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Collection Development Policy Working: Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy - Draft

Collection Development Policy

A. Purpose

  1. The Purdue Northwest Library collection promotes excellence in the learning, teaching, and research of Purdue University Northwest by providing quality resources and information.
  2. The Collection Development Policy is to provide guidance to librarians and faculty responsible for material selection. This policy defines the subjects, formats, and quality of materials that best serve the faculty, staff, and students of PNW.
  3. The policy ensures that the collection remains both current and pertinent to the constantly changing academic environment.

Selection Policy

Collection development guiding principles - The Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association. It is the responsibility of the Library to ensure that different points of view are represented in the collection. The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services. These policies from the ALA Bill of Rights and The Freedom to Read Statement serve as guiding principles for the library’s collection development policy.  Appearance of any resource does not mean that the library advocates or endorses the ideas found in that resource. Academic Freedom is also respected because freedom of access to recorded knowledge is essential to teaching, learning, and research in a democracy. The obligation of the PNW Library is to provide a full range of materials on a subject, however unpopular, controversial, or apparently incorrect, shall not be infringed. The principles of academic freedom shall apply to the acquisition and preservation of such materials and also to those who provide and those who use those resources. 

B. Selection Responsibility

  1. Each discipline has a subject-specific librarian who will manage selection efforts. Each liaison will communicate with their assigned departments/disciplines to make collection decisions based on the strengths and weaknesses of the collection and the needs of their areas.
  2. Department/Faculty members are encouraged to request items or resources. Such requests can be made online. The Collection Development Coordinator has the responsibility to review the purchase suggestions and make purchase decisions.
  3. The Collection Development Coordinator and other librarians are responsible for working toward achieving a balanced collection and selecting reference material, general titles, and other resources which meet the objectives of the Library.
  4. Other members of the Library’s staff and patrons (students, staff, college administrators, and alumni) are encouraged to recommend titles for consideration.
  5. The Director of University Library has final responsibility for all material and resource selections.

C. Selection Guidelines

  1. To serve the largest percentage of the community, first priority of the Library’s collections is given to those materials that can aid and assist the undergraduate and graduate coursework and research. Items will be given priority for purchasing as follows:
    • Undergraduate coursework
    • Undergraduate research
    • Graduate coursework
    • Graduate research
    • Faculty course/program development
    • Faculty research
    • General reference use
  2. Librarians rely upon the library approval plans, publishers’ catalogs, professional journals, subject bibliographies, promotional materials, and purchase suggestions to build a high quality and timely collection.
  3. The Library strives to select the best materials from a variety of subject areas. The prime consideration governing our choice of material is its relevance to University curriculum. The librarians also evaluate currency, quality, popular demand, cost and availability of funding, and strength or weakness of existing holdings when selecting materials. Other considerations may be applicable in specific subject areas. Selectors should choose materials that will build a well-rounded collection which includes all viewpoints and opinions and which will meet patrons’ needs.

D. Media

The Library’s media collections are selected based on their ability to support the curriculum. The same criteria used to select books are applied to media.

E. Textbooks

In general, the Library does not collect textbooks for PNW courses. The exceptions to this policy are if a textbook is the only and best source of information in a specific subject area or if a textbook meets needs of curriculum development

F. Faculty Author Books

  1. The Library collects books written, edited, or with contributions by Purdue University Northwest faculty when the books become available.
  2. In general, the Library obtains two copies of each faculty-authored book. One copy is placed in the Library Archives, and another copy is added to the regular collection or the faculty author shelf at the Library for circulation.

G. Popular Titles

The Library collects only a limited number of fiction and popular titles to supplement the academic programs. These items are chosen based on the quality of the work (if they are award winners, written by established authors, or are of significant literary value).

H. Duplication

While it is the policy of the Library not to duplicate materials between the campus Library’s collections, duplication will be considered on a case by case basis, particularly if a book is in high demand by the faculty, staff, and students.

I. Missing, Lost or Damaged Items

Missing or lost items will be traced for up to one month before being confirmed lost. Lost, missing, and damaged items will be replaced with consideration for worth of the item, cost, availability, and patron demand. High demand items may be replaced while the search for the missing item continues.

J. Gifts

  1. The PNW Library accepts special gifts of books, archives, manuscript collections, and other materials which enhance and enrich the current collections. Proposed gifts should be directed to the Director of University Library for referral to Acquisitions, the Archivist, or the Collection Development Coordinator.
  2. Gifts of materials that are accepted by the PNW Library become the property of the Library. Gifts are reviewed by the subject librarians for inclusion in the Library’s collection based on the Library’s selection guidelines. Items that do not fall within the scope of the Library may be sent to other libraries in need, or discarded.
  3. The Director of University Library has final responsibility for all gift selections.

K. Weeding/Withdrawal

  1. As information, classes offered, and curriculum change over time, materials in the Library’s collections may become irrelevant, outdated, or damaged. To ensure that the collections meet current needs of the PNW community and are sufficiently housed in the Library’s physical spaces, the Library’s collection will be regularly weeded. Each subject librarian is responsible for the weeding of his/her respective areas of the collections. The Collection Development Coordinator will coordinate weeding projects and review all items before they are withdrawn from the collection when needed. When weeding, input may be solicited from faculty members when necessary.
  2. Items can be considered for withdrawal based on the following conditions:
    • Outdated content
    • Material no longer supports the curriculum
    • Badly damaged items (replaced if necessary)
    • Books not checked out in the last 15 years
    • Material is superseded by new materials
    • Older editions are to be automatically withdrawn if a new edition is added
    • Multiple copies

L. Weeding Procedures:

  1. Decision:
    • Before being discarded, each item is reviewed by subject librarians. Decisions will be made based on SCS report and/or professional judgment and knowledge of the collections and curriculum.
    • Decisions for a large weeding project should be made by the Collection Development Committee.
  2. Discard:
    • Items to be weeded will be removed from shelf and catalog.
    • Items will be recycled or donated to book sales according to the policies of the University.
    • All discarded items should be clearly marked as discarded.
  3. Collection Policy Revision

Collection policies are reviewed and revised on a regular basis to ensure that they accurately reflect the teaching and research focus of the University.


Subject Specific Weeding Criteria:

A. Reference Works:

  1. When an online version of a reference book becomes available, withdraw dated paper edition.
  2. For titles on standing order, old editions are weeded when newer editions are received.
  3. Test study guides are replaced with newer editions.
  4. After weeding, keep previous most recent edition in STACKS. The most recent edition housed in STACKS will then also be withdrawn.

B. Philosophy:

Most philosophy books do not become outdated, but may be considered for weeding if they are badly damaged or newer editions of the same titles are available.

C. Psychology:

Follow general weeding criteria.

D. Religion:

Most religion books do not become outdated, but may be considered for weeding if they are badly damaged or newer editions of the same titles are available.

E. History:

Retain all classic and primary works.

F. Geography:

Books in this area can quickly become outdated.

G. Social Science:

Follow general weeding criteria.

H. Economics:

Retain primary works by distinguished economists.

I. Sociology:

Retain primary works by distinguished sociologists.

J. Political Science:

Retain all classic and primary works.

K. Law:

Follow general weeding criteria.

L. Education:

Retain biographical materials.

  1. Withdraw older editions when superseded by new ones.

M. Business and Management

Withdraw older editions when superseded by new ones.

N. Art:

Art books generally do not become outdated, but may be considered for weeding if they are badly damaged or newer editions of the same titles are available.

O. Literature and Language:

  1. Retain criticism of classic titles.
  2. Keep multiple copies of classic literary works.

P. Pure Science:

  1. Remove older materials when newer materials are available that provide better explanations of complex subjects.
  2. Materials become outdated when there are new scientific discoveries, theories and techniques in the area.

Q. Mathematics:

Retain classics. Normally withdraw older editions when superseded by new ones.

R. Computer Science:

  1. Materials in this area become outdated quickly.
  2. Withdraw older editions when superseded by new ones.

S. Physics and Chemistry:

Retain classic and primary titles of significant historical or literary value.

T. Biological Sciences:

Follow general weeding criteria.

U. Nursing and Medicine:

  1. Constantly monitor changes in disease diagnosis and treatment.
  2. Discard older editions when superseded by new ones (older materials may be very misleading or even dangerous).

V. Technology:

Withdraw materials when superseded by new ones.

W. Bibliography & Library:

Follow general weeding criteria