Deaccessioning of Materials from the University Library

Deaccessioning of Materials from the University Library

Collection Development and Processing Memorandum No. 3

The University Library deaccessions (withdraws) materials from its collection for a variety of reasons. Some titles are periodically revised, and older editions are withdrawn. Damaged materials are discarded and replaced by new copies. However, the Library is currently engaged in a more substantial project of deaccessioning.


For many years, the Library has been unable to house all of its collections in the two on-campus libraries, and has sent to the University of California's Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF) those materials that receive infrequent usage by students and faculty. In fact, the Library for years has sent nearly two volumes to NRLF for every three volumes that are newly acquired. Remote library facilities (RLFs) are an accepted practice followed by all campuses of the University of California system, as well as libraries worldwide. Books sent to the two UC RLFs become part of the UC-wide shared collections (housed in two large facilities, one in Northern California and one in Southern California). By agreement, only one copy of any particular book can be stored at each facility. These less-frequently used materials of enduring research value are retrievable in two working days for use at any of the UC campuses.


Since 2004, in preparation for the McHenry Library multi-year building project, UCSC has deaccessioned from its collection thousands of books already adequately stored at the two UC Regional Library Facilities. Since there are sufficient copies for the needs of UC users, the library has disposed of these materials in the best manner it can determine. UCSC has also withdrawn a large number of bound serials, which are also available from one of the two UC Regional Library Facilities or are available as online resources through the libraries. 


The University Library has made a substantial effort to identify other institutions, in the United States and abroad, which might benefit from these materials. However, it is understandable that other institutions, no matter how much they need donations of library materials, have little interest in the kind of specialized, low-usage, and non-current items that UCSC is now withdrawing. In the case of serials, other institutions generally have similar online access to that at UCSC, and are therefore not interested in dedicating scarce shelf space to print volumes. For these reasons, the Library has had very limited success in finding new homes for withdrawn materials.


The Library does have arrangements with several organizations to utilize our withdrawn volumes. The Library makes a substantial effort to identify other institutions, in the United States and abroad, which might benefit from these materials. The Library also sends selected materials to various charitable organizations, domestic and foreign, where a need for these kinds of materials has been identified.  Lastly, the Library has arrangements with sellers of used books to sell material that is deemed marketable. These materials, marked “withdrawn from UCSC” are finding their way to appreciative individuals who have an interest in specialized and older materials. All proceeds from these sales are placed into the library collections budget and make possible the purchase of newly published titles.