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Managing Book Discard Projects in Technical Services: Creating a More Efficient Process: Poster Presentation

Most presentations about weeding are focused on the collection management aspect, ie selecting the right books to discard, and rarely discuss the backend processes related to this task through the management within technical services.


Most presentations about weeding are focused on the collection management aspect, ie selecting the right books to discard, and rarely discuss the backend processes related to this task through the management within technical services. Space is an issue in all libraries, and because of this, we have weeded our libraries with print collections every 2 years. Due to the magnitude of this process, we have needed to find ways to be more efficient. We will look at what we have changed to make the process more efficient as well as ideas that we would like to implement in the future.

Presenters Contact Information

Denise R. Gehring, MSLIS, MA
Associate Professor, Head of Collections & Technical Services


Jennifer Welker, BA
Technical Services Coordinator

Why We Weed

  • Free up space for new books
  • Free up space for student study space
  • Save money on RFID tags by discarding books before the new security tags were added.

Future Ideas for Implementation

  • Provide GreenGlass data to the librarians to help them make better weeding decisions.
  • Include the shared print status in the Excel file for books that are on the retention list.
  • Provide published articles on deselection to librarians a few months before a planned weeding day.
  • Share lists that we are deselecting with the departments on campus to be sure we are not removing anything that they would like us to keep and/or give them an option to take the deselected item.
  • What about ebooks? Deselect or Not?
  • After books are pulled, use RFID wand to quickly take inventory of the collection.
  • Add an alternative slip to explore ebook purchase options (weed if ebook purchase is suitable)
  • Liaisons communicate with Technical Services when a call no. range is reviewed and tagged - shared document


We were able to discard

  • About 7600 books in 2016
  • About 4700 books in 2018
Profile Photo
Denise R. Gehring, MSLIS, MA
Associate Professor;
Head of Collections & Technical Services
Librarian for the School of Nursing, Public Health, & ALCI (ESL)
Hugh & Hazel Darling Library #210
701 E. Foothill Blvd., PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 815-2055

Background Information

  • Azusa Pacific University is an evangelical Christian university located in Azusa, California with approximately 10,000 students.
  • There are 3 libraries on the main campus and 2 libraries at regional centers in San Diego and Los Angeles.
  • There are 15 library faculty (which includes 10 subject librarians), 15 staff, and 80 student workers.
  • We have a collection of almost 300,000 physical books and 160,000 ebooks.
  • APU is a member of the SCELC Shared Print group in which we committed to retain almost 40,000 older books for 15 years.
  • The deselection projects did not include deselecting ebooks.
  • For more information about APU or our libraries, see

Step by Step Process

  1. Use Create Lists for call number ranges: create an item review file by location. Call #, title, author, year, publication, volume, number of checkouts, and item status are included in the file.
  2. Email Excel file with a deadline to complete the task to the librarians.
  3. Librarians review the books and make their decisions (including looking for hard to read labels and damaged books)
  4. Librarians place color coded slips into the books and turn the books sideways.
  5. Technical services pulls the books from the shelf in call number order.
  6. Books are relocated to an area where they can be reviewed further.
  7. Barcodes are scanned (use Mobile Worklists or a workaround - see below)
    • Paste barcodes with “n:” before each barcode into Millennium > Offline > circ.dat file
    • Upload circulation and patron data in Millenium Offline Circulation application
    • Transfer file through PuTTy
  8. Sort the review file by call number
  9. Change item status through Global Updates
  10. Export the review file to Excel
  11. Double check statuses, ie billed, shared print retention, etc.
  12. Librarians have 4 weeks to review the lists. They can decide that they do not want to discard certain books, etc.
  13. Return any requested material to the stacks
  14. Catalogers withdraw the items from the catalog and remove OCLC holdings, etc.
  15. Cross-out spine label and barcode.
  16. Stamp as discarded.
  17. Blank RFID tag
  18. Box up the books into 25 lb boxes
  19. Coordinate with a removal service (without shipping charges).
    • Discover Books
    • Cash4YourBooks
    • One-time donations to affiliates

Tips to Help your Librarians

  • Provide snacks, coffee, and other drinks.
  • Format Excel files for printing.
  • Arrange a couple of days during slow times of the year that everyone can weed. (Our former Dean made it a requirement for all librarians).
  • Extra student workers and staff be available on the deselection day to pull and scan books.
  • Splitting the withdrawn lists that are sent out to all librarians in step 12 into manageable sizes.
  • Provide librarians with packets including slips, pen, highlighter, and instructions.
  • Provide librarians with slips to designate book repair or relocation (Special Collections, regional site, or oversize).
  • Withdrawing a whole set - one slip with note, all books turned sideways.

Further Reading