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SVSU Zahnow Library Collection Development Policy: Deselection

This guide contains all of the information and forms regarding the Zahnow Library's collection development and gift policies and procedures.

Collection Development Policy: Deselection

Assessment and weeding:

Regular assessment and review is an extremely important piece of collection development. This helps maintain the integrity and relevancy of the collection. Part of this process includes creating and analyzing various statistical lists and physically inspecting the print books. The library will run an analysis approximately every three years to help identify areas of the collection that may need improvement.

The Zahnow Library uses enrollment data, course data, collection data, faculty feedback, MelCat and Interlibrary Loan requests and circulation statistics to help determine subject budgets and to evaluate how well the library is supporting different University departments. This data will also help determine gaps in the collection.

These collection assessment duties are handled by the Research and Collection Development Librarian and library administration in coordination with the liaison librarians. Librarians will communicate with relevant university departments and faculty when their subject areas are being reviewed so their input may be included whenever possible. The library will also take usage statistics, cost and feedback into consideration when renewing database subscriptions. The Electronic Resources Librarian will keep track of usage statistics and present recommendations to library administration.


Deselection Criteria:

The primary factors SVSU librarians use to gauge items for deselection are listed below. Please note that some of this criteria is subjective and varies greatly by discipline area.

  • Age and usage. The library heavily analyzes material older than 10 years old, especially items with zero checkouts, for deselection. Some possible exceptions to this guideline:
  1. Titles that are deemed core works or by well-known authors in the field.
  2. Subject field dictates otherwise
  3. Historical, exceptional or local value of the item
  4. Book is part of an active on-going series or volume
  5. Contractual arrangements
  6. Relevance to the university or current curriculum
  • Books damaged beyond repair
  1. This includes but is not limited to: books with heavy water damage, bug infestation, mold, missing pages, extremely loose binding, etc.
  • Books with factually incorrect information
  • Loss of relevancy. Books that no longer have a reasonable usefulness either for the SVSU library user or SVSU curriculum.
  • Redundant material. Some examples include:
  1. Multiple copies of low use items (aka. Duplication)
  2. Outdated editions
  3. A large amount of newer material is already owned in that subject area


Once an area has been reviewed, the items that have been marked for deselection go through the weeding process. Circulation and technical services handle the withdraw of library materials. Withdrawn items will either be donated or discarded.


Duplicates are discouraged; however, a request for a duplicate copy of an item will be considered on an individual basis. Purchase of additional copies of an item may be warranted when there is heavy usage of an item held by the library or if there is a special request to do so. A duplicate copy may be purchased to acquire an archival or special collection copy in addition to a circulating copy. An ebook copy may be considered if it is available.


Outdated editions, damaged copies and missing and billed items may sometimes get replaced. These decisions are left up to the discretion of the liaison librarians. This means the library will look for either an exact edition or newer edition to replace the old one if it is determined the book is worth replacing in the collection. (An ebook copy may be considered if it is available.) Worth is determined by demand, need or relevancy. If no exact or newer edition can be found the librarian may look for a similar item as a replacement.