A Conversation with Author Rebecca Vnuk

ALA’s unofficial expert on weeding unearths the basics with new book

May 11, 2016

The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide

Rebecca Vnuk is no stranger to American Libraries. She works just down the hall from our offices in Booklist, where she is editor for reference and collection management and cocreator of the popular blog Shelf Renewal. She has written several books, including The Weeding Handbook: A Shelf-by-Shelf Guide (ALA Editions, 2015), which we excerpted in our May issue. Vnuk responded via email to questions about her recent book and what surprises she learned along the way.

What made you want to write this book?

Library weeding has always been something I enjoy—and that I’ve had lots of experience with—so when I came to Booklist, I started writing a series of online columns called Weeding Tips. The response to it was huge, so turning those columns into a book seemed like a natural next step.

Why would ALA members find it helpful?

Rebecca Vnuk
Rebecca Vnuk

Most librarians get very little, if any, training in weeding when in library school. Most of the time, it’s trial by fire when you have to do it in your library job. The book gives practical, basic advice, so it’s a great starting point for those who are embarking on their first weeding project, as well as a great refresher and confidence booster for those who have some experience in weeding.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while working on this book?

I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy it is to work with ALA Editions. Everything about the process was so smooth, the contract was quite favorable, the cover design is simply marvelous, and the marketing has been exceptional. And no, I’m not biased just because I work at ALA!

What are you reading right now?

I have some new summer chick lit on my plate for review that I can’t wait to dive into.

What is your next project?

Since this book has been so successful, I have a feeling I’ll be doing a revision at some point.


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