Replacing, Withdrawing, or Transferring Committed Volumes Lost or Damaged Beyond Usability

Over the years, retained volumes will be lost or cease to be usable because of physical condition. In order to ensure ongoing accessibility and preservation of the collectively retained and managed collection, an individual library should seek to replace lost or damaged volumes or transfer their retention commitments to other libraries.

Best Practice 1

Without a general agreement on the actions to be taken when volumes are lost or damaged, the integrity of the shared collection and access are at risk. The following best practice applies when committed volumes are lost or damaged beyond usability.

  1. If the retaining library holds another copy of the title that meets minimum standards for physical condition, its first step should be to transfer the commitment to that other copy.
  2. If the retaining library does not hold another copy of the title that meets minimum standards for physical condition, it may proceed in one of two ways:
    • Follow its workflows and procedures and national best practices for repairing or replacing the volume. In the case of replacement, substitute another copy of the exact edition represented by the lost or damaged volume; or,
    • Determine whether another copy is eligible for retention within the retaining library’s shared print program and seek to transfer the retention commitment. 
  3. If the retaining library determines at steps 1 and 2 that it owns no other copy eligible for retention and cannot repair or replace the damaged or missing volume and no library in its shared print program will accept the transfer of the retention commitment, the library should look for copies eligible for retention elsewhere in the country and seek to transfer the retention commitment.
  4. Libraries are not required but are strongly encouraged to accept requests for transfer of a retention commitment.
  5. Regardless of the disposition of the retention commitment, all libraries involved should update local, OCLC, and any other shared bibliographic records accordingly.
1. Modified from SCELC. (n.d.). Policies and Guidelines–September 2018.pdf. Retrieved June 3, 2019, from