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Collection Update for Currency Project

Project Overview

We are completing a multi-year Collection Update for Currency project in our General Shelving area. This project is expected to weed about 20-30% of the collection, using 1975 as a publication cut-off date range (taking into consideration different discipline’s needs and circulation data).

The Collection Update for Currency project has two main inspirations:

1: The majority of the collection is not current, accurate content.

In order to fulfill our collection goal of supporting the curriculum, Wartburg Common Learning Outcomes, research, and personal development of the Wartburg community, we need to remove older content.

  • Students who browse shouldn’t be presented with a majority of items that contain outdated content.
  •  Students should have access to more current content—removing the older items frees up space for these newer items.

3 old-fashioned white men superimposed over two of our book shelves

Photo image Jill Westen 2021; Superimposed image modified from "Reading with a pipe" by State Library Victoria Collections is licensed under CC BY 2.0

2: The majority of the collection is very white and sometimes perpetuates harmful, unjust ideas.

Again, an unbalanced and unjust collection does not fulfill our collection goals, particularly those dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Students searching any topic should be exposed to a variety of identities and viewpoints—with solid resources that perpetuate just ideas.

  • Removing outdated content solves one part of this—many items that contained outdated and harmful ideas will no longer be presented as part of the main collection.
  • The other part of the issue will be addressed with future carefully-selected acquisitions. That solution is not part of this project, but it will be in tandem with it.

Common concerns for projects of this nature include the potential loss of seminal works in a field and the loss of the ability to perform historiographies. Neither of these concerns should be roadblocks following the completion of this project. Both needs are satisfied by the library’s access to a robust interlibrary loan service (which is already used to order seminal works and works for historiographies the library does not currently own).

To prepare for this undertaking, librarians examined similar projects at similar libraries, performed snapshot audits of Vogel’s Collection, and surveyed faculty needs for book resources.

Some of the items we removed during our snapshot audits help demonstrate why this project is necessary. You can see these on the "Cart" of Shame tab, as well as any additional items we add as the project goes on.

Evidence-based Collection Management

Are you interested in reading more about how librarians develop weeding projects? Linked or cited below are many resources that provide further details about how librarians develop and conduct collection management for deselection. 

Further Reading

Baumbach, D. J., & Miller, L. L. (2006). Less is more: A practical guide to weeding school library collections. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Crosetto, A., Kinner, L., & Duhon, L. (2008). Assessment in a tight time frame: Using readily available data to evaluate your collection. Collection Management, 33(1–2), 29–50. https://doi.org/10.1080/01462670802157908.

McAllister, A. D., & Scherlen, A. (2017). Weeding with wisdom: Tuning deselection of print monographs in book-reliant disciplines. Collection Management, 42(2), 76–91. https://doi.org/10.1080/01462679.2017.1299657.

Vogel Library, Wartburg College   |   100 Wartburg Blvd, Waverly, IA, 50677 |   Phone: 319-352-8500   | Email: asklibrarian@wartburg.edu