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Government Documents: Disposal Policy

Guidelines for Disposal of U.S. Government Depository Publications by Mississippi Depository Libraries

A selective depository library desiring to dispose of depository material must obtain permission from the regional library. If permission is not granted, the selective must keep the material, but may re apply at a later date for approval to dispose of the items.


Refer to the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program


1.   Disposal items must have been received five or more years prior to the date of the disposal request with the following exceptions:

a.   ELECTRONIC SUBSTITUTION: Depository libraries are permitted to substitute electronic versions of tangible items held at least one year so long as the electronic version is complete, official, free, and permanently accessible.  These tangible items must be listed in accordance with the guidelines below.  For more detailed guidance, consult  GPO’s Best Practices When Superseding and Substituting

 Requests for electronic substitution must be made separately, via e-mail to the Regional Librarian, before including any non-superseded items in the discard listing explained below in part 2.

b.  SUPERSEDED items (including preprints) should NOT be listed.

c.  MICROFICHE titles need not be listed individually.  A summary description indicating series name, sudocs, and inclusive dates forsubstantive fiche discards should be provided. Such a description would allow the Regional to check holdings for the series and inquire about any specific items missing. Scattered fiche titles need not be listed. 

d.  Gifts and duplicates of value MAY be listed, but they may also be disposed of WITHOUT permission. 

2.   Use ASERL Disposition Database to offer discards:

As part of the ASERL (Assn. of Southeast Research Libraries) Collaborative Federal Depository Project to build comprehensive, bibliographically and virtually accessible collections by agency or topic across the Southeast (or “Centers of Excellence”), discards from Mississippi depositories will be available for 45 days via the ASERL Disposition Database, hosted by the University of Florida Libraries. The disposal process within the state will follow the guidelines set forth in ASERL’s “Southeast Region Guidelines for Management and Disposition of Federal Depository Library Collections.”


Offers from Mississippi selectives will be visible to other depositories in the following priority order, as detailed on p. 10 of the ‘Implementation Plan” within the ASERL Guidelines document: 

Regional Library
– Days 1 through 45
Mississippi selectives
– Days 6 through 45
ASERL Centers of Excellence
– Days 11 through 45
Remaining ASERL Regionals
– Days 26 through 45
All ASERL depositories
– Days 31 through 45

Until all Mississippi selectives have established logins (using Google accounts) with the database, the Regional Librarian will notify selectives when another Mississippi depository has posted offers.

The Regional will no longer accept offers lists directly.  All discards that meet the criteria for disposal detailed in section 1 must be posted to the ASERL database.

Instructions on establishing an account and using the database are detailed in a LibGuide located at the University of Florida Libraries website.  Further information and assistance is available from the Regional Librarian. 


After 45 days, the selective has permission to dispose of unclaimed items.  However, in the case of especially valuable or historic titles, the selective may be requested to offer unclaimed items nationally via GovDoc-L or on GPO’s Needs and Offers website.

Authorized means of disposal include: 

  • Offer to non depository libraries;
  • Offer to private citizens;
  • Donate as paper to recyclers or paper drives;
  • Sell, either as secondhand books or waste paper. However, all depository publications remain U.S. Government property. Therefore, the proceeds from such sale must be forwarded to the Superintendent of Documents with a letter of explanation.
  • Destroy

 It should be noted that no library is required to discard any depository materials 


The Mississippi State Law Library, as the highest appellate court library in the state, is not required to retain materials for five years or to discard them through the regional library.

Under certain extraordinary circumstances selectives may not be required to compile comprehensive detailed lists of discards.  If massive weeding is mandated in a limited time period, such as with a building renovation or damage due to a fire or natural disaster, the regional librarian may make a personal on-site review of the publications to be discarded and/or submit a list of documents known to be missing from the regional collection. 

9/93 Presented in draft form to federal depository librarians, who agreed to its adoption.

6/95 Amended to include new microfiche policy.

9/2009 Amended to include electronic substitution policy and extraordinary circumstances policy.

7/2012 Draft revision incorporating changed procedures utilizing the ASERL Disposition Database, approved by GPO and presented to selective depositories

9/2012 Final revision posted on website

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