"Weeding" The Library

Sometimes, it's necessary to get rid of old books and other materials. There are many reasons for this: perhaps they are no longer relevant or the information is obsolete, perhaps they have been SO well-read they are falling apart, maybe someone's dog took a bite out of one...The nonfiction books especially need to be 'weeded' on occasion because they can become quickly outdated. For example, a book that says "someday man will land on the moon" may be interesting but the information is incorrect. A book about the Baltimore Colts is no longer current. The Colts are based in Indianapolis now. Basketball rules have changed so a 20 year old book about basketball is not correct. If someone donates a book about antique furniture to a school library and no class would use the book and the book hasn't been checked out, that book should also be removed from the school library collection.

Our art classes use some of our old books to make altered books projects each year. (Photos coming soon.) Our shop classes make various items out of old books too. When we moved to our new building in 2016, we found a lot of other things such as old film reels. The welding class did a great job turning those into a wall sculpture. Our woodshop class converted one no-longer-used encyclopedia set into a couple of tables. What can you think of to make with old books?

Weeding is not the same as banning a book. Banning a book means to remove it from the library collection because someone does not agree with or approve of the subject matter. Banning a book means someone ELSE makes a decision about what you are allowed to read. Your parents and teachers can and should help make decisions about what you may read but people who have not met you should not have the right to decide what you are allowed to read. Banning a book from a library is not something librarians like to do but weeding books is a necessary process. If libraries never removed any books from the collection, there would be no room for new books. Having books with incorrect, outdated information in a library is not useful. Keep in mind that some older books (maybe a book about Ancient Rome) are still relevant even if they are old.

Librarians, if you would like to let students help you weed your collection, give them this weeding worksheet to help them choose books to be weeded. Set them loose to search in teams of two and then report on the book they have chosen to remove from the collection and why.


Book Cut-Outs: Library


Film Reel Sculpture


Book Sculpture

Seen in a decorating store for $45,

Made for the cost of twine

Decorative Books


Book Christmas Tree


Book Tree


The Book Lamp




Encyclopedia Table