A survey of weeding practices of print materials in libraries of higher learning institutions in Zambia
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Weeding of print collections is an important component of collection development and management, yet it receives less attention than the selection of new materials in most libraries. As print collections continue to grow, many library collections are drowning in obsolete, unused, and unwanted materials. Librarians understand the importance of weeding but are hesitant to cull as many items as they should because their budgets will not allow them to replace the weeded materials. The purpose of weeding in libraries is to keep collections current and relevant to users. The aim of this study was to examine weeding practices of print materials in libraries of higher learning institutions in Lusaka, Zambia. Specifically, the study sought to establish if libraries of higher learning institutions in Lusaka were weeding their print collections, ascertain whether weeding was guided by collection development policies, examine the criteria used in weeding print collections, establish the factors that affect weeding practices in libraries of higher learning institutions in Zambia, and to determine whether libraries were using best weeding practices in weeding their print collections. A mixed methods research design making use of structured survey questionnaires and observation methods were used to collect data. A total of 25 questionnaires were administered to Heads of Collection Development Departments in 25 University libraries with the response rate of 100%. Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS version 23.0) was used to analyse quantitative data while qualitative data was analysed thematically using content analysis. The study established that the majority libraries were weeding their print collections, while a few did not as some of them were relatively new. This study further revealed that although majority libraries had Collection Development Policies, a few did not have any to guide them in their weeding process. It further revealed the factors that affect weeding practices in libraries of higher learning institutions such as, librarians dislike for weeding, lack of funds to replace weeded materials and the fear that books might be needed in future. The study further established that the majority of the libraries were using best weeding practices, while a few were not. This is because some libraries did not have proper disposal methods as they were keeping weeded materials in store rooms while some were mending and adding the weeded materials back to the collection. The study concludes that best weeding practices be adopted in libraries of higher learning institutions in Zambia in order to enhance collection development and management. . Key words: Weeding, weeding practices, Collection development policy, academic libraries.
The University of Zambia
SubjectDiscarding of books, periodicals, etc.--Zambia
- Education