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E. H. Butler Library, Buffalo State, The State University of New York

Collection Development: Deselection


The Library must be concerned not only with selecting appropriate items to add, but also with removing materials which have become obsolete or which no longer meet the criteria for inclusion in the collection. This process is known as deselection or weeding. The Collection Development Committee will coordinate this activity in consultation with librarians and faculty and by referring to standard bibliographies. Discards are made at the professional judgment of librarians based on data analysis.

When practical, materials to be discarded will be offered to non-profit or B-Corp book sellers with the monies designated for building the collection. Items that are not in salable condition will be disposed of properly.

Materials may be chosen for deselection based on the following criteria. Note that these criteria may be applied differently across the collection based on subject needs.

  1. Currency, Accuracy, and Authority - The content of library materials should be accurate and up to date. Materials that are superseded by newer content or ideas may be weeded. The library will take into consideration scholarship and teaching that require the use of historical texts.
  2. Duplication - Because of space limitations the library may weed duplicate copies of library materials. Library staff will consider the need to hold more than one copy, especially for materials that are heavily used or are a part of a university-wide program. collection development policy revised 2022 2/7/2022 7 / 10
  3. Use - Items that have not circulated in the past 10 years, unless published within the last five years, may be deselected. Library personnel may consult circulation statistics or other reports to determine viable candidates for weeding.
  4. Physical Condition - Materials that are badly deteriorated or damaged and beyond reasonable preservation efforts will be weeded.
  5. EphemeraÍž i.e., materials of an earlier era whose significance has not withstood the test of time.
  6. Multi-volume Sets
    1. Materials that are part of a multi-volume set of which the library does not have all volumes may be weeded.
    2. If items from a multi-volume set are to be discarded, then the entire set should be discarded.
  7. Format
    1. Materials in obsolete formats may be weeded
    2. Materials which are available electronically or digitally may be weeded due to condition or space needs.

Items which are recommended for retention include:

  1. Rare books.
  2. Items of local or regional interest.
  3. Titles which appear in general, standard bibliographies such as Resources for College Libraries, Books for College Libraries, or standard listings of core works in a subject field.
  4. Works which form part of collections in which the Library has particular strength.

The Library does not extensively collect individual serials, but will apply the criteria above to any existing serials, publications, or databases. Duplicate or little-used subscriptions may be canceled in the course of our ongoing program to maintain a curriculum relevant and fiscally manageable subscription list, as described earlier. This includes canceling print subscriptions if the title is available in a database we subscribe to.

Back issues will be reviewed for withdrawal for many of the same reasons as monographs. In addition, the following categories of back issues will be considered for removal, storage, microform replacement, acquisition of missing volumes or retention:

  1. Volumes which the Library has duplicated in electronic, microform and hardcopy.
  2. Back issues of serials which are no longer published or no longer currently received by the Library.
  3. Runs of which the library holds miscellaneous or assorted volumes.
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E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State
1300 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878 6300
Fax: (716) 878-3134
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