Policy on returning or withdrawing general collections materials on request

The Library occasionally receives requests from the producers of library materials or from faculty with disciplinary knowledge that the Library return, destroy, or delete particular items that have already been acquired. This is usually done when the item contains information that the producer or faculty member believes to be erroneous or, for some reason, problematic. Occasionally, there may also be similar requests from other individuals who are not the producers of the material or disciplinary experts in the field.
In all cases, the following policy applies.

  1. When the Library has selected and owns the item, such a request should be refused. The item is now part of the publication record and should have, as such, a place in the Library's collection. In such circumstances, the Library should document the perceived problem for the information of potential users in the catalog record and possibly also in the item itself.
  2. If the item has been received as a gift, and the donor asks for the item back, the Library will need to consider such a request on a case-by-case basis. If ownership of the item has been transferred to the Library, then the Library should normally resist returning it; however, if the donor presents a reasonable cause for the request (e.g., the item was donated by mistake, or the donor has a previously unrealized special relationship with the item), then the item may be returned following all donation procedures and applicable laws.
  3. In the case of publications that the Library is storing and making accessible but does not technically own (as sometimes happens, with government documents or e-books), then the Library may be obliged to return, destroy or delete items at the direction of the publisher or issuing agency. Care should be taken in each case to ensure that the person requesting such action is indeed the authorized agent of the owner. In the case of the Federal Depository Library Program, if directions to return, destroy or delete such materials are received from any agency other than the Government Printing Office, the Library should contact the GPO for clarification; if the GPO does not specifically direct that such items be eliminated from the collection, then the Library may not comply with such a request.

The final decision on whether to return, destroy or delete information will be made by the Associate University Librarian for Collections, in consultation as needed with the Library Management Team.