Collection Evaluation and Weeding

Livia Daniel - Georgia Southern University - FRIT 7332

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Content Focus and Justification

The selection chosen for this assignment was the 940.53 section on World War II. This selection was chosen because the media specialist said that it had never been weeded. This selection was definitely outdated and consisted of a little over 90 books. The Swainsboro High School media center's section on World War II had some books with publication dates from the 1970's. Melissa Allen quoted a Taoist proverb in her article, "Weed 'Em and Reap: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism." The proverb states, "Fertile fields cannot produce good crops as long as the weeds are not cleared away." As I evaluated the World War II selection in Swainsboro High School's media center, I kept this proverb in mind. I thought to myself, how are these books keeping students from checking out more beneficial and up-to-date books?

I also tried to keep the acronym that both Allen and Gail Dickinson used in their articles, MUSTY. Gail Dickinson wrote in "Crying over Spilled Milk," that "Weeding is selection in reverse- literally deselection." She included exactly what MUSTY stood for along with the acronym CREW. Both of these acronyms make weeding a little bit easier and less overwhelming. As I was weeding, I tried to keep asking myself the following questions:

- Is the book torn up?

-Does the book look outdated?

-Does the book look absolutely untouched?

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Evaluation: Use of Data

Before I started the weeding process I talked with our school media specialist about how he usually goes about the process of weeding. He said that he usually does it once a year and usually only selects around 50 books from the entire school library. This was a small amount in my opinion comparing it to the readings in Module 4. In Gail Dickinson's article, "Crying over Spilled Milk," she suggested weeding every week for at least 15 minutes.

Keeping my conversation in mind with the media specialist I went to the World War II selection in our school library. I picked up books that looked outdated/torn and books that appeared unused. I took my selection back to the media specialist and he was able to pull up our school's Destiny report. He typed in each book I had selected and I was shocked as he told me that each and every book I had selected had NEVER been checked out! I have attached the chart the media specialist sent to me with the books that I chose to weed.

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Evaluation: Curricular Needs

Swainsboro High School is in dire need of more updated non-fiction books on World War II. The following standard was selected :

SSWH18 The student will demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of World War II.

World War II is addressed in not only the United States History standards, but also in the World History standards. Students are usually required to write an essay on World War II in World History and this nonfiction selection on the topic is very out-dated. For students to learn and practice their historical research skills and essay writing skills, the library's collection needs to be updated. Melissa Allen writes in "Read 'Em and Weep: The Art of Weeding to Avoid Criticism," that "Only resources that actually circulate have a value within the collection." Each book I selected had never been checked out. This means they are merely wasting space in the library. The newly-generated space could be used for more modern books on World War II.

The pie graph below gives insight into when books on World War II are checked out by students. The essay assignment on World War II is given at the end of October and students are given a month to work on it. They can turn it in before the due date for feedback and resubmit. Judging by the chart below, a few students get an early start on their assignment in October, while the bulk of them work on it in November (the due date is usually around the end of November). It appears some students still check out World War II books in December, after the due date. One can assume they have gained an interest in World War II because of the essay assignment or they are turning their assignment in well past the due date.

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Weeding List

The books that were weeded as a result of this assignment along with the rationale for each is as follows:

1) United States PT Boats of World War II by Frank D. Johnson

Rationale: This book has never been checked out from the Swainsboro High School media center. If you google this book, it is actually listed on as a collectible! It was published in 1983.

2) World War II Almanac: 1931-1945 by Robert Goralski

Rationale: Once again this book has never been checked out and any image inside of it is black and white. The book was published in 1987.

3) The War in the Desert: TIME Life World War II Series

Rationale: The book has never been checked out. It was published in 1977. All images in the book are in black and white.

4) The World Almanac of World War II: The Complete and Comprehensive Documentary of World War II

Rationale: The book has yet again, never been checked out. When students are required to write the essay on World War II, this book would probably never be checked out due to its' general information over all of World War II. Students are required to choose a specific topic from World War II and this book would not be very helpful for their assignment. It was published in 1992.

5) The Naval War Against Hitler by Donald Macintyre

Rationale: This book was published in 1971, making it extremely outdated. No one has ever checked this book out from Swainsboro High School's library.

6) World War II (The Second World War) by John Keegan

Rationale: This book was published in 1990. Every picture is in black and white. This book has never been checked out.

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When I asked the media specialist if there was a disposal policy for the books that were weeded from the media center he said there was not one on paper. He said that when he usually weeds he deletes them from Destiny, and then asks teachers and the community if anyone would like the disposed books before they go to the trash. He will usually leave the books for at least a month on the floor in E-hall, which is actually across from my classroom (picture included). He did say that he hates to discard books, but it is necessary.

Melissa Allen and Gail Dickinson both provided multiple uses for discarded books. Students can use them for projects, they can be used for decorations, they can be given to charities, donated to the public library, etc. I have actually used discarded books from our middle school as bookends in my home! Both articles provided multiple charities that take used books. My media specialist encouraged me to take a "fake" picture for this assignment holding the books above the trash can, that he called the "weeding can". He took the picture for me! The books selected for this assignment were not actually weeded from Swainsboro High School's media center.

If it was totally up to me, I would see if teachers at Swainsboro High School or students at the school might be interested in taking the books. If not, I would check with the media specialists at all the other schools in our county. If no one was interested still, I would contact the public library in town. If our public library was not interested in the books, then I would contact our local thrift store to see if they might like the books or contact the link Melissa Allen included in her article,

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Allen, M. (2010). Weed 'em and reap: The art of weeding to avoid criticism. LMC, 28(6), 32-33.

Collection Evaluation and Weeding powerpoint.

Dickinson, G. (2005). Crying over spilled milk. LMC, 23(7), 24-26.

Ford, D.B. (2011). Facts: Just the facts! Evaluating your nonfiction collection. LMC, 29(5), 5.