Deselection Policy

Need for Deselection

The addition of titles necessary to maintain a healthy, viable collection necessitates the withdrawal of others. It is a disservice to users to keep items that contain inaccurate or dated information or are in bad condition. Each item, through its quality, reliability, current usefulness and appearance, must earn its place on the shelf and contribute to the reliability, accessibility and attractiveness of the library. To keep the collection current, materials must be reevaluated on an on-going basis, at which time decisions will be made using the latest edition of CREW : a Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries as a guide.

Criteria for Deselection

Librarians exercise judgment, experience, and expertise in the application of the following Criteria for Deselection, making withdrawal decisions as objectively as possible. Evaluation of a work includes the entire work, not just individual parts of the work. A work’s overall contribution to the collection is a critical determinant for retention or withdrawal. No single criterion can be applied to all materials, and various criteria carry different weights in different circumstances. Contextual considerations – budget and space availability, interlibrary loan availability – also shape the deselection process.

Criteria include:

  • Dated, superseded, obsolete or stereotypical information
  • Frequency of circulation
  • Physical condition of material
  • Number of copies
  • Physical capacities of the library
  • Subject strengths and collection needs
  • Availability of current published material on a subject
  • Changes in media formats
  • Availability through inter-library loan or through digital format

Items in a series may not of necessity be kept as a complete set.

When in question, materials may be checked against standard bibliographic sources such as Fiction Catalog, Public Library Catalog, High School Catalog, Children’s Catalog, American Library Association Guide to Reference Books, and other guides viewed by the general library profession as authoritative and appropriate for a public library collection.

Materials that have special consideration for retention:

  • Local history, art, and genealogy
  • Writings by Cape Ann authors
  • Items related to local topics, for example fisheries or quarrying
  • Items related to art instruction and artists
  • Items that have been recognized by literary awards
  • Items for which there is a user request for retention
Process for Deselection

Final authority for the determination of the policies in this document are vested in the Corporation. They have delegated the responsibility of implementing this policy to the Library Director. The Library Director shall delegate the on-going task of deselection in the collection to the appropriate staff, directing that the above criteria be used. Items in fair condition may be placed in a book sale. Efforts will be made to recycle books when appropriate, but items will be disposed of at the discretion of the Library Director.

Approved by Board of Directors: March 3, 2015