Retention and Deaccession

The Local History Department may digitize, microfilm, or otherwise reformat donated collections for preservation purposes. In these cases, the original material may be kept or removed from the collection. Usually, donated archival materials are considered extremely important and are intended to be kept permanently. However, no individual or institution can predict or govern the changing attitudes of future generations, nor guarantee permanency beyond the best available preservation procedures.

The Department reserves the right to reevaluate historical material and to carefully and judiciously deaccession and/or dispose of certain items from its collection in a manner consistent with professionally accepted standards. The Local History Department may decide to deaccession an item if any of the following conditions are present:

  • The item is not relevant to either the Local History Department’s nor the Library’s mission and purpose.
  • The item would be more appropriately housed in a different archival repository.
  • The item has deteriorated beyond its usefulness.
  • The item is made of hazardous materials or is actively decomposing in a manner that directly affects the condition of other items and/or the health and safety of the staff and/or visitors.
  • The Department is unable to continue to provide care and storage for the object in keeping with professionally accepted standards.
  • The item’s care and storage are far more expensive than the value of the object as it relates to the Department’s mission and purpose.
  • The item may be replaced with a similar object of greater significance, quality, and better condition.
  • The item is subject to legal and ethical standards requiring its removal.

Deaccessioned collections and items weeded from collections during processing, due to duplication, irrelevance, limited use, or deterioration, will be offered to the original donor or his/her agent if so requested at the time of donation. If the donor wishes not to reclaim the material or cannot be located, the Department reserves the right to offer the material to other  depositories or discard the items. Any material declared expendable must be approved by the Local History Librarian and the Library Director.

Complete records will be maintained on all deaccessioned items and their subsequent disposition. A deaccessioned item may be disposed of in one of the following methods (in order of decreasing desirability):

  •  Transfer to another more appropriate archival repository.
  •  Donation to an appropriate archives or scholarly institution.
  •  Return to the original donor.
  •  Destruction of the item.

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