Replacement and Deselection of Materials Policy

As a general rule, library materials may need to be replaced on a fairly consistent basis. This may be due to a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, the following: loss, mutilation, normal wear, or defects. Although it is the general policy to normally replace library materials, such replacement of items will be considered on a case-by-case basis. It is the responsibility of the appropriate subject liaison or selector to decide, within the guidelines of the Collection Development Policy, whether to replace such materials and in what format. This policy provides guidelines for the replacement of library materials that include, but are not limited to, the following: media items, books, and periodicals.

Status of Materials:

  1. Officially lost or missing materials: When library materials are “officially lost or missing”, the item is withdrawn from the library catalog and that information is passed on to the Head of Collection Development. The Head of Collection Development will distribute the information to the appropriate subject liaison or selector. Review of the item should be made by the subject liaison or selector and a determination on whether or not the item should be replaced. A title should be considered for immediate replacement if it is lost in circulation or is a heavily circulated item.
  2. Worn, mutilated or defective materials: Materials requiring other than routine repair should be referred to the appropriate subject liaison or selector as they are identified. If the decision is made to retain, the material may be repaired, rebound or replaced. Defective, in-print titles should be given to the Acquisitions Department to be returned to the publisher and a new copy requested or purchased.

Guidelines for Replacement:

  1. As a general rule, current editions are preferred over previous ones unless the earlier edition has special distinguishing information or characteristics. Under certain circumstances an exact replacement may be desired. If an exact replacement is not available for purchase, the subject liaison or selector is encouraged to acquire a suitable replacement.
  2. Replacement for parts of a work, by insertion of bindable photocopied pages, may be employed for mutilated or defective serial and monograph titles, especially for those already bound or those that are out of print. For monograph titles, all attempts will be made to acquire a copy of the monograph before resorting to photocopied pages. In the case of a missing serial issue, all attempts will be made to acquire a copy of that issue before resorting to photocopied pages.
  3. It is usually the best practice to replace monographs or serials in their same format; however, microform rather than hard copy should be considered for extensive serial replacements. Electronic versions may be considered in looking at replacing items especially if it is suitable for the subject area. When considering electronic versions, long term access to the item should be taken into account.
  4. In the case of serial titles with significant holdings or long runs, attempts should be made to replace missing issues and volumes by either hard copy or microform.
  5. If the cost of replacing an item is over $100, the replacement information and a recommendation from the subject liaison or selector needs to be brought to the Collection Development Committee for a final decision.
  6. General collection development guidelines are to be considered when making the final replacement decision. These are listed in the section on deselection or weeding the collection.

Deselection (Weeding)

At times circumstances in the University Libraries and Archives may require the deselection or weeding of materials from the collection. This process is essential for the maintenance of an active, academically useful collection and at times is dictated by space constraints and assists in the best utilization of limited space.  Deselection provides quality control for the collection by elimination of outdated, worn-out, and inaccurate materials. Periodic evaluations of assigned subject areas are the responsibility of the library subject liaisons or selectors to ensure that the collection keeps up to date with the changing and growing needs of the University community. Library liaisons or selectors are responsible for coordinating an ongoing deselection effort in their areas of collection responsibility and for maintaining the quality of the collection in their assigned subject areas.  Whenever possible and necessary, departmental faculty members will be invited to participate to assure that materials of historical or research interest are not inadvertently removed.   

If the condition of an item suggests removal but the content cannot be replaced, consideration is given to rebinding and repair.  Some materials may also be retained for their historic significance regardless of condition.

Criteria for Removal

Criteria for evaluation for possible removal from the collection will include the following: 

  1. Age of titles in relation to subject matter. 
  2. Duplication (multiple copies which are no longer needed).
  3. Physical condition (such as deterioriation, dust, mold).
  4. Use (past circulation record).
  5. Authoritativeness.
  6. Curricular or local research value.
  7. Superseded editions if of little value.
  8. Existence of abstracts and indexes to the title.
  9. Availability of the title especially among the institutions in the Regents system in the State of Kansas.
  10. Compare with online databases.