Book Review: The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide, Second Edition

Amy Lewontin


Rebecca Vnuk’s new and updated edition of The Weeding Handbook is a thoughtfully written book that can spark a lot of creative thinking as well as assist with careful planning of weeding projects, large and small. Weeding a library’s collection can often cause tension and sometimes high anxiety for many who work in and manage libraries. Vnuk’s experience managing public library collections and extensive background in book reviewing, consulting, and training makes her a librarian with considerable understanding of the difficult issues that surround weeding of collections. Vnuk’s second edition of The Weeding Handbook is a very useful book to read for building confidence around the decision-making involved in weeding collections. Vnuk writes, “A library is an ever-changing organism. Weeding helps a library thrive” (XV). This statement drives the narrative of the book, and it is something that is always important to remember when one is stuck in the weeding trenches and feeling indecisive and anxious on the decision processes. While Vnuk’s new edition of the handbook may in part resemble her first edition, published in 2015, this book feels refreshed, with recently authored suggested readings. Many sections of the book include short and original weeding thoughts and ruminations from librarians across many parts of the country from an assortment of library types and sizes.

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