Monday, May 16, 2016

Crowd-Sourcing Weeding: Making it fun, makes it effective

Empire State Library Network. (April 4, 2016). Patron-driven weeding as engagement and collection management. Retrieved from

After a comprehensive analysis of the library collection and circulation habits, university librarians, Kristin Hart and Rebecca Hyams, realized their collection was in dire need of an overhaul.  With their work cut out for them, they attempt some unorthodox methods for a major (80% of collection) weeding involving students and faculty.

Reasons to weed:
  • Not serving needs of students or faculty
  • Students/Patrons inclined to pick the shortest book, were not necessarily picking the best for scholarship/relevance
  • Students/Patrons when desperate were using the "take anything" method, rather than the most suitable and reliable resource
Ways to Make a Fun Weed with Patrons:
  • Design a Scavenger hunt for the funniest/strangest/oldest/weirdest book, divide students into groups and offer prizes (most of what was collected was on the "No Circ" report and ultimately weeded out
  • Incorporate Weeding activities in regularly scheduled Library Workshops - Students didn't need much guidance and managed to pick things within the standard weeding criteria
Ways to Involve Faculty
  • Share collection metrics, even if it's negative data
  • Pitch participation as relying on their expertise to pick the right items to keep/get rid of
  • Send out survey- open up lines of communication
  • Plan weeding days 
  • About 5,000 books evaluated, about 41% discarded
  • 10 faculty very involved in process
  • Involved students spend more time in library, make face-to-face suggestions for purchases
  • Will hopefully lead to a more thoughtful library policy 

J. Hasselberger
Spring 2016

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