Periodic weeding of the library collection is necessary to maintain the overall quality of the collection by removing obsolete, inappropriate or damaged materials. Weeding has been shown to improve patron perception of library quality and lead to increased circulation.
Low usage, especially zero usage within a given time frame, is the primary criteria for weeding. This is not a preference for popular over scholarly content, rather it is a recognition that lack of use is indicative of any item which no longer supports the curriculum of the university. The appropriate time frame may vary significantly from subject to subject. Other factors to consider in the weeding process include:
- Publication Date. Generally, books over 25 years old should be considered for de-selection. Certain subjects (such as computer science) may be as little as five years old while other subjects should not be weeded based on age.
- Item does not meet current collection guidelines
- Outdated or incorrect information.
- Outmoded technologies.
- Books that do not support any current program at the University are strong candidates for de-selection.
- Physical Condition and appearance. Physical condition may be a consideration for de-selection if the volume is not being used significantly. If the volume has high usage statistics it should be repaired or replaced.
- Duplicate volumes. Check usage statistics to determine if maintaining duplicate volumes in the collection is warranted.
- Ephemeral or popular materials. De-select if older than 10 years.
- Newer edition acquired.
- Books in a foreign language or dealing with instruction in a foreign language for which the University does not offer instruction should be considered for de-selection.
- Subject specific criteria. There are many subjects or collections for which special consideration must be taken. In these instances it is the responsibility of the librarian in charge of that subject area to note these additional factors before beginning a de-selection project.