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About Abell -> Policies -> Policies -> Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy Statement
Abell Library
Austin College

I. Introduction

This policy is a statement of the operating guidelines for the acquisitions and maintenance of materials of Abell Library. Finite resources necessitate careful materials selection and maintenance based on an understanding of the immediate and future goals of the Abell Library and Austin College.

II. Objective

The objective of the Collection Development Policy is to achieve the "Goals of the Abell Library", particularly as described in Goal II (On-Site Collections) and Goal III (Information Access from Off-Site Sources). These goals, in turn, support the "Mission of the Abell Library" and the "Mission of Austin College". Specifically, this policy should:

  1. Provide a systematic description of collection management and
    development practices that reflects the needs of the Austin College
  2. Define for library staff, users, administrators, trustees, and others the scope of existing collections.
  3. Outline plans for future development of collections.
  4. Provide appropriate selection and culling criteria for the library collections.
  5. Provide guidelines for the allocation of resources for the appropriate and equitable support of the Austin College community.
  6. Foster better communications and promote shared values among those responsible for the development and use of the collections.

III. Selection Policy

The "Mission of Austin College" and the "Mission of the Abell Library" should always provide the framework for selection. The highest priority of the library is the teaching program at the undergraduate level, along with the graduate program in teacher education. The library seeks to serve the needs of faculty members by acquiring materials that also will be used by members of the student body, by securing resources through interlibrary loan, and by negotiating contractsfor access to electronic information. At a lower priority, the library seeks to service the entire college community through the acquisition of recreational, cultural, and general information materials.

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the library's collection lies with the College Librarian. Nevertheless, the process of recommending materials for the library is a cooperative effort involving classroom faculty and library faculty members (See Appendix B: Liaison Arrangement and Appendix C: Allocation of Funds). Although the librarians are responsible for overall management and development of the library collections, classroom faculty members are expected to participate actively in selecting library materials.

Materials purchased with library funds become part of the Abell Library collection and are subject to those policies and procedures that best serve the entire academic community. Classroom faculty members should actively monitor their professional literature for appropriate library acquisitions. Librarians should also monitor various selection resources (see Selection Guidelines) in their role as liaisons with each academic department, assisting classroom faculty with library resource selection and use.

Students and staff are also encouraged to recommend resources for acquisition. All requests for the acquisition of materials will be considered in the light of the overall instructional and education purposes of Austin College.

IV. Selection Guidelines

    A) General Guidelines:

The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular needs are the first criteria against which any potential item is evaluated. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  1. lasting value of the content
  2. appropriateness of level of treatment of content
  3. strength of present holdings in the same or similar subject areas
  4. cost
  5. suitability of format to content
  6. authority of the author or reputation of the publisher.

Other guidelines include:
  1. In instances where the cost of an item is high and the anticipated demand is low, availability through other libraries should be a consideration in the acquisition of the item.
  2. Lost or stolen materials shall be replaced within 9-12 months if they are available.
  3. The library should acquire materials primarily in the English language. Exceptions include foreign language dictionaries, and literature and language materials that are heavily used in the teaching/learning of foreign languages.

    B) Formats (Special Considerations):

The library will acquire information in a variety of formats, including, but not limited to, traditional print formats, CD-ROM, microforms, videotapes, and audiotapes. Request for materials should be made on the basis of content and compatibility with hardware available within the library. In general, nonprint materials will be considered simply a different format of subject information.

  1. Books: Generally, the library will purchase only single copies.
    Any requests for more than one copy of any item will be scrutinized carefully. Duplicate books received as gifts will be added to the collection if warranted by heavy use of the books already in the library. When a book is available in both paperback and bound copy, the choice should be based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential. Generally, paperback books will sustain 10 to 15 circulations when the spines are reinforced with tape. The average books seldom circulates more than this number of times. Therefore, this policy allows some savings.

    Textbooks are not normally acquired, particularly those in current use in the curriculum. The exceptions are those which have earned reputations as "classics" in their fields or those that serve as the only or best sources of information on a topic.

  2. Serials: In general, the same book collection criteria applies to the selection of serial titles. Titles will be added very selectively because:

      a) the multiplicity of new titles,
      b) the potential obligation to maintain a new title in perpetuity,
      c) escalating costs of serials, and
      d) the cost of retention and maintenance.

    Requests should be made through the "Periodical Subscription/Standing Order Request" form. This form and the "Guidelines for Selection of Library Periodicals" are available from the Assistant to the College Librarian.

  3. Standing Orders: See "Serials"
  4. Microforms: The library will acquire microforms as necessary to preserve materials, to acquire back volumes of serials not readily available in paperback, and to save space.
  5. Computer Software: Computer software purchased from library funds must support the Austin College curriculum or research needs. The library does not purchase software:

      a) intended for the use of a single individual
      b) that, under contractual or licensing agreements, can only be used by one person
      c) that is unlikely to be of broad interest
      d) intended strictly for the manipulation of data, e.g. word processing spread sheets, and database management programs
      e) that is the equivalent of laboratory workbooks or exercises
      f) that is recreational software.

    Only games with sufficient educational or instructional value for use in course work will be purchased.

    All software purchased from the library's materials budget shall:

      a) become the property of the library
      b) be cataloged as part of the library's collections
      c) be housed in the library
      d) run on hardware available in the library

  6. Videotapes, Audiotapes, Filmstrips and Related Media:

    Policies for the selection and maintenance of books, serials, and computer software generally apply to videotapes, audiotapes, filmstrips and related media.

  7. Out-of-Print and Retrospective Materials:

    The majority of selections should be current publications since, in general, use drops with age while acquisition costs increase with out-of-print and reprinted materials. Nevertheless. the library will attempt to purchase these materials. However, the requester should understand that these materials usually cost more than in-print, current materials and may take longer to obtain.

V. Fund Allocation

The College Librarian is responsible for the allocation of resources to fulfill the library's collection development goals. The allocation procedure should be as fair and equitable as reasonably possible in optimally supporting the Mission of Austin College and the Mission of Abell Library. While no formula completely satisfies all criteria, the formula should reflect anticipated needs. Typically, the following may be considered: average cost of materials in the field, recorded circulation, and the number of students and faculty in a department. Some flexibility is necessary for changing conditions, such as new course offerings and changes in students' library needs. The budget allocation shall be reviewed annually.

VI. Gifts

All accepted gifts should fit into the definitions of relevant materials under the collection development policy and generally should have no restrictions attached to them. The College Librarian will consult, when appropriate, with other members of the Austin College community regarding the acceptance or disposition of gift materials. The College Librarian may refuse any gift that does not contribute to the mission and purposes of the library and Austin College. Before accepting gifts on behalf of the library, the donor and the College Librarian must understand and agree to all conditions of the donation. As a general rule, gift materials will be added to the collection using the same criteria as purchased materials. The College Librarian encourages careful review before receiving any materials on behalf of the Abell Library that requiring the acceptance of conditions. Austin College follows the guidelines for appraisal of gifts as developed by the Committee on Manuscript Collection of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Approved by the Association of College & Research Libraries Board of Directors on February 1, 1973, in Washington, D. C. (see Appendix A: Statement on Appraisal of Gifts). Therefore, the library assumes no responsibility for appraisal of gift items.

VII. Special Collections

Materials will be acquired through purchase, gift, trade, or transfer that augment existing special collections. Emphasis will be given to materials that enhance existing special collections to support the teaching and research needs of the Austin College community.

VIII. Archives

Materials that pertain to the history of Austin College and its environs and to the activities and achievements of its officers, faculty, students, alumni, and benefactors are considered for acquisitions for the College Archives. Materials are acquired through transfer, gift, and occasional purchase. Acquisition decisions are made by the College Archivist in consultation with the College Librarian, and other members of the Austin College community as appropriate. See "Protocols of the Austin College Archives."

IX. Government Documents:

The Abell Library is a selective depository for U.S. government publications. Please refer to the "Collection Development Policy for U.S. Government Documents," which is available from the Coordinator of Collection Management and the Assistant to the College Librarian.

X. Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

Culling of materials is an essential and on-going aspect of collection development in a college library. The reference collection is continually monitored for outdated materials, particularly as new editions arrive. Individual sections of the other collections are periodically reviewed. Classroom faculty members are encouraged to assist in the determination of outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise. Typically, the following are criteria for culling:

Culled books are officially withdrawn from the collection. Disposal methods include, but are not limited to, sale to the Austin College community, gift to other libraries and organizations, and exchange with other libraries.

XI. Intellectual Freedom

The Abell Library of Austin College supports the American Library Association's "Bill of Rights," its "Intellectual Freedom Statement," and its statement on "Challenged Materials." The Library attempts to acquire materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Selection is without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, religion, or moral philosophy.

Appendix A
Statement on Appraisal of Gifts

Developed by the Committee on Manuscript Collection of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Approved by the Association of College & Research Libraries Board of Directors on February 1, 1973, in Washington, D. C.

1. The appraisal of a gift to a library for tax purposes generally is the responsibility of the donor since it is the donor who benefits from the tax deduction. Generally, the cost of appraisal should be borne by the donor.

2. The library should at all times protect the interests of its donors as best it can and should suggest the desirability of appraisals whenever such a suggestion would be in order.

3. To protect both its donors and itself, the library as an interested party, ordinarily should not appraise gifts made to it. It is recognized, however, that on occasion the library may wish to appraise small gifts, since many of them are not worth the time and expense an outside appraisal requires. Generally, however, the library will limit its assistance to the donor to:

4. The acceptance of a gift which has been appraised by a third, and disinterested party, does not in any way imply an endorsement of the appraisal by the library.

5. An archivist, curator, or librarian, if he is conscious that as an expert he may have to prove his competence in court, may properly act as an independent appraiser of library materials. He should not in any way suggest that his appraisal is endorsed by his library (such as by the use of the library's letterhead), nor should he ordinarily act in this fashion (except when handling small gifts) if his institution is to receive the donation.

Appendix B
Liaison Arrangement

A librarian acts as a liaison with each academic department. This librarian should meet regularly with the faculty members (or the faculty liaison) of each department to exchange information about curriculum developments, library needs. The librarian should keep the faculty member informed of developments in the library, such as new services, policies, and collection development activities. Each academic area's liaison is the contact person for any questions or issues relating to the library and will make every effort to respond to requests or queries as quickly as possible. This librarian liaison will expedite the flow of information between faculty and library staff, thus enabling the library to provide better service to the academic community.

Appendix C
Allocation of Funds

Each academic department is allocated a portion of funds provided to the library by the college administration for the acquisition of library materials. Classroom faculty may submit requests for materials in their fields or in other areas of interest according to the guidelines set forth in this policy. Materials recommended in this manner are generally charged against those library funds allocated to support a particular academic department or program. In some cases, the College Librarian may decide specific materials recommended by classroom faculty will be charged against the library general materials fund or the library reference materials fund.

Approved by the Library Advisory Committee, January 26, 1998
Austin College
©2007 Abell Library Center Austin College 900 North Grand Avenue Sherman Texas 75090-4400 | Phone: (903) 813-2236 | Direct Comments or questions about this page to Shannon Fox | Updated January 6, 2016