North Richland Hills Library in Texas is a single branch system with a large team oflibrarians and selectors. It serves a population of more than 63,000 and collectionHQ, the world’s leading collection management tool, was introduced to the library in 2016 to support evidence based collection management.
Prior to the introduction of collectionHQ, weeding processes at the library had been sporadic with no regular workflow for removal of dead or grubby items. Karen Raborn, Collection Manager at the library shared: “Weeding often happened in spurts. People would be busy with other priorities then there would be a big weeding push. Each department handled weeding differently with different timelines, so it got to the point where our Director recognized the need for a unified approach to collection management and deselection.”
The team started with Collection Check to audit their collection in early April 2016 with the goal to wrap up the majority of the project before the summer reading program began in June. This program targeted any titles that had not been circulated in two years, but this parameter could be easily customizable, a feature that Raborn liked.
By developing a consistent workflow and keeping staff updated on progress regularly, the team at North Richland Hills completed the whole project in three months, with the main bulk completed in time for the Summer Reading Program as planned. In fact, since the library’s first dataset in February 2016 and the November 2016 dataset, the Collection Check percentage had been reduced from:
- 8% to 0.8% in Fiction
- 35.4% to 13.9% in Non-Fiction
- 2.5% to 0.1% in Non-Book
As a result of starting their collectionHQ journey with the Collection Check tool, Raborn and her team have improved the accuracy and appearance of their collection in preparation for getting to work with the rest of the evidence based toolset. “There is more space on the shelf making it easier to see what is there, offering us the opportunity to shift parts of collection and to experiment with facing books out to monitor how that impacts circulation,” Raborn said. “CollectionHQ allows us to get hard statistics about the decrease in percentage of items that have not checked out in the past two years which we can pass on to city administration.”
Sharing successes like this can help to justify weeding decisions to shareholders.
Interested in cleaning up your library’s collection, but don’t know where to start? Karen offers up some tips:
- Make it as much of a team project as possible. It was a daunting task, so having detailed instructions to make people comfortable with the process and offering many hands to lighten the workload is key in being able to pull the process off smoothly.
- Use your ILS (or LMS) to keep track of exactly how many items are discarded each day then share these numbers with staff to keep them motivated.
- Consistency is very important. Make sure that time is scheduled to carry out the tasks regularly.
Want to learn more? Visit collectionHQ’s website at collectionhq.com.