ESCONDIDO – The Escondido Library Board of Trustees met on Thursday, June 10 to review and discuss the library’s policy of considering whether to remove books from its collection if they haven’t been checked out for three years.
The library board is a five-member panel that advises the City Council on issues related to the operations of the city library.
The “weeding” policy, as it’s known among librarians, came into question last month when Virginia Abushanab, a longtime volunteer with the Escondido Friends of the Library Group, sent a letter to city officials expressing her concerns over the policy.
At the board’s May 10 meeting, the board decided they would reconvene to discuss public input in the library’s weeding policy.
At Thursday’s meeting, it was revealed that Assistant Library Director Katy Duperry reached out to professional library colleagues to find out if other libraries had any kind of patron oversight committee or Board review on weeding.
“Eight colleagues from across the state, including a board member for the American Library Association, shared the view that deselection, or ‘weeding,’ is something that should rest solely in the hands of professional library staff, because they have the knowledge of current industry standards and understand the collection, their community, and its needs,” said the staff report.
According to staff, library materials are deselected, or weeded, for one or more of the following reasons: availability of information locally or digitally; duplication; subject matter is no longer timely, accurate or relevant; damage or poor condition; insufficient use; research value; preservation and storage costs.
The board reviewed the Collection Development Policy, or weeding policy, and decided to keep the deselection responsibility in the hands of library staff.
“The primary responsibility of Escondido Public Library is to serve the citizens of Escondido by providing a broad choice of materials to meet their informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs,” the staff report said. “Materials are selected to aid individuals, groups and organizations in attaining practical solutions to daily problems and enriching the quality of life for all community members.”
The staff added that the policy will be periodically evaluated and updated to maintain a timely and relevant policy.
The board agreed that, ultimately, the responsibility of weeding and deselecting library materials would be left to the knowledgeable library staff.