University Libraries

General Collection Evaluation and Deselection Process

Collections are strengthened by periodic evaluation and deselection (weeding).  CWU Library collections should reflect the University’s programmatic growth and development.  To this end, weeding is an integral and ongoing part of the collection’s life cycle.

Collection Life Cycle

Selection →
Acquisition →
Reference for review (most materials) → 
Cataloging & Processing →
Placed in appropriate collection →
Existence in collection →
Evaluation →
Acquisition (for final decision)

After Final Decision by Acquisitions:

Option 1) Deselection → Cataloging & Processing → Surplus

Option 2) Retention → Circulation (for re-shelving)

Option 3) Transfer → Circulation for check-out → Cataloging & Processing → Circulation for  check-in and re-shelving

General Deselection Criteria

  1. Relevancy to the curriculum: Does the item have little or no relevance to current or anticipated programs?
  2. Historical value vs. currency of information: Item is outdated (copyright date) based on the subject and scope of the work.
  3. Duplication or superseded editions: Is there a demand for multiple items?
  4. Usage: Number of checkouts as determined from the catalog item record and the pick-up of items throughout the building to be re-shelved.  No use in five years warrants consideration for deselection.
  5. Availability through consortia, such as Orbis Cascade Alliance's shared catalog, Summit: An item may be weeded if it is available in at least three Orbis Cascade Alliance libraries.  Is the item a core resource?
  6. Physical condition (if warranted, may be replaced).
  7. Multi-volume sets: Individual items should not be removed from multi-volume sets.  Either the entire set should be weeded, or all items in the set should be retained.  Individual titles in a serial set can be considered for deselection, transfer, or separate classification as needed.  Example:  The Sea, Ideas and Observations on Progress in the Study of the Seas.
  8. Lost and paid-for (if warranted, may be replaced).
  9. Items eligible for transfer to another part of the library: Examples of eligibility include transfer of a bibliography from Reference to the circulating stacks; transfer of older bound journals to storage; transfer of titles from circulating stacks to Special Collections due to content rarity or connection to Central Washington University or region.
  10. Does the item better fall within the Deselection Criteria and Guidelines developed for other areas of the library?

Deselection Guidelines

  1. Throughout the year, Library Liaisons will evaluate collections in their subject areas.  Periods of evaluation may be available during intersessions.
  2. Library Liaisons may develop subject-specific deselection criteria, in conjunction with the input of faculty from their respective liaison departments.
  3. After the evaluation, the Liaison will compile a list containing the author, title, imprint (date & publisher), call number, circulation statistic, and Summit availability for items being recommended for withdrawal.
  4. This deselection list will be sent to the Departmental Library Representative and the Department Chair for feedback.  The Liaison may also arrange an appointment with the Representative to examine the items.  There should be a two-week deadline for comments.
    If there are no comments from an academic department, and no appointment was arranged, the Liaison may use their professional judgment and proceed with deselection.
  5. Deselect an item only when CWU patrons do not want it.  If someone wants items from the collection to use within their own department, then it stands to reason that these items should not be weeded.  Such desire for the material indicates apparent continued usefulness for the collection, and continuing to provide access through the library benefits the entire CWU Community.
  6. Deselected items will be checked out in Circulation, sent to the Collection Development Librarian, and then through Cataloging.  Normally, withdrawn books (except US government documents) are sent to CWU’s Surplus and Asset Management.

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