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REUSING DISCARDED OR WEEDED BOOKS

A project on the beneficial ways of reusing weeded books at Huntington


branch library in Shelton, Connecticut

By

Hanem A. Ibrahim

I.

Introduction

Weeding or disquisition is the act of removing items from librarys collection, which
could be a controversial process. Weeding and acquisition go hand- in- hand in library
development management, it is one of the best tools available for long- range
improvement of library collections, but it could also be destruction of public property. (1)
Therefore libraries should use the best method of weeding, and take only the advantages
of this process. There are different methods of weeding that depend on the type and size
of the library, but if libraries have to take these weeded items out of their collection; they
should think of a better way to reuse them instead of just discarded them and put them in
boxes for public, they should reevaluate their acquisition systems to avoid wasting their
budgets in some collection that will stay on the shelves till it ended up in a pile of
withdrawn materials. Is there any better idea than that? Thats what Im going to discuss
in this project.

II.

Purpose and goal of the project


At Huntington branch library- a small public library in Shelton Connecticut- I found out
that they are withdrawing a very good collection of books, for adults and children,
besides other materials like children VHS, or some other educational materials, Each
time I visit the library, I find a pile of withdrawn materials outside the library in the hall
of the community center where the library is located. Visitors could pick whatever they
want from that pile, that stop me, I asked myself Is that a destruction of public property
or what? Are there any better way to reuse these materials instead of that. Then lots of
question distracted me trying to find a solution for that problem, I had to get answers to
these questions in order to start this project and take the decision about the better way of
reusing these materials. These questions included:

1 Slote, Stanley J. (1997) Weeding collection: library weeding methods.-4th ed.- Engle
Wood collection , p 55
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1. Do other libraries in the area do the same thing with the withdrawn materials if they
are withdrawing any of them?
2. What are the other methods of weeding that other librarian use for weeding?
3. How we know if these weeded items are needed by others?
4. What are the better ways of reusing these weeded materials?
The goal of this project is to prove that withdrawing weeded materials at
Huntington library is not the best idea to get rid of unwanted materials, there could be
other beneficial way to reuse these items, also this project aims to have the librarian
there to rethink of their acquisition system, and take advantage of this weeding process
to improve the library collection, and save their budget in material that public really
need.

III.

Limitations of the study


I limited my research to the Huntington Branch library in Shelton Connecticut, because

its the only library of all the public libraries I surveyed thats withdrawing their weeded
materials. I also limited my project to the weeded books only; because I noticed the value
of these books, while the other withdrawn items are not that valuable. A copy of this final
project will be introduced to the director of that library to discuss the best way to reuse
weeded items instead of get rid of them.

IV.

Methods of searching

In order to get answers to my questions, I adopted the case study method. In this case I
needed to know the beneficial way to reuse the withdrawn materials in certain library
which is Huntington library, I had to collect information about the weeding system in this
library, and analyze it to get the results that lead to find the better way of reusing these

weeded materials. In order to do that, I had to follow these steps to get answers to that my
questions. These steps are:
1. I started with posting a topic of weeding systems to be discussed through on
internet discussion group specialized in public libraries issues. I posted the
PUBYAC group list (2) a request to help me with the weeding systems adopted in
their libraries, I got eight responses from librarians all over the states. I learned
from them that there are different weeding policies; they also referred me to
different websites that have different methods of weeding.
2. I reviewed the literature to determine whether any other prior studies discussed
that subject before, also to define my questions in this project.
3. I visited the Huntington branch library and interviewed the librarian there, she
provided me with some document about their withdrawn books..
4. I visited some other local public libraries (Trumbull public library, Bridgeport
public library) to discuss their weeding systems to see what they could do with
their weeded items if they do weeding in their libraries.
5. I tried to analyze the information I got, to see if the withdrawn books from
Huntington branch library are there in other libraries collections, to see if these
weeded books are still used in other libraries.

V.

Why weeding?
I asked that question to many librarians, I got different answers, but I found that

most of them do weeding as a regular base for collection development system, to make
their collection more useful, or because they need the place for their new items. That
always happened at small libraries. Some of the libraries like Bridgeport public library
and Trumbull library dont withdraw any of their materials unless its really in very bad
condition, that nobody would ever use them like that, and they cant be repaired.
Why Huntington branch library in Shelton is different? The library is a small size
library, with no much places to store new books on the shelves, and the librarian there
2 pubyac-bounces@lists.lis.illinois.edu a table of the responds messages at Appendix 1
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told me the library is like a popular library, they depend on the best seller advertisement
to collect their books, they purchase whatever people prefer to read, sometimes that
doesnt work with the circulation of these popular books, or sometimes they buy more
copies thinking that people could needed, and after a while these books dont have the
same appeal any more, they stayed years on the shelves, and nobody wants to read
them, then they had to get rid of them, they sometimes put them on sail, but most of the
time they withdraw them by just putting them in the hall for the library where visitors
could pick whatever they want from that pile, they think that they are giving them back
to the public who paid taxes, but what if any other residents from different towns took
them? And are there anyway else they could get more benefits than that? Before I
answer that question I had to show how they process weeding in the Huntington library?

VI.

The process of weeding at the Huntington library


As I referred to the literature in weeding, and as I noticed from all the responds I
received from the librarians from different states, I found out that there are different
weeding policies followed by those librarians, most of them as I noticed follow the
CREW method (3) which gives six general criteria for considering weeding an item from
the library's collection. These have been summed up with the acronym MUSTIE
M=

Misleading--factually inaccurate

U=

Ugly--worn beyond mending or rebinding

S=

Superseded--by a new edition of by a much better book on the subject

T=

Trivial--of no discernible literary or scientific merit

I=

Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the library's community

E=

Elsewhere--the material is easily obtainable from another library

3CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (2008) Revised and Updated by Jeanette Larson
TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION Austin, Texas. Retrieved on July 7th 2009,
from: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod08.pdf

The library has to have a weeding policy to adapt, in order to process weeding their
collection, From my experience with Huntington library while I was volunteering there
for almost six months, I noticed that they have no written policies for weeding, the only
method they use is the book circulation control(4) if any item didnt checked out for two
years then theyll weed it, that happened when they decide to do their annual weeding ,
theyll get a computer printout of the section being considered to process weeding (5)
then they go to the shelves and start looking for those books, if they found them; theyll
check them in their catalog to see if they are having more copies, and if the one that
didnt checked out in better condition, they keep the good copy and withdraw the other ,
they also check if these uncirculated books have any special thing to keep them like
some of them could be part of series, or a winner of best seller award, if they decided to
withdraw them they discarded them from the library catalog and mark them or put
withdrawn labels over the barcode numbers,(6) then simply pile them up to put them in a
box outside one of the librarys entrance. That happened with all the weeded collection
that they decide to get rid of, that could be affective with the Adult collection, but the
library uses the same policy for teens and Juvenile collections, these children books are
as different from adult collections as children are from adults, and they require different
considerations for weeding, because children as patrons often require an adult gobetween to find what they need for research and pleasure reading. A child browsing
through the nonfiction collection may be completely lost unless he or she has been
shown, and understands, how to find the materials needed. (7) Therefore not circulated
books doesnt mean they are not needed any more, sometimes they couldnt find some

4 Slote, Stanley J. ibid. p. 93


5 There are samples of these lists at the end of this report Appendix 2
6 There are picture of some withdrawn books from the Huntington library collections,
Appendix 3
7 . CREW. Ibid p. 29-32
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of these uncirculated books, it may be misplaced by one of the children, these


uncirculated books have to take another chance.

VII.

What are the other ways that Huntington library uses with the
withdrawn books?
There are other ways to get rid of the weeded books rather than throwing them
away. The library doesnt throw all the weeded books all the time, in some cases they
choose some of these weeded books, and put them on sale inside the library or in the
library book sale event which got most of its collection from public donation.
Sometimes they receive a request from some charity institutions in needed areas asking
for children books as a donation, the librarian then will make a quick weeding list from
their uncirculated collections, and take off these uncirculated books, and after checking
them out of their catalog, they put them in a package, then ship them to that place. Thats
what the library always does with the weeded books, but are there any different better
ideas for reusing these books, instead of that?

VIII.

What are the beneficial ways to reuse these weeded books in


Huntington library?
Donating these weeded books to charity is not a bad idea, but still, these books
are property of the community of Shelton, who pay the taxes in order to get their public
library services. It could be better idea if they first give these books the chance to be
represented in a different way to help the library patrons to reconsider them, and maybe
they would be wondering Are these books were there all that time and we didnt know
That was my first idea of reuse these books before the library take that weeding
decision, I suggested that to the librarian, while I was volunteering there, doing the
weeding process for teen collection back in April, I found some of these uncirculated
books misplaced with the Juvenile collection, actually I felt sorry for these books and
others which misplaced and then judged unfairly to be out of the library collection, they
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thought these books were not circulated for more than two years, so they have to get rid
of them. The librarian listened to my suggestion and gave them another chance.
Then I thought of another way to save these books before they got executed, and been
withdrawn out of the library collection, I thought of giving another chance to most of
these uncirculated books that we consider valuable, by representing them in another
place which attract visitors eyes, and put some notes to reintroduce these books to their
readers either Adults or children, that could help these books to get the attention they
deserve.
To put these material on sale to the same community who refused to read them while
they were for free on the library shelves, that wont help the library to get some more
money back out of that book sale, they have to put these books on sale in different place
rather that the library book sale. Im not sure is that possible or not? And is that will help
them to get more money? Or there will be other costs of shipping and renting the place
for that sale? Or if the library could find any free ways to save money they should
consider that suggestion.
After I checked what other library do with their weeded collections, if they have to take
them out, I got some other good ideas for reusing these books instead of that, these
include:
1- Put them on sale on e-pay or Better world books
2- Some of the books are out of print, they could be the only copies available and the
library doesnt know that, they may keep them for that reason or sell them to
those who need them
3- Reuse it in other library, it could be the main library which may need them, or
any library could accept them as donation and put them on shelves with their
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collections. I checked some of these withdrawn books in other libraries catalogs,


I found that are still in use at these libraries.
4- Some old or historic books, or biography, or even outdated non fiction or
scientific books could be needed by a professor at the university to compare some
old ideas or theory that discussed in these books, so it may be a good idea to
donate these kind of books to the university.
5- It could be a good idea to give them to school in the area or other school which
need these books ; fiction or non-fiction books.
6- They could ship them overseas to some other needed places.
7- Establish another library in some other public places that could offer only the
space for their shelves.
8- There is a program that help librarian to weed their collection called No Store:

Resell, Reuse, Recycle Library Materials(8) This program helps libraries easily
and efficiently discard weeded or donated material. Any library may use that
program, which add these materials to the program, Libraries will box materials and label
them for transport to a book reseller of CLiCs . The boxes will be left for American
Courier and will be picked up a few at a time. When American Courier picks up the
boxed materials it becomes CLiC property. American Courier coordinates delivery of
material to a book reseller. The book reseller processes the material deciding which items
are marketable for resale, what can be donated, and what will be recycled. Libraries can
be confident that no material will end up in a landfill. As material is sold, CLiC collects
the proceeds and pays all associated fees to keep the system running. The program is

8 No Store: Resell, Reuse, Recycle Library Materials Fact Sheet program Retrieved on August 2 nd
2009 from : http://www.lrs.org/documents/field_stats/no_store.pdf

limited to paper materials, i.e. books. There is no cost to the library. Libraries may
receive a Courier rebate on their next years courier bill.

Finally the library should reevaluate their collection development system, before they do
weeding they have to:
1- Review the library's mission,
2- Recognize the strong feelings people may have about books.
3- Become knowledgeable about books and use appropriate weeding tools.
4- Learn to recognize valuable books
5- Use displays of weeded materials
6- Make weeding an ongoing task

IX.

Conclusions:
Books will never lose their value, even those old outdated books, theyll always
have something good, in this report I wasnt judging the weeding decision of the
librarian at Huntington library, actually I got benefits out of these weeded books, I
collected some of these books, they are now in my property! I wish I had more spaces
to bring more, but as I noticed the shortage of some other collection at the library, and
the harsh economic time that public libraries are facing these days, I thought of that
weeding system as a failure system, so I had to just share my ideas with them maybe
they will consider it as a community services from one of that community. I wish that
will help them, and hopefully they will practice some of these ideas or come up with
better one to reuse them and get more benefit out of these weeded books.

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Works Cited
1- CREW: a weeding manual for modern libraries (2008) Revised and Updated by
Jeanette Larson Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Austin, Texas.
Retrieved on July 7th 2009, from:
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod08.pdf
2- pubyac-bounces@lists.lis.illinois.edu
3- No Store: Resell, Reuse, Recycle Library Materials Fact Sheet program
Retrieved on August 2nd 2009 from :
http://www.lrs.org/documents/field_stats/no_store.pdf
4- Slote, Stanley J. (1997) Weeding collection: library weeding methods.-4th ed.Engle Wood collection . 240p.

Checklist
Day by day working in this project:
Since I was working as a volunteer at Huntington library from January till May, I had most
of my experience about this idea of weeding the library collection, thats before I chose
this topic as my final project in this course, So Im I doing this check list or day by day
working starting on :
on July 7th I posted this discussion group list pubyac@lists.lis.illinois.edu a request
for helping me with their methods of weeding, since I received their e- mails after that
day I started reading more about that topic first I read responds of 8 librarians from all
over the States. They helped me to know about different weeding methods applied by their
libraries. And they sent me links to websites for weeding systems.
O July 13th I Reviewed the Literature published on line, and these are some of the paper
on the web that I reviewed, I didnt cited much of them at my project but I read and learn
how to write about weeding these are some of the literature reviewed.
1.

Weeding Policy | Halifax Public Libraries


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Weeding Policy. The public library is a primary source for life-long learning, ... a major
public library, Halifax Public Libraries recognizes its ... development] ...
www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/about/documents/policies/weeding.html - Cached
2.

Wisconsin Public Library Policy Resources


Policy Development. Development of Essential Policies for Public Libraries ...
Materials Selection, Collection Development, Challenged Materials, Weeding ...
dpi.wi.gov/pld/policies.html - Cached

3.

Texas Public Library Collection Standards - Texas State Library


Standards for collection development for Texas public libraries. ... Weeding Manual for
Modern Libraries is a useful guide for an ongoing weeding ...
www2.tsl.state.tx.us/plstandards/collection.html - Cached
on july16th I visited both Trumbull library and Bridgeport public library to discuss there
weeding system.
On July 24th I visited Huntington branch library to get more document from the librarian,
and shared my ideas for their weeding system with them.
From July 26, till August 5 I started writing this report.
By August 6th I was done with that report, and Ill posted later, and after I finished all my
other courses this Summer Ill give a copy of this project report to the director to share my
ideas with his.

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Appendix 1: responds from pubyac subscriber.

Date: Tue, 7 Jul 2009 13:31:53 -0400


> From: ibrahimh1@southernct.edu
> To: pubyac@lists.lis.illinois.edu
> Subject: [PY] weeding
> Hi
> I am searching for any Good ideas of how public libraries do weeding to
> their collection. Could anybody please help me with that?
> Hanem
> Hamubourham@hotmail.com
> or
> ibrahimh1@southernct.edu

Hanem,
Since I do not have the complete training that a MLS person has (Im a Library Associate Senior), I hope
my answer will help. Because I am in a small library branch and have limited space, I have to weed
regularly. I get a report from the cataloguing department or one who makes the reports on what has NOT
checked out in the last year and prior. Those books go, unless they are part of a series or are some sort of
award winner. I withdraw all duplicates after a year of being on the shelf and all books that are damaged,
worn and beyond repair. I have used my TAG group to choose books that they would never check out.
After checking to see how they are doing in Sirsi, I will also withdraw them.
Elise Fare
Jacksonville Public Library
Jacksonville, FL
Argyle Branch Teen Coordinator
904-573-3164
Hanem,
Depending on which collection I am weeding, and how jammed it is will
affect how "harshly" I weed. I am in charge of the YA fiction, J
Fiction, J Non Fiction, J Audio, J Mixed Media, Picture Books, Easy
Reading, and Board books. If the area I am weeding has very little

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room
I will run a report from our system to pull anything that has not
circulated in one year. If the area just needs a little room I will
first pull duplicate copies, and see if that gives the needed room. If
I need more room I will run a report listing the books that have not
circulated in 2 or more years.
Hope this helps,
Cortina
-Cortina Ison
Children's Librarian
Putnam County Public Library
Phone: 765-653-2755 ext. 121
Email: cison@putnam.lib.in.us
Hello Hanem~
The Texas State Library uses the CREW method for weeding. This method
uses the acronym MUSTIE for six negative factors that mark a book for weeding:
M = Misleading (and/or factually inaccurate)
U = Ugly (worn and beyond mending or rebinding)
S = Superseded (by a new edition, or much better book on the subject)
T = Trivial (of no discernible literary or scientific merit)
I = Irrelevant to the needs and interest of your community
E = Elsewhere: The material may be obtained expeditiously elsewhere
through interlibrary loan or reciprocal borrowing.
You can also access this information at the Texas State Library website:
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us. Click on the yellow tab near the top that
says "Our Publications," scroll down the page and click on "Resources
for Librarians;" the second link on that screen is to the CREW method of
weeding.
Hope this helps.
Beverly Bixler
San Antonio Public Library, TX
beverly.bixler@sanantonio.gov

Hey,
1. Look at whether or not the book gets checked out. If it doesn't, is there a good reason to keep it?
2. Is the book in good shape? Can you repair it or should you get another copy?
jessi

Hi,
We use the CREW manual from Texas State Library "A Weeding Manual for
Modern Libraries"
http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/
Robyn Aguiar

14

Sunnyside Public LibraryFresno, CA

The CREW method is what we use here.


http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/pubs/crew/crewmethod08.pdf
Good luck!
Kendra
hippielu@hotmail.com

Here is a website I find helpful even though it is aimed at school


libraries: http://www.sunlink.ucf.edu/weed/howTo.html
Good luck!
Laurie

Try looking at the CREW method book. Most libraries adopt this system or
something similar.
http://www.amazon.com/CREW-method-guidelines-collection-medium-sized/dp/B000
6PEPYQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246994145&sr=8-1
Esther Moberg
Youth Librarian
Creswell Library
Creswell, Oregon

Appendix 2 samples of printout lists of withdraw books from Huntington library


collection ( picture books, and children fiction books)

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16

17

Appendix 3: samples of or withdrawn books from Huntington library collection:

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2 books cover the front and the back cover where they discarded the weeded books from
their collection

This weeded book was published on 2007, its real price $ 16, it was been withdrawn in
2009. maybe it never been checked out.

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