Disposal of U.S. Government Depository Publications
Procedures for New York State Depositories

Selective U.S. depository libraries served by a regional depository may withdraw depository publications no longer needed providing they have been retained for at least five years from the date of receipt and approval has been received from their regional library. Discard lists are reviewed by the regional to ensure completeness of the regional's holdings. If the material is not needed by the regional, it will be offered to selective depositories in the state and lastly to other libraries. Documents may then be disposed of if no recipient is found.

Disposal procedures are based on information found in Guidelines on Weeding a Depository Collectionexternal link:

Materials that do not need to go through the discard process:

  • Duplicates;
  • Unrequested documents sent from GPO by mistake;
  • Superseded items as described in Guidelines on Weeding a Depository Collectionexternal link;
  • Microfiche: Must be held for five years before discarding. Large or significant runs of serials or sets, such as DOE microfiche, must still be listed. Individually listing each title is not necessary.

Materials that need to go through the discard process, but can be discarded before the 5 year retention period

Substitution of electronic for tangible versions of depository materials:

According to GPO’s Guidelines, a selective depository is permitted to replace tangible versions with online equivalents of depository materials provided:

  • The library has held the publication for at least one year;
  • The regional has approved disposal of the tangibles; and
  • The online version is official, complete, and free of charge to the user.

Substitution of tangible formats

Tangible depository publications can be replaced by another format, e.g., microform or CD-ROM, provided they have been held for five years. The items still need to be offered through the regional.

Discard Procedure

  1. Check New York State Library’s Needs List

    The needs list consists mainly of items claimed by the NYSL, but never received. It also contains “lost” items. The NYSL may own some of these titles in another format. Check the needs list before preparing discard lists.

  2. If you have documents NYSL needs, send them to us

    New York State Library
    Government Documents Librarian
    Documents Unit, 6th Floor
    Cultural Education Center
    222 Madison Avenue
    Albany, NY 12230

  3. Prepare a Discard List

    Lists should be sent as an e-mail attachment preferably in MS Word or MS Excel. Please keep lists to a reasonable size or split them into two or more files. Send the lists to nyslfedoc@nysed.gov.

    Discard lists should contain:
    • SuDoc classification number (list in Sudoc number order)
    • Title of document
    • Date of publication (serials and annuals do not need to be listed individually. Use inclusive dates)
    • Contact information (name of depository, depository library number, name of contact person, e-mail address or phone number).

See NYS Federal Depository Libraries Offers Lists for examples of list formats.

What Happens Next?

  • Discard lists submitted will first be reviewed by the regional to determine if any items are needed.
  • Lists will then be posted for a period of thirty days. The selective library will be notified when the list is posted to the web site.
  • Requests for items should be sent directly to the offering library.
  • Requests from New York depositories should be filled before requests from out of state depositories and non-depositories.
  • Thirty days from the date the listed was posted, any remaining items not requested may be disposed of. The items should be marked "withdrawn."

Remember that if items are sold as second hand books or waste paper the proceeds must be sent to the Superintendent of Documents.

Depository libraries are encouraged to offer any remaining items through the national Needs and Offers Listexternal link, or the GOVDOC-L listservexternal link. Publications can be offered simultaneously on the official regional offers list and the national list. Preference should be given to New York State libraries.

Contact the Regional Federal Depository Coordinator to discuss possible solutions if you have a large weeding project or other problem that would make following the procedures difficult.

Questions about these procedures should be directed to:


Regional Federal Depository Coordinator
Documents Unit, 6th Floor
New York State Library
Cultural Education Center
Albany, NY 12230
nyslfedoc@nysed.gov
518-474-3854
Last Updated: February 15, 2018