You’ve Done PDA, What About PDW?

Patron-Driven Weeding as Engagement and Collection Management

Presenters: Kristin Hart, SUNY Maritime & Rebecca Hyams, SUNY Maritime

Patron-driven acquisition has become a regular part of the collections development process in many libraries. If we can trust our patrons to provide valuable input on what types of materials belong in the library’s collection, can we trust them to also provide opinions on what should no longer be on our shelves?

In Fall, 2015, the librarians at SUNY Maritime faced two seemingly unrelated problems: uncertainty over how to engage students in Information Literacy sessions, and a woefully outdated circulating collection that repelled many who tried to use it.

They decided first to address both problems together, asking new students to play a part in the weeding process. Freshman students were asked to compete to find the “strangest, weirdest, oldest book” in the stacks during their library orientation sessions. Even with minimal instruction, the students weeded proficiently; just as importantly, the activity generated spontaneous conversations about the nature of information. As a follow-up in the Spring semester, the librarians scaled up the “PDW” project by asking faculty to help with the weeding in their respective subject areas.

We will look at several aspects of our crowdsourced weeding experience, including the differences in how students and faculty selected items. While the items students selected inadvertently used many of the same criteria librarians would typically use, did the faculty take a different approach? What are the pitfalls in asking users to contribute in weeding? Did getting the community involved help foster more connectedness to the library?

Presenter Bios

Kristin Hart has been the Library Director at the Stephen B. Luce Library at SUNY Maritime College since July 2015. Before that she was the Manhattan Center Library at Adelphi University for 12 years. She holds an MLS from Queens College and an MS in Education Technology from Adelphi University. Her research interests include Open Access and user behavior analysis.

Rebecca Hyams is the Cataloging and Digital Services Librarian at the Stephen B. Luce Library at SUNY Maritime College, where she’s been since 2013. She holds an MA in Music Theory and an MLS, both from Queens College. Her research interests include UX design and collection management practice.

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  • March 30, 2016
    11:00 am - 12:00 pm


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