Our collections needs to be able to breathe, just like the community members that use our space. When our collections get clogged up, they become a mess. We start to lose track of things. We begin to forget what we have because we have way too much of it.

Collections that are able to be viewed and browsed not only look better, but they circulate better as well. I saw it during my time in Chattanooga, and I’ve read about it many times here. This is the goal with the collection at my current library: to create something that can be easily browsed and is open and accessible to the public. For a while now, we’ve had a collection so full that there have been books stacked on top of one another. We were out of shelf space. It was time for a change to happen.

Libraries are also moving towards a new model that blends the old with the new. We have all the information that you need. What we also have now is the space for you to relax, work, and be part of the community. When we weed items from our collections, think about the space it opens up for people to be in the library. Where there were rows and rows of shelves now can be home to tables, chairs, desks, and more. This is where the community can gather.

The public library needs to be able to breathe. That’s what weeding allows it to do.


  1. I wish we could do the same thing on my library. Sometimes, when people deliver books, we find no space for them on the shelves. It’s insane, especially because a great part of our collection is way to old to be there ūüė¶

  2. I love this mental image of the public library breathing. Some people think that free and open access to a collection means as much stuff as possible crammed into every available space, and that weeding is bad. I disagree. Collections should circulate not stagnate. You’ve put it much more eloquently than I could.

    • I want two things out of this: I want the collection to breathe, meaning that I want people to be able to browse and find the gems that we have one the shelves. I don’t want these books hidden or crammed away. My other goal is to keep our collection current. A focused and current collection gives your community access to the best possible materials. This educates and helps the community. A healthy library collection=a healthy community. All of this is woven together! The circle of life! Cue Sir Elton!

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