Library De-Accessioning (Weeding)

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Academic and Student Affairs
Library staff; university students, staff, faculty
Last Revised:
January 26, 2018
Approved By:
Library Services Committee; Academic Council
Librarian, ext. 3426


De-accessioning, or weeding, is the removal of materials from the library collection that are no longer needed or viable. Such practice is standard in managing a library’s collection. Weeding is important in keeping the collection vibrant, relevant, and usable. It assists in preventing the collection from becoming overcrowded and allows newer, relevant materials more visibility and accessibility.


The Library may, at its sole discretion, remove and withdraw monographs and any other materials (e.g., non-book print items, manuscript materials, electronic resources, A/V materials) based on the following criteria.

Materials should be reviewed, evaluated and weeded on a regular basis, using the following guidelines:

  • Frequency of use. Circulation and other statistics may be examined. Items that are not in demand may be eligible for weeding.
  • Curriculum needs as identified by FNUniv faculty and instructors.• Currency of information. The importance of this factor will vary with the discipline.
  • Existence of multiple copies of the same title and edition, especially of low use items – these may be weeded. However, the recognized importance of a work, edition, and author may encourage a decision for retaining.
  • Superseded works, especially ones with little historical importance, may be weeded.
  • Physical condition of an item or set. Materials that are badly deteriorated or missing key parts may be withdrawn at the discretion of the librarian or designated library staff person. As a general guideline, items to be discarded should not be rare or difficult to obtain from other libraries. Therefore, as alternatives to discarding, the librarian or designated library staff person may opt to have material sent for binding or preservation treatment. Rare materials may be transferred to Special Collections. Damaged items may also be replaced if they are available for purchase as new or used items in good condition.
  • Materials available in other formats in the library or online may be weeded, especially when they are low use and not rare.
  • Format obsolescence. Materials in obsolete formats may be weeded if the content is available elsewhere or if the material is in poor condition.
  • Items with an Indigenous perspective, and/or works of local or special interest to our collections and users, should not be weeded unless they are held in multiple copies, are in poor physical condition, have been superseded by a more recent edition, or are available in another format.

The librarian or designated library staff person is responsible for delivering weeded material to library technician staff for appropriate attention, including the modification of cataloguing records or transference of items.

Materials which are de-accessioned from the collection may be sold, donated, distributed, recycled, or discarded, at the Library’s sole discretion.

Role and Responsibilities


  • Policy owner
  • Compliance with policy

Library Technician(s)

  • Compliance with policy

Consequences for Noncompliance

Noncompliance with this policy may result in the Library appearing to be reckless in the maintenance of its collections, and/or facing criticism from the university community. Noncompliance may also result in a deterioration of the library’s vibrancy, relevance, and usability.


  1. Revisions, changes, or noncompliance with this policy will be addressed first by the Librarian, and if need be, the Library Services Committee and Academic Council.

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