Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weeding the Collection

After some discussion with my administration, we have agreed that our collection (+/- 5000 books) needs to be weeded. Our shelves are mostly full but, honestly, that isn't always the best idea. It will make my life a lot easier during the upcoming stock-taking if the obsolete books are already withdrawn. Library Girl recently posted a great flyer which has been my inspiration during the weeding process, take a look at it on her blog.

Just some of the books that we are planning on withdrawing!

I must admit that it's a difficult process. The outgoing librarian told me that she didn't like to remove many books, because then the shelves would look empty. Now that we've spent a few days making piles of books to remove, I can see those empty spaces. They are daunting. Some of the books we are withdrawing are hardback books, and are in better condition than the newer books in the library, so it sometimes feels like a shame to remove them. If I am honest, they are in such 'good' condition because they have been checked out so rarely. A few of the books are classic tales, but unfortunately the language or content is generally far beyond what our students want to read. At the same time, though, I have new books waiting in my office, eager to be covered in plastic (a battle, and blog post, for another day...) and get onto those shelves. 

That first sentence is part of the reason this collection is badly in need of weeding!

I hope that we are able to find a place to donate or sell these books to. Despite this being a university town, many of the local schools are not well resourced. Maybe some of the high schools will receive these books better than our students have.

Besides the weeding, I have two big projects on the go: moving the collection from manual cataloging to digital (!) and sorting the fiction by genre. The latter is not really worth doing unless the former is also going to happen. I've been deep into parts of the internet I knew nothing about, namely, integrated library systems. It seems that all of the free options are based on Linux (I have zero experience with Linux), while the Windows solutions cost an arm and a leg. Trying to find a compromise between these two extremes is proving difficult. I would be fine with advising purchase of a software as long as the cost was reasonable, but I've yet to find something suitable. The software that can automate the cataloging is very important to me, because up until now our whole collection has been on a manual card system. My ideal software will let me scan the book's ISBN and pull all the data that is required, without me having to type out 5000+ entries by hand. It will also cater for a school system, such as grouping patrons by grade/class and student/staff. This software would be clear and modern, without the Windows 95/98 look I see plaguing the Windows options (I love the look of Koha's layout). 

If anyone has any suggestions on library software, please feel free to comment and let me know!

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