Yesterday, I told my supervisor that I finally felt like a real librarian. Yeah, I’ve had my masters degree for about a year and a half now. And my position title has been “Reference Librarian” for just over a year, but there was one responsibility I hadn’t been given until yesterday: weeding books. That is, going through the stacks and getting rid of old, unneeded titles or suggesting ones to replace. All the other reference librarians – and even some of the reference assistants – in my department have been weeding books and have had that task in their job descriptions since way before I started here, but I just was officially trained yesterday. And what power I feel!
I’ve been assigned the 900s – history, geography and travel guides. Our collection development coordinator, who trained me yesterday, explained that the previous selector for the area was an academic librarian, and because he was kind of stuck in that mindset, our collection tends to be a little more academic than necessary. She also said at some point our library served as a resource collection for the 400s, 600s, and 900s for a consortium, and those areas grew and grew during that period. The 900s also haven’t been weeded in a while – so I may have my job cut out for me. I’m not complaining though!
Fortunately, the collection development department makes the job very easy. They print off a spreadsheet with a range of titles with copy right dates, years titles were added to the collection, total circs (number of times items checked out), year to date circs, and last year’s circs. I basically get to throw out (well, not really throw away, as most of our weeded titles go to the Friends of the Library sale) anything that’s older than 15 years, hasn’t been checked out in more than 3 years, or just looks really old and torn up. The collection development librarian told me condition trumps circulation count, but I can always suggest they replace something if it’s really popular.