Deaccessioning Policy

Deaccessioning of library materials is essential for maintaining a relevant and useful academic library collection. Library liaisons are responsible for conducting deaccessioning in their subject areas of responsibility.

General Guidelines

Deaccessioning is conducted on an ongoing basis in accordance with the collection development policy and within the criteria outlined below. Library liaisions spend time each semester reviewing the shelves to evaluate the book collection. Microfilm, periodicals, A/V, and electronic resources are also reviewed periodically by librarians.


Titles are evaluated according to three factors: content, past and projected use, and physical condition. Items that have had low use and items in poor condition are identified for evaluation. Classic works are always retained and may need to be restored or replaced if in poor condition. Currency of information is an important factor when evaluating items in subject areas such as technology, business, science, and medicine.


Each title is researched individually by the library liaison. Authoritative core lists are consulted to identify works that should be retained. Faculty members may be consulted when necessary. The decision to remove a title is made only after careful consideration of all factors.

Criteria for Deaccessioning

  • Item is out-of-date and/or contains inaccurate information
  • Item is superseded with a newer edition
  • Item has not been used in ten years, is not a classic work, does not have long-term value, and/or falls outside of institutional research areas
  • Item is a duplicate and is no longer in high demand (exceptions include a rare copy which doesn't circulate and in some cases, an electronic copy)
  • Item is in poor condition and the cost to repair it goes beyond the usefulness of the item (preservation librarian will estimate repair cost)
  • Item is part of an incomplete set
  • Item is not important to coursework, research, cross-disciplinary study, nor is of general interest. Item is not likely to be used in the future.
  • Item can be replaced cost-effectively by a digital resource with significant advantages such as wider availability
  • Usage statistics indicate little or no recent use, especially in comparison with usage anticipated for an alternative resource under consideration

What to Retain

  • Items that have circulated in the last 10 years
  • Items listed on RCL Web (Resources for College Libraries) and on other authoritative lists
  • Items held by three or fewer libraries according to WorldCat as determined by technical services staff
  • Items written by key authors in a field
  • Items that are duplicates in high demand areas
  • Items that are important to coursework, research, cross-disciplinary study or are of general interest
  • Items that are likely to be used in the future
  • Items that are part of a valued donation (examine bookplate)

Disposal of Materials

Items that have been deaccessioned may be disposed of in the following ways (in order of preference):

  1. Sell
  2. Donate to another library or nonprofit organization
  3. Discard

Procedures for Reviewing Books

  1. Request a printout from the systems librarian of titles in shelf-list order for the collection area being reviewed that lists items that have not circulated in 10 years with a creation date of five years prior to the current year. Include title, author, publication date, date created, the number of historical circulations, and the date last circulated.
  2. Go to the shelves to view the items. Mark on the printout if titles are not on shelf (NOS).
  3. Place items for review on a cart. Pull only the number of books that you can evaluate within one week.
  4. Fill out a De-selection Decision Slip for each title, and place it in each book (optional).
  5. Have another librarian look at the candidates for de-selection. Consult with faculty members if necessary. Consult with Director for Library Advancement and Public Affairs for valued donor names and collections.
  6. Place books on appropriate shelves for withdrawal, for bindery, to be reordered, or to be re-shelved. Center libraries should send items with instructions to the head of technical services
  7. Give completed pages of the list to the head of technical services for follow-up work. Missing items may need be re-ordered.

Evaluating Book Condition

Signs of Poor Condition Include
Poorly bound Mildew
Missing Pages Bug-Infested
Brittle Paper Yellowed pages
Worn Out Warped
Water stains Torn Pages
Dirty Marked-Up

De-selection Decision Slip