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Legacy Library

Collection Development Policy: Guidelines for Purchases


Collection Development Policy



  1. General
    1. Academic departments. Each academic department is allocated a portion of library funds for subscriptions (periodicals and other serials) and for one-time purchases of books and other formats to support its curricular objectives. The term 'subscription' represents costs for serials and continuations that are ongoing budgetary commitments, while 'book' represents discretionary spending for monographic and other types of publications, including audio and visual recordings and items of mixed-media.
    2. Additions to the collection, whether subscriptions, books or audiovisual materials, are primarily intended for the support of student course work and research, and for faculty research related to teaching needs. Other material includes a wide range of culturally significant material that extends beyond the requirements of the instructional program.
    3. Materials selected by the academic departments will be assigned to the appropriate collections, e.g., Reference, upon receipt and processing by the Library. Such operational decisions by library personnel will be based on the nature of the contents, the expected use of the material, and principals of efficient library management.
    4. Planning for new majors, programs, or degrees should include increased library budgetary resources for funding information sources to support the expansion of programmatic offerings. This should include one-time funding for start-up costs to develop a basic collection, as well as a permanent increase to the library's materials and electronic resources budget lines for ongoing support of the program. Funding for ongoing program support should be housed in budgets administered by the library, not departmental budgets.
  2. Subscriptions (General)
    1. Generally, the library acquires journals as electronic subscriptions rather than as hard copies and will not purchase a title in print if it has made the decision to acquire an electronic subscription to that title. Exceptions can be made for publications whose print quality is substantially better than the electronic publication. Some general purpose magazines and newspapers may be maintained as print subscriptions for their browsing value.
    2. The library discourages casual decisions regarding subscriptions. Dropping a subscription only to resume it at a later time is expensive in that missing issues may no longer be available or available only at premium prices, and these only after much correspondence.
    3. Preference will be given to periodicals that are indexed in one or more of the major periodical indexes, as indexing is an important factor in accessibility.
    4. A title should meet reasonable standards of quality, evidenced by the reputation of the issuing sponsor or agency and by the authority of editors, contributors, and referees. Lists of recommended publications appear occasionally (and sometimes regularly) in journals and professional publications of a particular discipline. Recommended titles should be checked against such bibliographies.
    5. Since language is a factor in usability, foreign language publications are ordinarily purchased only to support foreign language courses. Exceptions should be justified, taking into account availability at libraries within driving distance and through interlibrary loan.
    6. The library does not ordinarily subscribe to "newsletter" publications, as the information is usually ephemeral, seldom indexed, hard to shelve, and expensive.
    7. Titles that are esoteric, ephemeral, highly technical, or dissertation-related do not typically fall within the purview of the library of a primarily undergraduate, liberal arts institution. The appropriate way to meet faculty needs for research material is through interlibrary loan.
  3. Subscriptions (Departmental)
    1. Subscriptions are intentionally related to departmental curricular objectives to provide local access to publications of first importance for subjects in which courses are offered. Current subscription lists are provided to department chairs for departmental review upon request. As protection against imbalances in the subject collection, requests for new subscriptions must have the approval of the chair of the department before they are forwarded to the library.
  4. Subscriptions (The Library)
    1. Library subscriptions (as distinct from department subscriptions) include serials that are of general and/or cross-disciplinary interest (e.g., domestic and foreign newspapers, magazines, indexes, bibliographic services and utilities, etc.), professional library journals, or recreational reading for the college community.
    2. Criteria that govern the choice of subscriptions include: variety of viewpoint (including foreign publications), diversity of interest (ethnic and gender perspectives), current events and opinion, literary and cultural reviews, vocation and career, sports, artistic and aesthetic interests, etc.
    3. Newspapers are selected to provide local, regional, national, and international coverage, and on the basis of their geographic location, the quality of their journalism, and their diversity of perspective.
    4. Subscriptions are ordinarily checked against standard guides, such as Magazines for Libraries (Katz), Classified List of Periodicals for the College Library (Farber), and Choice. The library does this for its own subscriptions, and should call such lists to the attention of academic departments both routinely and at such times as a new title is being requested.
    5. Titles of periodicals that are frequently requested through interlibrary loan should be considered for purchase either by the library or through the subscription budget of a particular academic department.
  5. Books and Audiovisual Materials (General)
    1. In accordance with college policy regarding purchase orders, the library will pay only for purchases that originate in the library and for which a library purchase order is on record. The library does not pay for shipments received "on approval," or for items "charged to" the library, or for items purchased by an individual, nor does the library recognize any obligation to return unsolicited merchandise. Items intended primarily for use within a department should be purchased through the department's budget for "instructional materials," as material bought with library funds is bought for the library collection.
    2. In making a selection decision, the library takes note of the number of copies of the item available through OhioLINK. If sufficient copies are already available, the decision may be made not to purchase a requested item for library collections.
    3. The library does not buy college-level textbooks unless that is the most appropriate format for the information, nor does it buy multiple copies of books unless there are compelling reasons to do so.
    4. The library purchases both hard cover and paperback books. If an item is available in both formats, the decision on which to purchase will be based on cost and the expected usage of the item. Decisions are made on a case by case basis.
    5. The library acquires some books as electronic books, available via the campus network, particularly when the selector is a librarian or when the faculty selector indicates that preference. The library will also take advantage of electronic book packages when advantageous offers arise. Books acquired as electronic books will generally not be duplicated later as a purchased hard-copy, although an exception may be made if the nature of the material is more effectively delivered in print format.
    6. Audio-visual materials will be purchased in the most current industry-standard formats.
    7. All materials will be integrated into the library's existing collections. Items purchased with special funds are identified by means of bookplates or labels.
    8. The cost of replacement for an item that has been lost or worn out will ordinarily be assumed by the library rather than by an academic department.
    9. Out of print books may be acquired from used book dealers if a good quality copy can be located.
  6. Books and Audiovisual Materials (Departments)
    1. Each department's share of the total allocation for books and audiovisual materials is based on a number of variables:
      • the size of the department in terms of faculty and number of student majors
      • the nature of material needed for support of course work (as in the case of a department that relies on highly current information and therefore needs a stronger subscription allocation)
      • the record of expenditure in relation to budget for the previous three years
      • the trend line of percentage allocation over the previous three years
      • equitability between the departments based on the overall allocation (subscriptions and books) for particular departments
    2. Special departmental needs, such as the following, should be communicated to the library director who may allocate special funding.
      • new courses being offered for the first time
      • the need for particularly expensive sets
      • new faculty member(s) with new specialties in which library holdings are weak
      • special requests that cannot be funded in other ways, etc.
    3. The final decision on book and audiovisual allocations for each department is made by the library director as part of the budget-making process for the whole library program.
    4. The library observes the following policies with respect to its administration of the departmental (and special fund) allocations for books and audiovisual materials:
      1. Department book and audiovisual funds are available to the department from July 1 of any given year until March 31 of the following year, after which date, unencumbered and unexpended balances revert to the library.
      2. Each faculty member receives a regular report of the state of the department's book and audiovisual accounts showing encumbrances, expenditures, and balances for each line.
  7. Books and Audiovisual Materials (The Library)
    1. Book purchases include (1) general interest books, (2) reference books and sets, (3) books and other materials relating to library science and other specialties, which are primarily (though not exclusively) the responsibilities of the director, the reference librarians, and the technical services librarian, respectively.
    2. Commitment to support of the curriculum does not preclude the selection of materials that are not directly related to course offerings. Recognizing that a heavy dependence on the recommendations of subject specialists (faculty members) may result in an unbalanced collection, the library will, from time to time, take the initiative to secure items that provide introductory or current coverage of a non-curricular subject area, that represent career possibilities for students, or that appear on significant recommendation lists.
    3. Current popular fiction (as distinct from literary fiction) is generally regarded as the province of the public library, as are books dealing with genealogy, hobbies, pets, home repairs, and the like. A small collection of popular reading will be maintained for the avocational reading of the college community. Similarly, the library will buy general-interest video and audio recordings in addition to those recommended by academic departments in support of their courses.
    4. The library maintains a small juvenile literature collection for the use of the Education Department and its teacher training program. At a minimum, the library purchases award winning books, such as the Newbery Medal winner and the Caldecott Medal winner.
    5. The reference collection is reviewed regularly for obsolescence, and outdated volumes and sets are replaced with current material. The cost of such replacement is ordinarily borne by the library rather than the academic department.
    6. The library does not maintain a separate government documents collection. Government documents secured by gift, purchase, or through state or federal depository programs are integrated into the appropriate subject area of the collection. See the library's government document collection development policy.
    7. Specific requests for the purchase of a particular item by faculty, administrative staff, and students are generally honored (unless the price is prohibitive or the content ephemeral). Such requests may be given to the Director.