Sunday, May 25, 2014

Weeding the Collection

Sometimes a junker's just got to let things go.

In the world of libraries, we call that weeding the collection.
We understand that in order for our patrons to easily navigate the library and find and access what they need, the library has to maintain a delicate balance of materials and...empty space.  

Have you ever been shopping in a clothing store that has too much inventory? With racks spaced so tightly there's little room to walk between and clothing items jam-packed on racks, it makes for a frustrating and unpleasant shopping experience. 
Sometimes too much stuff actually hinders your search to find anything "special."

Throughout the year, librarians weed outdated, irrelevant, and worn-out materials in order to maintain that critical balance - enough materials to meet the needs of patrons, but not so much that their search is hindered.  We keep out collections neat, tidy, and in good working order. 
 "Like terms together." 
"A place for everything, and everything in its place." 
"Neatness matters." 
These are our mantras; these are the words by which we live!

At the end of every school year when all materials are returned, the library shelves begin to swell to maximum capacity.  It's a great time for us to evaluate and cull our collections.  And so we do.
We rid our shelves of damaged materials, items that haven't circulated, and items that are outdated.

With the close of this school year, I'm moving to a new school.  I can't take everything with me; it's time for me to weed my junk collection.  Thankfully the new librarian likes the junk displays and will happily allow them to stay behind.  It was specifically for this library, with this space in mind, that much of these "junk finds" were found, selected and displayed.

So some will stay and some will go.

Deciding what to take with me and what to leave behind is my challenge.
I tried to apply the same weeding criteria used when weeding the library collection:

Everything in my junk collection is outdated!  It's ALL old! that's why I like it!

Depends upon whom you ask!  It's all relevant to me!  I love old junk!

In working order?
Well...that's an interesting's on DISPLAY; no one is actually going to USE it!

Clearly this logic-based approach was of no help.
When the head can't make a decision; use the heart!
And so that is what I did.

I walked around the library looking at each display.  Just as they did when I first selected them from the various junk stores and thrift stores, certain items just spoke to me.  

This album cover is one such item.  It just makes me happy when I look at it, I somehow feel more feminine in its presence.

 Likewise the pink tutu!

...and the license plates though not because they make me feel feminine.  I just really like license plates! I did leave a few of the Texas plates behind.  I have lots of Texas plates in my collection at home and the library needed some.  Three of them volunteered to stay behind to hang proudly next to the framed Texas flag.

And so it went.  I let the items chose.


Those items going with me were temporarily stuffed into my office, while the rest remained in place.  A few items were moved to refill empty spots by vacated items.
In the end the library maintained its charming personality with the "Retro Teen Leisure" theme intact; 
there's still a place for everything, and everything is in its place;

and I was able to keep some of my treasures... 

and perhaps more than a few stowaways.

All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.


  1. "When the head can't make a decision; use the heart!" What a great piece. Paulette! Worthy of a Magazine Emmy or whatever the official word is for a blog or magazine masterpiece! Truly, this is wonderful!

  2. Such kind words! Glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Great pics to go with your post. Super cool library! I'll miss it.


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