You are here

Weeding Policy

One of the goals of the Law Library is to manage a collection that is dynamic and useful to the Law School community. Librarians recognize that one way to effectuate that goal is to remove marginal titles from the collection. The withdrawal of unwanted items and the storage of infrequently used items will increase ease of access and improve the efficiency of retrieving materials.

It is the policy of the Law Library to withdraw materials in accordance with the principles of the Collection Development Policy. Books that no longer serve the needs of the students and faculty will be removed from the collection with the following criteria in mind:

  • Importance of the material to the collection. The collection development goals of the Law Library (curriculum support and support for faculty and student research) should guide deselection. The collection development levels assigned to the various legal subjects should be used to make an informed decision and to weigh the importance of each category of material to the mission of the Law School and the Law Library. Previous editions should be considered for retention only in subjects that are collected at the Research Level and above. For subjects collected below that level, only current editions should be retained in the collection.
  • Supplementary materials. Superseded supplementary material completely replaced by later editions or supplementation should be discarded.
  • Duplication. Multiple copies or redundant materials should be considered for weeding.
  • Cancellations. If a decision is made to cancel a title with supplementation, the volumes should not be retained for more than three years, and should be clearly labeled "This Material is Not to Be Updated."
  • Format. If the material is also available electronically, it should be considered a candidate for weeding. The most appropriate format for our collection and clientele should be selected.
  • Physical condition of the material. A determination concerning rebinding, repairing or discarding material in poor condition should be made, with the cost of maintenance or preservation balanced against the value of the material to the collection.
  • Space considerations. Voluminous materials should be considered candidates for weeding if they are also available in microformat or in a reliable electronic format.
  • Special types. Some types of materials should automatically be withdrawn from the collection: continuing legal education course materials with the exception of Pace-produced titles (after two years, this material is withdrawn and returned to the CCLE); casebooks; statutory supplements and compilations that are out of date; and old directories. We should retain only the latest and one prior edition of hornbooks, nutshells, and other study aids.

General guidelines

Weeding may be done during regular shelfreading by all library staff when duplicates and obsolete materials are readily apparent. Reference librarians may also perform weeding as part of a systematic review of the collection in a subject area or when particular problems need to be addressed. In addition, weeding may be performed as a large-scale project, when policies or curricular needs change. It is often helpful to consult with faculty who have a particular interest in a subject field. The Director has the final decision on titles to be deselected.

Detailed procedures

  • The material to be weeded should be brought to the Technical Services Department and placed on the shelves designated "Weeding." Each title should have a "weeding slip" filled out and inserted. If the material is voluminous, it would be more efficient to load it onto a book truck with a note identifying it as materials for weeding.  
  • Using the Collection Development Policy for guidance, the Director will review the material that is under consideration for weeding and make the final decision as to its disposition.
  • If the Director decides to withdraw the material, she will notify the Cataloging Assistant who will deaccession the volumes as follows:
  • Pull the shelflist card (if appropriate)
  • Compare the OCLC # on the shelflist and Millennium
  • Delete or correct the Millenium bib and item records
  • Update the holdings information in the check-in record and document with the appropriate decision
  • Delete our holdings on OCLC
  • Withdraw the titles and volumes from the collection statistics
  • Notify the Head of Technical Services who decides whether to sell, donate, or discard the volumes
  • Discard all volumes either by sale, donation to Better World Books, or by recycling.