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Review Procedures for Gift and Deaccessioned Materials

Before the Library disposes of books, magazines, microforms or any other information resources, either by sale, exchange or any other means, it will carefully review those materials to be certain that they should not be retained for the Library's collections.

  1. Types of materials that are subject to review:

    1. Gifts: The library receives hundreds of gift items annually, both monographs and issues of periodicals. Many of these are potentially valuable, but because contributions are often accepted without prior checking against Library holdings, many of the items received duplicate Library holdings. In the case of gift periodicals issues, many are from titles not subscribed to by the Library and/or are highly incomplete runs.
    2. Weeded items: In order to keep the collection current and useful and in good physical condition, and to utilize Library space efficiently, the regular withdrawal of damaged, outdated and/or otherwise undesirable items is necessary. This process, ("weeding"), is continual, especially with regard to physically damaged books and journals. When time and staff allow, special weeding projects address specific subject-area collections.
  2. Rationale for the Review Process

    It is important to recognize that substantial processing and servicing costs are involved in adding an item to, removing an item from, and maintaining an item in, the collection. An awareness of these costs must influence all deliberations regarding the fate of an item in hand, whether it is a gift or something already held by the Library.

    The Library regards it as extremely important that it add to the collection only items that have a real potential for use, and remove from the collection only items that have lost their usefulness. The above-mentioned costs, considered in the context of overall Library budget restrictions, compel a consideration of potential use when adding materials, even if they are gifts. To remove an item which is still useful would, of course, contradict the essential purpose for which the collection is built.

    In light of these considerations, the Library believes judgment about an item must be as well informed as is practically possible. To insure that this is the case, not only the appropriate Library staff, but also appropriate teaching faculty must be consulted.

  3. Procedures The Library will take the following steps in handling gift items and materials identified as candidates for weeding.

    Step 1: Faculty and Staff Review.

    Weeded Items: All monographs and periodicals removed from the collection as candidates for weeding, with the exceptions noted below, will be made available for review by Library and teaching faculty.

    Exceptions: Weeded items will not be made available for review if
    1. their physical deterioration is the cause for their removal,
    2. they are duplicates of items already in the collection,
    3. they are government documents which have been superseded by later publications received for the collection, or
    4. they will be replaced by duplicate copies, either purchased or donated.

    Items to be reviewed will be displayed for a reasonable period of time in a designated Collection Development area to which faculty will have access during normal business hours. Appropriate Library faculty, viz. the Bibliographers, will be expected regularly to review these materials. Teaching faculty who visit the Library for review purposes will be able, for any item, to register their disapproval of the weeding decision. When large numbers of monographs and/or periodicals in a single subject area have been selected as candidates for weeding, the appropriate departmental liaison or chairperson will be notified of that fact in order that departmental faculty may be encouraged to conduct a review.

    Gift Items: Gift items will be processed in accordance with the Gift Policy. All items which duplicate existing holdings of the Library will be disposed of in an appropriate manner (see below) without review. Items which do not duplicate holdings and which meet minimum criteria for addition to the collection, will be placed in the Collection Development area for review by Library and teaching staff. Minimum criteria include: acceptable physical condition; appropriate content (age, type of literature, subject matter); and significant quantity (this criteria applies especially to issues of periodicals; a few scattered issues of a journal not subscribed to by the Library are unlikely to make a contribution to the collection which is worth the expense of adding them). If objections are not raised by reviewers, all gift items made available for review will be added to the collection.

    Step 2: Addition of Appropriate Items to the Collection.

    Items which are judged appropriate for adding to the collection will be sent to the Acquisitions Department for processing. Items selected for weeding which, on review, are judged to be of continuing value to users, will be returned to the shelves.

    Step 3: Book Sales.

    All items which have been approved for removal from, or non-addition to the collection, will be considered for inclusion in public book sales to be conducted by the Library. Some types of items, e.g. runs of technical periodicals, will, in all likelihood, be found to be more valuable to the Library if disposed of in one of the alternative ways described below. These items will not be offered for public sale.

    Step 4: Exchange or Donation.

    Items which the Library fails to sell, or chooses not to offer for sale, may be offered for exchange or as donations. There are several methods of doing so. Materials may be donated directly to local libraries. Lists of items may be circulated among selected (usually regional) libraries and requested items distributed. Magazine issues may be offered to major periodical vendors, usually for credit against future purchase of back issues. And, one may offer both monographs and periodicals for sale and/or exchange via national databases specifically created for this purpose.

    Step 5: Discarding.

    Items which do not find a home as a result of steps 2-4 are essentially valueless to the Library and will be discarded.

Last Modified 06/21/2011 kk