The deselection, or weeding, of materials is an integral and ongoing aspect of collection management in an academic library. Just as a library carefully and thoughtfully selects materials to add to its collection, it must also use the same approach in withdrawing them in order to maximize the collection’s usefulness. The FAU Libraries make decisions to periodically deselect materials to ensure that the collection remains viable and continues to support the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of Florida Atlantic University students, faculty, and staff. These decisions are made within the context of the FAU Libraries Collection Development Policy in keeping with the Libraries’ mission to build a rich resource of research materials to service a uniquely diverse community. Materials must be up-to-date, in good physical condition, and relevant to the programs and courses currently offered at Florida Atlantic University. Faculty are encouraged to work with and provide feedback to library staff to identify materials to withdraw.
Ultimate responsibility for the deselection of materials from the Libraries’ collection rests with the Dean of University Libraries. Relevant individuals who participate in the deselection process include the Assistant Dean for Research and Collections, the Assistant Dean for Public Services, the Head of Collection Management, library faculty liaisons, and staff from Public Services, Technical Services, and Partner Campus libraries.
In addition to withdrawing materials that are no longer relevant to the academic needs of Florida Atlantic University students, faculty, and staff, the FAU Libraries also deselect materials to allow for the ongoing review and growth of the collection to reflect current and more relevant content. Users are better able to find materials related to their information needs in a well-maintained and uncluttered collection. The recovery of lost items can also be made by library staff when reviewing materials in the stacks for possible deselection.
Another important rationale for deselection is to maximize the library’s space for student use. Due to a lack of space, students must often utilize the aisles or walkways instead of tables that are already occupied or otherwise nonexistent. Deselection creates space for other library services such as individual and group study areas.
Library materials of all types (which include, but are not limited to books, journals and serials, microforms, maps, and electronic resources) may be candidates for weeding if they meet any of the following criteria.
Are there materials that are part of a series of which the Libraries do not have the complete run? i.e. The Libraries have only volumes two and five of a seven volume set. Librarians can work with faculty to ensure that incomplete sets are still relevant to research and instructional projects.
(May vary by discipline.) Generally speaking, is an item’s content out of date or no longer accurate? Some materials in the health science field, for example, may become outdated at a faster rate than materials in other disciplines such as literature or philosophy. The FAU Libraries take into consideration faculty and students whose scholarship and teaching requires the use of historical texts in areas such as psychology, mathematics, and physics.
Are there multiple copies of a given title that are no longer needed? Library staff will take into consideration the general 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.
Are there materials that are superseded by newer, revised, or updated editions?
Is the item badly deteriorated or damaged and beyond reasonable preservation efforts?
Do the FAU Libraries own the only copy of an item, or is it one of several libraries that owns the item (i.e. regionally, within the State University System, or wordwide)? If it is deemed to be a unique item, the FAU Libraries will likely retain it in the collection.
When was the last time an item circulated or was checked-out? Library staff may consult circulation statistics or other reports to determine viable candidates for withdrawal.
DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING FORMATS AND MATERIAL TYPES
The following formats and material types may be deselected based on any of the aforementioned guidelines.
Materials approved to be withdrawn from the collection will be physically removed from the building. Records for these items will be removed from the FAU Libraries Catalog. The FAU Libraries will give any withdrawn materials to interested Florida Atlantic University academic departments via property transfer with the understanding that these materials will not be gifted back to the Libraries at any time. If the withdrawn materials are not needed or wanted by academic departments, but have monetary value, they will be offered to a third party book seller on consignment or donated to a charitable organization. Select materials may be added to the FLorida Academic REpository (FLARE), an environmentally controlled, carefully inventoried, and secure high-density facility in Gainesville, Florida. FLARE is operated by the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida. If the materials are not wanted through any of the aforementioned means, they will be surplused in compliance with State of Florida regulations and other local policies.
This deselection policy will be reviewed at the end of each fiscal year by the Head of Collection Management in conjunction with the FAU Libraries Collection Development Review Committee and other designated library staff members.
FAU Libraries. (2008). Mission of the FAU Libraries. Retrieved November 22, 2011, from http://www.library.fau.edu/geninfo/admin/mission.htm.
FAU Libraries. (2011a). FAU Libraries Collection Development Policy. Retrieved December 2, 2011, from http://www.library.fau.edu/policies/cd_fau.htm.
FAU Libraries. (2011b). Collection Development Policy: Electronic Resources. Retrieved November 29, 2011, from http://www.library.fau.edu/policies/cd_e-resources.htm.
Created December 2011. Updated August 2017.