Because libraries are not TARDISes, we are not "bigger on the inside;" we have limited space and cannot be warehouses of books. Instead, librarians strive to maintain vital collections that are used by our patrons, making weeding or "deselection" a necessary part of our jobs. Removing materials from the collection when they are in poor shape, no longer used, contain outdated information, or are no longer relevant to the university curriculum helps ensure that the library collections remain relevant and, most of all, used.
While the Marx Library Executive Director bears the final responsibility for all weeding projects, the Assistant University Librarian for Collections and the liaison librarians carry out the actual work of weeding the collection. The liaisons consult with faculty representatives from their departments when needed.
The Marx Library uses the following criteria when weeding the collection:
Reference materials: Reference materials may be weeded from the print collection based on amy of the criteria above but may also be weeded if the material is available in electronic format.
Serials: While we continue to maintain some serials in print, the preference is for the electronic format; titles may be weeded if they are available on platforms librarians consider to be stable for us, such as JSTOR and Project Muse.
Government Documents: The Marx Library is a Federal Depository and, as such, must follow the Federal Depository Library Program's guide for Weeding a Depository Collection.
Deselection, commonly referred to as "weeding," in libraries is a touchy subject for librarians and patrons alike, but there are good reasons why libraries need to weed their collections, including the following: