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Winthrop University

Library Collection Development

A high-level overview of the ordering process, liaison roles, and collections policies.


Pruning the library of materials which have become obsolete and no longer support the University’s curriculum is a necessary part of maintaining a strong collection relevant to current and evolving needs. On one hand, rapid collection growth is driven by continual expansion of academic programs, while on the other hand, finite shelving space and high cost of storage limit the library’s physical collection capacity. Given these factors, a systematic weeding process is an important component of collection management. Decision criteria for weeding include:

  • 1. Importance to the collection and availability of other items on the subject.
  • 2. Value as a standard source, core title, high quality, historical importance, rare book.
  • 3. Obsolete information, superseded by more current editions and/or subsequent discoveries in the field.
  • 4. Dictionaries with obsolete language usage superseded by new dictionaries incorporating new terminologies.
  • 5. Publication date and currency of information.
  • 6. Usage: Circulation and other borrowing libraries’ demand for the item; extent of patron use of non-circulating Reference item.
  • 7.  Duplication by same title or more current editions:
    • a. Copy in the best physical condition is retained.
    • b. Items circulated more than 5 times during past 3 years: 2 copies are retained.
    • c. When newer editions complement but not replace content, both editions are retained.
    • d. When newer editions replace older editions’ content, the older editions are weeded.
  • 8.   Physical condition and feasibility of repairs.
  • 9.   Language: is the item in a language taught at Winthrop or collected by the Library?
  • 10. Availability and borrowing speed for the item from other libraries locally and statewide.
  • 11. Electronic availability of the title with perpetual ownership.
  • 12. Electronic availability of Reference materials.


  • 1. Dictionaries prone to longevity of relevancy (e.g. Classical languages)
  • 2. Biographical and statistical sources unavailable electronically.
  • 3. Criticism of classic writers not available electronically.