The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide—eEditions e-book

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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the author
  • Reviews

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"No! We can't rid of that!" Vnuk, author of the popular "Weeding Tips" column on Booklist Online, is here to show you that yes, you can. A library is an ever-changing organism; when done the right way, weeding helps a library thrive by focusing its resources on those parts of the collection that are the most useful to its users. Her handbook takes the guesswork out of this delicate but necessary process, giving public and school library staff the knowledge and the confidence to effectively weed any collection, of any size. Going through the proverbial stacks shelf by shelf, Vnuk

  • Explains why weeding is important for a healthy library, demonstrating that a vibrant collection leads to robust circulation, which in turn affects library budgets
  • Walks readers through a library's shelves by Dewey area, with recommended weeding criteria and call-outs in each area for the different considerations of large collections and smaller collections
  • Features a chapter addressing reference, media, magazines and newspapers, e-books, and other special materials
  • Shows how a solid collection development plan uses weeding as an ongoing process, making it less stressful and more productive
  • Offers guidance for determining how to delegate responsibility for weeding, plus pointers for getting experienced staff on board
  • Gives advice for educating the community about the process, how to head off PR disasters, and what to do with weeded materials
  • Includes a dozen sample collection development plans, easily adaptable to suit a library's individual needs

Filled with field-tested, no nonsense strategies, this handbook will enable libraries to bloom by maintaining a collection that users actually use.


Chapter 1    The Basics
Chapter 2    Shelf by Shelf, 000, 100, 200
Chapter 3    Shelf-by-Shelf, 300s
Chapter 4    Shelf by Shelf, 400s and 500s
Chapter 5    Shelf by Shelf, 600s
Chapter 6    Shelf by Shelf, 700s
Chapter 7    Shelf by Shelf, 800s and Fiction
Chapter 8    Shelf by Shelf, 900s and Biography
Chapter 9    Other Areas of the Collection
Chapter 10    Special Considerations for Youth Collections
Chapter 11    Weeding Gone Wrong
Chapter 12    The Importance of a Collection-Development Plan

Appendix: Sample Collection Development Plans
Suggested Reading

Rebecca Vnuk

Rebecca Vnuk has a high profile in the library community as a librarian, consultant, workshop presenter, speaker, writer, and blogger. She is the executive director for LibraryReads, a nonprofit dedicated to adult books and readers’ advisory education. Rebecca has held a variety of positions in public libraries, including experience in collection development, department management, and readers’ advisory. From 2011 to 2018 she was the editor for collection management and library outreach at Booklist magazine. She was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2010 and was the 2010 PLA Allie Beth Martin Award winner for distinguished readers’ advisory service. She holds an MLIS from Dominican University. You can find out more about her at

"Vnuk's tone is casual and readable with a wealth of references to other resources for further information. Her emphasis on the importance of a collection development policy to guide efforts like weeding is also a welcome one."
— Catholic Library World

"Manages to be a thorough and informative source on weeding library collections and yet also an easy, engaging read ... those of us in the intended audience of academic, school, or especially public libraries will be well served. Recommended."
— Technicalities

"I realized an important (and probably quite obvious) parallel between botanical weeding and book weeding – both tasks require knowledge of your subject. As much as you may want to just start hacking away at the endless root base of a dandelion among your prize roses, you need to know what you're dealing with first. And so it goes with books. You need to know your collection, what you want to do with it and the best course of action to take to get there. Rebecca Vnuk gives experienced insight into this often misunderstood and sometimes ill-conceived task ... A lovely, lightweight and well-organized reference book."
— Reference Reviews

"I found this book to be very practical and plan to go back through it to incorporate some of the excellent suggestions Vnuk has included ... this work's shelf-by-shelf approach and inclusion of sample policies and methods make it a welcome update and addition to the literature."
— Against The Grain