Government Information

Social Sciences Department, 2nd Floor, McKim Building, Central Library, 617-859-2261

Massachusetts Procedures for Offering Items to Depository Libraries

Procedures for Offering Items to the Regional and Other Depository Libraries

Procedure for the offering library

There is no specific format a discard list must follow, but the following information should be included for each title on the list:

  1. SuDoc number (even if your library does not use SuDoc classification, the SuDoc number should be included)
  2. Title (a full title is not always necessary, but the first six or seven words, or a sufficient number of words to distinguish the title from other titles, is necessary)
  3. Publication year
  4. For serials and periodicals: the volume and/or issue numbers, if available, as well as the month and year of each issue being offered. If a run of issues is being offered, each issue does not have to be listed separately, i.e.,”January, 1982 through December, 1990 (volume 14, no. 1 through vol. 22, no. 12)” is sufficient. If scattered individual issues are offered, then each issue should be listed separately.

List requirements

  • Separate lists should be made for each format being offered, including paper (includes both monographs and serials); microfiche, CD-Rom and other electronic formats; and maps (includes USGS, Forest Service maps, and all other maps received through the depository system, whether they are folded maps or sheet maps). Maps which are received as part of monographs or serials need not be listed separately on a map list.
  • Lists can be submitted in paper, on floppy disk, or via e-mail to
  • A library can also notify BPL of the web address on which its discard lists reside.
  • Lists should be arranged in Superintendent of Documents call number order, not alphabetically by title, or in any other arrangement.
  • Lists submitted in paper should have page numbers.
  • All lists should clearly identify the name of the offering library, as well as contact information.
  • Lists should be of manageable length – lists should be submitted in batches of no more than 100 items; you may submit multiple lists if more than 100 items are available at the same time. Call the regional library with any questions about submitting a longer list.

Procedure for the regional library

The regional library will endeavor to select offered titles and respond to the offering library in a timely way. It is difficult to determine how review of lists will take. Response time depends in part on the number of lists being submitted at any given time, the length of each list, and on staffing levels at the regional library. BPL will make every effort to get a response to the offering library within six weeks of receipt of the list.

The regional may suggest that the offering library submit the list of titles not needed by the regional to other libraries in Massachusetts, or through the National Needs and Offers list. In some cases the regional may suggest that the library retain the material and not dispose of it, i.e., if the material is part of the Core Collection of materials suggested for retention by the Superintendent of Documents, or if disposal of the material would be detrimental to the public access.

The regional will also develop a means by which offers lists may be distributed simultaneously to other depositories, so that the amount of time a library must retain unneeded materials may be as short as possible.