De-accessioning in Stephen Gladstone Hall

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Gladstone’s Library is embarking on a 24-month deaccessioning project on a section of its collections. This is the first review of the Library’s collections since 2008-10. Collection use and user demographic has changed rapidly in the past five years and the Library now has collection use data which can help it make decisions.

Stephen Gladstone Hall has been the Library’s remote store for several decades. Over the years it has come to house large numbers of journals and periodicals, as well as several large donations made over to the Library from institutions and private individuals between 1910-1970 (approximately). There are substantial holdings in languages other than English or Welsh, and/or in areas that the Library no longer collects. These titles are superfluous and unused and can do more service in another collection. The first and third of Ranganathan’s Five Laws states that ‘books are for use’ and ‘every book its reader’. Sitting in store is not good, and not consistent with the principles of the Library as practised here at GL.

Since 2012 the Library has used various monitoring strategies to measure the borrowing rate from Stephen Gladstone Hall. Most titles have not been borrowed at all, and it is this material which will be reviewed for de-accessioning and disposal. In 2014-15 selected nineteenth-century periodicals were brought back into the main building as part of a pilot test and usage rose as a result. We project that for some material, being re-introduced into the main collection will increase its use to more in line with the Library’s expectations. We have therefore developed a series of criteria to distinguish between material to be retained and material to be disposed of.

A weeding project across all of Gladstone’s Library’s existing collections will run alongside this project. This will ensure that we retain core items from both on and off-site.

Gladstone’s Library is an ethical library and takes its collection responsibilities seriously. Regular review, weeding, de-accessioning and disposal of material is a recognised part of responsible collection management. Any monies made from disposal is guaranteed to fund new acquisition and improved collection storage.

Before any title is listed for disposal it is subject to a series of checks and tests, carried out by the Library’s team of staff and volunteers.

Lists of material to be de-accessioned will be made publicly available on the Library’s website. We will offer the material to nearby universities and libraries, special collections, archives, and Record Offices. If this is not possible, then titles will then be sent to an appropriate bookseller.

In this first approach, Gladstone’s Library will not de-accession material that:

  • Is in an archival deposit;
  • Is in in a core collection area;
  • Is from 1780-1914 and is in a key area collected by Gladstone;
  • Is rare and distinctive in the context of UK collections, outside of the deposit libraries (defined as fewer than ten copies held across the UK as listed in COPAC and WorldCAT);
  • Has been borrowed in the last four years.

We will de-accession material that:

  • Is not in English and/or Welsh;
  • Is in an area which is no longer actively collected and is outside the timeline 1780-1914, or post 1953. The majority of items for de-accession will have been printed in the late 20th Century, most after 1914;
  • Is in poor or unusable condition, or cannot be stored by Gladstone’s Library in line with responsible guidelines;
  • Can be deposited in another collection where it will be in active use;
  • Has not been borrowed for more than four years.

If anyone thinks that their material is held in Stephen Gladstone Hall and would like it returned, please contact louisa.yates@gladlib.org.