Skip to Main Content

Collection Assessment and Reduction: Project Details

Information about the 2017 library Collection Assessment and Reduction project, reviewing collection vibrancy before the 2017-2019 NCConnect Bond-funded library renovation.

Project Information

G.R. Little Library will reduce the size of its print manuscript collection by approximately 33% in order to

  • Decrease the foot print of the print collections, allowing for more square footage to be allocated to student use after the 2017-2019 library renovations.
  • Create a more current relevant collection to support the university’s academic endeavors.



General Collection:

  • LC call numbers A-Z, without P.
    • Publication date before 1990
    • Non-circulating
    • Owned by G.R. Little Library more than 10 years
    • Duplicates of any age (*not calculated in the statistics below*)

Using these criteria, an initial collection review found 44,114 items meet these criteria, which would result in a reduced collection foot print by approximately 1765 shelves.

Optimal shelving configuration for the books is to use about 2/3 of each shelf for books and leave 1/3 free for growth, resulting in each shelf containing 25 linear inches of books. The dimensions of each shelf is 35.5 inches long and 12 inches wide, resulting in each section of shelving taking up 3 square feet of floor space.

This weeding project will free up approximately 252 shelving sections equaling 756.4 square feet, with an associated 1134 square feet in walkway/aisle space for a total gain of approximately 1890 square feet.






Duplicate: an identical title/author manuscript currently in the collection.

Non-circulated: condition of an item that has no charge or use records in the library’s integrated library system. In other words, no patron has ever checked the item out or used the item in the library in such a way that generated a use statistic.

Weeding: jargon for the act of analyzing the library collection and removing items using a set of criteria.

The weeding process involves the removal and disposal of state owned property, there are legal and financial implications for the university that must be considered. A discussion was started with ECSU Assistant General Counsel N. Kathryn Underwood-Melton to ensure that G.R. Little Library complies with state and university policy when removing and disposing of the targeted materials. The concerns that were addressed with her were: How do we properly dispose of this significant amount of state property legally and responsibly?  Can we donate any of the weeded materials to other state and out of state agencies? How do we avoid triggering an audit when we remove this amount of state property from the university inventory?

The recommendation we received back included:

  • Identify any materials purchased with grant funding. These items will have to have the original grant guidelines reviewed for the proper disposal procedure.
  • Identify items which have a fixed asset number assigned to them. These items will have to be removed from the Fixed Asset System, using proper protocols, before disposal.
  • From Ann Carol Stocks, Integrated Library System Administrator: Items weeded from the collection must be removed from the catalog completely before disposal. The items must be stamped with DISCARD and the call numbers must be removed.
  • Items can be donated to other North Carolina state agencies with no problems. Out of state donations are very difficult.
  • After items are deleted from the catalog and stamped the items need to be recycled using a reputable recycling service. The current campus service should be appropriate.

It is recommended that a representative from Materials Management, Business and Finance, and Ann Carol Stocks be invited to the meeting for the beginning of the project, for information sharing purposes.

After some discussions with other state academic libraries, it was discovered that Appalachian State University’s Belk Library had recently completed a collection reduction project along this magnitude, reducing their physical collection by about 35%. The G.R. Little Library Weeding Team teleconferenced with the two leaders of Belk Library’s weeding team to discuss issues that arose during their project. From this conversation, the following recommendation and procedures will be added to the G.R. Little Library project:

  • The academic departments and faculty will be included in communications about the status of this project.
  • Disposal lists will be created and distributed to the relevant academic departments for review and retention recommendations.
  • ECSU’s Sustainability Officer will be included on the project team and will be given the contact information for Appalachian State’s Sustainability Officer to discuss any disposal issues.
  • Using our data capture program, we have pulled lists for all sections and culled the lists down to contain ONLY books that were published before 1990, that have NOT been checked out OR used inside the library.
  • These lists will be distributed to the librarians to comb through and look for significant titles in each subject to remove from the list.  These items will stay in the collection.
  • Informational meetings will be set up for faculty where librarians will work with their subject areas to inform them of the project and procedure.
  • After librarians have completed their review, the lists will be posted and made available to faculty for review. They will have a significant amount of time to review the lists and have an outlet to request that certain titles be kept.
  • After the period of faculty review is complete, the project committee will review retention requests, and make a final decision about the status of the items.
  • After all reviews are complete and the withdrawal lists are finalized, library staff will begin pulling the items off the shelf and processing them for withdrawal from the library catalog. This exact work flow will be established by Technical Services and our Integrated Library System Administrator at ECU.
  • The library will set up and hold a book sale at a regular interval (weekly/bi-weekly).  The sale will be advertised on campus and in the community. Proceeds from the sale will be processed according to State Surplus guidelines.
  • The withdrawn items that have completed the withdrawal process by a set day of the week will be placed in the book sale.
  • Books that do not sell in one/two sales will be placed in the recycling bins for disposal.
  • As a note: We will also be removing duplicate copies of items with little or no circulation statistics during this process also. This is an ongoing collection management process that we will fold into the larger project for efficiency.

G.R. Little Library

Elizabeth City State University