Over the past year, library staff has been weeding the library’s collection. The purpose of weeding is to remove worn and/or outdated materials and those that have not circulated for years. Since we are not a research library where a user can reasonably expect to find every book ever printed on a topic, but a general public library, we need to keep the collection up to date and fresh. In this sense, the outdated, worn, and unused books are “weeds” cluttering up the shelves.
How We Weed
Just as you do in weeding a garden, you have to know which are the weeds and which are the valuable herbs, flowers, and vegetables that you want to preserve and encourage. In the case of the library’s collection, the process is really quite rigorous. First, library staff looks up the circulation history of the book. If it has not been checked out of the library for five or more years then it becomes a candidate to be pulled from circulation. The second step is to check whether the book is readily available from one or more of the other 68 libraries in the Mid-Hudson Library System. If it is, then the book can be pulled from the collection. Books that are pulled are handed over to the Friends of the Library – who make these items available to the community at a small cost through their Book Sale Room – or offered to patrons for free through our free bins.
While the library has been pulling books from the shelves during the weeding process, new books have also been added to the collection. In addition to new purchases made by the library, new items have also been acquired through the generous support of the Friends of the Hudson Area Library, Adopt-A-Book program participants, and the many generous patrons who donate new and lightly used books to the library. New materials are added to the collection weekly. Without weeding, there would be no room to grow.