Which section to cultivate? The philosophy and psychology section of the Dewey Decimal Classification system, the 100s, is generally a small collection in a school library. At the elementary and middle school level, this collection will focus mainly on books about feelings, friendship, behavior, dealing with death, and collections of scary stories. At the high school level, the focus of the collection expands to include a more in-depth study of philosophy, philosophers, psychology, and weightier topics such as euthanasia.
Dewey Numbers to Check: When weeding at the elementary, middle, and high school levels the focus should primarily be on the 150s, and 170s of the Dewey Decimal Classification system. These sections include subjects that require the most current material, such as, dealing with loss, anger, sadness, jealousy, peer pressure, as well as guiding students to behavior that is acceptable and appropriate.
Rationale and criteria for cultivation: In a society where the language is changing as rapidly as its ideals, conceptions, and laws, it is important that this section be current. Students are more interested in, and receptive to, books written in language with which they are familiar. A book written in the 1980s uses wording that will sound unfamiliar to today's students, resulting in disinterest and possibly confusion. In order to maintain a "healthy" library, much like a garden, weeding outdated, unnecessary, damaged, and well-loved (worn out) books is essential. Karen Lowe's book, Resource Alignment: Curriculum Support in the School Library Media Center, is a practical guide to the weeding process. According to Lowe, books that are 10 years of age or older should be discarded and a replacement for each acquired, if possible, that is similar in content and age/grade level, with a current copyright date. Ghost stories can be kept until the condition of the book warrants replacement. Some books may have special value or other reasons for keeping past the 10 year mark.