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CLB Library / Services / Collection Development / Weeding Policy

Collection Development Weeding (Deselection) Policy

Systematic weeding or deselection of outdated, superseded, incomplete, or damaged materials as well as added copies of materials no longer in demand must be a routine procedure to maintain a useful collection. This is particularly imperative at a small undergraduate college with limited space. In an attempt to maintain currency and balance, there must be an active and sustained effort to evaluate the collection in order to determine when items need to be preserved, repaired, replaced, or discarded.

The faculty, as the experts in their respective academic disciplines, are encouraged to take an active part in the weeding process.

The lack of systematic weeding of a college library collection is perceived by outside reviewing and accrediting agencies as poor management and planning by external reviewing and accrediting agencies, including not only the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (for the general collection), but also the Federal Government (for US documents), the State Library (for NC documents), and the State Department of Public Instruction and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (for education-related materials).

Weeded materials shall be discarded, exchanged, or sold at the discretion of the Director of Library Services.


  1. Compare titles with published lists and bibliographies, notably Choice, and its cumulations in Books for College Libraries. Titles appearing in Books for College Libraries will not be discarded.
  2. Consult course syllabi and reading lists. Titles on these lists will not be discarded.
  3. Study circulation and in-house use statistics to identify items that have not circulated in the last 20 years and have not appeared in Books for College Libraries.
  4. Monitor interlibrary loan statistics as an indication of areas where acquisition efforts should be focused and areas that should not be weeded.
  5. Older editions will be discarded when newer editions are purchased, except in the case of yearbooks and annuals when all will be retained.
  6. Materials in disciplines once taught at the college, but are no longer in the college curriculum will be considered for discarding.
  7. Government documents over 5 years old, unless they have historical or reference value, may be discarded according to guidelines of the Government Printing Office (for US documents) and the State Library (for NC documents).
  8. Gift books that do not meet general selection guidelines will no longer be added to the collection. Those added previous to this policy change will be discarded.
  9. Incomplete backfiles of periodicals not currently received on subscription, usually less than 20 volumes of a given title not received in the last 25 years, should be discarded. These are symptomatic of materials once considered necessary, but now no longer useful or appropriate.
  10. In general, works in the humanities, including history and literature, and archival materials pertaining to Catawba College or the United Church of Christ and its predecessors will not be discarded.