Crash Course in Weeding Library Collections
by Francisca Goldsmith
November 2015, 109pp, 8 1/2x11
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-3688-6
$50, £39, 44€, A69
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-3689-3
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Weeding needn’t evoke fear and anxiety when you have this best-practices guide and the support and knowledge it provides.

Weeding is a perennial challenge for librarians. This book will help you rise to the task by offering you basic instructions, including information on new formats and digital collections.

Weeding is often difficult—who can easily decide to discard books and other materials that someone may someday want to borrow? But weeding is essential to keeping your collection healthy and relevant. Perfect for all types of libraries and for both paraprofessionals and librarians unfamiliar with modern weeding methods, this practical guide offers clear guidance that can help you cope with the sometimes-paralytic fear and distaste that can accompany a must-do task.

Each of the book’s chapters treats a specific concern—for example, weeding electronic collections. Practical matters related to collection maintenance through material and online resource weeding are addressed, as are policy and procedure documentation and communication planning and best practices. You’ll read about weeding ethics, using vendor-provided weeding tools, and floating collections. The book also shares advice on training volunteers as weeding assistants and on communicating with library stakeholders about collection maintenance. By showing you how to make weeding a normal part of your library’s routine, this book will help you provide your community with a healthier, better circulating, and more valuable collection.


  • Covers online collection maintenance needs on all material formats (books, serials, recordings, realia) that require ongoing weeding
  • Points to free online resources and places them in context
  • Addresses weeding and physical emergencies, such as fires, earthquakes, and plumbing failures
  • Discusses weeding in support of building wayfinding and boosting circulation
  • Includes worksheets that provide documentation to use as guides in policy, procedure, and communication planning
Francisca Goldsmith, MLIS, has worked as a librarian and library staff educator for more than 30 years. She has led major weeding projects in both public and school libraries and has provided hands-on staff training in collection weeding for the past 10 years. After serving as the collection management services manager at Berkeley (CA) Public Library, she became the director of branch services for Halifax Regional Library in Nova Scotia and then returned to the United States to work full-time as a staff development consultant. A regular contributor to professional literature on both collections and public library service development, she is also the author of Graphic Novels Now: Building, Managing, and Marketing a Dynamic Collection; The Readers' Advisory Guide to Graphic Novels; and Libraries and the Affordable Care Act: Helping the Community Understand Health-Care Options. Goldsmith earned her Master of Library Information Science degree from Simmons College.


"This book could be a useful tool for someone new to the library field who has an interest or a need to learn about the weeding process."—Technical Services Quarterly, October 6, 2016

"Drawing upon an extensive background as a public librarian, a leader of weeding projects in public and school libraries, a library educator and staff development consultant, and an author in the literature on both sides (public services and technical services) of the library house, Francisca Goldsmith gives us a clear, readable Crash Course in Weeding Library Resources. Her skillful blending of practical how-to and philosophical why-to makes the book more educational than a guidebook, yet more concrete than a collection development textbook. It will be useful for anyone involved in weeding, but most useful to those readers responsible for designing and leading weeding projects, those in public libraries, and those wishing for education as well as instruction."—Technicalities, November 10, 2017
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