Withdrawal Policy

Main Content

As the research library for Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Morris Library must build and maintain a preeminent library. The Library serves the University and the state as a major resource for collecting, organizing, and providing access to scholarly information. The Library has the obligation to retain the materials that record and represent our intellectual and cultural heritage, and which form the history of disciplines. The Library must strive to ensure the appropriate acquisition of resources in support of the research and teaching mission of the University.

The Library recognizes that in today’s environment and through the technologies of shared catalogs, document delivery, and digitization that the obligation to build and maintain a research collection is a shared responsibility with other research libraries in the state, particularly the UIUC and UIC libraries. This shared responsibility also recognizes that no library can be comprehensive in meeting the needs of today’s research agenda and scholarly environment.

De‐selection of library materials (the process of removing items from the collection) is essential for the maintenance of an active, academically useful collection. De‐selection provides quality control for the collection by eliminating outdated, inaccurate, and worn‐out materials. Any decision to withdraw an item must take into consideration the value of the item to future research and teaching. The Collection Development Librarians, after consultation with academic departments and liaisons as needed, are responsible for de‐selection decisions.

  • The Library does not have a routine process or active program of review for de‐selection. Generally, materials come before the Library in various ways. The most common methods are:
    • The item circulates and upon its return Library staff observes that the physical condition of the book is poor and its physical integrity compromised.
    • In the course of a collections‐based project (e.g., a move or shifting of volumes) Library staff takes notice of volumes that appear to be appropriate for withdrawal consideration and review.
    • Items are superseded.

This policy will be reviewed and revised as necessary to continue to meet the research and teaching needs of the University. This policy shall be incorporated into the Library’s Collection Development Policy as it is developed.

General Guidelines

  1. In general, last/single copies in the Morris Library collection are retained. Morris Library is
    committed to the principles of the CARLI Last Copy Guidelines. Before withdrawing the last copy
    of any material from our collection, a determination will be made as to whether the item is
    available at another CARLI partner. If the item is not available at another institution, the Library
    will follow CARLI guidelines for retention of material within the state. In a case where the Library
    makes a decision to withdraw a last copy from Morris Library, this decision will be made in
    consultation with the appropriate academic department(s).
  2. Superseded editions may be de‐selected from the collection.
  3. Duplicates may be de‐selected except in cases of continued high demand or where the Library
    holds rare copies.
  4. Materials which cannot be repaired or rebound or for which the cost of preservation exceeds
    the usefulness of the information contained may be de‐selected or reformatted if practical.
  5. Because currency of information is extremely important in some fields, such as technology and
    business, older materials may be de‐selected to eliminate outdated or inaccurate information.
  6. Material that has not been used, based on circulation statistics, may be identified for deselection
    by the Collection Development Librarians after several years of inactivity if it is
    determined that the material does not contribute to the research and teaching mission of the
    University. The Collection Development Librarian may consult the subject liaison for additional
    input, if necessary or appropriate.
  7. Some library materials, such as classic or definitive works in their field, have long‐term value and
    will be retained.
  8. Special care should be taken in subject areas where outdated works cannot be used for current
    research but are invaluable to historians.
  9. If materials are acquired with special retention requirements (e.g., gifts, materials purchased through endowments) these requirements must be the determining factor in any de‐selection consideration.

Considerations for Serials

  1. Incomplete and short runs of a title may be withdrawn if it is determined they are not necessary
    to support research and teaching in a particular field.
  2. Titles that contain information that is not useful long‐term, such as newsletters and trade magazines, may have automatic discard patterns established such as "current year only retained."
  3. Annuals, biennials, and regularly updated editions of guidebooks, handbooks, almanacs, and directories may be de‐selected depending on the value of the information contained in earlier editions. One or two older editions may be retained in circulating collections.
  4. Some materials may be kept for their advertisements or graphics rather than their subject matter.
  5. Duplicate issues of periodicals and journals are discarded when a volume has been bound unless heavy usage indicates a need for duplicates.

Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration

Library materials are expensive to purchase, process, and house. Morris Library acknowledges the necessity of preserving library holdings–traditional and nontraditional–and supports the American Library Association's Preservation Policy.

Collection Development Librarians, curators, and other personnel will be consulted to determine what action should be taken with damaged materials.

General Principles

  • Library employees and library users will be informed of the proper care and handling of library materials.
  • Temperature and humidity controls are essential for maintenance of library materials and efforts to maintain proper levels are supported to preserve the collection.
  • Book repair is provided for damaged materials.
  • Binding is used to preserve periodicals and other materials as needed.


  • Periodicals and Journals. In general, all periodicals and journals are bound on a regular basis. The number of issues bound together is determined on a title‐by‐title basis depending on the size and number of issues per volume or year.
  • Annuals, Biennials, etc. Paperbound publications which are heavily used may be bound.
  • New Books. Newly acquired paperbound books are bound after the first circulation.
  • Exceptions may be made when low use or short usefulness is anticipated.

Replacement of Library Materials


Collection Development Librarians are responsible for making decisions regarding the replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn‐out monographs as funds permit. The CDLs will determine whether to replace a specific book or to purchase a comparable book. The Collection Development Librarians may consult the subject liaison for additional input, if necessary or appropriate.


Staff will identify lost, damaged, missing, or worn‐out serials and take steps to replace these materials. Decisions to replace annual, biennial, and irregular serials will be handled according to the policies set forth in this document. The following serial items may not be replaced:

  • Newspapers and newsletters unless a special need exists or is indicated in policies specific to certain disciplines;
  • Titles that are not held permanently;
  • Titles that are not indexed;
  • Titles routinely replaced by microfilm;
  • Titles for which we have reasonably assured electronic archival access.