In an email I received recently there was a note about weeding a school library collection that was filled with dusty old A/V. As I read that email I had an idea. Why not start a movement that’s the teen librarian version of What Not To Wear? Instead of Stacy and Clinton we can have two “hip” teen librarians travel around the country and force teen librarians to weed their collections and then give those librarians tips and tools for getting a fresh start. We could call it, What Not to Collect (or some such thing.)
Of course teens would have to be involved in the process. They could act as advisers to the What Not To Collect hosts and would shop with the teen librarian to select the materials that are just right for their collection. (Yes, the collection of the teens and not the librarian’s collection.)
It really shouldn’t take an intervention like I’m suggesting here, but sometimes it does. For some reason throwing away old un-used stuff is hard for some librarians. There is the concern that “good money” was spent on the items. Or, there is the worry that some day one person might just want the item and we won’t have it anymore.
The thing is that the collection should be about the teens in the community who want and need to use the materials now. It’s not about what was hot a decade or even just a year ago. It shouldn’t be about the fact that you spent lots of money on the books during a previous year or decade. You probably don’t wear what you wore in 1997 why would you want to still have books on the shelf from that time period? Clothes go out of fashion and so do library materials.
Take a look at your collection and think about what the invaders from What Not To Collect might say. Do you really need that book, CD, magazine, DVD on the shelf any more?