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ERIC Number: EJ887719
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1542-4715
Weed 'Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism
Allen, Melissa
Library Media Connection, v28 n6 p32-33 May-Jun 2010
Today media centers provide students the opportunity to learn and explore subjects of their interest in depth. The media center is the largest classroom in the school providing service to every student and every teacher in all curricular areas. The library should be a place to encourage students' interests and a place to broaden their horizons by introducing them to new perspectives and concepts. To ensure a quality library collection, weeding is as critical as selection of new materials. A quality media collection should result in students actively engaged, working, reading, and learning in libraries. Students cannot efficiently find quality information if outdated, wrong, or poorly presented information is overcrowding library shelves. Many media specialists feel the need to weed in the dead of night to avoid criticism from patrons who hate to see "good" books being thrown away. It is hard to explain to everyone that books eventually "expire" by going past their usefulness. Although books that are well taken care of will last many years, they are not meant to last forever. People want to think that every book will always have some value. Destruction of books brings up images of censorship and book burning, but it is better to have worthless books in the trash than have trash on shelves. While weeding can be controversial, a carefully prepared and fully documented policy on weeding (or deselection) can lessen or alleviate misunderstandings. Media collections should be tailored to meet the needs of the students and the curriculum. Curriculum is constantly being revised and student populations are ever changing; thus school library media collections should also be in a continuous state of change. New technology developments and advancements occurring on a daily basis have created an atmosphere of unrelenting change. Once stocked mainly with books and other print materials, today's media centers include a wide range of multimedia resources. Technology and nonprint media should be weeded on a regular schedule just like print materials, although it can be harder to judge content and quality without spending a great deal of time watching or listening to each item. Other issues to consider when evaluating nonprint materials include format and condition. Discard obsolete technologies--transferring outdated materials to another format (e.g., VHS to DVD, cassette tape to CD) does not update the information. In this article, the author discusses why weeding is necessary, how to get started weeding, and what to do with the books that are to be weeded.
Linworth Publishing, Inc. 480 East Wilson Bridge Road Suite L, Worthington, OH 43085. Tel: 614-436-7107; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Media Staff
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A