Collection development info and discussion for libraries, authors, and everyone in between. Find us on Twitter by searching the #collectiondevelopment hashtag or following @Tuphlos and @helgagrace. Our views do not necessarily reflect those of our employers.
Quick question about "out of print" books: Do you buy them for your collections? If you do not, why not? If you do, do you only buy one copy? What's the lowest condition you're willing to get? What's the most you're willing to pay? Do you only buy under certain conditions? (part of a series, classic, local interest, etc?) And, what do you do if it suddenly gets 60 holds on the single copy?
If you are responsible for collection development in just about any size or kind of library, the chances are good that there's been a recent push to reduce the size of your print reference collection.* Print reference materials are, to use a regional expression, wicked expensive. They are also being used less and less as librarians turn to databases and patrons turn to the immediate gratification of the internet. As budgets decline and libraries look to use their space in new and creative ways, physical reference collections are obvious targets for heavy weeding. Here at my library, we are reducing our reference collection by 50%. At our branches, reference collections will be cut by 75% . . . this time around. So where do you start when you are lucky enough to get the assignment to chop chop chop?
Before You Begin
Get a firm idea of how much the administration wants to reduce the reference collection. Survey the collection and determine how much you're going to have to weed to…
"Denewing" is the term I invented for the process of taking books from the new shelf and changing their status to, for lack of a better word, "not-new." Sure, I could farm the work out to other people in my library, but it's never been clear to me why I would when denewing presents the perfect opportunity to see what has been circulating, how many times, and (thanks to Evergreen, our new ILS) the last library at which an item was checked out. Plus, peeling stickers = therapeutic. Denewing is something I can do on desk while I help people with their various computer issues.
Denewing also makes your new shelves look better. Because space is at such a premium in most public libraries (although regular weeding could help with that--cough), the New Shelf is the place where we have the best opportunity to showcase what we're buying and catch people's attention. The new shelf should be positioned somewhere where it will catch patrons' eyes and shout (item-…