Weeding (Deselection) Policy

Jack K. Williams Library
Texas A&M University at Galveston
September 2016

Weeding, or deselection, is the removal of library materials that are no longer useful, no longer appropriate, or rarely used. An overcrowded library collection with outdated and irrelevant materials can make it difficult for users to find the resources they need. Moreover, as the curriculum of Texas A&M University Galveston evolves, so must the collection evolve in order to adequately support it. We weed in order to provide a collection that is credible, useful, and timely, and to align our collection with users’ needs and the university’s current curriculum.

The professional library staff, with input from faculty, will select material for withdrawal. In addition to a master's degree in library and information science, all librarians have at least a bachelor's degree in a subject area other than professional librarianship, and some have additional graduate degrees and certifications in subject areas as well. Faculty will be notified if books in their subject area are being considered for weeding and will be asked to review the books. If the faculty member believes the item selected for withdrawal should be retained, it will be returned to the shelf. If no feedback is received within the designated review period (generally two weeks), the items will be withdrawn from the collection. Faculty are welcome to claim weeded items after they have been withdrawn.

Weeding Criteria

  • Duplicate copies of the same title and edition may be withdrawn, unless the work has recognized importance or is a high-use title.
  • Materials may be withdrawn if they are factually inaccurate or that have information that is out of date.
  • Textbooks that are not currently used in courses taught at the university may be withdrawn.
  • If a newer edition of a title is available in the collection, the superseded editions are subject to deselection; however, if they are of historical value, earlier editions may be retained.
  • Materials in damaged or poor condition may be withdrawn, unless items are rare or difficult to obtain from other libraries. Rare and difficult-to-obtain items may be considered for transfer to special collections or replaced if they are available for purchase in good condition.
  • Materials that do not support courses currently taught at the university may be withdrawn.
  • Single or scattered issues of serial titles may be withdrawn.
  • Titles with low circulation or that have never circulated may be withdrawn.
  • Titles available in other formats may be withdrawn.
  • If at least ten (10) copies of a title are available nationwide or if at least one (1) other library in Texas owns the title according to the OCLC WorldCat listings, then it is acceptable for the title to be weeded.
  • Media materials in obsolete formats may be considered for preservation, replacement, or withdrawal.
  • Materials that do not fit the academic needs of the TAMUG community may be weeded.
  • Areas such as travel guides, medicine, technology, law, and science are of a date-sensitive nature. Items in these subject areas whose information is not current will be weeded.

Note: If a gift falls under one of these categories, the gift agreement will supersede the weeding criteria.

Materials We Never Weed

  • Regional materials covering Galveston and the State of Texas (history, literature, geography, economics, art, music, etc.)
  • Galveston Bay Information Collection (GBIC) materials
  • Books written by TAMUG faculty members
  • Classics in their field
  • Core materials in each discipline
  • Literary classics
  • Primary sources
  • Works of historical value, as determined by the library professional staff

Examples of candidates for removal

  • Computer Science older than 3 years (except UNIX, Open VMS, Cobol, Fortran)
  • Science after 3 years (except History of Science, Botany and Science)
  • Technology and Applied Science older than 3 years
  • Library Science after 3 years except for theory and history
  • Occupational Guides, résumé guides, etc. older than 3 years
  • Financial Management older than 5 years
  • Travel books older than 3 years
  • Health, Medicine, Nutrition and Pharmacology older than 3 years
  • Psychology older than 10 years (except Biography, History of Psychology, and Psychological Theory)
  • Physical Education older than 10 years
  • Atlases older than 3 years
  • Books not checked out in more than 3 years
  • Incomplete series (library may either order the missing volume or discard the set)
  • Study prep guides (GRE, MCAT, etc) older than 3 years

This Policy was previously published in June 2010; revised and updated September 2016.