Subscribe in a reader

April 2011, Volume 3, Issue 4

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

School Library Month
April 1-30

National Poetry Month
April 1-30

School Library Survey
April 1- May 18

Money Smart Week
April 2-9

South Dakota Library Week

April 10-16

National Library Week
April 10-16

National Preservation Week
April 24-30

El día de los niños / El día de los libros
Children's Day/ Book Day
April 30

Children's Book Week
May 2-8

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Ancestry releases new interface and other genealogy news

Library Development


How accessible is your library?

Most of us are aware that our library needs to have an entrance and a bathroom that are accessible to someone in a wheelchair and that service animals are always welcome in the library. Yet there is a great deal more to being accessible. How many of us keep magnifying glasses at the desk, or provide reading lamps in strategic locations? Do we make sure that someone in a wheelchair can easily maneuver around tables and shelving units? Has our staff been trained to assist people with special needs?

The library serves all citizens in a community. It is important that we make sure all citizens feel welcome at the library. The Association of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies has put together “Library Accessibility – What You Need to Know”, a toolkit series of 15 tip sheets to help librarians in all types of libraries understand and manage access issues. You can find the tip sheets at ASCLA's: Library Accessibility — What You Need to Know.



Danger: your reference collection could be outdated

An effective reference collection should follow one of Ranganathan’s laws of library science, “save the time of the reader.” If you have a large reference collection, it may not be serving your users in the best way because there are too many resources to wade through. In addition, keeping some reference resources that may be outdated, misleading, or contain wrong information could be dangerous to your patrons. Some larger research libraries, on the other hand, may wish to keep out of date editions for historical research purposes. Know your community needs to help with maintenance of library collections.

How do you weed a reference collection? Many of the same principles apply to weeding reference materials as to weeding the main collection. When your library writes or updates its collection development policy, consider adding a specific section that deals with a reference collection. The reference policy should include selection, depth of coverage and criteria for removal of reference materials (Boon, 1995). You should also include ideas of what happens to those materials when they are weeded from reference.

What do you do with withdrawn reference books? Johnson (2004) suggests that items withdrawn from the active collections may be offered for sale, given to other organizations, discarded, or transferred to a storage site or to a special collection. Transferring materials to a storage site often happens with large research libraries who want to keep the materials, even if they may be outdated or used infrequently. Materials in a non-circulating reference collection may be moved to a circulating collection.

Some libraries give old encyclopedias to museums and/or historical societies. If your library has a Friends group, often that group has a semi-annual book sale to raise money to purchase new library materials or other needed items. Books Beyond Borders, Better World Books, Book Prospector and other similar companies are also options to consider. Does your community have a theatre group? Maybe they could use some books as props in future productions.

There are also plenty of suggestions online for what one can do with withdrawn books. Visit this blog entry from Booklist Online which includes additional links to tips from Hints from Heloise articles in the Washington Post.

Once you have decided to discard materials, keep in mind that there are state statutes governing how those items should be marked. See 14-2-49 for public libraries and 13-21-10 for school libraries. Remember that the State Library has collection management books that can be borrowed. Also, see the 2008 edition of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission's CREW (Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding) manual, linked from for further suggestions on maintaining your library collections. The State Library staff is here to help with any questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to call us!


     Johnson, P. (2004). Fundamentals of Collection Development & Management. Chicago. ALA Editions of the American Library Association. Retrieved from NetLibrary database.

     Boon, B. (1995). The Crew Method: Expanded guidelines for collection evaluation and weeding for small and medium-sized public libraries (Rev. Ed.). Austin, TX. Texas State Library.






accessibility, research, weeding

next: School Libraries | Table of Contents

prev: Featured e-Resources of the Month

Share |   

The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.