You are here
Weeding for Your Library's Health
An Infopeople Online Learning Course
Course Instructor: Francisca Goldsmith
Weeding is an essential element of any library's collection management plan. Additionally, it is a reflection of how the library provides authoritative, essential, and accessible information to its community. It's also an activity that, to be done well, requires the participation and understanding of many stakeholders, including staff at almost every level, the community the library serves, and the body who controls policy decisions. Weeding is often misunderstood, and almost as often neglected, because of uncertainties about how to approach this necessary aspect of keeping the library collection both healthy and responsive to current and future community needs.
If you have been directed to weed a collection, or have the responsibility for deciding how and when collections should be weeded, this course will provide you with:
- The basic tenets of a sound materials weeding plan
- Resources for undertaking regular weeding of nonprint collections, including those you offer online
- A clear understanding of the connections between collection development and collection weeding
- Practical assistance in identifying weeding decisions related to print, multimedia, and online library collections
- How to communicate appropriately and effectively about weeding with those in and beyond the library
This course will help move you beyond uncertainty and concern about how to get started and keep you motivated to continue weeding by helping you to recognize and follow practical steps, stay informed about changes in collection and community needs, and work with others who are involved in, or impacted by, your library's weeding plans and policy.
Course Description: This course promotes and provides learners with the ability to:
- Identify which weeding methods are suited to which collections and situations.
- Guide those engaged in the physical work of weeding so that activities maintain the collection's health as well as that of the staff and the collection's users.
- Undertake the practical steps of a collection evaluation process that identifies materials and electronic resources in need of being weeded.
- Design a weeding plan that addresses community and library needs.
- Create speaking points to help inform stakeholders about the weeding process and its role in sound library stewardship.
During the four weeks of the course you will have reading assignments, as well as weeding exercises to perform in your own library. There will be weekly online forums in which you will share insights, tips, and questions with your co-learners. The instructor will provide sample plans, templates, cheat sheets, a print and online resources list, and practical, useful tips that can be applied immediately. During the four weeks, you will also be expected to view one recorded webcast and participate in a live webinar; the date and time of the live webinar meeting will be determined with your input as to best time for most learners in the group.
Course Outline: When you log in to the Infopeople online learning site, you will see weekly modules with these topics:
- Week 1: The What and Why of Weeding
- Understanding the place of weeding in collection management
- Familiarity with the most basic reasons for weeding: condition, date, use
- Knowledge of how weeding supports collection access
- Including online resources/collections as weeding subjects
- Week 2: Weeding How-tos: The Basics
- What weeding is and isn't
- How weeding benefits user access to collections
- The importance of weeding to collection stewardship
- Roles different staff levels play in weeding success
- Week 3: Weeding Plans: From Collection Maintenance to Dire Emergencies
- Planned weeding as part of collection management
- Planned weeding as normative library task
- Planning for collection emergencies, both affecting materials and electronic sources
- Stakeholders' roles in weeding plan development and execution
- Week 4: Managing Weeding: Weeding Communication
- How to communicate effectively with staff and community about weeding
- Development of formal weeding policy
- Looking at the big picture instead of just "your" part in the weeding process
Time Required: To complete this course, you can expect to spend two hours per week, for a total of eight course hours. Each week's module contains readings and various assignment options including work with your own collection, discussions, interviews, or online meetings. You can choose the options most relevant to your work and interests, with the expectation of completing an average of two activities per week. Although you can work on each module at your own pace, at any hour of the day or night, it is recommended that you complete each week's work within that week to stay in sync with other learners. Modules build on each other and are best considered in order.
Who Should Take This Course: Those who have either practical or supervisory responsibility for weeding any type of library collection, or for the policies and procedures of collection maintenance or management in any type of library. This course is suitable for branch staff and will include consideration of how a branch manager works to help staff effect weeding directions from above as well as working up to inform a system weeding plan and process.
Online Learning Details and System Requirements may be found at: infopeople.org/training/online_learning_details.
After the official end date for the course, the instructor will be available for limited consultation and support for two more weeks, and the course material will stay up for an additional two weeks after that. These extra weeks give those who have fallen behind time to work independently to complete the course.
Keywords: Acquisitions and serials, Adult services, Children's services, Circulation, Collection development, E-books, Library philosophy and fundamentals, Library policies, Philosophy and fundamentals, Public services, Reference