Deaccessioning Rare High Value Materials

All University of Texas Libraries materials are State property, and whether acquired by purchase from State-appropriated funds or other monies, or by gift or exchange, they are subject to proper disposition. In the case of deaccessioning rare and/or high value items, the University President (or his delegate) has ultimate approval (see Appendix A).  Recommendations will be made by the Vice Provost and Dean of the Libraries to the Provost, who will forward them to the President.  Within the Libraries, recommendations for deaccessioning of library materials are made by the Collection Council to the Vice Provost. Generally the subject bibliographer with responsibility for the materials will initiate the process and make a recommendation to the Collection Council.

Deaccessioning of rare and/or high value items is most likely to arise in the case of gifts that are duplicative (either within the Libraries or with other library, archival or museum units on campus) or are inappropriate to the collection strengths and programs of the Libraries. Bibliographers may initiate the deaccessioning of select duplicate items from existing collections but only if there is a strong case to do so.  The deaccessioning of such items allows the Libraries to realize funds to purchase items that are appropriate, thereby meeting the research needs of faculty, students and staff and maintaining excellence in our selected fields. 

In disposing of materials, particular care is taken to protect the interests of the State and donors to the Libraries. All State, Regents’ and University regulations will be observed and the Libraries must also honor any restrictions resulting from agreements with donors.  Where applicable, the Libraries must also follow Internal Revenue Service regulations.  The Libraries is obliged to maintain accurate and complete records of each transaction (see II.2).

I. Methods of Disposing of Surplus Rare Materials

1. Transfer, Gift, or Exchange

Transfers (to other UT-Austin libraries), or Gift or Exchange with other UT System libraries may be arranged but are not required.

2. Sales and Trades

All sales are to be made in accordance with applicable Regents’ Rules (see Appendix A).

3. Determination of Fair Market Value

A determination of the fair market value of deaccessioned materials shall be made by the bibliographer in consultation with the Collection Council before items are offered for sale.  This figure is recorded on the Deaccession Certification form (see II.2).  Fair market value may be wholesale or retail depending on the circumstances.  Sale to a dealer will typically be wholesale, while sale at auction would result in a retail price, as would a sale to a collector via a dealer. An independent appraiser may be employed to make recommendations but a bibliographer’s judgment of the market for the materials will usually suffice, based on current or recent offerings of comparable materials.

a. Sale to UT-System and its Institutions

It is a requirement of the Regents’ Rules that material be first offered for sale to UT-System and its institutions (including the UT Chancellor’s Office). To accomplish this, the Head of Collections will circulate descriptive summaries of surplus collection materials to other appropriate System institutions, offering them the opportunity to purchase the material. Each summary will usually include: a description of the type of material, its scope, condition, and number of volumes or other physical entities; asking price, which may be subject to negotiation; whether the material is offered en bloc as a collection only; and any other terms the Libraries deems appropriate.  In all cases, to protect the interest of the Libraries and the University of Texas at Austin, the Libraries reserves the right to set the terms of such a sale and to decline any or all offers of purchase.

Once this requirement has been fulfilled, and if no UT System institution has agreed to purchase the material, then the following alternatives may be considered for disposition of the material:

b. Auction Sales 

This is the preferred method for disposal of valuable materials, which may be sold as single items or in lots. Recommendations of materials to be sold at auction are made by the Collection Council to the Vice Provost, along with the proposed auction house.  The protection of the Libraries’ interests requires that reserve (minimum) prices be set for all individual items or lots.

c. Sale to Dealers and/or Other Institutions

The Libraries must be scrupulous in insuring not only the appearance but also the reality of a free and open market process, through a system of competitive bidding, for disposition under this option.

As in 2a, descriptive summaries will be prepared, and a letter will be sent out to appropriate dealers or institutions (such as other libraries and museums), soliciting bids.  The Head of Collections will be responsible for compiling a list, in conjunction with appropriate bibliographers, of dealers and/or institutions for each group of materials that are offered; at least two bids must be solicited.  Specifications will include information on where the material may be viewed, the due date for the bid, and the person to contact for information; the bidder will normally be responsible for costs of shipping.  The Libraries retains the right to set a reserve price and to reject any or all bids.

d. Trades with Dealers.  Materials may be traded to dealers for other materials or for credit, subject to the following conditions: 1) the Vice Provost has determined that the terms offered to the Libraries are favorable and that the institution's best interests are served by trading material rather than putting it up for auction or selling it to a dealer, 2) the entire transaction, including the amount offered in credit or the value of the materials being received and the fair-market value of the materials being traded, will be reviewed by a qualified third party--i.e., an appraiser or other dealer--approved by the Collection Council; and 3) a complete written record of the transaction, including the reviewer's report, will be submitted to the Provost and Chief Business Officer.


II. Deaccessioning Procedures

1. General Procedure.

Items worth $1,000 or less individually do not require formal approval from the UT administration.

For items valued over $1000, the Collection Council makes a written recommendation to the Vice Provost on materials to be deaccessioned, including the suggested method of disposal.  The Duplicate/Surplus Material Certification Form (see Appendix B) is prepared and signed by the Head of Collections, the appropriate bibliographer and a member of the Collection Council, and by the Vice Provost.  This form is forwarded to the Provost, who in turn obtains approval from the President.  The signed form is then returned to the Libraries, whereupon the deaccessioning process may proceed.

The initiating bibliographer is responsible for coordinating the effort, working in conjunction with the gifts coordinator, book-keeping, preservation and other relevant areas of the Libraries.

2. Record-keeping.   A list including author (or other creator), title, date of publication, and source, if known, must be kept of rare materials (over $1,000) being deaccessioned; inclusion of items valued less than $1000 is discretionary.   As each item or lot is deaccessioned, further information, including method (and date) of disposition, sale price (if applicable), and name of purchaser will be recorded.

In every case, the Duplicate/Surplus Material Certification Form (see Appendix B) should be completed and placed, along with any lists or attachments, in the files of the Head of Collections.

3. Disposition of Funds Received.

a. Sale proceeds from items known to be gifts will go into a Libraries’  endowment fund, preferably one specific to the unit or subject from which the item was deaccessioned; sale proceeds from items known to be State purchases will be added to the Libraries’ acquisitions budget for that unit or subject.

b. Donor restrictions as to the disposition of funds from the sale of gifts must be honored.

4. Treatment of Deaccessioned Materials.

UT and Libraries’ marks of ownership should be erased or otherwise removed. In the case of UT-Austin bookplates, withdrawal stamps should be used if the bookplate cannot be removed.


Appendix A

Regents’ Rules: 80201

Sec. 6

Sale of Artwork or Duplicate Volumes. When the president of an institution determines that a work of art or a duplicate of a valuable, rare, or significant volume is no longer of significant use for the purposes of teaching or research, the item is subject to sale following the procedure outlined in this Section.

The disposability and current fair market value of the item shall be certified by a three-member panel (including either an art historian or a bibliographer) and the director of the collection disposing of the property.  U. T. System and any of the institutions shall be given first choice in acquiring the item before it is offered for sale.

Proceeds from the sale shall be used for purchases to improve the collection from which the item was drawn or to select items more appropriate to the institution’s collection areas.

Sale is subject to the approval of the president and must be for the fair market value of the item.  A permanent record shall be made of the disposition and future location of the item.

(As of 7/2013)