T Bowen

Evaluation and Weeding Biographies: Section 920

Why Weed? M.U.S.T.Y. and Dusty!

The current number of patrons at my school's media center is 698. The media center has over 8,434 copies available for students to check out. English Language Arts teachers bring their classes to the media center every two weeks so that students have a chance to browse, use the computers, do station activities, and get new books; Social Studies and Science classes also frequently meet in the media center for work on projects. Students are constantly asking for books about the latest sports figures, actors, musicians, politicians, and scientists, yet the biography section, which includes the 920s and 921s, is the oldest and least used material in the media center. The 920 section (biographical collections) contains 87 titles, and 71 are older than 10 years old. The 921section (biographies and autobiographies) contains 456 titles, and 390 are older than 10 years old.

Questions to Ask as I Review the Collection

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Evaluation Based on Curriculum Needs

STEM, Politics, and Quarterbacks!

The current biographical needs of my media center are based on the Columbia County BOE's policy of weeding and evaluating materials. Curriculum needs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focus on inventors, businessmen, engineers, designers, doctors, and creators. Social Studies curriculum in the middle grades covers Georgia History, the Western Hemisphere, and the Eastern Hemisphere. Students need accurate, current biographies with text features such as pictures, captions, graphs, charts, and timelines. Students also enjoy reading about popular actors, sports figures, and musicians as well during English Language Arts projects on nonfiction, informational texts.

Included is the link for the CCBOE academic webpage, which includes curriculum maps, STEM links, GA milestone information, and standards for grades 6-8. This information is used by teachers and media specialists to guide instruction and media purchases:


Evaluation Based on Data

Destiny Reports for Age and Circulation History

Using Destiny, which is the library operating system, to produce reports based on book title, year of publication, and circulation history, I was able to review books using the M.U.S.T.Y. guidelines (misleading or stereotypical information, ugly covers or worn, superseded by newer editions, trivial information, and importance to the school's collection).
  • 71 of the books in the biographical section are over 10 years old
  • 22 titles in this section have never been checked out
  • over 20 titles are from the 1960s and 1970s
  • 29 titles have been checked out between 1-4 times in their time on the shelf
  • topics with the highest circulation history were MVP (football greats), Famous Skateboards, the Beatles, and Sluggers (famous baseball hitters)
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) biographies have not been purchased since 2008
  • Most frequently requested biographical topics from students include current sports figures like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, current politicians and world leaders, and actors

Oldies but not Goodies

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Items to Weed and How to Fund the Replacements!

The Purge -- Down to the Sweet 16!

Using all possible criteria (Destiny reports, guides like M.U.S.T.Y., and CCBOE policy), the media center needs to replace almost its entire 920 biographical section. Of the 87 titles in the 920 category, 71 are over ten years old. Along with this older age, comes a lack of current information, a lack of pertinent topics, and an abundance of books that have no connection to the curriculum. The push for quality nonfiction texts is a large part of the curriculum, and students deserve new, accurate, and interesting information. Only 16 of the current 920 titles should be kept in the media center so that the section can get a complete revamping.

The media center is having three book fairs this year. Most book fairs earn between $1000 and $1500. Those funds will be used this year to build the nonfiction sections of the media center with special focus on the biographies.

Weeding Policies for CCBOE

Policies and Media Handbook

Media Specialists must follow the policies of their counties for evaluation and weeding materials. The media center handbook for CCBOE includes specific sections for what to weed, when to weed, how to weed, and guidelines for each area including biographies. Certain steps must be followed:
  • Remove all stickers and barcodes
  • Use black Sharpie to cover all mention of school name
  • Remove from Destiny system
  • Offer to teachers if book is still usable
  • Box and send to county warehouse

The link for the media handbook is included; the pages for weeding are 30-35.