Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office

Procedure LI2006 - Inactive Records Center
Non-permanent Records Storage

University Libraries

Policy Steward associated with procedure: Dean of University Libraries

Table of Contents:


The Penn State Inactive Records Center (IRC) is designed to provide secure, low cost storage for inactive University records that must be retained to meet the legal, fiscal, or administrative requirements of the University.



In conjunction with Administrative Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management , all University records that have retention schedules can be stored at the Inactive Records Center.

Records that do not have retention schedules may be stored in the IRC, provided the department agrees to the development of a retention schedule for their records. Records designated as non-office (department copies of fiscal records, blank forms, magazines, books, private materials, etc.) are not accepted into the IRC unless there is a special circumstance that requires the retention of these items. The IRC, in consultation with the submitting department, will determine the appropriateness of any special circumstances and the length of time for document retention.

All records are stored in a security-controlled environment. Offices can access these records at the IRC during regular office hours, or records can be delivered as needed. Smaller numbers of pages can be retrieved and scanned depending on the confidentiality of the materials needed.

The IRC provides storage of confidential material, microfilm shredding, and recyclable records disposal. The IRC does not provide microfilming services. Pickup and delivery services for storage and delivery of any records that need to be returned to your office are available for a minimal fee (see fee schedule on University Libraries website ).


Transferring records to IRC

Records must be stored in 12"x15"x10" Bankers boxes in order to fit properly on the IRC shelving units. The IRC may have used boxes (if available) that can be delivered. Contact the Inactive Records Center at and boxes can be delivered to your office or you can arrange to pick them up. New boxes would have to be purchased through General Stores. The IRC Transmittal Form and the Box Contents Forms must be completed and accompany the boxes to the Inactive Records Center.

All records stored in a box must have the same retention period. Different record series will not be intermingled. Records must be organized in folders and folders labeled for easier identification and retrieval.

Once you have completed the necessary forms, attach them to the boxes. You can deliver the boxes to the IRC, contact 814-865-3276, or email your request to and ask to have Courier Services pick up these boxes and deliver them to the IRC.

Retrieving documents from the IRC

Requests for records may be made by telephone at 814-865-3276, fax 814-865-3278, or email .

A request may be made for the return of the actual file or box, or for a photocopy of the records. Information may also be given over the phone or scanned to your office if you like, depending on the confidentiality of the records.

When making a request for a record, you will need to give the IRC personnel the box number, location number, and a detailed description of the record needed.

Records requested for return to the department can be picked up or transported via Courier Services. Individuals picking up records are required to show Penn State University issued identification. Requests received by 11:00 a.m. will be delivered to the department that afternoon. Requests received after 11:00 a.m. will be delivered to the department the following day.

Returning documents to the IRC

When a file or box needs to be returned to the IRC, please contact the IRC at 814-865-3276 or email to schedule a courier pickup.


When records located at the IRC are due for destruction or transferred to the University Archives, a "Destruction Authorization List" will be sent to the department for approval. This form needs to be signed by the department and returned to the IRC.

If any of the boxes on the "Destruction Authorization List" are NOT to be destroyed, a reason must be presented for review by the Penn State Records Management Officer for approval to extend the retention period. Units shall review their boxes, if necessary, prior to presenting their reason for an extension. If records are found to be active, they will be sent back to the unit.

IRC will arrange for the signature of the Penn State Records Management Officer before any records are destroyed. Once the "Destruction Authorization List" with the proper approval is received by IRC the records will be pulled and destroyed by shredding.


There are various fees for the services provided by the Inactive Records Center. Please see the IRC website for the fees related to monthly storage, adding boxes to IRC inventory, record retrieval, records refile, transferring records to approved Bankers Boxes, shredding stored records, and courier services.


Any fee waiver for IRC Storage/Services must be approved by the Senior Director of Administrative and Financial Services.


The Blue Bag and White Bag shredding services are provided by the Office of Physical Plant and the Inactive Records Center. These services are available to all University Offices & Colleges.

An annual subscription through the Office of Physical Plant allows each subscriber up to eight (8) blue bags for confidential paper records and one (1) white bag for multi-media records per month.

Blue/White bags can be scheduled for pickup weekly, bi-weekly, or on-demand pickups.

Blue Bags must be stored in a secured area in each unit until they are picked up by the OPP Recycling Team and taken to the Inactive Records Center for shredding.

What should be sent in Blue Bags ?

What should NOT be sent in Blue Bags ?

What should be sent in White Bags ?

What should NOT be sent in White Bags ?

Once OPP has picked up the Blue/White Bags from each office, they are placed into a locked truck for transportation to the Inactive Records Center.

The staff at the Inactive Records Center immediately place the Blue/White Bags into a locked maximum security caged area that has detailed handling and management protocols. Each bag is then dumped into a tote for shredding and then turned inside out to assure that there are no records remaining in the bags.

When the tote is full, the records are shredded on industrial/commercial shredders that cut the records into 2" x ¼" pieces and bagged for recycling.

The full bags are then deposited into a compact dumpster that is then taken to the transfer station for recycling.


The Financial Officer is responsible for ensuring that procedures pertaining to the accountability and safeguarding of all cash receipts, cash funds, and other assets are established and followed in accordance with approved University policies and procedures. Regular audits relating to advances, cash, travel, equipment accountability, and other expenditures provide a means to protect University assets. The Financial Officer is responsible for working with Internal Audit when audits are being performed in the administrative area.


Record retention must be managed in accordance with Policy AD35 - University Archives and Records Management , and records schedules approved by the Records Management Advisory Committee, Office of General Counsel, and Office of the President. These retention requirements are the University's retention criteria, either derived or based upon federal, state, and local statute or regulations, industry standards, and business needs. Retention beyond recommended time periods require justifiable reasons and warrant review by the Records Management Officer or designee. All documents must be maintained in such a manner so as to provide ease of access for review, and to provide a suitable audit trail for all transactions.

Upon expiration of a stated period of time, documents must be discarded and/or destroyed, unless permission granted by Records Management Officer or designee to retain the records. Archival records created more than 20 years prior to the current date must be reviewed before destruction. Units should also contact the University Archivist before discarding any document which may be of permanent or historical value to the University. To safeguard the privacy of individuals, documents that contain salary information, personally identifiable information (PII), or student records must also be shredded. See Policy AD53 - Privacy Policy and AD22 - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act for additional information regarding privacy and the protection of an individual's personal information. For documents that must be shredded, departments may arrange for Blue Bag service by contacting the Blue/White Shredding Program of the Office of Physical Plant. Exceptions to the practice are as follows:

Additional questions may be directed to the University Archivist or the Records Management Officer.




For further information, contact the Inactive Records Center Manager


Procedure Status:

Date Approved: 7/31/2017

Most recent changes:

Revision History (and effective dates:)