It’s early spring and I am walking around my yard thinking about what needs pruning, what new plants I want to make room for that I have learned about during the winter gardening programs I have attended and what areas need special attention this year. The process makes me think about how the library staff are continually doing a similar assessment of the library collection.
We have limited space (just like my yard), and pretty much when we add new thing we have to get rid of old things. We are not a research library where things are purchased and kept forever, we want to spend our budget, both tax and gift dollars, on things people will use, and we get rid of things people aren’t using anymore. We are constantly “weeding” (yes, that is an official library term) items that have not been used, or have been loved so much they are falling apart.
Last year we added 34,619 new items to the collection, 18,962 of those were new titles, the rest were additional copies of titles we already owned. During the same time we withdrew 37,767 items. The largest collection component, 74%, is print books. Electronic/digital media makes up only 7.5% of the collection, and audiovisual items (primarily CD’s & DVDs) account for 18.5%.
We are constantly moving things around, again, just like my yard. Last year we pulled the comics and graphic novels out of the children’s nonfiction collection, this fall look for a similar change to happen with the adult collection.