Check out this article on the dirty work of the library profession – weeding. “You want your books to reflect the community you serve, but the popularity of a book is by no means the only barometer.” Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner have written a book – Making a Collection Count: A Holistic Approach to Library Collection Management – but it’s their blog Awful Library Books that has seen great fanfare from the public.
One can’t expect common citizens to understand the principles of collection maintenance. So often what is seen is a purging of books, which to some seems a desecration rather than an act mercy.
Still, it’s standard practice—and often a necessity—to remove books from library collections. Librarians call it “weeding,” and the choice of words is important: a library that “hemorrhages” books loses its lifeblood; a librarian who “weeds” is helping the collection thrive. The key question, for librarians who prefer to avoid scandal, is which books are weeds.