Teen Non-Fic: “Everything You Need to Know About…”

First of all, let me say that weeding decisions are ultimately left up to me at my library for any youth books. Also, we do not have a board-approved collection development policy. (I know, I know, I know. I tried to have one approved and was pretty much scoffed at.)

Borrowing pretty heavily from the CREW method, here’s why I weed:

  • Poor Content — This can mean books that are inaccurate, poorly written, outdated, or biased materials.
  • Gross (In the CREW manual, this is called “materials of poor appearance”.) — Anything that is gross needs to be replaced or pitched. This includes YA covers that look like they belong in the 80s.
  • Used — Books that haven’t moved in years!

I also weed based on community though. My teens do specific projects, need specific issue books, and have specific interests. Look to what your community needs and make sure to provide it as best you can!

So, here’s what I weeded last week from the “Everything You Need to Know About…” collection. I’ve included publication years and circulation records as reference points. [Most of these books fall into multiple categories; ie outdated and unused. Or inaccurate and gross.]

Just want to run through a couple of the books weeded and how I came to that determination.

Title: Changing Schools, 1993
Circulation: Once // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed?: Circulation rate.
Replaced By: Nothing. I could not find anything that has been published since 1993/1992; this is not a large issue facing my community as most of my teens get tracked into one school and stay there all four years.

Title: Danger of Hazing, 1996
Circulation: Three times // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed?: Circulation rate; also this presents as a book largely dealing with college-aged problems. My library (and probably yours too) needs books specific to current problems with bullying, including cyberbullying.
Replaced By: Bullying and Hazing by Jill Hamilton, 2008; (We already own “We Want You To Know” by Deborah Ellis, 2010 and “FAQ About Cyberbullying” by Teri Brequet, 2007. Also, HarperTeen has a great anthology coming out in fall called “Dear Bully” — which is seventy YA authors writing about bully experiences.)

Title: Incest, 1992
Circulation: Five times // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed?: Inaccuracy; this is a topic that I didn’t want incorrect information out there. Particularly about obtaining help and what the law does.
Replaced By: How Long Does It Hurt?: A Guide to Recovering from Incest and Sexual Abuse for Teenagers, Their Friends, and Their Families by Cynthia Mather, 2004. We have a few other books in the J fic section about this topic; all of which have better circulation rates and are more current.

Title: Sexual Abuse, 1991
Circulation: Five times // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed? Inaccuracy! And a horrible cover. Also, omg, inaccuracy, batman!
Replaced By: Sexual Abuse by Marylee Floric, 2011

Title: Natural Disasters & Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 1996.
Circulation: Twice // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed? As psychological disorders have been updated, so should books. Most of the disorders in this volume have had treatment changes, classification changes, among others. Also, I can’t imagine having a natural disasters book that doesn’t discuss Hurricane Katerina, the 2004 tsunami, and the recent Japan earthquakes.
Replaced By: Anxiety disorders edited by Brian Kennedy, 2010. (We already own Omnigraphics’ “Mental Health Information for Teens”, 2010 which is a huge book that has multiple chapters about different kinds of mental health disorders, including PTSD.)

Title: Mehndi, 2000
Circulation: Seven times; two renewals // Owned Since: 2000
Why Did I Weed?: Based on gross; not inaccuracy or circulation rate. Pretty sure that someone spilled some henna ink on it.
Replaced By: I haven’t found something yet. However, I am looking for something to replace this! Maybe something that looks cooler/neater/more teen-friendly?

Title: Dyslexia, 1998
Circulation: Four times // Owned Since: 1998
Why Did I Weed?: Inaccuracy strikes again. This learning disability in particular has grown in awareness and treatment since the 90s. The book needed to be updated.
Replaced By: Learning Disabilities by Arthur Gillard, 2011 (We already own “Dyslexia” by Arda Darakjian Clark, 2005.)

That should give you a little window-look into how I tackled replacing some of those outdated, gross looking YA non-fiction books. I hope that this helps you in your weeding processes! Next time, I will probably talk about another series that I almost entirely weeded. (Either the “Coping With” series or the “Earth At Risk” series. The second one being a complete OMG-FACEPALM “why is this still here?” moment.)


  1. If I’m doing a big weeding project, my main criterion is circ (or lack thereof). If I’m just randomly browsing the shelves, I weed based on condition (the gross factor) or seriously lame covers. Series nonfiction is rife with awful covers to the point where I no longer buy it unless I can see the cover. No matter how amazing the content, I’m not spending $30 on a book no one will read because the cover is pathetic.

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