WEEDING PROCESS FOR REED LIBRARY
STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT FREDONIA
As Approved by University Senate Spring 2007
"Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view
on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because
of partisan or doctrinal disapproval." -from the American Library Associations' Bill
In order to enhance the value and usefulness of Reed Library to the entire
college community, care must be taken to insure that its holdings are as comprehensive
as possible and are properly maintained. The vitality of a library collection depends
on vigorous collection development as well as careful collection management. One
aspect of this management is the judicious weeding of materials that no longer support
the instructional mission of the college.
Like all collection development, the weeding of materials must be a consultative
endeavor involving librarians, faculty members, and other parties as appropriate.
The weeding process should rely on a well-defined plan through which the faculty and
the librarians, in collaboration, identify materials that may be weeded. This process
will help identify both strengths and weaknesses in Reed's holdings. Recognition
of weak areas will subsequently be addressed, and whenever possible, appropriate new
titles will be acquired after continued consultation with faculty and recommended
STAGE ONE: Librarians Determine Subject Areas to be Reviewed and Check Standard Bibliographies
Weeding is an ongoing process which starts by librarians identifying areas
of the collection (according to Library of Congress classifications) that are in need
Once an area of the collection is identified for review, titles in areas
identified for the weeding process will be compared against the most recent edition
of Resources for College Libraries (RCL) (either in print or electronically). If Reed Library owns a book listed in RCL,
librarians will make a note of it in the library's catalog record.
If recommended by the academic department or program, the collection will
also be compared to available standard bibliographies published by appropriate (i.e.,
discipline-specific) professional faculty associations for the subject matter being
reviewed. A note will also be added to item's catalog record, indicating the bibliography
which cited the item as a "classic" title in the field.
STAGE TWO: Librarians Review the Collection in the Stacks
During the second stage of each weeding cycle, librarians will examine
the titles within a designated area and generate a list of items that will be considered
for removal. The criteria below list factors which, when used in combination, will
help librarians make informed decisions about materials to be kept and materials which
may be removed from the collection.
Items that meet any of these conditions will automatically be kept:
- Item appears in Resources for College Libraries
- Item appears in the recommended, discipline-specific, professional bibliography
- Item has circulated in a reasonable time period based on the subject and scope of
the work, as determined by criteria developed by the Library Advisory Committee. (Note: An exception may occur if the item's physical condition is poor, particularly if
it is not a suitable candidate for in-house mending or rebinding.)
Criteria for identifying those items that will be considered for removal by a process
of faculty review (Stage 3):
- Items which have become outdated based on the subject and scope of the work, as determined
by criteria developed by the Library Advisory Committee.
- Item has very little or no apparent relevance to current or anticipated college programs.
If librarians are undecided as to whether an item should be added to
the list of materials being considered for removal, it will not be marked for withdrawal.
STAGE THREE: Faculty Review of Items Being Considered for Removal
When appropriate, a faculty member who teaches the subject area as part of an interdisciplinary
course should also be appointed to the committee by the departmental chair. The faculty
committee will be provided with a list containing the call number, author, title,
and the imprint information (date, publisher) for the items being considered for removal.
This list will be made available electronically via an ANGEL community group. The
faculty committee members will have an opportunity to review the list of items for
45 calendar days, and the library liaison will be available to act as a line of communication
with the library, offer assistance, answer questions, and troubleshoot any problems
that arise. Once the committee has reviewed the items to ensure that the appropriate
determination has been made for each title, they will provide their library liaison
with a finalized list of items that have been selected for withdrawal from the collection.
STAGE FOUR: Library End Processing
After all stages above are completed, the library staff will finish the
weeding process. Materials will be retained by Reed Library, processed out of the
library, or sent to the University at Buffalo for retention.
Resources for College Libraries (2006 edition) is used as a standard tool for collection development of academic
libraries. RCL is published by the Association for College and Research Libraries
division of the American Library Association and Bowker. It lists an established
core collection of 65,000 titles in 58 curriculum-specific subjects, selected by 300
subject experts. The relentless growth in books published and the simultaneous decline
in acquisition budgets make careful title selection essential for academic libraries.
Using RCL as a collection development tool insures that standard titles will remain
part of the collection regardless of local use, while other titles of generally accepted
significance can be considered for possible purchase.