De-accessioning of Library Special Collections and Rare Book material policy


This policy provides for the selective de-accessioning of material from the Special Collections and Rare Books area of the Library under clearly defined and controlled conditions.


Materials held by the Special Collections and Rare Books unit of the Library are covered by this policy.


To De-accession is to sell, discard, or give away any material in a controlled manner.

The Library means Simon Fraser University Library.

Special Collections and Rare Books is the unit of that name at Simon Fraser University Library

The University means Simon Fraser University or Simon Fraser University Foundation.


  • Authority and Accountability
  1. There shall be no exceptions to this policy.
  2. The University Librarian is responsible for the operation of this policy.
  • General Considerations
  1. The library administers its special collections and rare books as a public trust, and will, to the best of its ability, preserve them for future generations. In general there is a strong presumption against the de-accessioning of special collections and rare book material. However, items may be considered for de-accessioning when: (a.) material is so badly damaged or deteriorated as to be of no practical use or, (b.) when material is duplicated by another example or examples in better or more desirable condition or, (c.) when material is clearly and definitively not appropriate to the needs of this University Library’s collection.
  2. Material designated as Cultural Property by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board cannot be de-accessioned by the Library for a minimum of ten years from the signing of a Deed of Gift.


All moneys made by the sale of Special Collections and Rare Books material shall be placed in the Library Endowment Fund or used for the immediate purchase of special collections or rare book material.


  1. Recommendations for de-accessioning must be made in writing to the Head of Collections whose decision will be communicated to the University Librarian in writing. The University Librarian will have 30 days in which to review the decision and make a written recommendation, which shall be final.
  2. The Library will ensure that any de-accessioning is done in accordance with applicable Canadian provincial or federal laws.
  3. Items that are de-accessioned may be: (a.) sold at auction or, (b.) sold through dealers or, (c.) donated to the National Library of Canada, another University Library or a Public Library.

Approved March 9, 1999.