Discard Procedures for California Selective FDLP Libraries

As the Federal Depository Library Program’s (FDLP) regional depository for California, the California State Library (CSL) established these procedures for discarding (also known as disposing of) tangible FDLP materials. Please send questions about these procedures to California’s FDLP regional librarian at FDLP.Regional@library.ca.gov.

Discard information for California Depository Library Program (CDLP) materials can be found at Retention and Disposal Policies for California State Document Depository Libraries. Please do not include both federal and California state materials on any disposal list.

The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) resources quoted below provide context and FDLP requirements for discarding tangible materials distributed through the Program.

“The mission of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is to provide free, ready, and permanent public access to Federal Government information, now and for future generations” (FDLP Mission, Vision, & Values). “As members of the FDLP, depository libraries play a prominent role in providing Federal Government information to the public. FDLP libraries collaborate on a local and national level to provide informed access to both historical and current Federal Government resources distributed through the FDLP and deposited in libraries across the country” (FDLP Basics).

“The Legal Requirements & Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program provides member libraries with a single, concise resource to consult for the current legal and Program obligations of libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program” (Regulations). “Materials distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program remain Federal property and must be disposed of according to specific rules and state/regional instruction. The weeding of depository materials is optional” (Weeding a Depository Collection).

“Designated regional depository libraries must:

  • Ensure the comprehensiveness and integrity of a tangible FDLP collection in their state or region, …
  • Manage the publication withdrawal process in the state or region they serve …

Regional depository libraries do not have jurisdiction over depository libraries in the various agencies of the Federal government or those designated as the highest state appellate court libraries” (Regional Depository Libraries).

California’s selective federal depository libraries (selectives) request permission, with some exceptions, from their regional to discard federal depository materials eligible for weeding by submitting disposal lists identifying these materials to the CSL for review and approval. Exceptions are discussed later in these procedures. If permission is given, listed materials not claimed by the CSL are then offered to California’s other selectives via CALDOC-L for possible addition to their collections. At least one staff person involved with the FDLP at all selectives over which the CSL, as regional, has jurisdiction should subscribe to CALDOC-L.

It will help us process lists more quickly if weeding is done on a regular basis resulting in sending smaller lists more frequently rather than longer lists infrequently. Also, please consider submitting separate lists for different agencies if substantial amounts of material from each will be discarded.

Determine Weeding Eligibility

A collection’s depository materials are eligible for weeding through supersession, substitution, or the five-year rule. Superseded depository materials can be weeded without regional approval. Please see the “1. Superseded Publications” section of Weeding a Depository Collection for the FDLP criteria used to determine whether an item is eligible for supersession.

Tangible materials can be substituted with content in another tangible format (e.g., microfiche) or an online equivalent. Regional approval is required for both the substitution and weeding of the substituted item. Substitution with an online equivalent (also called online substitution) can occur when an item is held at least one year and the online version meets GPO’s criteria. Please see the “2. Substitution of Depository Materials” section of Weeding a Depository Collection for additional information about substitution including the criteria for online substitutes.

Additional information about supersession and substitution can be found in GPO’s Best Practices when [or with] Superseding and Substituting.

Materials held five or more years “dated from the date of receipt, shipping list date, or date of processing” (Weeding a Depository Collection, “3. Five-year Rule” section) are eligible for weeding. Regional approval is required to weed these materials. Due to their eligibility to weed, it is not necessary to also request approval to provide access to an online substitute should a selective decide to do so.

Supersession, substitution, and the five-year rule do not apply to duplicate and unselected depository materials and non-depository federal materials. Duplicates and unselected depository materials do not need to be held any specified length of time, and do not require regional approval to discard. These materials would still go through California’s disposal process, however, to provide California’s other selectives and the CSL with the opportunity to add them to their collections.

Non-depository federal materials are not required to go through the FDLP disposal process. Selectives are, however, encouraged to include these materials on disposals lists, especially if about California or not widely held, to provide the opportunity for California’s other selectives and the CSL to add them to their collections.

Materials to Omit from Disposal Lists

Disposal lists, with the noted exceptions, need not include the following materials, and can be disposed of without offering them to the CSL or California’s other selectives. Offering them to public libraries or educational institutions in your area before recycling or discarding them is encouraged.

  • Superseded materials.
  • Pamphlets (i.e., print publications less than 24 cm tall with at most 20 pages) held at least five years.
  • Microfiche held at least five years, unless discarding a long run of a particular title (five or more years or 100 or more numbers of a serial).
  • CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs held at least five years.
  • Congressional committee hearings and prints classified Y 4, issued after 1960, and held at least five years unless they are about:
    • California or California issues (e.g., federal water allocations in the western states),
    • American Indians in the western United States, or
    • A major historical event or issue (e.g., Kennedy Assassination, Iraq War, Social Security reform).

Materials to Offer California’s Selectives but not the CSL

The materials described below need not be offered to the CSL, but would be offered to California’s other selectives. Each list is updated periodically. Please offer materials to selectives via CALDOC-L as you would other offers not claimed by the CSL using the standard disposal list format. Both CALDOC-L offers and the standard format are described later in these procedures.

Create Disposal List Using the Standard Format

Although California is not yet adopting the use of FDLP eXchange, we are incorporating the use of a slightly modified version of GPO’s FDLP eXchange Excel offers template into our disposal process with a goal of moving California closer to its adoption.

Please use the CSL Offers Template to create and submit disposal lists no matter their length. Our version adds a textbox containing identifying information in the first row. It also has a filename to modify prior to submitting a list. Data in columns with bold headings are required. Data in other columns can become required. For example, “Multiple pieces note” becomes required when multiple pieces of a publication, such as a serial, are offered as indicated by a value of “Yes” in the “Multiple pieces” column.

GPO provides training resources helpful for filling in their offers template. Since our version simply inserts a new first row, these resources may also prove helpful when using it. Two resources are their “Creating an Offers Spreadsheet” training video on their FDLP eXchange Training webpage, and “Sample Offers Spreadsheet” in the Training Materials & Templates section of another FDLP eXchange webpage.

A third resource is their FDLP eXchange Data Dictionary which is also accessed by clicking “Data Dictionary” listed first under Training Materials & Templates. The Data Dictionary describes, among other things, the system’s offers data fields (Section I) and identifies, where relevant, their valid values (Section I, “Accepted values” column and Section II). The templates’ column headings correspond to fields in the Data Dictionary. For example, if there is a question about populating the CSL Offers Template’s “Condition” column, Section I, p. 5 defines the Condition field and lists its valid values, and Section II, p. 9 defines the valid values. Data Dictionary fields that do not appear in the template (e.g., “Status”) are ignored for disposal lists.

It is also, of course, possible to ask us questions about using the CSL Offers Template.

By default, all materials on disposal lists will be evaluated according to the five-year rule.

  • If online substitution for an item is instead requested, please add the PURL or URL of the online resource to serve as the substitute in the “PURL/URL” column.
  • If requesting to replace an item in one tangible format with another tangible format, please note the new format in the “Notes” column.
  • If an item is held less than five years and is a duplicate or unselected depository item, or a non-depository federal document, please note which is true in the “Notes” field to indicate the five-year rule does not apply.

Please remember:

  • Confirm all materials on a disposal list are actually held. It would be unfortunate for another selective or the CSL to put time into determining whether to request an item only to learn it is not really available.
  • Use GPO’s valid data values, where they exist (e.g., “Yes” not “Y”).
  • Do not modify the template’s font, font size, or margins or the columns present in the template.
  • Add the requested information to the textbox at the top of the template.
  • Provide SuDoc numbers for materials, and sort each list by SuDoc number. If not used at your library, it may be possible to find SuDoc numbers in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.
  • “Shipping Date” can come from archived shipping lists or date stamps on materials.
  • Limit disposal list length to no longer than 100 rows. Lists will not print one page wide.
  • A single disposal list can contain materials weeded for multiple reasons (e.g., both substitution and the five-year rule). Submitting separate lists in each case is also acceptable.

Prior to submitting a list, modify the CSL Offers Template’s filename (ShortNameYYYYMMDD.xlsx) as described below. We will reference this filename in subsequent communications about the list.

  • Replace “ShortName” with a shortened name for your library. Please use the same shortened name for all disposal lists.
  • Replace “YYYYMMDD” with the date on which the list is submitted.
  • If submitting multiple lists the same day, add a dash followed by 1, 2, 3, etc., as needed.

For example, the filename of the second disposal list submitted June 26, 2019, by the fictitious Grizzly Public Library could be "Grizzly20190626-2.xlsx" (without, of course, quotation marks).

Optional Error Checking

If there is interest in gaining experience with FDLP eXchange error checking, the finished disposal list could be loaded into the FDLP eXchange Training, not production, site. Taking this step is not required. If it is decided to do this, be sure to delete the first row with the textbox from the copy of the Excel file loaded into the Training site. An “Uploading a Spreadsheet of Offers with Fewer than 250 Entries” training video can be found on GPO’s FDLP eXchange Training webpage. Although questions about using the Training site are welcome, please keep in mind we will not review materials loaded into this site.

Submit Disposal List to the CSL

As noted above, although we are adopting its offers template format, we are not yet adopting the use of FDLP eXchange in California. Do not submit disposal lists for review and approval into the production version of FDLP eXchange.

Please submit a federal disposal list as an email attachment to a message sent to the regional librarian at FDLP.Regional@library.ca.gov. Please use the attachment’s filename as the message’s subject line. Only one disposal list should be attached to each message. Up to five disposal lists can be submitted per month, unless previous arrangements were made with the regional librarian, but use a separate email message for each list. Thank you.

CSL Response to Submitted Disposal List

We will acknowledge receiving each disposal list and may have questions about it. We will notify the submitter by email of any items we wish to claim from a list, and, in most cases, give permission to withdraw the remaining items by first offering them to California’s other selectives via CALDOC-L. In very rare cases, we may not give permission to withdraw certain items on lists, if this would be in the best interests of a depository's patrons or the California FDLP as a whole. As your regional, the CSL requires that materials we claim are sent to us at no charge.

Offer to California’s Other Selectives

Once permission is given, the next required step is to offer the remaining items on a disposal list to California’s other selectives via CALDOC-L. In the spirit of the program, we encourage, but do not require, sending claimed materials to other California selectives at no charge. When posting disposal lists on CALDOC-L, please remember:

  • State permission was given by the California State Library to dispose of these materials.
  • Set a deadline that allows at least 14 days for other selectives to claim the offered items.
  • Postage reimbursement information was added to the “Postage reimbursement” and, where relevant, “Notes” columns when the list was originally created.
  • Attach the disposal list to the message after removing materials claimed by the CSL.

Offer to Non-California Federal Depositories and GPO

Items on a selective’s disposal list that went through California’s disposal process and were not claimed by the CSL or California’s other selectives can be offered to non-California federal depository libraries and/or GPO. Taking this step is not required. The production version of FDLP eXchange can be used for this purpose. Please note that if this approach is taken, the items will not be reviewed during phases 1 or 2, because the California disposal process is not yet using FDLP eXchange, and offering items nationally (phase 3) will be delayed by the time required to go through the first two phases.

GPO’s needs are listed on their GPO Digitization: GPO Needs Lists webpage. GPO can be contacted directly and will pay shipping costs for items they accept. Offering materials needed by GPO for digitization purposes is encouraged.

Dispose of Unclaimed Materials

Options for items on a selective’s disposal list that went through California’s federal disposal process and were not claimed by the CSL or California’s other selectives (and also GPO or non-California depositories, if this step was taken) are listed below.

  • Offer to other libraries or institutions. Offers to public libraries or educational institutions in your area are encouraged.
  • Sell as, for example, publications or waste paper. “Libraries may not make any money on the sale of the withdrawn material. Any exchange of funds must be sent to the Superintendent of Documents” (Weeding a Depository Collection, “Sale of Materials” section).
  • Place in the trash.

Revised May 11, 2020