A collection management policy is necessary to communicate to the Northwest University Board of Directors, the administrators, faculty, staff and students the policies by which the collection is managed, and the standards and procedures that guide its management.
The D.V. Hurst Library exists to support the educational mission of Northwest University as evidenced by the Library’s mission statement: “to provide access to information resources to the University community in a way that will support the Northwest University curriculum, promote personal and professional development, and encourage lifelong learning.” While focusing on this mission, the Library needs to meet challenges creatively, anticipate the future, and be flexible in taking advantage of new opportunities.
In terms of support for the dynamic curriculum of the University, the Library seeks to collect for most majors, departments, and programs at the advanced study level* as defined by the American Library Association. For doctoral programs, the Library seeks to collect at the research level*. Additionally, the Library seeks to collect for related academic interests of faculty and students to enable their personal and professional development at the study level*;, For materials which are of general interest to our community and which facilitate lifelong learning, the Library seeks to collect at the basic study level*.
A collection which includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as an extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field.
*Advanced Study Level
A collection which is adequate to support the course work of advanced undergraduate and master’s degree programs, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of primary resources, basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.
A collection which supports undergraduate or graduate course work, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of important writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.
*Basic Study Level
A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and a few major periodicals in the field.
[The preceding levels, slightly modified, are defined in: Guidelines for the Formulation of Collection Development Policies, David L. Perkins, editor (Collection Development Committee, Resources and Technical Division, American Library Association, 1979). They incorporate and expand upon those formulated in: “American Library Association Guidelines for the formulation of collection development policies”, Library Resources and Technical Services, Vol. 21, no. 1 (Winter 1977), pg. 40-47]
In selecting materials, major consideration will be given to accuracy, authority and accessibility, the reputation of the author and publisher, literary and aesthetic standards, and importance of the material. Materials must also meet quality standards of production. Such evaluation will be based upon reviews in professional literature and on the professional judgment of the librarians.
The library may collect and preserve materials in any format which meets the needs of the users and for which the library is able to provide access. Electronic formats will be considered where costs and accessibility considerations warrant, and will be the preferred format for periodicals and reference works.
Due to cost considerations, print books will be collected in paperback whenever possible.
Factors to be considered in terms of access are: permanence, ownership, remote access, and dates of coverage.
In most instances only one copy of a title will be purchased. One exception to this would be when additional copies are needed for when high use is expected or observed.
- Assemblies of God periodical publications will be collected regardless of whether or not they are indexed.
- Cost of the material will be considered in relation to its use.
The following categories of material will not be acquired under normal circumstances:
- Excessively priced materials.
- Textbooks published for classroom use, unless the particular title represents an exceptional source of information in its field. See the Faculty Manual section on Textbooks (Section 9: Administrative Procedures).
- Materials intended to be used primarily by faculty in the classroom.
- Foreign language materials other than those that support the curriculum.
- Research level materials for faculty.
Responsibility for selection
Selection is an interactive activity of the librarians and the faculty. Although the library liaison orders materials that are clearly relevant to the collection, faculty participation in selection decisions is needed and welcomed for materials in support of their teaching areas. Any member of the administration, faculty, staff, student body, or other users, may request or suggest that material be added to the collection by submitting it to a librarian or through a patron driven selection tool. The final selection of library materials will be determined by the Library Director, who is ultimately responsible for the management of the library budget.
In order to evaluate the criticisms of persons or groups legitimately related to the University who might wish to suggest censoring materials in the University library, and to establish a guideline for the acquisition of materials of a potentially controversial nature, the following is the policy of this library:
- In an effort to support the obligation of the University to be a forum for the free exchange of ideas in its pursuit of knowledge and truth, the library will make available materials offering the widest possible variety of viewpoints, regardless of agreement with these viewpoints or of the popularity of their authors.
- In areas where there is honest disagreement concerning the truth or wisdom of particular issues, ideas, or beliefs, the library will make an effort to see that the points of view of the best spokespersons of all sides of the issue, idea, or belief are represented in its holdings, regardless of format.
- Selection of materials for the library will be in accordance with the statement of Academic Freedom and Responsibility found in Section 4 of the Faculty Manual.
Allowance for request for reconsideration of a work.
Requests for reconsideration of material held by the library should be directed to the Library Director, who makes the final decision regarding selection and retention of library materials. Materials have been selected for inclusion in the library for specific purposes, among which is the representation of a wide variety of viewpoints providing exposure to the realities that exist in the subject areas included in the collection. Therefore, materials will not be removed simply because they might offend, but only if it can be shown that the rationale for selection or retention is in error.
It is the responsibility of the Library Director to respond to those who request removal of materials, to help them better understand the role of the library and the reasons for inclusion of the materials they object to. However, only written complaints will receive written responses. Those who are not satisfied with the Library Director’s response should address their complaint to the Academic Affairs Committee.
Periodic de-selection of the library collection is necessary to maintain the overall quality of the collection by removing obsolete, inappropriate or damaged materials. De-selection has been shown to improve patron perception of library quality and lead to increased circulation.
Like selection, de-selection is a complex task that requires weighing multiple competing variables to arrive at a decision. The following criteria are meant to be guidelines and cannot be applied in a formulaic manner. Decisions made regarding de-selection are based primarily on the professional judgment of the librarian.
General guidelines for de-selection
- Publication Date. Generally, books over 25 years old should be considered for de-selection. Certain subjects (such as computer science) may be as little as five years old while other subjects should not be weeded based on age.
- Volume does not meet current collection guidelines
- The book is poorly written
- Contains incorrect information
- Outdated information or outmoded technology
- Books that do not support any program at the University are strong candidates for de-selection.
- Physical Condition and appearance. Physical condition may be a consideration for de-selection if the volume is not being used significantly. If the volume has high usage statistics it should be repaired or replaced.
- Use. In general, books used within the last 5 years should not be considered for de-selection. Books that have not circulated for more than 10 years should be considered strong candidates for de-selection.
- Duplicate volumes. Check usage statistics to determine if maintaining duplicate volumes in the collection is warranted.
- Ephemeral or popular materials. De-select if older than 10 years.
- Newer edition available.
- Foreign language not supported. Books in a foreign language or dealing with instruction in a foreign language for which the University does not offer instruction should be considered for de-selection.
- Consultation with subject specialist. In case of uncertainty the opinion of a subject specialist may be useful to determine the suitability of a title.
- Changes to academic programs. If a program was discontinued there may be materials that are no longer needed. Likewise, addition of a program or significant changes to a program could cause changes in the use patterns of materials. This should be taken into account when evaluating usage statistics.
- Subject specific criteria. There are many subjects or collections for which special consideration must be taken. In these instances it is the responsibility of the librarian in charge of that subject area to note these additional factors before beginning a de-selection project.
- Simple mending procedures will be performed in-house.
Cooperative Collection Agreements
Cooperative collection agreements will be pursued for the following criteria:
- Financially beneficial to the library.
- Fits within the overall collection management policy and mission statements of the university and library.
- Allow the library to develop collection areas that would be nationally recognized for academic depth.
- Limit duplication of materials at the regional level.
- The library accepts gifts of books or other materials estimated by the donor to be less than $500 in value provided that the gift is unrestricted and offered without limiting conditions. Gifts estimated by the donor to be worth more than $500 will be directed to the Development Office.
- The library reserves the right to determine the disposition of all gifts in the manner most suitable to its nature.
- All gifts shall be considered in terms of future cost maintenance, i.e., will additions have to be made on a regular basis to keep it up to date, will it be necessary to seek an endowment for supplements, will it require special shelving or a collection area, will additional staff be needed to process, maintain it?
- The cost of processing and/or repairing the material should not exceed the value of the item.
- The library does not place a dollar value on gifts for income tax purposes. It can acknowledge receipt for a particular number of items. The donor assumes full responsibility for assigning cash value.
Materials integrated into the library should meet the same requirements for selection as the library’s own purchases.
Policy revision cycle
This policy will be reviewed and revised as a whole on a cycle no longer than five years or by sections on an “as needed” basis, as determined by the Library Director.
The Academic Affairs Committee must approve any revisions of this policy. Interested parties in the university community may request review of any portion of this policy. Any request will be evaluated by the Library Director as to its value for consideration by the Academic Affairs Committee.