Monday, June 16, 2008

Proposed Change to Discard Policy--Appendix 5 to State Plan



Guidelines for Discarding Government Documents

These guidelines are based on the online Federal Depository Library Handbook at . Documents received through the Federal Depository Library Program belong to the federal government. A selective library must obtain permission from their primary regional library to discard depository material.

Items listed on a discard list must have been received in the depository library five or more years prior to the date of the discard request. Selective libraries wishing to withdraw documents should consult the Federal Depository Library Handbook (see URL above) for general rules on how to treat withdrawn material. It should be noted that no library is required to discard any depository library materials.

Discard lists are not to be sent in the month of September.


1. Create a list of materials to be discarded:

Include all contact information on the list such as: library name, depository library number, e-mail address, and contact person.
List call numbers in SUDOC order.
Separate call numbers by format: Paper, electronic, microfiche, etc.
List the complete title of each publication.
Indicate if the document is bound.
Serials should include the series title and holdings (vol., no., years).
If the material is in poor condition, please note this information.

In general practice, libraries are not required to list superseded materials but are encouraged to offer historical or significant materials. However, Louisiana Regionals have made certain exceptions to this policy/procedure, as follows:

Call numbers that have an “R” in the right hand column (refer to “Superseded List 2002” at The “R” indicates that Regional Libraries must retain these titles.
All “general publication” titles, such as: A 1.2:, HE 20.4002:, I 19.2:, T 22.2:, etc.
Titles that LATECH and LSU agreed to retain from the 1991 publication “Regional Libraries Superseded Decisions, 1989-1991.”
Other titles that the Regional Libraries have decided to retain. (Selective Libraries will receive a list of any titles that Regional Libraries retain based on local retention policy decisions. This list will be modified semi-annually, if needed).

Note: If a library supplements or replaces depository material by purchasing the same title in another format, e.g., microform or CD-ROM, the depository items cannot be bartered or exchanged and must be offered to the regional library if the purchasing library wishes to dispose of them. Under these circumstances, the discarding library does not need to adhere to the five-year retention period but may offer the depository items at the time of replacement.

2. Copies of the list should be sent, simultaneously, to each of the regional libraries indicating a deadline of three weeks. E-mail is the preferred method. All documents must be held until both regionals have responded to the discarding selective depository.

LSU Libraries
Stephanie Braunstein
Fax: 225-578-6535
cc to: Doris Hutson

Louisiana Tech University, Prescott Memorial Library
Rita Franks
Fax: 318-257-2579

3. Within a few days of receiving the request, the regionals will each send an e-mail response to let the selective know that the list has been received.

4. Both regionals review the discard list to ensure that nothing is being offered that shouldn’t be and to determine if any of the materials are needed in the regional’s collection. Prior to the deadline each regional will send an e-mail to the selective granting permission to withdraw the items and requesting any items needed from the list. If a regional is not able to complete this within the three week deadline, it will contact the selective library and give a new deadline date.

The regional libraries have priority for all documents offered on any discard list. If both regional libraries request the same document, that document should be sent to the disposing library’s primary regional (see Appendix 4).

5. After having received permission to discard, the selective library will edit the discard list to delete any items requested by the regionals and post the revised list to the Louisiana government documents listserv, Bayoudoc. Materials must be made available for a minimum of three weeks to allow other selective libraries sufficient time to request materials.

Selective libraries receiving items from the list will be responsible for shipping costs. All libraries are encouraged to use the state courier service.

Remaining items of historical or significant nature should be offered through the National Needs and Offers List at and/or on GOVDOC-L.

6. After all reasonable efforts have been made to transfer the publications to other libraries, the depository library is authorized to dispose of the remaining items by means of any of the following:
a. Offer historical or significant sets to the U.S. Government Printing Office for digitization or housing in its dark or light archives;
b. Offer to other educational institutions;
c. Offer to private citizens;
d. Donate as paper to recyclers or paper drives;
e. Sell, either as secondhand book or waste paper. All depository publications remain the property of the U.S. Government. Therefore, the proceeds from the sale of any items, accompanied by a letter of explanation, should be sent to the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
f. Destroy


Rebecca said...

This policy certainly makes sense and is easier to follow. I read it closely three times and it seems fine to me...

Rebecca said...

Oh, and this includes duplicate discard lists, correct? Not just superseded withdrawals or weeding withdrawals?

Stephanie Braunstein said...

Rebecca: Here's chapter and verse from the new handbook:
Only the first copy of a publication is considered the depository copy and subject to the retention guidelines. The depository copy MUST be discarded according to the procedures set forth in this Handbook. Secondary copies are defined as depository materials which are duplicates (including reprints), superseded (including preprints), unrequested publications sent from GPO by mistake, or the depository holdings of the highest appellate court of the state libraries.

Your library has the option of offering secondary copies to the regional library or on statewide discard lists, if the regional library so desires. All depository libraries should offer any secondary publications of value through the national Needs and Offers list ( which allows for material to be made available to any FDLP participant. Placing secondary depository copies on the Needs and Offers list makes the best use of Government publications for the benefit of all depository libraries.

After this procedure has been followed to its conclusion, your library is then free to offer these depository materials to any public library or educational institution in the vicinity. Failing to find such a recipient after reasonable effort, your library may dispose of or recycle the various Government information products in all media at its discretion.

Keep in mind, though, that the text above refers to superseded materials as "second copies." I think that confuses things even more, and I'd like to separate those two concepts out for us here in LA. Again, we'll be talking about this both at DLC and at our own meetings here in LA.

Vernon Parish Library said...

This sems to be clear and straight forward. Nice. Keeping superceded is a real problem. For us, the process of discards in itself, while understood and supported, is a pain. Much more effort to get rid of than to add. We will comply and see how it goes. Hope it is not the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Howard L. Coy Jr., Director
Vernon Parish Library

Lori said...

"Items listed on a discard list must have been received in the depository library five or more years prior to the date of the discard request."

If you'd like us to include some (or all?) of our superseded items on our lists, that sentence isn't completely true. You may want to add a sentence after it that says something like, "(Superseded items included on discard lists at the request of Louisiana's Regional Depositories are an exception to the five-year rule.)"

"In general practice, libraries are not required to list superseded materials but are encouraged to offer historical or significant materials. However, Louisiana Regionals have made certain exceptions to this policy/procedure, as follows:"

It might not hurt to be a little more explicit in that section. I would suggest the second sentence be changed to "However, Louisiana Regionals have made certain exceptions to this policy/procedure. Selective libraries in Louisiana should include the following types of superseded materials on their discard lists:"
If there are frequently superseded series, like the CFR, that both regionals know up front that they *don't* want selectives to list, it might be nice to include those somewhere.
Since superseded materials wouldn't necessarily need to be offered to the other selectives, I think it might be best if we list superseded items on their own lists rather than including them with non-superseded titles. If you decide to do that, I would suggest changing Step #1 to say "1. Create a list of materials to be discarded (superseded materials should not be listed with other materials but on separate lists):"

If we do superseded materials on lists by themselves, we would also need to edit Step #5. I would suggest:

"5. After having received permission to discard a list of superseded items, the selective may skip directly to step 6. After having received permission to discard a list of non-superseded items, the selective library will edit the list to delete any items requested by the regionals and post the revised list to the Louisiana government documents listserv, Bayoudoc."
Does anyone disagree that it would be helpful to list superseded documents separately?

Stephanie Braunstein said...

I've been meaning to get back to this discussion, but have been doing the traveling thing again lately.

I just want to reassure you all that we will tackle this issue in depth soon. I'm waiting to hear more about the decisions to keep superseded items as they relate to Regional Depositories. This will be discussed at fall DLC in October.
In the meantime, please just send us lists of superseded materials you want to discard. Keep these lists separate from the regular disposal lists, but use the same formatting, please. We will try to do a very quick turn-around on the superseded stuff so that you aren't sitting on it for long. Thanks for your patience!