Sunday, October 7, 2012

To weed or not to weed

Weeding is absolutely essential to any library, but especially in a school library. I say especially because if you don't weed the non-fiction on a regular basis, you run the risk of finding books from the late 70's that herald the magnets in telephones as innovative and perhaps they could be portable soon! Or, books from the 50's that explain to girls that they should let boys win in games because otherwise they won't like you, boys are very sensitive to things like that. Seriously.

However, having come into a library where we have brand new books, I'm faced with the dilemma of whether I should weed the ones that were already there. The school opened in January last year, and they had a part-time librarian, who was actually a lawyer, and he was also supposed to teach PE (we wear many hats here), and they purchased about a hundred books locally. Now I have to decide if I want to keep those books. And if I don't, do I just throw them away? Can I give them away? Is it good for the school to get rid of books that aren't good, especially when we need to expand our collection?

If I don't weed, am I going to add this book to the collection? Do I really want this book in my collection, because it's actually a photocopy of a book, with a color cardboard photocopy of the cover, so it's not like it will last long.* Also, they tend to be books that I already have, or that are fairly redundant to our library. Do I really need 5 copies of Robinson Crusoe written on three different grade levels, especially when kids, lets be honest, are not reading books like that to begin with.

The point being, weeding isn't just about getting rid of books, because there are long-term implications to your choices that you need to think about. Sure, kids might not be reading Robinson Crusoe, but having a good number of easy reader books available is essential to a growing library with English language learners. So, it might stay, for now at least, but when I get more easy readers, you can bet I have a list of books that I'm going to replace first.

I would post some sort of picture, but the internets are being slow. Have you noticed that's a theme to my life?

*you know what I say about practices like this, in a place where copyright doesn't really exist "ha ha ha, terrific"

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