Collection Management Guidelines – Weeding

  1. Introduction
  2. Responsibility for Weeding
  3. Criteria for Weeding
  4. Formats and Material Types
  5. Disposition of Weeded Materials
  6. Review and Revision of Guidelines
  7. Sources Consulted

      Weeding is an essential, continuing library practice in which materials are removed permanently from the Ottenheimer Library’s collections. The process maximizes the collections’ usefulness and ensures that they remain viable and continue to support the instructional and research requirements of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In addition, the process frees shelf space for newly acquired materials. Decisions to weed are made within the context of the Collection Management Guidelines: Overview and in keeping with the library’s mission to collect, organize, and provide access to information resources.

      Final responsibility for weeding materials from the library’s collection rests with the library dean. Individuals who participate in weeding include the director of technical services and technology, the collection management librarian, library subject selectors, and other library personnel. The library encourages the teaching faculty to work with and provide feedback to library personnel to identify materials to weed.

      Library materials of all types (which include, but are not limited to books, journals, microforms, and maps) may be candidates for weeding if they meet any of the following criteria.

      • Currency
        The content of library materials should be accurate and up to date. Materials that are superseded by newer, revised, or updated editions may be weeded. The library takes into consideration faculty and students whose scholarship and teaching require the use of historical texts in areas such as psychology, mathematics, and physics.
      • Usage
        Low or no usage may be a factor in weeding decisions. Library personnel may consult circulation statistics or other reports to determine viable candidates for weeding.
      • Physical Condition
        Materials that are badly deteriorated or damaged and beyond reasonable preservation efforts will be weeded.
      • Duplicates
        Because of space limitations the library may weed duplicate copies of library materials. Library staff will take into consideration the need to have more than one copy of a title on hand, especially for materials that are heavily used or are a part of a university-wide program.
      • Completeness
        Materials that are part of a multi-volume set of which the library does not have all volumes may be weeded.
      • Uniqueness
        The library will not weed materials that are considered unique.
      • Format Obsolescence
        Materials in obsolete formats may be weeded if the content is available elsewhere or if the material is in poor condition.

      • Books
        Print books in the collection that are duplicated in electronic versions owned by the library may be candidates for weeding. The collection management librarian and subject selectors will work with relevant teaching faculty to determine the need to retain print copies in addition to electronic versions for research and/or instructional purposes.
      • Journals and Other Recurring Publications
        Although electronic access is the preferred format for serials, journals, and newspapers, the library still houses many titles in print and microform formats. If a journal title is available through JSTOR or Project Muse, the library may opt to weed the print issues.
      • Electronic Resources
        The collection management librarian collaborates with the director for technical services and technology and subject selectors to devise a plan for the weeding of electronic resources. See Collection Management Guidelines: Electronic Resources.
      • Microforms
        Books, collection sets, and other materials in microfilm or microfiche may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in section 3 of these guidelines.
      • Media Materials
        Media formats may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in section 3 of these guidelines.
      • Maps
        Federal depository maps must follow weeding guidelines published by the depository program. Purchased maps may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in section 3 of these guidelines.
      • Federal Documents
        The library must follow the weeding guidelines that are in place at the federal level for government documents. See Collection Management Guidelines: Government Documents.
      • Reference Materials
        Reference materials may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in section 3 of these guidelines. Print materials may be weeded based on their availability online. See Collection Management Guidelines: Reference.

      Materials approved to be weeded from the collection will be physically removed from the building. Records for these items will be removed from the library catalog. Weeded materials may be donated to another state agency or surplused in compliance with State of Arkansas regulations.

      Weeding guidelines will be reviewed regularly by the collection management librarian in collaboration with the director for technical services and technology, library selectors, and other library personnel.

    7. SOURCES CONSULTEDFAU Libraries Collection Development Policy (2011). Retrieved April 30, 2012.
      FAU Libraries Deselection Policy (2011). Retrieved July 17, 2012.
      – Johnson, P. (2009). Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association.

      Created September 1997
      Revised December 2012