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Olson Library Weeding


  • Definition: Weeding--perhaps better described as weeding and thinning--is the process of removing outdated or unused materials. It's a regular part of the library's ongoing work to help make sure the collection remains current and relevant to campus curricula and research interests.
  • Purpose: To keep the collection updated, improve the visibility of the materials available, and identify areas and topics for further development.
  • General Practice: Olson Library's Collection Development Policy helps identify materials for removal. This policy does need updating, and we'll be working on that in the coming months.
  • Current Context: The Library's Strategic Directions document, under the University's Road Map to 2015, includes realigning the ways in which we use space--one way of ensuring efficiency and effectiveness in meeting current teaching and research needs. Our present work is focused only on the print book collection; periodicals, music, film, and other kinds of materials are not currently being reviewed as part of this project.

Current Project

We have developed lists of all our print book holdings and their usage records, organized by librarian liaisons assigned to academic departments (contact Krista Clumpner, if you're not sure who your liaison is). The library is organized by Library of Congress (LC) subject classifications, and each liaison's spreadsheets list all the books in a given LC call-number range.

About the lists:
  • The volumes we've identified as unused are highlighted in yellow: Title List Example
  • Many yellow-highlighted items show one browse, an internal verification step begun in recent years to indicate that a volume has been received, cataloged, and sent to the shelves.
  • Yellow-highlighted items are not necessarily automatically withdrawn. The lists are merely starting points for title-by-title review of unused materials.
  • Factors that might result in excluding an item from weeding are:

    1. Recency of acquisition, with time periods varying by discipline and material type.
    2. Importance to a discipline or relevance to current courses or research.
    3. Availability via MelCat or Interlibrary Loan. If a title is owned by fewer than four Michigan libraries, we generally consider it not readily available and return it to the shelves. Materials truly unique to our library may be placed in Special Collections rather than returned to the circulating shelves.

Weeding FAQ Librarian Liaisons Collection Development Policy

Revised 3/16/2011

Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
For exceptions and full year hours