UIUC Library Withdrawal Policy and Procedure


The Library is committed to building and preserving an enduring collection to support the research and teaching mission of the University. Given that the Library’s collection is an important resource shared throughout the state of Illinois and the world, decisions to withdraw materials are made after careful review and consideration. Subject specialists, preservation personnel and the Office of Collections work in collaboration with faculty, staff and other Library departments to perform this aspect of collection maintenance. Among the factors that collection managers take into account while reviewing items are: subject, including interdisciplinary impact; language; rarity; provenance; format; projected use; physical condition; licensing restrictions on resource sharing; accessibility of electronic formats; and completeness. Deselection of outdated or worn materials is an organic part of the healthy maintenance and growth of the Library’s premier collection.


The following policy and procedures govern the withdrawal of materials from the Library collection. These policies and procedures apply to all general collection monographs, serials and audio-visual media and will be reviewed and revised as necessary.


1.0       General Principles

The Library will observe the following guidelines when considering the withdrawal of library materials.

  • Last or single copies are retained unless appropriate consortial arrangements are in place to ensure the material’s preservation. Such arrangements might involve last copy programs in CARLI, the CIC, widely vetted and professionally accepted print archiving operations such as JSTOR, or the CRL.
  • One copy of an original item used for the local production of an electronic version shall be retained, regardless of condition.
  • For retrospective collections of Library materials, the copy of record is a durable physical medium. If a discussion about retention develops, only one copy needs to be retained. Microforms and print copies will be considered interchangeable unless there are clearly identifiable and documented differences.
  • When electronic-only access is available, the Library shall attempt to negotiate perpetual access and the best possible provisions for interlibrary loan.
  • Excluding those copies held in various special collections throughout the University Library or held for the purposes of significant demand, no more than two print or microform copies will be retained, except under special circumstances.
  • Earlier editions are not withdrawn when new editions are published.
  • The value of an “outdated” item as a potential historical resource will be considered before withdrawing the item.
  • No materials dated pre-1850 shall be withdrawn without review and approval by rare book or special collection curators.
  • Items with perceived artifactual value should be referred for review and approval by rare book or special collection curators.


2.0       Procedure for Withdrawing Library Materials

While the process to withdraw materials may be initiated by individuals throughout the University Library, the ultimate decision to withdraw an item rests with the subject specialists, preservation personnel, and the Office of Collections. It is their responsibility to check the online catalog and the condition of other copies in order to properly execute the above principles. No items shall be withdrawn without reference to these bodies, and no item shall be withdrawn without being clearly, physically marked “Withdrawn.”


3.0       Disposition of Withdrawn Material

3.1       Materials purchased with State funds and non-State funds

  • Materials purchased using State funds and non-State funds, including endowment funds, or accessioned into the University Library’s inventory (including catalogs, finding aids, backlog lists, inventories and other means of inventory whether print or electronic) are the property of the State of Illinois. In keeping with Illinois Public Act 096-0498, the University Library may sell withdrawn library materials as long as all proceeds received are returned to a designated account that will benefit the Library’s collections.
    • In addition, these materials:

§  May be withdrawn and recycled as scrap. Recycling should be pursued and withdrawn items must be sent to an approved local Illinois recycling program if the material is recyclable. Scrap may not be used for private purposes or private gain.

§  May be offered for credit or exchange for library materials of equal value to a reputable agent or vendor, through the Office of Collections.

§  May be used in another part of the University.

§  May be kept for office use. Later disposal of this material must follow the procedures set forth here.

§  May be transferred to an out-of-state library if not needed by any other state library and only after receipt of approval from the Property Accounting Section who, on behalf of the Library, will first pursue approval from the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. A list of items and their estimated original costs, estimated current value, acquisition dates, and original funding sources must be provided to the Library Business Office.


3.2       Materials received as gifts

  • May be added to the collection if needed. Once a gift is added to the Library collection, it becomes University property and is subject to the withdrawal procedures outlined above.
  • May be sold in the Library book sale or used for exchange with reputable agents for additional Library collection materials, unless the donor has stipulated the gift may not be used in this way.

3.3       Materials received through external funding sources

  • Must follow the disposition procedures prescribed by the funding agency. If the external sponsor does not stipulate procedures for disposition, then all such items are considered to be library materials and shall be managed in keeping with existing library policies.

3.4       Materials identified as lost/stolen

  • Materials identified as lost/stolen/missing shall be identified as such in the University Library’s catalogs, inventories, etc. Their records shall not be suppressed from the public view until such time that the items are replaced or deemed unworthy of replacement by University personnel. At that point, records for those items that have been replaced or deselected should be suppressed.

Approved – 8/2010