We have decided to seriously weed our Biography section. We got a new paint job this summer, so all of our wall labels came down. Due to circumstances beyond my control (moving the styrofoam letters a couple of times by assorted summer maintenance crew) our letters were unusable to replace on the wall. But the area above this section used to read BIOGRAPHY. Since we have the opportunity to consider relocating the section, we’ve decided to first weed, then look at all our options.
Some facts and a few observations:
- 1584 books in the biography section
- This is makes up 6.73% of our collection
- Very little circulates from this section.
- The little circulated books take up a huge section of shelves, and the shelves are too full.
- Average copyright date for this section is 2000.
The plan of attack:
Our collection was converted to Destiny in 1999. Books purchased after that show a correct acquisition date. My Follett Titlewave Analysis shows me the copyright dates. But showing me the 1500 titles across four pages in my analysis online doesn’t really help me find the ones I need to weed easily.
First wave – Copy Status
Since most of our older books have an acquisition date of 1999 due to the conversion to Destiny, I brought over a laptop and barcode scanner, ands et a student to scan for copy status. Anything that had an acquisition date of 1999 was suspect for me, and so the student scanned and pulled all that said 1999. We sort of treated it like an inventory. After scanning half the books (roughly 800), we had two full book trucks full pulled off the shelves.
Judging not by copyright date, but rather acquisition date–horrors
Now I know I shouldn’t go just by my unprofessional judgement of the copy status/acquisition date. The books on the cart will be brought to the desk (or probably into the office) where we can check circulation stats (that only go back to 1999) and determine relevance to the curriculum. I will also go back to the shelf and check the number of bios for each person. I was astonished at how many George w. Bush Biographies I saw. I pulled almost all of them no matter there date. For this issue, I will measure stats and reviews. It may be that this many years later after his presidency, we need a totally new one. They all may be going.
Only Just begun
Once we finish removing the books we suspect may turn into weeds, we will have to do a lot of evaluation, and this will take a while. Our students are just not capable of helping with all of that, though they can tell me how many circs books have had, etc.