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Weeding the Collection: Home

A description and explanation of the Library's ongoing weeding program

Ely Library Weeding Project

Weeding the Library Header

Weeding is the process of reviewing library materials to remove out-of-date, unreliable, or otherwise unneeded materials from the collection.


If you have questions about the weeding process or would like to discuss the process outlined in this guide, please contact Becca Brody or your subject librarian.

Why weed the collection?

Weeding is a necessary part of library management that results in a more accessible, current collection that is easier for users to navigate.

The goals of a library weeding project include:

  • Improving visibility of useful materials in the collection
  • Reducing overcrowding on the shelves
  • Making room for newly purchased items
  • Eliminating innaccurate and dated materials from the collection

In the summer of 2014 Ely Library began a comprehensive weeding project, starting on the fifth floor with subject areas in which currency is paramount: the STEM fields and the health sciences. All full time librarians participate in the review of materials, physically examining each volume as well as consulting relevant review literature and publisher information.

Criteria for Weeding

Materials in the Ely Library circulating collection may be flagged for weeding if any of the following are true:

  • Materials are outdated, inaccurate, or superseded by a more recent publication or format.
  • The items no longer supports the mission or curriculum of Westfield State University.
  • The item has not received significant use in the past 10 years.
  • There are multiple editions or copies on the shelf.
  • The item is worn or damaged beyond repair.

Titles may be retained if any of the following are true:

  • The title is a classic or significant work in the field
  • The title has received significant use in the past 10 years
  • The title was published in the past 5 years
  • The materials was written by a member of the Westfield State University community

Additionally, titles may be retained at the discretion of the Library if they are necessary to maintain a balanced, well-rounded collection.

For more information on the guidelines for collection, retention, and deselection of materials, please see the Ely Library Collection Development Policy linked below.

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