Criteria for Keeping Materials
So far we have discussed possible criteria that can be used for selecting materials for possible removal from the collection. There are also criteria for possibly keeping materials that would otherwise be weeded. Like the criteria for possible removal of materials, the criteria for keeping materials should also be listed in the collection development policy.
Some typical criteria for keeping materials include:
Special collections. If a library has a special collection in a specific subject area, materials that are part of this collection may be kept, even if they would otherwise be removed. Most small libraries do not have such special collections, or they only have special collections on local history.
Strong local interest. Many libraries keep materials that have a local interest. For example, libraries may keep books that are written by authors from their state, or they may keep materials that are about the local area, even though they do not keep these as a special collection.
Outstanding literary, historical, or scientific value. Some books or other materials may be kept because they are simply very important. Some of these books may have achieved classic status. An example might be Michael Faraday's Chemical History of a Candle or William James' Pragmatism. Other books, while not classics, appear in lists of recommended titles, which means that experts in the field feel that they are especially valuable. The most commonly used recommended lists are the Wilson catalogs. These include: The Children's Catalog for fiction and non-fiction for elementary school age children, The Middle and Junior High School Catalog (includes both fiction and non-fiction), The Senior High School Catalog (includes fiction and non-fiction), The Public Library Catalog (for adult non-fiction), and The Fiction Catalog for adult fiction.
When it is decided that a book should be "kept," it doesn't necessarily mean that the same copy that has been considered for weeding is kept. The book may be rebound or replaced with a newer copy. If neither of these actions is possible, the status of the book may be changed. It may be removed from the circulating collection and placed in the reference collection, for example.
In the next section of the course, we will discuss a process for weeding. Before going on, however, please take the self-evaluation.
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