About the project …

In every library, there are books of timeless utility, interest, and cultural importance.  There are also books on current topics and areas of scholarship that may or may not continue to be relevant over time.  To make space for new books, it is necessary for the library to periodically withdraw older books that no longer serve the needs of library users.

Over the next three years, Wesleyan University Library is doing a major weeding project which will reduce the size of our collection by approximately 60,000 volumes, out of a collection of 1 million print volumes.

In recent years the library has completed three weeding projects, each of limited scope.  One was the weeding of additional copies of books which were no longer needed.  Two others were the weeding of print volumes of many journals and reference works now available online.  But as quickly as these projects made shelf space available, it was filled with new books!

Both the Art Library and Olin Library are almost out of shelf space, and the Science Library’s free space is very limited.  Given the probable shift in the next several years to purchasing more electronic books and fewer print books, it does not necessarily make sense to physically expand the library.  But space must be created, and weeding is a way to do this.

Project objective:  To clear the shelves in Olin Library of 60,000 volumes by May, 2014.

Duration: June, 2011 – May 2014.

Weeding Committee:

Initial weeding criteria: A book will be considered a candidate for weeding if it:

  • has been published before 1990,
  • was added to Wesleyan’s collection before 2003,
  • has never circulated since 2003 (when we migrated to our current online library system and for which we have detailed circulation data)
  • has circulated less than twice since 1996 (that is, for which we have summary circulation statistics), and
  • is held by 30 or more libraries in the United States (per WorldCat)
  • is held by two or more of our Connecticut partner libraries with whom we share a delivery service (that is, Connecticut College, Trinity College and University of Connecticut, Storrs).

Click the timeline for a larger view.

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