Selective federal depository libraries which are served by a Regional Library may withdraw depository materials from their collections after the materials have been held for five years, and after receiving permission from their primary Regional. Aside from the exempted publications listed below, all publications must be retained for five years from the date of receipt. There is no requirement that selectives must withdraw any publications, and all depositories are encouraged to consider the needs of their users when developing withdrawal policies. Each depository should have a collection development policy which identifies both selection and discard policies in the context of the community’s needs.
Disposal lists are checked by the Regional Libraries in order to maintain a complete collection of federal publications, which is then available to all libraries in the region. Most publications in the Regional collections, with the exception of some reference materials and fragile publications, are available for Interlibrary Loan, photocopy, and/or scan. The Regionals will attempt to supply any publication needed by selectives within the region, including microfiche.
These guidelines are outlined within GPO documentation entitled Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program.

Requesting Permission to Discard Publications

Selective depositories in Alabama should begin the disposition process by emailing the list of items to be disposed directly to the two regional depository coordinators in the state: Kevin Walker (University of Alabama, and Rickey Best (Auburn University at Montgomery,

Disposal List Procedures

Once approval for disposal has been granted by the regional coordinators, the selective depository should upload the list to the ASERL Documents Disposition Database.
This database was developed and is maintained by the University of Florida (UF) Libraries. Directions for using the database can be found in this helpful Libguide. Technical support should be directed to UF personnel here:
In order to process disposal lists in a timely manner, we ask that you follow the following instructions:
  1. Disposal lists are typically shared in a spreadsheet format (e.g., MS Excel file), and include the following data fields: SuDoc Number, Title, Publication Start Date, Publication End Date, Item Format, Item Condition, Item Superseded (Y or N), and Comments. For some serial titles, it may be appropriate to also include the following: Pub Start Month, Pub Start Day, Pub End Month, Pub End Day. A disposal list template is available here.
  2. All publications received through the depository program in tangible format (paper, microfiche, floppy disk, CD-ROM, etc.), and not covered by the five-year rule or its exceptions (see below), must be listed for the Regional Libraries before discarding. Please list like formats together, and indicate that on the offers list. For example, microfiche, tangible electronic items such as floppy disks and CD-ROMs.
  3. Lists should not contain more than 200 titles. Please contact the regional depository coordinators if there is need to exceed this number. Multiple lists can be submitted to the Regionals at the same time.
  4. Microfiche lists may be composed of photocopied headers, provided that the SuDoc and title can be read.
Regarding the five-year rule:
    1. The following publications may be discarded without regard for the five-year rule:
        • Publications listed on the Superseded List.
        • Government publications which are duplicates or are received outside of the depository system (gifts, direct mail, etc).
        • Depository publications received from the Government Printing Office (GPO) but not selected.
    2. While the categories above do not have to be listed, if significant publications or large sets are being withdrawn, listing them for the Regionals is encouraged as a courtesy, as well as publicizing them for other depositories in the region. They must be clearly identified on lists as to the reason for disposal (e.g. duplicate or non-depository).
    3. Publications which are replaced by microfiche, commercial reprint, or a stable electronic equivalent may be discarded in less than five years but must be listed for the Regionals first. The discard list must clearly state that they are being replaced. The FDLP has developed guidelines for substituting electronic versions for tangible depository publications.
Last revised July 17, 2019.