Weeding in Academic and Public Libraries

Tuesday, 2/12/2019 - Wednesday, 2/13/2019
  • 10:00 AM-6:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 9:00 AM-5:00 PM (Central)
  • 8:00 AM-4:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 7:00 AM-3:00 PM (Pacific)

The e-Forum provides an opportunity for librarians and library science students to discuss issues and procedures related to deselection of print books in academic and public libraries. The first day of the forum will focus on topics most relevant to academic libraries, including: techniques for handling large weeding projects; controversies between data-driven deselection versus disciplinary qualitative approaches; communication and inclusion of faculty and other users during the process; shared decision-making within the library; techniques for sustainability; e-book and interlibrary loan implications; and weeding as a continuing maintenance process.

Day two of the e-Forum will focus on topics most relevant to public libraries. We will discuss topics like the benefits and methods of weeding, how to measure a collection’s quality, and the life cycle of a collection. We will also talk about how to make any weeding project a public relations dream through communication, transparency, and timing. Get the staff and patrons on board, be clear with your weeding plan, and set a pace that allows for careful decision making. Finally, we will talk about how to dispose of weeded materials properly and respectfully. No one wants their library in the headlines for a weeding fiasco, so learn how to weed smart.

Learning Outcomes

Day One:

  • Evaluate issues and criteria around large weeding projects
  • Understand the monographic needs of different disciplines when conducting library projects
  • Develop good communication skills between collection librarians, faculty, students users, and library administrators
  • Understand basic criteria for retention or removal of materials in relation to the needs of university curriculum and research

Day Two:

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • justify weeding as a necessary part of collection management,
  • identify at least three metrics that can be used in collection analysis, and
  • draft a weeding plan that explains the details of any weeding project.

Who Should Attend

Collection managers, as well as those involved in any part of the collection life cycle: selection, acquisitions, cataloging, processing, circulation, repair, and weeding. Librarians who are currently or will be involved in deselection projects.


Alex McAllister is an Assistant Professor and Humanities Librarian at Appalachian State University. He is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, where he majored in Journalism and Mass Communication. He also holds two master’s degrees from the University of South Carolina at Columbia: an MM in Music History and an MLIS. His research interests include the intersections of collections and humanities research methods; poststructuralism; and interdisciplinary studies involving music and art. In addition to his research, Alex teaches and selects for Art, History, English, Theatre and Dance; and Cultural, Gender and Global Studies departments. He also serves as the Library’s Inclusive Excellence Liaison to the University and member of the Library Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Allan Scherlen is a professor and collection management librarian for social sciences at Appalachian State University (NC). Allan has published on topics ranging from international librarianship and open access to academic library collection development. He co-wrote and managed four U.S. State Department grants to provide materials and bring educational programs to American Cultural Centers in China and has been active in international library exchange programs with China and Mexico. He currently serves on the editorial boards of, Library Collections, Acquisitions and Technical Services, Collection Management, and North Carolina Libraries. For five years he was the co-editor of the Balance Point section of the journal, Serials Review.

Holly Hibner received an MLIS from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1999. She is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, Michigan. Holly is currently serving as a Councilor-at-Large for the American Library Association.

Mary Kelly received an MLIS from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 2002, and also has an MBA from Wayne State. Mary is the Digital Services and Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Plymouth District Library in Plymouth, Michigan.

Holly and Mary are co-authors of the books Making a Collection Count: a holistic approach to library collection management, Taking Your Library Career to the Next Level: Participating, Publishing, and Presenting, as well as the Public Library Association’s Weeding Manual. They are co-founders and authors of the popular blog Awful Library Books.




How to Register

You must register your email address to subscribe to or access an electronic discussion list on ALA's Mailing List Service. Find instructions for subscribing online.

Once you have registered for one e-Forum, you do not need to register again, unless you choose to leave the list. Find instructions for unsubscribing.

Tech Requirements

Internet connection with email address. You can manage your subscription to this list following the online instructions.




For questions or comments, contact Megan Dougherty, ALCTS Program Officer, Continuing Education at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5038 or mdougherty@ala.org.