies and I still can’t get myself to understand weeding. I understand how and have studied why, but I am left wondering: why would I get rid of a book that has correct information? I had worked at a school library and one of its only benefits was that it had not been weeded ever. So, when a professor wanted an old 1970s ubscure poetry book- we still had it on our shelves. I guess one would say, your professor isn’t really a patron of your library, and a librarian needs to keep the needs of his/her unique school’s needs in mind. But, still, it was a great resource even if the pictures were ridiculously out dated. Can someone please explain to me the purpose of taking a book off the shelf that is factual and purposeful that will help me to actually do it and not feel guilty? (sans books where Pluto is a planet and damaged books- I can fully understand as to why to weed those books)

  8. Hi Heather,

    You’ve asked an important question that should be remembered: why would I get rid of a book that has correct information?

    You don’t.

    Weeding guidelines are there to help you make a professional decision. You decide what is best for the students and the collection.

    If you have plenty of space on the shelves; if the book is still being used; if a revised, improved version has been published, there’s no reason to weed it.

  9. I have been a teacher in my district for 24 years. When became the librarian at my high school 17 years ago, my mentor–the previous librarian–told me I would have to “weed” because it was now “my” collection. So, down through the years, I have weeded.
    My “weeds” were mostly non-fiction books whose information had become dated or even obsolete.
    Initially, I offered the “weeds” to students and faculty, rather than discarding them. The most popular “weeds” were the fiction books. The fiction “weeds” were books that just didn’t circulate, no matter how much I “pushed” them. Any fiction weeds not picked up by students or staff were sent to public libraries for their used book sales. (I have a real problem sending books to the dumpster!)

    This process changed this year when our district passed a new rule about discarding educational “materials”. Now, I have to make a list of all my weeds. This list must include the title, author, date, and ISBN. The list is then sent to our school board who must approve the items for “dispersal”.
    (Apparently some new math textbooks had been inadvertently discarded this past summer.)

    Needless to say, I was quite upset by this and voiced my opinion, but to no avail.

    Because my library will be undergoing renovations next year, I plan to weed more sections than usual so I don’t have to move as many books.
    As library curriculum coordinator, I advised the middle and elementary librarians (both new) to do a “good” weed as well. My only concern is that our board will reject our weed lists..then what?

    I have NEVER discarded ANYTHING that can be still be used by our students. I pride myself on knowing the various curriculums and what the students and teachers will need. This recent board action is a slap in my face as a professional. For now, I will follow the rules but I will also continue “selecting, evaluating, and weeding’!

  10. there are many used books sale in our area and i frequently visit them to buy some “

  11. there are mnay used books online and the price is cheap too but i wonder if the quality of it is good “-*

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