It's like Pulling Weeds: Guidelines for Getting Your Stacks Back in Shape

By Chase, Barb | American Libraries, October 2006 | Go to article overview

It's like Pulling Weeds: Guidelines for Getting Your Stacks Back in Shape


Chase, Barb, American Libraries


Dearest Reference Staff: I believe that our guide-lines for weeding ought to reflect actual library usage, needs, and societal trends, and have therefore updated our guidelines, taking into account the following factors: 1) Shelf space, or lack thereof. 2) If the item is pulled, will it cause merely a minor uproar or a full-scale uprising? 3) Is the book too big? Too heavy? Too tasteless (or tasteful)? Does the color clash with nearby books? 4) If it's a magazine, does it have the all-important word "country" in the title? 5) Is it sticky? No, seriously.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Some guidelines, by the numbers:

000 General

Too general. Dump 'em, send out for reclassification, or put in rotating collection where we'll never see them again. The collection will therefore now begin at 100.

100 Philosophy

Occult: These seem to be self-weeding, so we needn't concern ourselves. Self-help books: Ditch the self-help for men--they never read them. Ancient philosophy: Keep all the good-looking books because the bindings and nice lettering help our library to look classy. Modern philosophy: Sorry, you're on your own to prioritize the philosophies behind Lord of the Rings, pro wrestling, and fantasy football.

200 Religion

Religion and spirituality are strictly matters of the heart and mind, so that should free up lots of shelf space.

300 Social Sciences

Here we have lots of trouble with constantly changing social mores. Does anyone read political theory? Where are we on feminism, nuclear power, Protestant power, gay power, or Amish power? A couple of other tips: Dump the stock-market books because the market moves too fast to read them, and refer economic theory folks to Deal or No Deal and the scratch-and-win cards in the lobby.

400 Language

Keep the easy languages, unload the hard ones. Also, let's find some slang dictionaries to help us decipher after-schoolers' chat and e-mail abbreviations.

500 Natural Sciences

Entomology: Weed 'em. They just encourage folks to bring in their yucky bugs for identification. Extinct species: Dump 'em, because, hey man, those animals and plants are gone.

600 Applied Science and Technology

Nutrition: Protein-only and carbohydrate-only diets are fighting it out in the media, so let's stock the fats-only diet books until all that gets settled. …

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It's like Pulling Weeds: Guidelines for Getting Your Stacks Back in Shape
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