Deaccessioning Process

  • Students in Stapleton Library

    In fall 2016, the library began a project to evaluate the physical titles in our general collection in Stapleton Library, and to identify titles that were candidates for deaccessioning and removal from our holdings. The project reached completion in spring 2021, with the deaccessioning of approximately 43,000 titles that were outdated, duplicated, or damaged.

    These pages explain deaccessioning (also known as “weeding”) at IUP, elements and stages of the overall process, and how feedback from the Ad Hoc Deaccessioning Committee has been used to modify the approach.


    The goal of the deaccessioning process is to evaluate the physical holdings of the library while maintaining and enhancing access to library materials. At IUP, we’re specifically looking at two main goals:

    1. Ensuring a selection, acquisition, and deselection lifecycle that is in line with current library best practices and new technologies

    2. Keeping the collection modern, relevant, and aligned with the university’s academic mission

    A New Approach

    Based on feedback from the university community, the provost established the Ad Hoc Deaccessioning Committee to re-examine and revamp the process, communicate changes, and engage the university community. The committee determined that certain changes should be made as part of a new approach to deaccessioning:

    1. Adding a new phase to solicit faculty collaboration/feedback regarding essential titles that must be retained in physical form.
    2. Developing additional refinement criteria to apply to existing data and inform decisions to keep or remove a book.
    3. Creating this site as the central point to find updated information and communicate with the library and committee.  
  • How Our Collections Are Changing

    The IUP Library collections are undergoing significant changes. Our physical holdings will be reduced in size as we move toward alternate formats and access methods. However, in turn, the library realizes significant collections and access benefits:

    1. Access to and use of many of the books being removed from physical holdings can expand, as more users are able to locate and use library resources through electronic access methods.

    2. Roughly 9,000 linear feet of shelf space will become available to consolidate collections and make finding physical works even easier.

  • The Numbers

    At the outset of the process, the IUP Libraries held approximately 486,000 physical volumes on its shelves. During collection analysis using GreenGlass software, approximately 168,000 books were identified as potential candidates for removal from IUP’s physical holdings due to circulation history and other factors.

    Based on refined selection criteria and library faculty review of the titles, we estimated that approximately 79,000 (~47%) of the candidate titles would be removed from our collections. As the project evolved and collection review continued, the estimated removal figures were reduced. 

    At the conclusion of the project, we deaccessioned 26 percent of the candidate titles (approximately 43,000 titles), retaining the rest.