It’s a continuous spring clean with some wonderful lessons and stories.
The Armidale region’s libraries perpetually review their collections, identifying books and other materials no longer required to meet the needs of the community and freeing up space to refresh the shelves with new arrivals.
Now those items deemed surplus to community needs are available to buy at Armidale Regional War Memorial Library. Book lovers can pick up some great finds that have been cherished by library users but, for a variety of reasons, are no longer a required part of the libraries’ collections.
“Like libraries around the world, our library professionals use standardised criteria to identify whether books, digital and visual materials are still relevant to the community,” Librarian Jennifer Watson said.
“Is the book still up to date and accurate with its information, is it still of interest in modern society or has the item been superseded by an updated version? These are all questioned asked when items are assessed by library team members, who also consider how long it has been since the item was last borrowed.
“At the same time, it is recognised we all have our own very personalised tastes and a rare find can often be the greatest treasure for a library user. For that reason, the criteria also includes whether the item is available from other libraries and can be borrowed through an inter-library loan.”
Resources are also evaluated on their start of repair.
“If a damaged or very worn book is still an important part of the collection, it is replaced. If not, it’s included in the items that are sold, recycled or upcycled,” Ms Watson said. “The criteria also give a priority to literary classic, literary prize winners and items by Australian authors – and local study materials are retained indefinitely.
“The Armidale region’s libraries have an exceptional collection of around 80,000 books, digital and visual materials and we are very proud and committed to maintaining such a comprehensive and high-quality collection,” she said.
“Items on display in the libraries are just part of our collection, with many more items on call. However, we still have finite space to store and properly care for those resources, and it’s essential the collection keeps pace with changes in what people need to access, what they like to consume and how they prefer to consume it.
“Our library team takes the process very seriously and resources earmarked for removal are reassessed before a final decision.”
She said the number of removed items tended to be consistent from year to year but this year’s process had identified 1000 fewer items compared to 2018.