Weed ’em and Reap


With the school’s impending move looming on the horizon, the library has undertaken some significant weeding projects, where old and non-updated versions of materials are being withdrawn from the collection and discarded.  Much as when you’re moving to a new house, it’s always best to clear your clutter before you start anew.

Even though discarding books sometimes feels a little like death to librarians, weeding is a vital part of library collection management.  Think about it – your library takes in new books almost every day.  Can you imagine how quickly a collection could get out of hand if there weren’t policies and procedures in place to cull irrelevant and older materials?  No library has unlimited space available for their resources, and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.


Luckily, we’re part of a law school where new and updated materials are part of every day life, making it easy to determine what should be weeded and what’s out of date.  When the not so easy decisions rear their ugly heads, it behooves libraries to take into account feedback from other librarians and staff, their patron base, their collection development policy and their circulation statistics.

You would be amazed at the things you can unearth in the library when undertaking a weeding project.  And sometimes, you run across things so entertaining, you just have to share.

Awfullibrarybooks.net is a site run by Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner, public librarians in Michigan.  They state that their site is “a collection of library holdings that we find amusing and maybe questionable for libraries trying to maintain a current and relevant collection.”  And amusing they are.


For instance, Diet, Crime and Delinquency is a book that was published in 1981.  The back of the book states that this tome ““…demonstrates how ‘junk’ food diets, sugar starvation, vitamin deficiencies, lead pollution and food allergies can convert a normal brain into a criminal mind.”


But even books published recently can spark a need to weed.  Check out My Beautiful Mommy, published in 2007, in which Mommy picks her child up from school to take her along on a trip to the plastic surgeon.


The little girl asks Mommy about the trip and her Mommy tell her she is getting a tummy tuck and a nose job and why.


The girl worries that her Mommy will look different, but is corrected that Mommy will just be more beautiful. You have to see it to believe it, right?


One more, and then I’ll let you check the site out for yourself.  Macrame Accessories: Patterns and Ideas for Knotting was published in 1977, and features some of the grandest macrame phantasmagoria I’ve ever laid eyes on – with a little something for everyone.


Are you a shy hot pants wearer?


In need of a new vest for that moot court competition?


In the mood for a his and hers set?  This book has you covered.

The moral of the story is, weeding in libraries is a necessary survival skill.  Painful sometimes, as librarians, to physically let go of materials.  But gratifying both by making additional room in the collection for even better materials and by running across treasures like these.  I’m hoping we find something half as fun during our project…

~Ashley Moye~

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Filed under Books & Stuff, collection, Hidden Treasures, Librarians Can Be Fun Too, Library, Websites

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