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"Public Libraries: Thoughts on Deselection." K. Rowley. R. Willson. Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde. 2017. Download PDF (BibTeX) ILS

Deselection (weeding) practices in public libraries and the thoughts of library staff thereon has been a neglected topic the world over, including Scotland. Weeding covers the removal of material from the library for a variety of reasons and is often found as part of a well-rounded collection management policy. As an essential process of librarianship, weeding's role in public libraries is to help maintain the health and relevance of the collection in serving the local community's need. This role is expanded with the continued growth of electronic resources, with libraries facing opportunities in automated weeding software, ebooks and e-resources, and making space for new technologies. Research into public library weeding practices covers public reaction and anecdotal opinion, but little in the way of rigorous study into collection development staff thoughts and opinions.

The aim of this dissertation is to discover what public library staff in collection development staff in Scotland think of weeding, it's practices, and future role. A literature review encompassing current and past research, and using thematic analysis, an online qualitative survey, was conducted with a final data set of 36 respondents from all over Scotland.

Three main themes in Scotland's libraries were developed from the 36 responses, that of the library's message, the role of governance and the future is now. With the pressure to provide the latest in technology and published works for users, all in safe, usable spaces, libraries are weeding to remain relevant and responsive. Governance structures controlled much of the policy and implementation of weeding practices, with respondents from Scottish public libraries overwhelming weeding through their respective systems stock exchanges or through the assistance of library headquarter teams/professional staff. There was found to be little concern for automated software assistance as long as a person was the final decision-maker. The larger concern for collection development staff was having the budget, time and staff to make weeding a continuous, efficient process.
Future areas of study could look at the link between professional qualifications and weeding practices in Scotland.