Guideline UL-ADG13 Disposition of Library Material

Main Policy Content


  • Purpose
  • Process
    • For material that is marked PSUL Property
  • Policies for Reference
    •  For material that is not marked PSUL Property
    •  For Special Collections material


To outline the process for the disposition of print materials added to the University Libraries collections, regardless if the material is purchased with University funds or received as a gift.


For material that is marked PSUL Property:

University Park Libraries, in cooperation with Penn State’s Recycling Program, is diverting WITHDRAWN materials from the landfill to be reused or recycled. Campus libraries are strongly encouraged to recycle withdrawn materials. See the University Libraries Green Committee (staff site) for additional information on recycling. The originating library must follow these steps to ensure proper handling of this material:

  1. All material to be recycled or reused must be marked WITHDRAWN in the WorkFlows record. Records must be updated by the originating library with no exception. Annex staff will NOT review or update records; this work must be completed before sending WITHDRAWN materials to the Annex for recycling. See the Cataloging and Metadata Services Withdrawal Procedure  (staff site) for complete withdrawal instructions.
  2. All Circulation cards, slips or any record that contains personally identifying information about a user must be removed and destroyed at the originating library using the Penn State Blue Bag Program.
  3. All paper clips must be removed.
  4. Material must be boxed.
  5. Seal the box with ULINE carton sealing tape #S700 Color: GREEN.
  6. Clearly label the box WITHDRAWN.
  7. Send via the Libraries Receiving Room to the CATO-2 Annex.

The Annex is only a staging location. Annex staff will not verify or update any catalog records for this material. Upon arrival at the Annex, staff will open the boxes and place the material on cargo pallets. Once the pallet is full, Annex staff will contact Penn State Recycling to pick it up. The Recycling crew will transport the pallet to the recycling center where it will be processed.


If you are withdrawing materials that have been digitized, follow the procedures outlined in the Withdrawal Procedure (staff site).

For further information about the recycling program, contact:

Verne Neff (
Kimlyn Patishnock (

For material that is not marked PSUL property, excluding most Special Collections materials:

  • Donate to Better World Books for resale and donation to Books for Africa (available to all campus locations).
  • Donate to AAUW. Campuses can donate to local charities, but if sent to University Park for AAUW, there are shipping costs.
  • Sell via Penn State Lion Surplus.

For Special Collections materials:

Typically, materials that duplicate existing materials in the collections or are out of the usual collecting scope of the Special Collections Library are the best candidates for deaccessioning. All materials projected for removal from the Department's holdings will be reviewed and approved by both the appropriate selector/curator and the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair for Special Collections and Head, Special Collections Library. Notice of proposed deaccessioning should be brought to the attention of all faculty in the Special Collections Library for their comments and suggestions at least ninety (90) days prior to the scheduled withdrawal of any items proposed for deaccessioning. If a decision is made to proceed, the Huck Chair will consult with the Director of Development and the Director of Administrative and Financial Services for the Library to ensure such action is in compliance with IRS and campus regulations.

In disposing of ANY material from the Library's holdings, a statement of disposition identifying the item(s) and designating their specific disposition shall be prepared by the head of the unit holding the item for the signature of the Huck Chair, and ALL records will be clearly marked indicating that the material is removed from The Pennsylvania State University Libraries, and the date of such removal shall also be recorded. This documentation shall be retained in the permanent files of the Special Collections Library.

Deaccessioning of library materials should never be arranged for the advantage of particular booksellers or other vendors or collectors. In disposing of material, booksellers and other interested parties may be invited to provide sealed bids by a certain date (with the withdrawn items awarded to the highest bidder), or the materials may be discarded by a procedure approved by University auditors in those cases where the value and condition of materials proposed for withdrawal is so compromised as to render them unsuitable for deaccessioning through bidding.

When such material for disposition is consigned, there will be no publicity as to the source of the material. In accordance with accepted standards of professional ethics in libraries, museums, and other cultural repositories, funds realized though deaccession should be used to acquire and preserve Special Collections Library holdings.

  • Exception: In cases where the special materials to be deaccessioned are not marketable following the above procedures, the materials may be deaccessioned following the regular University Libraries steps.

Effective Date: October 8, 2012
Date Approved: October 8, 2012 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • April 2, 2014 -- Training Bulletin #25 retired
  • October 8, 2012 -- New guideline

Last Review Date:  October 2012