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Policies: Collection Development Policies

Collection Development Philosophies


Collection Strategies and General Guidelines -

The Head of Collections/Acquisitions Department and the Library Dean normally plan the growth of the collection with heavy reliance on Faculty input and library liaisons.  The goal is to have a collection which serves the current faculty, students, and curriculum of the college.  Collection management must balance current needs with realistic space issues, and while maintaining the relevancy of the collection to the most current curriculum. Faculty have an essential role in collection development and indeed it is desired that they have a central role. In addition, the College and Library Missions are important parts of Collection Strategy.

Library Bill of Rights

The Library follows the philosophy of  the The American Library Association Bill of Rights which  states that, "Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal approval." 

Collection Evaluation

As a way to inform the Acquisitions Department of collection decisions, on a yearly basis collection data should be evaluated by the Library Staff to determine relevancy of the collection to current needs. In addition, meetings between liaisons and faculty departments will determine further needs and interests regarding the collection. This information will be used to inform the future direction of the collection.


Selection Method for Acquiring Books

The Acquisitions Department will allocate a large portion of the materials budget to faculty academic departments for book purchases.  Along with this, a portion goes to the general fund that is used for curriculum related purchases by the library liaisons 


The allocation budget takes into account specifically the current use and needs of various departments and circulation statistics of various subject areas, and new courses and new areas of interest to Faculty. The cost of books in various disciplines will sometimes be reflected in how many books can be purchased in that area. The needs of students and faculty as expressed by them will be highly considered regardless of subject or cost.


Review Sources 

Choice Reviews Database, which reviews academic books in all disciplines, is an important part of this process for both Faculty and Library Liaisons. Retrospective Reviews can be found in Best Books for College Libraries. Deadline for the submission of purchase requests by Faculty is determined and communicated in consultation with the Acquisitions Department and normally is in the early spring of the year. 

Collection Levels

The Library is chiefly collecting on what the ALA has defined as an Initial Study Level:  A collection which is adequate to support undergraduate courses. It includes a judicious selection from currently published basic monographs (Choice) supported by seminal retrospective monographs (Best Books, Literature Reviews); a broad selection of works of more important writers; a selection of the most significant works of secondary writers; a selection of major review journals; and current editions of the most significant reference tools and bibliographies pertaining to a subject.



The Library no longer collects many materials that are of a reference nature such as indices, handbooks, almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, however such materials would mostly be selected by library liaisons- e-resources would be favored.


Paperback editions of books are in many cases to be preferred to hardbound editions in order to be able to purchase more books overall for the collection. If paperbound books are found to be unsatisfactory for reasons of durability in the long term, this position may be revisited or altered. The Library also purchases leisure reading popular books in paperback for relaxation and enjoyment.


Usually will not be acquired except where a particular title represents the best source of information in a field. The library should not be a supplier of books for course work as these books are often not useful beyond a particular class.

Will be considered if:

-recognized by experts as a classic in the field

-presents materials in a way that is potentially valuable to users, such as case studies

-other kinds of materials in that subject field are sparse (ie: geography)

-treats an important subject not otherwise represented well in the collection 


Books lost, removed or damaged will be replaced according to:  How they fit with the collection development policy, demand for the titles, number of copies of same or related materials, availability of new or better items with which to replace. 


E-book packages from publishers and aggregators are evaluated by the Library and in collaboration with consortium partners, and are either purchased or licensed when they offer a useful, cost and space-effective strategy for providing access to book content. Demand driven acquisition, or patron driven acquisition, are the most recent models adopted for acquiring e-books. E-books purchased together with our consortiums are loaded directly into our database packages for seamless patron use of the e-books. Licensed e-books are also part of the packages and augment greatly our print book collection in both quality and currency of selections.

Rare Books and Special Collections

The Library has Special Collections of great magnitude on a national and even international scale, especially rare items from the Cassel Collection which is strong in German American rare materials.  We also have a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Collection, graphic novels, science fiction, audio books, and a few others. However the Library does not devote much in the way of resources to these endeavors.

Journals, Periodicals or Newspapers

The Library has a large collection of electronic newspapers available through databases or from the Library web page. The Library will subscribe to papers in most cases electronically which provide the best reporting of international, national, and local affairs, also many of interest historically. The Library will subscribe to journals and periodicals strongly in electronic format in every discipline found at the college based on usage patterns, cost and recommendations of faculty members. Very expensive, esoteric journals will not be considered except on rare occasion.


The Library will actively seek electronic databases which offer many journals and other publications in their online full-text form. Often this option offers current and back file resources, but in some cases is only archival. Databases sought will be chosen for their quality and in order to maintain a balanced collection by subject, considering cost factors, efficiency, student satisfaction, improvement of holdings, and for archival reasons. Usage data will be used to determine each year which databases will be kept and whether new ones should be sought. In addition, cost analysis will be done yearly to find if indeed the budget is being used wisely regarding rising costs of databases. Data also will be collected to determine general Library use and effectiveness of instruction, web page, and reference activities. The interaction between Faculty members and liaisons will be a basis for which the databases are chosen.

Web Sources

The Library has web resources with the following qualities, some are of Government origin, along with a few reference resources:

1. easy linking

2. provides valuable content

3. Easy to find the producer

4. maintained and updated site

5. a site that has longevity

6. easily usable and accessible

7. producer is of excellent reputation

8. does not have any technology roadblocks to use


Government publications

The Library is not an officially designated depository library for State, Federal, or U.N. Documents and, therefore, will acquire documents or e-resources only on a selective basis in accordance with the general guidelines of this policy. The Library receives a number of publications on standing order from commercial firms and various government sources.


The Library will acquire rarely microforms to substitute for paper holdings largely based on space and cost issues. At times, back runs of rare journals or papers can be found which may augment our collection. Such decisions will be made after consultation with faculty members and bearing in mind currency of information problems with microfilm and space issues.


We are in the age of streaming video and the Library will be pursuing a large database with videos. The Library will still acquire materials in Audio-Visual format upon the recommendation of faculty, students, or others in the college community, subject to budgetary restraints (which may require shared costs) and based on the principles of this document. Factors such as wide usability are still important, new technologies inaccessible to many will not be given priority. Preference for video format will be considered as DVD's offer certain advantages yet some patrons still use VHS when other forms cannot be found. However, streaming video is now preferable to DVD when possible due to wider usability. 

Archives, Public history, Church history

The Library will acquire and preserve some important archival materials of the College as is possible with the understanding that it can only collect with the cooperation and blessing of those producing materials, and with space limitations in mind.  The Library will refer to the Huntingdon County Historical Society materials related to local history. Items related to Church history will be evaluated according to space and relevancy.


Please see the Library's Policy for information on this topic - 


Weeding or the removal of materials from the collection is an integral part of the total organized effort for collection development.  Decisions to withdraw materials will be made along with strong Faculty participation.

Although circulation data are frequently cited criteria for withdrawal, some materials will be kept because of seminal value, in consultation with Faculty, Review Sources and Library Liaisons.  

Generally, Books are weeded that meet all of the following criteria:

are of low usage and circulation data

Have been viewed by faculty and librarians as potential weeds using knowledge of pedagogical needs, curriculum and collection development

have more than 100 holdings in OCLC (reasonable assumption of interlibrary loan-ability)

books are not recommended in Choice, or Resources for College Libraries (for retrospective value), or other expert subject bibliographies