You may notice that, at times, entire shelves in our picture book area are empty. What’s going on?
Well, there are 348 shelves of picture books in our department and most of the shelves are getting VERY crowded! So, we are currently undertaking a BIG weeding project. Just as in a garden, weeds can choke out the pretty plants and flowers, so can old, irrelevant, stained and severely worn out books hide the pretty and more relevant books. To undertake such a big weeding project, we do have “rules” to follow! All libraries have a collection development policy which guides librarians on the criteria for purchasing for and deselecting from a collection; you can take a peek at ours here.
In keeping with our policy, one of the factors we look at here in the children’s area is the circulation of the item…..if it hasn’t been checked out for two years, most likely it is just not relevant anymore and needs to go to make room for something new.
We put all the books from one shelf on a book cart and wheel it over to our work station in order to scan each book’s barcode to check for the last circulation date. While the books are on the cart, it’s the perfect time to clean off the dust and grime that collects on the shelf! This also gives us a chance to inspect each book to check for stains, torn pages and the general condition of the book. Most of our books have a plastic jacket cover that can be wiped off with a Clorox wipe – it’s amazing how a “dirty” book can look almost new again with a little TLC! Sometimes we determine that we need to order a new copy of a book; if it is still in publication, we try our hardest to find a new copy. Other times, we conclude that it is time to retire a book from our collection. Once a book has been withdrawn, or “weeded”, it most likely will be found in the Friends of the Moline Public Library sale room. You can read all about our Friends and the sale room hours of operation here.
So, the next time you see an empty shelf, you’ll know we are busy making room for something new by clearing out the old, and making sure our collection is relevant to our patrons!