Re: [Videolib] Re: Average shelf life for av materials

media2 (
Tue, 24 Feb 2004 17:13:36 -0500

Unless you are a multi-type library I suspect the deselecting process
for a public collection would be different from a county educational
video collection like ours. But a few criteria overlap.

As a rule of thumb we check tapes at 50 and 100 circs for signs of
physical damage and signal deterioration. Then we go to age and
content criteria to determine if the tape should be replaced. Children's
Literature titles and holiday titles fall easily into this category. A
sub routine for this is to compare the title against newer titles
already owned in the same topic and grade level.

Titles on substance abuse and safety go out of date faster than science
titles because the dated production values and clothing detract from the

Ditto for computer "how to" tapes. The shelf life for these it limited.
"Tips and Tricks for Windows 95" or "Understanding Your Franklin
Computer" get weeded based on relevancy criteria.

Travel videos are inexpensive, but they also go out of date in a few
years depending on how skillfully they are shot.

Health issues also have a shorter shelf life due to advancements in
health care and new techniques. Likewise the content ages when they
cite numbers that are out of date in two or three years. Applies to
Career Opportunity titles also.

We rarely pull all the copies of a title out of circulation all at once.
As circ drops the older prints ("prints" goes back to the days of film
- Ill explain "film" another time . . . ) are pulled and a last copy
left for the die hards who won't use a newer title, or for the titles
with "significance" to the collection, no matter how low the circulation
is. "Powers of Ten" and "Letters from a Birmingham Jail" come to mind.

In education we also have interests that go in cycles like the Olympics
and Elections. Every four years we can't keep Olympic related titles or
election titles on the shelf. Then they sit for three years.

Sometimes the cycle is really long. We had multiple copies of several
titles on Haley's Comet to support interest at the time . . . . since it
won't be back for another 70 some years we wonder if it's worth keeping
them in the collection . . . I think we'll form a focus group and
select an advisory committee . . .

But I digress.

Happy weeding!

Mark Richie
EMTC Director
Burlington County NJ

Keely Morrison wrote:

>Hi all,
>We are trying to formulate some weeding guidelines centered on the average
>shelf life of audiovisual materials. If anyone has established guidelines
>they would be willing to share it would be most appreciated.
>Keely Morrison
>Baltimore County Public Library
>Videolib mailing list

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