The Magic of Library Weeding

Book, CD, and DVD Weeding is an integral part in the life of any library.

Here at the Albany Public Library Foundation, we’ve had great success with our regular CD and DVD sales. Held throughout the year, these events not only help raise money for the foundation, but also provide an important way to ensure our library continues to grow.

This may seem contradictory at first glance: libraries removing their materials. Actually this is a common activity for most libraries – it even has its own name: weeding.

Weeding is crucial to any library that wants to continue to have an ever-changing, dynamic collection that serves it’s audience”

Weeding is defined as the “systematic removal of resources from a┬álibrary┬ábased on selected criteria”. This means libraries decide to remove selected materials from their shelves, whether they be children’s books, DVDs, audio books, novels, or CDs.

Weeding is crucial to any library that wants to continue to have an ever-changing, dynamic collection that serves it’s audience. One major concern facing libraries is space, but that alone is not why weeding is so important. Any unedited collection, even without space or budget concerns, would eventually “bloat into an off-putting, unmanageable mess” making the lives of patrons (and staff) increasingly difficult. Imagine walking into a library that had never been weeded – you wouldn’t be able to move for piles of books, let alone find what you want!

In fact, studies have shown that weeding often results in higher-borrowing rates; patrons can more easily find materials and libraries have the space to promote new content that will continue to connect and change with it’s community tastes. Other benefits include the collection becoming more reputable, being in better physical condition overall, and providing the librarians with regular insight as to what works for their patrons.

This doesn’t mean of course that this technique is not without controversy – however librarians have many helpful guidelines on what and how to weed.

Imagine walking into a library that had never been weeded – you wouldn’t be able to move for piles of books, let alone find what you want!

So what happens to the weeded materials you ask? Well the best and most obvious solution for libraries is to re-home. The materials continue to be used and don’t end up in dumpster, and the libraries can keep growing and evolving. That’s exactly why we at the APL Foundation put on our sales – in order to find new homes for our pre-loved and weeded materials!

Just like garden weeding, library weeding is a truly essential task which is needed to maintain the health and happiness of the organization. If you’d like to see what books, DVDs and CDs are looking for a new home join us on Saturday February 29th from 12pm at the Delaware Ave Branch for our Midwinter Sale!