Withdrawing books (aka weeding or deaccessioning) from the library’s collection is a continual process. Changing programs and courses and current developments in academic research require a continuous effort on the part of the library to maintain the accuracy, currency, and appropriateness (to the college’s mission and programs) of the collection. It is the responsibility of the Alumnae Library staff, in cooperation with the faculty, to withdraw materials that are outdated, damaged, or no longer appropriate for the collection. The head of Technical Services, in conversation with the library director, shall approve the final disposal of all materials.
To maintain a collection of optimum usefulness, the Alumnae Library staff will engage in a continual evaluation of books, periodicals, and other materials in the collection. Elms faculty is encouraged to assess materials in their subject areas and make recommendations for withdrawals.
Items not usually discarded are those that have research value, have gone out of print, cover local history, and/or add balance to the collection. In addition, Alumnae Library is a retention partner library in the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) shared print program, so it has an ongoing agreement to retain certain physical books that are not widely owned by other academic libraries in its collection in order to help preserve the scholarly record.
The decision to withdraw materials is based on the following criteria:
- Superseded editions, unless previous edition is still of value, will be withdrawn.
- Worn, mutilated, or badly marked items will be withdrawn.
- Duplicate copies of seldom used items, based on circulation records, especially the last date of circulation, will be withdrawn.
- Materials that are outdated or inaccurate will be withdrawn. Changes in the Elms curriculum or user population that make an item inappropriate will result in its withdrawal.
- Materials which have multiple copies may be withdrawn.
The following special criteria are used with serials and subscriptions (standing orders):
For a serial title, a lack of availability in databases will result in withdrawal.
For a standing order (a book or other material which is received periodically), if the cost of continuing the subscription is prohibitive, the order will be canceled. The existing items may be withdrawn if they become dated or irrelevant.
Materials that are known to be lost are replaced based on the following criteria:
- If the item is importance to the collection or if it balances the collection it will be replaced.
- If the item is a high demand item, it will be replaced.
- If the information contained in the item is not readily available through other sources, it will be replaced.
- If there are no duplicate copies already in the collection, an item will be replaced.
- If the item is available and its cost is not prohibitive, it will be replaced.
- If a missing item (e.g., physical book or serial issue) is one that the library has agreed to retain in its role as a retention partner for the aforementioned EAST shared print program, it will be replaced.
A search for missing materials is conducted for up to one year. Materials not found during that time period are declared lost. Replacement is based on the above criteria and is determined by the director. If there is high demand for a missing item, a second copy will be ordered immediately while the search continues.