Deacquisitions, deaccessioning or just good ol’ fashioned weeding

I am in the process of deaccessioning/weeding the CSC Library collection and preparing for our first library sale. I also work at the SFPL, where the practice of  deaccessioning is always a hot, and at times emotional,  issue to our patrons. People do not want to hear that we “dispose” of  books– but it is the nature of the beast in a library. It happens daily, consistently and if we didn’t “weed” our collections we would have mammoth space issues added to the already existing issues of space.

At CSC, space is not the central issue, it becomes more an issue of content and context to our organization. Often we receive donations in which some of the material is relevant to us, but part of it is not– this, for the main part, will be what is featured in our upcoming sale– with all proceeds directly benefiting the library and the CSC. When determining the fate of a particular item I first consult Worldcat to see what other libraries have holding for the particular items in question, based on those results we can determine if our library needs to maintain its holding on any particular items. A recent example has been publications such as Playboy, Playgirl, Penthouse (including Forums and Variations, Taboo, Hustler, Leg Show, and  High Society. After the research we decided to keep Leg Show and High Society in our collection and sell the remaining outright at our Spring Sale because enough libraries maintain holding for these titles.

We also deal in a lot of duplicate holding of material that are of higher value. We are still in the development phases of creating  a plan of how to best handle these materials. Options include- offering them to institutions that have holdings for these titles and would be interested in acquiring more, selling to private/semi private collectors or retaining them in our own collection for a future digitization project.

Because our collection is under 5,000 titles it is important to research the provenance and relevance of the works in relation our collection and its future– and try not be subjective– but open and rely on the data, the values and the demand for the items we hold in our collection.

images by am

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