It’s almost the end of July, meaning school is out and most students are off enjoying what’s left of their vacation. But even though your academic library might have fallen eerily silent after the annual student summer exodus, there’s still plenty of work to be done in preparation for the upcoming school year.
Before you know it, students will be moving back to campus and starting classes. In just a few short weeks, hundreds will be flocking to the library as their coursework comes into full swing. In order to give them access to the best resources possible, it’s important that your library cleans out current collections before the school year begins. Here are a few ways you can get started:
Weed out old collections and books
While it is important to have a wide selection of books and research materials, carefully managing your collections is just as vital to the health of your library. Remember, quality is just as important as quantity! If your library’s patrons aren’t responding to Dancing with Cats the way they used to, it may be time to edit them out of your collection.
When going through the deselection process, ask yourself:
- Are these books/materials in good physical condition?
- How many copies of this book/material do we have? How many copies are actually needed?
- Are there more recent editions that make this resource irrelevant to the collection?
Keep in mind that each academic library has its own rules for deselection. Be sure you’re following them carefully so that the appropriate faculty are consulted.
Evaluate online journal use
Online journal collections can become obsolete in the same way that books and other physical materials can. When evaluating online collections, remember to assess their relevancy to the research programs and curriculum at your institution.
Cost and usage are also important factors in identifying journal collections that can be weeded out. Providing access to collections can be expensive, and while that’s not normally a factor that determines if one is deselected or not, it’s important to consider if the collection isn’t getting much use.
Whether you’re replacing a worn out copy of On the Origin of Species or updating your subscription to a database of Caribbean poetry, taking the time to clean out your library’s collections is vital to providing the best resources possible to students.
How does your library keep collections up-to-date?
If you’re looking to keep your library on the cutting edge by providing students with the best resources, take a look at our checklist of the 9 innovations shaping academic libraries today!