Build A Choice Collection

Collection Maintenance and DeSelection
Collection maintenance involves examining the materials in the collection to determine whether items should be repaired, replaced, or removed. The overall purpose of the library’s collection is to provide works of literary merit, adhere to curricula, and feature works that have informational value. Whether examining the copyright dates on the print collection or editing broken links on the school library Web site, maintenance is an essential aspect of collection development. Dickson’s article Crying Over Spilled Milk (Dickinson, G., Library Media Connection 23(7), 2005, p. 24-26).(2005) details strategies to streamline the weeding process.

The teacher-librarian needs to adhere to policies that assist in the reconsideration process. A statement regarding the need for re-evaluation of materials should be part of the school division’s selection policy. It should also indicate specifications for periodic inventories and recommendations for continuous and intermittent examination. Finally, criteria should be included for de-selection of materials.


Deselecting materials is as important as selecting materials. It is the practice of discarding excess copies, rarely used items, and materials no longer in use. With renewed curricula and limited space for expansion, weeding is essential. The following list outlines the importance of weeding:
  • Saves Space
  • Makes Room For Items To Breathe On The Shelf
  • Improves Access And Visibility
  • Removes Inferior Materials
  • Prevent Reading Of Inaccurate Information, Outdated Viewpoints
  • Makes Collection Development Worthwhile
  • Allows Quality Resources To Be Easily Located
Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. Collection Maintenance & Weeding .eduScapes: A Site for Life-long Learners. Retrieved August 9, 2010, from

Weeding Criteria

  • Physical Condition - Should it be repaired, replaced, or tossed?
  • Qualitative Worth - Does the collection have additional titles on the topic? Is the information negative, harmful, or subjective?
  • Quantitative Value - Are multiple copies needed or could the copy in the worst shape be removed? Is the item relevant to the intended curricular outcomes?
  • InterestWhat was the last date of circulation? Weed if 3 years with no circulation + 10 years old. Is the item out of style or reflective of an outdated fad?

De-Selection Methods

The CREW Method The acronym CREW stands for Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding. CREW is a cyclical process because one step leads to the next. The complete cycle is "collection building." The CREW method is a series of ongoing processes that continuously adds to, removes from, adjusts, and interprets the collection to fit the needs of users.
The MUSTIE MethodMUSTIE means materials should be discarded if Misleading, Ugly, Superseded by newer editions or better books, Trivial, Irrelevant to patron interests, or easily obtained Elsewhere through interlibrary loan.

Material Not To Weed

There are resources that should not be weeded. The materials, however, can be moved out of general circulation.
  • Primary sources and/or local history that may be difficult to replace
  • Out of print award winning material
  • Locally published titles
  • Rare items that still have curricula relevance or student interest
  • Material listed in Ministry of Education’s Core Learning Resources

Special Considerations for Weeding Equipment

School divisions may be special discarding procedures for equipment, such as taking the item off a school inventory list or sending it out for sale. In addition, there may be special paperwork for removal from inventory. Maintain records on equipment repairs as to justify removal and new purchases. These records should include who, where, when, why, and the cost. Always weigh the cost of repairs versus cost of replacement.

Collection Development