Criteria for Weeding Materials

Weeding and the Collection Development Policy.  Like all collection development processes, weeding should be covered by the library's collection development policy.  Indeed, because weeding has the potential for being controversial, it is especially important for this process to be covered in the policy.  The policy should clearly explain the purpose of weeding and explain in some detail why it is necessary.  It should also explain the criteria that is used in choosing materials to be weeded, the process for weeding, who is responsible for carrying out the process, and how weeded materials are disposed.

The CREW Method: Guidelines for weeding.  In this section of the course, we will discuss criteria for choosing materials to be weeded.  Most of these criteria come from Belinda Boon, The CREW Method; Expanded Guidelines for Collection Evaluation and Weeding for Small and Medium-Sized Public Libraries (Austin, Texas: The Texas State Library, 1995).  This book is available at a reasonable cost from the Texas State Library, Library Development Division, PO Box 12927, Austin, Texas 78711-2927.  Telephone 512-463-5465  E-mail: anne.ramos@tsl.state.tx.us  CREW stands for Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding.  This method has been time tested and is considered so valuable that many libraries simply refer to the CREW method as their criteria for weeding in their collection development policies.  Please notice, however, that these criteria are for smaller libraries that normally do not have a heavy research emphasis.  Academic libraries and specialized libraries would use very different criteria than those mentioned here.

Criteria for Weeding.  The CREW method gives six general criteria for considering weeding an item from the library's collection.  These have been summed up with the acronym MUSTIE

                     M=     Misleading--factually inaccurate
                      U=      Ugly--worn beyond mending or rebinding
                      S=       Superceded--by a new edition of by a much better book on the subject
                      T=       Trivial--of no discernible literary or scientific merit
                      I=        Irrelevant to the needs and interests of the library's community
                      E=       Elsewhere--the material is easily obtainable from another library

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