Guided by Ministry of Education directives, such as Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan and the Guidelines for Approval of Textbooks the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) has set out to establish a framework for this process as part of the 2020-2021 Operational Plan. Though library collection reviews are a routine occurrence in any institution with a library, we are working to provide formal structure and guidance to this process for schools in the WRDSB. Below, you will find more information on how the regular library collection review process works.
Our library staff are dedicated professionals, focused on ensuring that the learning resources available to students and staff in their schools, and in our school board, are current and relevant. These library staff carrying out a collection review are trained professionals, with a vast knowledge of the wide variety of available resources and a clear understanding of the educational goals to be achieved.
Library staff are responsible for building our collections, by selecting new resources, and ensuring the ones in the collection are responsive to the needs of those who rely on our libraries. The selection process is guided by clear criteria, all with the goal of ensuring that our students receive the best learning experience possible in our libraries or online with our Library Learning Commons. Weeding, an important part of the selection process, makes space for current materials, as well as reducing damage to books which can be caused by overcrowding.
The CREW Method
Library professionals use a process known as the Continuous Review, Evaluation and Weeding (CREW) Method to cull outdated materials, or those which are no longer useful to those who access the library. Since its inception in 1976, The CREW
Method has become the benchmark tool for weeding library collections.
The benefits of weeding
- Saves space on library shelves for current and relevant materials
- Saves the time of students and staff who are looking for the materials they need
- Provides helpful feedback on the collection’s strengths and weaknesses
- Keeps the collection current with the needs of the community that it serves
- Library collection becomes more attractive to those students and staff who are borrowing from it
Importantly, the CREW method entails a continuous, ongoing process of review, evaluation and weeding. The regularity of the process prevents the buildup of unused or damaged materials, enhancing the quality of the service received by the library’s community. A streamlined collection is more efficient and reliable to use, making it faster for our students and staff to find the information, stories and facts that they need.
The MUSTIE Criteria
The CREW method gives six general criteria for considering weeding an item from the library collection which are summarized with the acronym MUSTIE.
MUSTIE stands for:
Misleading refers to information that is factually inaccurate due to new discoveries, revisions in thought, or new information that is now accepted by professionals in the field covered by the subject.
The ugly factor includes most of the elements related to the physical condition of the item – wear, damage, stains, tears, dirt – that make it less attractive to a library patron.
Superseded items are those that sit on the shelf right next to newer editions or newer titles that update information. Libraries don’t typically need to keep more than one or two previous editions of almanacs, trivia books, cookbooks, and other titles that are frequently updated.
Triviality means that the material included in the item was popular for a brief period of time but interest has largely waned.
Irrelevant means that the interests and needs of the library community may have changed over time.
Elsewhere refers to a scenario in which the material is easily obtainable from another library. Libraries exist within a vast information landscape and understanding how people access information is an important part of the weeding process.
The books identified by the MUSTIE criteria could:
- Be deteriorating
- Contain misinformation
- Have old regional names or boundaries
- Contain an out of date math formula
- Contain information that is easily searchable online
As a result, weeding the selected books from the collection helps to ensure the usefulness and value of the collection to the students and staff who are using it to support their growth, discovery and learning each and every day in the WRDSB.
If you’re interested in learning more about the library collection review process, we recommend: