Library weeding

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Blacksburg, VA, April 18 – Weeder: Leslie O’Brien, Virginia Tech Libraries’ Head of Technical Service & Collections, discusses library weeding in her office in Newman Library.

by Steven Burneson–

Library weeding, or the removal of items from a library’s circulating collection, is a process employed by librarians to ensure that there is enough space on library shelves for newly published materials.

Leslie O’Brien, head of Technical Services & Collections for Virginia Tech libraries, has been weeding materials from the university’s collection since arriving at the school. She believes it to be necessary, but not necessarily easy.

“It’s very difficult to work in libraries and say ‘We have to discard this, or store it, or take it out of the collection,'” O’Brien said.

Virginia Tech, as a research institute, requires its libraries to carry a wide range of data. And while weeding is still prevalent at Virginia Tech, research libraries, like Virginia Tech’s, are valued by their long-term collections.

“There’s value in collections over the years,” O’Brien said. “For Virginia Tech, agriculture is a main focus of the collection. People might be studying the history of agriculture and they’re looking at how people farmed in the 30s, or how people farmed before pesticides.”

In the image slideshow below, O’Brien discusses an experience with weeding in the Virginia Tech library.