In compliance with the University Library Mission Statement concerning response “to the ever-evolving information needs of our community” and “managing traditional library resources,” it is necessary to establish a “Weeding Policy.” The purpose of the policy is twofold. It defines a step-by-step procedure of item withdrawal accompanied by a list of criteria to assist in decision making. It also aims to provide justification for the permanent removal of materials from the library collection to the Oregon Tech administration, faculty and students.

Need for Weeding

For any type of library the weeding or withdrawal process is an important part of its collection management. Regular withdrawal of damaged, outdated, duplicate materials or items in poor condition helps libraries maintain up-to-date, attractive looking collections, and save space and time for researchers and library staff alike. Weeding activities help reduce cluttered and over stacked shelves. For an academic library, whose main mission is to support its parent institution’s curriculum, it is important not only to purchase new materials, but also to get rid of publications that are out of date or are no longer required by the disciplines taught at the university. Relevancy and timeliness of information are especially vital for certain disciplines, such as health sciences and engineering. The Oregon Tech librarians, subject specialists and department liaisons, apply their expertise and knowledge of their respective constituents to the evaluation of library materials and to the weeding decisions.

Weeding Philosophy

  • Titles expected to be withdrawn include: duplicate copies, items in poor physical condition, titles with more than 10 copies in Summit that can be checked out (not reference copies) and a publication date earlier than 12 years back
  • If the title is the last copy in Summit, it cannot be discarded unless it is in a very poor physical condition beyond repair
  • Titles in Rs and Ts (health sciences and engineering): discard if there are 3 copies in Summit, and a publications date earlier than 5 years back
  • If the title contains a donor bookplate, keep it on the shelf
  • If a decision cannot be made immediately, put the title back on the shelf

Step-by-step Procedure

Step 1

Remove one shelf of books at a time, place on a cart, and take to the Research Assistance desk if working there, or use the laptop in the stacks

Step 2


  • if the specific title and edition is the last copy in Summit: if so, put a green dot on the bottom of the spine label. Place such titles on the designated shelf in the Access Services area for the Manager to process: make a note in the Millennium title item record: “Last copy in Summit as of [date entered]”. If the decision is to keep a title on the shelf, the Manager will return it to the stacks; if the title is destined to be put in storage, the Manager will take it to the Technical Services department for further processing
  • usage statistics: discard if the title hasn’t been used for … years, and is not the last copy in Summit (see the previous section)physical condition: discard if the title is irreparably damaged or worn out
  • if the title still supports the Oregon Tech curriculum
  • for outdated/obsolete information (especially for the subjects that need to stay current)
  • if it is the last title on a specific subject inside a discipline
  • if a newer copy/edition has been purchased  
  • if there is an electronic version available
  • for duplicates: discard all second copies  

Step 3

Make a decision to:

  • keep: replace on shelf
  • end to storage: place on the appropriate shelf in Access Services area; the titles will be checked out to “Storage” and moved to the Technical Services department, where Deniece Davis will change their status in Millennium
  • withdraw: place on the appropriate shelf in Access Services area; the titles will be checked out to “Withdraw” and moved to the Technical Services department, where Deniece Davis will change their status in Millennium
  • repair or replace: consider the following about the title:
    • Is this something that our students would appreciate having immediately?
    • Is it available electronically in Safari, Google Books, Project Gutenberg or EBL?
    • Is it hard to find an available copy in Summit?
    • How expensive is it?
    • Is there a newer version that it would pay the library to get instead?How hard is it to repair? 

To make a decision, consult Summit, Millennium, Ulrich’s Web database, and other relevant library’s subscription databases.


The Oregon Tech Library solicits and welcomes any gifts of books, periodicals, or other library materials, providing they support the needs of the university. All materials are accepted as unrestricted gifts with the understanding that the Library has the right to determine retention, location, use or disposition of the donated materials. All the decisions concerning the retaining or disposal of the gifts are made by the subject liaison librarians. Those gifts not added to the collection are donated to the local public library, offered to institutions with more appropriate holdings in the particular subject area or sold for fundraising.

To make a weeding decision on gifts accepted to the collection, it is essential to consult the accompanying donation form to be sure of the donor’s provisions. This applies especially to the gift books that are permanently retained as a separate collection.

An assigned library technician processes the items after the decisions have been made.

Government Documents

The Oregon Tech Library follows the “Procedures for the Disposal of Federal Depository Library Program Materials in Oregon” for weeding government documents. According to the Oregon Documents Depository Program, “Depositories must retain all depository documents for a minimum of five years, except that superseded publications may be replaced by the newer edition.” The superseded lists are consulted regularly for the purpose of weeding superseded items.  

Items eligible for discard must be included in a disposal list, and a request for disposal sent to the appropriate Regional Collection partner library.  To that end the regional holdings list located at Information for Federal Depository Libraries in Oregon is consulted.

Any material not taken by Oregon depositories may also be offered to:

  • Other depositories through the National Need & Offers list
  • Other libraries
  • Other educational institutions
  • Private citizens (at no cost)  

Remaining materials are recycled or destroyed.

Audiovisual Materials

The criteria for weeding CDs , VHSs, and DVDs takes into consideration the wear and tear of these formats, their continuing relevance for the Oregon Tech Curriculum, and in case of VHS tapes,availability of a different format – DVDs. The Library no longer purchases or accepts donations of the VHS format. The major consideration in the decision to replace damaged or worn out materials is their availability for requesting through Summit or ILL.

Disposal of the Weeded Materials

Materials removed from the library collection are first offered to the other libraries in the Orbis Cascade library consortium. After that they are taken to charity organizations, such as Goodwill.

Last Modified October 2012