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Weeding: Home

a companion guide to the MLS class "Weeding the physical collection."

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Search the MLS Professional Collection


Professional resources informing your decisions

Collection analysis

Collection analysis is a process of calculating rudimentary performance metrics using holdings and circulation data. The calculations may point out parts of the collection that need to be weeded, or need to be grown. Collection analysis is a useful tool in that it doesn't offer generalizations based on national standards, but quantifies performance based on how your community actually uses your library.

Please reach out to Anna Popp, MLS Consultant with questions or for one-on-one help with your collection analysis.


What you need to weed

Local Direction

  • Library's Collection Management Policy
  • Library or Organization's Strategic Plan (aka Long Range Plan)
  • Community profile


  • Any appropriate Core Catalog (ex. HW Wilson, Credo)
  • Professional standards 
    • ex. CREW selection standards
    • ex. Medical Library Association guidance
    • ex. Diversity Audit guidance from your professional association


Your expertise and professionalism

You are the magic ingredient that takes into consideration the above guidance handed down by your community, your profession, and your circulation system. With your knowledge and professional skills, you balance that guidance with what you know about your community and budget, as well as industry trends. 

The following works are cited in the Weeding workshop:

Slote, Stanley J. 1997. Weeding library collections library weeding methods. Englewood, Colo: Libraries Unlimited.

Roy, Loriene. 1990. "Weeding Without Tears". Collection Management. 12 (1-2): 83-93.

Shaw, Ralph R. "The Influence of Sloping Shelves on Book Circulation." The Library Quarterly 8, no. 4 (1938): 480-90.