Friday, February 29, 2008

Weeding 1 Was Wonderful by Any Analysis

If you were one of the 15 or so TLs (and one keen teacher named Yvette) who came to Dickens learn how to weed and discuss the challenges of weeding, you would have had fun!

It was a great event ... and by the end, Cheriee was weeding with enthusiasm. Amazing what a little light refreshment does at the end of the day. More help could be used next week.
Are you considering a serious weed of one or more sections, likely preparing for inventory or making room for new resources? While Cheriee is preparing to move her collection to the new school and knows on a rational level it is better not to move one more book than is absolutely necessary, we saw a TL working with what we all recognize as the emotional attachment to a collection she has helped build. We agreed it is much easier to weed a collection that belongs or has belonged to someone else. But let's review the Dickens weeding process, to date ...

Analysis by IGE: Thyrza and Irina from MLST and I went to Dickens on Wednesday morning. We brought an IGE (a Horizon report where a particular group of items has been defined by parameters and identified in a printout) -- all books with copyright older than 2000 that had never (since automation) been signed out. Cheriee had already run an IGE for all books not circulated since 2000, a different list. Guess how many books were on these lists.

Irina had also run a count of "New Items" and of Items Missing, Missing Inventory, and Lost. If Cheriee were to check in all New Items, they would be added into the collection numbers and exactly offset the removal of the list of missing and lost items! Put another way, removing the lost items didn't accomplish any reduction in the collection size and it's really important to remember to check in all items that are added to your collection, both when you copy-catalogue and when you send them in to MLST. Remember that New Items do not exist for inventory purposes until they have been upgraded to Checked In.

While we were pre-assessing the collection, we checked collection size reports -- for Dickens and for other single-track schools of a similar size (500 students). Dickens had the largest collection but not by much -- and there would be reason to expect this, given that this school doesn't use textbooks. The range in collection size amongst these similar-size schools indicated that at least one collection was only two-thirds the size of Dickens', suggesting some considerable leeway for de-selecting!

Analysis by Professional Development and Collaboration: When we had resolved the refreshment shortages and pondered the reports, we began the weeding discussions. I provided an article "Weed!" by Doug Johnson (Head for the Edge, Library Media Collection, Sept/Oct 2003). The handout also included pages III, 35-37, from the district Handbook (2007; see portal) and pp. 92-3 from the Ministry document Evaluating, Selecting, and Managing Learning Resources: A Guide (2002).
Other "weeding resources" included in the package were:
Analysis by Doing: Cheriee had taken pages from the IGE prepared at MLST and grouped them. TLs paired up -- experienced with inexperienced -- to undertake an analysis by doing the work: find the volumes identified as being older than 2000 and as never being circulated and verify they were ready for discarding. While on that shelf, identify other volumes to consider for discard. It soon became clear that it would be a time-consuming process -- that it would be just as easy to pull the books for Cheriee to check before discarding. Piles began to appear all over the school library.

Next Week: finish weeding; learn how to create the Discard IGE, as well as box and label the materials.

Analysis for Long-term Planning: We have had a look at the inventory records for the district. We are compiling the information on collection size for each school and will correlate it with information about school size (annex, small, medium, large; single-track, dual-track, etc.) and inventory. But why? you ask, given that the limited amount of staffing at some schools makes it impossible to do the "annual" inventory. The union catalogue is a primary concern: how accurate the records for your school are depends upon the adjustments following inventory. The records of books lost and missing, as well as the value of these items, are a useful measure of the importance of staffing, security systems, supervision, shared knowledge and professional qualifications, as well as consistent practice.

Workshop for April: Embracing Inventory!

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