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Last Updated: 7/17/09

This document provides a detailed outline of the process and procedures followed by Reed Library in removing items from the library's collection, in keeping with the Proposed Weeding Process approved by University Senate, Spring 2007.

Stage One: Librarians Determine Subject Areas to be Reviewed and Check Standard Bibliographies

1. Inventory of missing items completed.
2. Librarians identified that the area G-JV will be the first area to be reviewed.
3. If recommended by an academic department or program, the collection was also compared to available standard bibliographies. A note was added to the item's catalog record indicating the bibliography which cites the item as a "classic" title in the field.
4. The initial weeding reports are run with the following filters applied:

  • Item appears in Resources for College Libraries
  • Items classified Inventory Missing
  • Item has circulated in the past 8 years, since the library's implementation of the Aleph Library Management System

5. Weeding reports are divided up and assigned to librarians for review.

Stage Two: Librarians Review the Collection in the Stacks 

Procedures and Criteria:

1. Before going to the stacks, you will need to generate an Excel Spreadsheet reflecting the call number range you are responsible for reviewing. This spreadsheet should be generated from the unfiltered reports on the library share (Go to the library share- Weeding folder-First floor analysis-- unfiltered excel spreadsheets-choose appropriate files to generate a report for your range.)

2. It is recommended that you save your report to a jump drive as a 97-2003 workbook file.

3. You will need to bring the following items with you to the stacks:

a. The Excel Spreadsheet call numbers for your assigned range (it is recommended that you save this to a jump drive)

b. The General Deselection Criteria (see below)

c. The Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection

d. Laptop and Scanner (available in circulation area)

e. A book cart

4. Create a new Notepad file and save it with a name (e.g., WEEDING G1- 2009mmdd - Vince.txt) - WHEN YOU ARE DONE RENAME THE FILE AND PUT IN THE LAST CALL NUMBER REVIEWED (it is recommended that you save this file to your jump drive, since you may not be using the same laptop for your next weeding session)

5. Go through the items found on the list in call number order.

6. Check the circ data in the back of the item to verify that it has not circulated in the past 8 years. Also look for a DO NOT WEED stamp!... just in case the lists were generated before that book made it to that select group!)

a. ILL is considered a valid circulation

7. The following criteria should be used in assessing an item's value for retention, and should be applied for all subject matter:

General Deselection Criteria

  • Physical condition-missing pages, text unreadable, water damage, poor paper quality, musty, beyond repair, or other factors which prohibit re-binding  A. Note: if it is reparable (can be taped, has only a few loose pages that can be tipped in, etc.), put it aside and take to Sue for repair when you are finished with this session.)
  • Superseded editions not containing unique information, data, or providing a historical reference not available in the most current edition A. Check the shelves for other versions of that title... (1) Is this an edition of which there are others?
  • Duplicate titles unless a proven demand exists for multiple copies A. Are there other copies of this title and edition that we no longer need? (The library's policy is to have only one copy of most books, classics and materials that are in Special Collections excepted. Also we should have only the latest edition unless the work is a classic in its field, or the earlier editions are required (such as for The Age of Innocence, as Kerrie was telling us at one of our meetings.) If there is more than one copy of this title, check the circulation of all to determine if you think more than one copy is still needed. If not, keep the copy that is in best condition.)
  • Trendy ephemera-items such as handwritten or printed papers which were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity
  • Currency or reliability of the resource's information has lost value
  • Superfluous subjects no longer relevant to the SUNY Fredonia curriculum. Item has very little or no apparent relevance to current or anticipated college programs
  • Copyright date-items that appear outdated based on the subject and scope of the work. Consult the Discipline Specific Criteria for further guidance.
  • Government documents-physical items currently in the stacks that are available via a ".gov" Internet site. The stable url must be located and sent to the Cataloging dept. for revision of the permanent cataloging record prior to the deselection of the physical item.
  • Multi-volume sets- individual items under consideration for deselection should not be removed from multi-volume sets. Either the entire set should be deselected, or, all items in the set should be retained.  

To summarize the criteria for weeding the acronym MUSTY serves:

M Misleading and/or factually inaccurate
U Ugly-worn, and beyond mending or rebinding
S Superseded by a truly New edition or by a much better book
T Trivial- of no discernable literary or scientific value
Y Your collection has no use for this material, irrelevant to the needs of your clientele

8. On the WordPad file, scan the barcode on the book (or books) you have decided can be made candidates for deselection.

9. Check the file to make sure that the scanned barcode got included correctly... sometimes (very rarely) a digit will be dropped.

10. On the Excel spreadsheet for your call number range, annotate why you decided to weed this volume in the column labeled: Deselection Criteria (note: if you generated your own Excel spreadsheet from the filtered reports, you will need to create this column within your spreadsheet). You will also need to create a column on your spreadsheet labeled Not On Shelf-to keep track of circulating/missing items.

11. Annotations should be based on the General Deselection Criteria. For example: Superseded Editions, Duplicate Titles etc... (Providing annotations will help faculty reviewers understand our decision-making process and will simplify the communication process between library liaisons and the faculty committees.)

12. If you come across damaged items that fall under the General Weeding Criteria of items that should automatically be kept (i.e. items that appear in Resources for College Libraries, Items that have circulated in the past 8 years, items appears in a recommended bibliography), place on a cart and take to circulation for repair. These items should not be considered for deselection.

13. Every so often, save the NotePad and Excel files you are working with.

14. At the end of your session, be sure to save the files (and rename them as instructed in Step 4. The example file might become WEEDING - G1-G251 - 20090112 - Vince).

15. Return the laptop to the Circ area

Stage Three:  Faculty Review of the Items Being Considered for Removal


1. The library director will contact the chair(s) of the department(s) with expertise in the subject areas being reviewed. The department chairs will be asked to appoint a committee to conduct the review process. When appropriate, a faculty member who teaches the subject area as part of an interdisciplinary course should also be appointed to the committee by the departmental chair.

2. Once the librarians complete their review of the collection, a report will be generated for the faculty review committee indicating the items under consideration for withdrawal. This list will be made available electronically. The report will contain the following information: 

Imprint (date, publisher)
Call number
Reason for withdrawal

3. The designated library liaison will be responsible for initial contact with the committee members. The liaison librarian will provide the faculty with the following items: 

a. A short PowerPoint presentation highlighting the purpose and philosophy behind the deselection of materials
b. The list of items under consideration for withdrawal.
c. The "General Deselection Criteria" and the "Discipline Specific Criteria for Deselection" used for the area under review.
d. The processes and procedures followed in our evaluation process

4. If a standard bibliography has been provided, the items under consideration will be checked against the standard bibliography.

5. The committee will have the opportunity to review the list of items for 45 calendar days, and the library liaison will act as a line of communication with the library, offering assistance, answering questions, and troubleshooting problems.

6. Once the faculty members complete their review, a finalized list of items to be removed from the collection will be provided to their library liaison.

Stage Four: End Processing

1. The item will be checked against the SUNY Union Catalog. Items which are not held by at least one University Center or two Comprehensive Colleges will be retained.

2. It will be verified that the item is not a faculty publication. Items which are identified as faculty publications will be retained.

3. All other items identified will be removed from the collection.