SCSInsight: News and Updates on Deselection


Weed this week, you may win a Kindle

The Meridian Library System in Nebraska  is declaring January 9-13, 2012 a “Week of Weeding!”  

We want to encourage everyone to participate by agreeing to weed a section of their library that they have been avoiding. You know what it is—that corner, that shelf, that genre of books that you have put off weeding for a while. Now’s the time! ALL Libraries in MLS are eligible to participate!

Elgible libraries who submit a participant form by January 20th will be elgible to win a Kindle.  




The University of Texas explains the weeding process

The Briscoe Library at the University of Texas has done a nice job explaining their weeding process in a recent posting titled, "Updating the Briscoe Library's Collection

Like any garden, a healthy library collection needs “weeding” or “pruning” — and in libraries, good weeding involves technology, planning, and a lot of skilled professional effort.

This posting is part of a larger site dedicated to keeping the campus informed about Briscoe Library Renovations. The specific rationale for the project is discussed as are the criteria used to weed materials. The disposition of removed materials is also discussed:

Since the library’s books are property of the State of Texas, the process of withdrawal and disposal of those books is strictly regulated. We must track and record all withdrawals in order to value the library’s collection and to maintain accurate records of ownership. Under certain circumstances, we can dispose of withdrawn material by transfer to another state-funded library or offer the material to faculty and students.

All in all, a good example of weeding communications. 


How UVM's Bailey/Howe Library is tackling its space issues

The Burlington Free Press has published a well-reported article which describes how the University of Vermont is dealing with space issues in its Baley/Howe Library.   It describes strategies such as off-site storage, patron-driven acquisiton, and weeding to free up room for student use and study space.


Of chairs and tables and old videotapes 

The Chicago Reader has run an article about weeding efforts underway at the Sulzer Regional Library. Concerns have been raised about the weeding of old VHS tapes, some of which cannot be obtained in DVD format.   Interestingly, the "weeding" of old furniture has also become an issue: 

the hand-carved, hand-painted, whimsical pieces of site-specific furniture created for the library when it opened in 1985. On this wooden furniture you could find Adam and Eve, various constellations, the four seasons, and much more—a chair featuring the Snow Queen was chosen for the Museum of Science and Industry's 1985 exhibit, 150 Years of Chicago Architecture.

Some of this furniture is "falling apart" yet other pieces remain intact.  Some pieces have tags on them which may indicate they are slated for removal.   The author of the piece asserted that the "staff and the public are in the dark" about what is happening and that the "CPL Brass" is acting without consulting the public.  One respondent to this article summarizes a core concern: "why can't anything old be appreciated."


Library Journal article reveals more details about UCSD weeding project

A new article in Library Journal reveals more about attempts to reduce the library "footprint" at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD).  Driven by steep ($3M) budget cuts and the closure of four libraries, UCSD is removing 150,000 items or 4% of the collection over the next three years.

The withdrawal criteria include low use (e.g. no circulation in 10 years) and digital availability OR availability in one of the University of California system's storage facilities.  In this way, access to discarded items will be maintained. Given the magnitude of the budget cuts, it is encouraging to think that continued access (albeit in another form) will be maintained for these discarded materials.  This is a responsible approach that should mollify the critics and exemplify what spokesperson Dolores Davies calls "good library stewardship."

According to Library Journal, discarded items are being handled by Surplus Sales, a business that assists in the sale of surplus university property.  The university is reported to garner 70% of the proceeds of these sales.  In the meantime, pallets of low-value books have already been donated to Better World Books, a for-profit bookseller.


University of Florida students protest collections move

A plan to relocate collections from the Architecture & Fine Arts Library at the University of Florida has sparked student protests. According to an article in the Florida Alligator, the College of Fine Arts needs more studio space to maintain its accreditation and is considering making room for this by transferring collections to another library on campus.  Amid student demands for better communication and consultation, this issue has prompted a broader look at space use on campus, including an offer of assistance from the dean of the College of Design, Construction, and Planning.


Hathi Trust Constitutional Convention #htcc

For Twitter users, follow the many updates and comments from this ground-breaking event, as some of our most luminous librarians consider the future of the monograph in our collections.


Wesleyan posts Q&A with faculty member regarding weeding project concerns

The Wesleyan weeding project blog has just posted an exchange between the university librarian and a faculty member regarding the latter's concerns about the weeding project. Topics covered include the significance of in-house use, the impact of the project on the collection, and how it plays into the move to an increasingly electronic environment.  


Books Lost to Time

 Some tantalizing gaps in the cultural record are noted in this article and in the comments following. Lost works by Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville, Sophocles.

These works were not lost because someone 'deselected' them, but do serve as an object lesson in what we must avoid as a community as we begin to draw down print collections.


Tweets of the day