On a + note

The Big Weed. #4: 2011

Posted in on a + note by Admin on March 7, 2011

As much as we in library land know a weeded, well-maintained collection is a better-used collection, it still amazes me that the right book is more efficient and effective than loads of books.

Last month, GPL did a one day “Big Weed” of the 160,000-volume Main Library adult collection. Yup, you read right…one day! This is how we did it and what we learned:

• We established teams to plan, roll out, and evaluate the day. From start to finish, this was a six-week, six-member planning project.
• We called in all staff (leaving a Saturday staff compliment in the branches) and set up teams to weed, clean, shift, withdraw, and dispose.
• From the very start, communication with staff was important. We wanted to build buzz, maximize team building, and create a general sense of excitement.
• Yes, we left the library open. We let patrons know we were doing a bit of early spring cleaning today and asked them to pardon our mess. It wasn’t as bad as you may think!
• It was tedious work, so we made it fun by:
o offering two hours off with pay for staff who started at 6 am
o fuelling the crew with a lot of Tim Horton’s coffee and, of course, chocolate
o hiding gift cards in the collection for staff to discover
• It was a great opportunity for positive leadership. Everyone washed shelves, schlepped boxes, and did whatever was necessary to make the day a success.
• Change is difficult, and not everyone was thrilled. The trick to the classic struggle between being an archive and being a public library is to straddle the line and be the best of both.
• We tracked the results. The week after the Big Weed, GPL’s circulation was up 2.8 % over the same period last year. Our staff completed the pick list (pulling materials for patron requests and interlibrary loans from the stacks) 25% faster.
Ultimately, we proved to ourselves, once again, that a well-maintained collection is truly the ultimate in excellent customer service!

And, yes, before your email me…I was a bit stiff the next day!

Kitty Pope
kpope@library.guelph.on.ca #4 March 2011

One Response to 'The Big Weed. #4: 2011'

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  1. Carroll said,

    It’s about time that the main branch had a weed like that. With 160,000 books off the shelves, perhaps the collection can be re-organized and the flow of the main branch improved until the city finally decides to stop putting off plans for a new main branch.

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