Monday, July 13, 2015

A Growing Library Must be Weeded

  • A library is not a museum.
  • The library has limited space.
  • Information is constantly being updated.
These are some of the compelling reasons why a library must take care to weed materials from the collection on occasion. 
Dr. Lines considers the need to retain
biographies of missionary families.

The Darling Library collaborates with the teaching faculty to help keep our collection of books relevant to our curriculum. Starting last fall, Dr. Kip Lines began making his way through the Anthropology and Missions areas of the library. Intercultural Studies is a multidisciplinary subject which sprawls throughout a number of Dewey Decimal Classifications. He may never get to the end!

Karen McReynolds did some weeding in the Science section last summer, following up with suggestions for purchasing materials to update the areas in which she routinely requires student research.

Convenience and necessity sometimes drives the need for weeding.  Because this summer we are moving sets of biblical commentaries from the Reference collection to the Main stacks (so students may check them out), we needed to make room on nearby shelves that have not been weeded in over twenty years. Pacific Christian College of Ministry and Biblical Studies professors, Joe Grana (Ministry and Preaching), Curtis Holtzen (Theology), and David Matson (Biblical Studies) came to the rescue.

The idea of discarding books is unnerving to academics. So, a brief orientation to the benefits and purpose of purging was necessary. Each were assigned a section in their areas of expertise and they applied their knowledge of the content to the task at hand. It was helpful for them to come as a group in order to ask each other for second opinions.

A plus for Dr. Matson was seeing
inscriptions of previous owners
who he was familiar with.
Collection Development is the responsibility of the Director of Library Services. The final decisions about whether to keep or discard materials falls on me. Therefore, it was extremely beneficial for me to listen in on their conversations as they moved along. I heard them talk about authors, publishers, and topics that were trendy during certain periods. I listened for attitudes toward different movements and approaches to ministry and teaching. I got a better sense of what is important to them as instructors, researchers, administrators, and ministers. I learned more about the needs for supporting our curriculum in these areas.

So, what do we do with the books we discard? We send them to Better World Books to sell them on consignment for us. We get a check and part of the proceeds goes to support a literacy program in Africa. Anyone can buy books from BWB online at Just don't donate them back to us!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Robin Hartman is Director of Library Services at Hope International University. She is curious about how the organization and communication of information shapes society and is committed to equipping students to impact the world for Christ.

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