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April 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Weeding Tips
Weeding the 700s may not be as daunting as it seems. It’s a huge number of shelves in most libraries, but the weeding decisions aren’t very complicated. The key in this section is to have a good handle on what your community requires and what is actually being used. Sure, oversize art books are beautiful, but are they practical or cost effective if there is no interest in them? How about your sports section? Do you have books on specific teams that no one in your area follows?
For the most part, general histories of art and music can be kept based on usage and condition. It’s important to note, however, that age quickly becomes a factor here. If your most recent title on modern art is from the 1990s, it’s time to update. Now is also the time to weed out black-and-white books.
Oversize books and those with nonstandard bindings can pose a problem in the 700s. Many art books are large and weighty. The solution for some libraries is to house an oversize collection elsewhere in the library—but I would caution that you need clear signage and notes in your catalog, or those books will never see much use. You also need to decide if those items (which are usually quite expensive) are allowed to circulate or not. Many popular craft books are wire bound or plastic-spiral bound, which does not bode well for multiple checkouts. The best advice here is to make careful purchase decisions and to accept the fact that those particular items may need frequent replacement.
As noted in the installment on weeding the 600s, use this opportunity to recatalog books that may be a better fit in other areas. Gardening books find their way into the landscaping section, engineering often gets into architecture, and home repair and remodeling mixes in with decorative arts. Exert local control, and work with your technical-services team to ensure that these materials are getting the best possible exposure to your patrons.
The following offers more specific tips for particular sections of interest.
712 Landscape Architecture
As noted above, pull books here that seem better suited to 635 (Gardening).
Older books on the history of architecture are safe to keep as long as they have decent illustrations and are in good condition. Weed home-building books after 10 years to ensure that code information is current. Pay attention to books of local interest (Are there famous buildings in the area, or popular home styles of note?), and keep up on current trends.
This is another tricky cataloging area. Check right now—where in your library would you find a book on updating your kitchen? Mistakenly here at 729, at 747 with interior decoration, or at 643 with housing and household equipment? Why make your patrons chase down similar books?
Keep basic technique books on drawing, painting, and sculpture, etc. Replace as needed with fresh and attractive new materials when possible. If you collect compilations of perennially popular comic strips (Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield, Peanuts), replace as they become worn if circulation warrants.
Consider reclassifying graphic novels (not based on comic strips) from 741.5 to a unique shelving classification that highlights them and assists patron discovery. Pull these titles and shelve them at the end of your fiction section, for example.
745–749 Decorative Arts, Interior Decoration, Crafts, Antiques
There is an awful lot going on in this small Dewey range. In some libraries, you may find that more shelves are allocated to this four-number spread than to the rest of the entire section! This is likely to be a very popular section in most public libraries, so keeping it well organized and up-to-date is crucial.
Weed general interior-decorating books after five years. Keep a close eye on celebrity and television-show books—those may go sooner. As previously mentioned, check to see if you have similar books shelved elsewhere.
Keep various craft books based on use, but be on the lookout for outdated colors, styles, and materials. Discard books on crafts and trends that are no longer popular in your area.
Feel free to keep books on antiques and collectibles—especially identification and price guides—until new editions are available for replacement. As with numismatics and stamp collecting, evaluate the usage these materials get in your library, and consider thinning the collection as necessary.
790 Performing Arts
793 Games and Sports
Books on professional teams can quickly become outdated, so weed and replace as needed. For general titles on games and sports, weed and replace as rules and trends change, and try to not keep much 10 years out of copyright. Do watch for gender and racial bias in sports and athletics. Books on fishing and hunting can be kept for longer periods of time, if condition warrants.
The next installment of “Weeding Tips” will take a look at the 800s as well as Fiction.
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