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    Collection Development Policy

Selection of Electronic Products

Statements such as this always exist within a context of other documents and this is no exception. From an internal viewpoint, two college documents to which this policy statement relate are The Mission and Operation of the Murray Library (November 1989) and Freedom to Read (April 1993). External to the institution, we recognize the relevance the Association of College and Research Libraries' Standards for College Libraries (1986) and the American Library Association's Freedom to Read (1991 revision).

  • The goal of collection development policy in a college library is to guide the the community in its efforts to build and maintain a collection of resources that reflects the philosophy and educational mission of the parent institution. This policy is necessary to insure systematic and balanced collection growth. This document serves not only as a mechanism for establishing funding priorities, but also recognizes that adequate provision of library resources and services now involves both local ownership and access to resources housed elsewhere. Involvement in resource sharing through consortia, networks, interlibrary loan, and other document delivery services all fall under the rubric of collection development, and funding for such endeavors must be recognizable as an important and necessary component of the contemporary library.
Guide, not law
  • This policy is a guide, not immutable law, and exceptions should be made to admit valuable materials whenever adequately justified by the interests of the library and the college. Further, it is a policy statement, not a manual of procedures, which are properly left to the internal management of the library faculty and staff.
  • Given the pace and volume of change in the library and information profession, as well as the changing needs of the college, this document should be reviewed and amended by the library faculty and the Library Committee at least every five years.
Responsibility for selection   

Responsibility for materials selection is shared by the classroom and library faculties. Department faculties initiate the majority of requests for acquisition. Library faculty work with the departments as liaisons to help maintain collection balance, both in terms of current and retrospective acquisitions.

    The academic departments

  1. The teaching departments of the college are allocated 70% of the acquisitions budget. Each fall, the Library Committee distributes these monies, largely on the basis of credit hours taught during the previous year. It also considers such factors as new programs, departmental enrollment figures, and average prices for materials in the various disciplines. These materials are housed in the library.

    Each department chair is expected to make equitable distribution of the department's funds to support the learning resource requirements of the entire department. Order requests from faculty members are sent directly to the library or are channeled through the department chair, as the chair so directs. The library normally accepts requests without question, but also exercises its responsibility to consult faculty on unusually expensive items or about requests which seem to fall outside the collection development policy

    Each department is responsible for determining any limits it wishes to place on either the price of particular items or the percentage of its budget expended on any type of material. The means of monitoring such limits is worked out with the library.

  2. Library faculty

  3. The librarians are responsible for the overall balance of the collection as well as determining the reference collection requirements, which are delineated in a separate policy. To this end, 30% of the total resource budget remains under the control of the library faculty. Additionally, any departmental funds remaining unencumbered by April 1 revert back to library faculty purview.
  4. The entire Messiah College community

  5. Anyone in the community is welcome to make suggestions for purchase. As funds allow, such requests, when deemed within the guidelines of this policy, are honored.
Selection priorities and qualities guiding the purchase of materials   

The overarching criterion for selection is whether a particular resource supports the primary mission of the college, i.e. to provide quality Christian liberal arts education at the undergraduate level. This criterion spans a broad range of materials, most of which provide direct curricular support, but some of which extend beyond specific curricular offerings. In addition, some items may be at variance with our faith and lifestyle commitments, but may be included in any subject area if they meet the primary guideline.

  • A. Rank order of funding priorities
    1. Continuations of materials arriving serially or on standing order, including indexing and abstracting services and periodical subscriptions. Materials needed for discrete class offerings, with new courses and general education classes given extra consideration, if necessary. General and specialized reference materials. Outstanding books not initially ordered by the academic departments. Materials to support faculty and administrative research and faculty development.
    2. Recreational and inspirational non-fiction and fiction.
    B. Guiding parameters for selection
    1. Content, not format, is the basic criterion for selection, although format must be considered insofar as it can affect cost and use. Current publications of lasting and scholarly value are given priority over older materials. English language materials comprise a vast majority of our holdings, but foreign language items are clearly necessary for curricular support and, on occasion, will be purchased for support of curricula outside foreign language courses. Multiple copies of an item are purchased only where need is convincingly demonstrated.
    2. Glaringly expensive items will be routinely questioned by library faculty liaisons.
    C. Format-specific considerations
    1. Books
      • a. Hardcover binding or good quality trade paperback editions are preferred, but lesser quality paperbacks are purchased if no other edition is available. b. Out-of-print titles are sought through finding services, but procurement efforts will be abandoned if reasonable measures are unsuccessful.
      • c. Textbooks are generally not purchased, though some disciplines require their inclusion in the collection if the literature of the field is routinely not disseminated in monographic titles.
      Serials (periodicals and continuations)
      • a. Subscriptions are an ongoing commitment. Therefore, orders are placed only for titles for which long-term need is projected. Expensive or little-used titles may be discontinued after adequate review. Approval of the department chair is required to initiate a subscription. b. Backfiles are charged to the department initiating a new subscription and are generally purchased on microform. c. Indexing in standard services is a crucial consideration in the decision to add a serial title to the collection.
      • d. No reimbursements are made for serials acquired through individual or departmental memberships in professional or other organizations. Like all other titles, serials published by organizations are either subscribed to by the library (at institutional rates) or received as outright donations in kind.
      Nonprint materials
      • a. Hardware compatibility must be evaluated before purchase. Only in rare circumstances may acquisitions funds be expended for hardware.
      • b. Previewing is recommended before purchase.
    2. Computerized databases
      • a. Final decisions regarding acquisition and accessibility will be made by the joint library faculty. b. Content should be such that computerized searching renders it much more accessible than if published in a print format. c. Logon and searching procedures should be simple enough to afford first-time users some immediate success without staff help. d. Place of installation should not impede the use of other computerized databases and should be readily accessible to all authorized users. e. Required hardware and support service must be feasible in terms of library and I.T.S. expertise and staff time.
      • f. Cost should be significantly lower than a comparable print publication or must be justified by added value.
  • D. Gifts
    1. Gifts become the property of the library, which has all rights of disposition. Gifts are generally fully integrated into the collection.
    2. Gifts are acknowledged by the director or his designate, but appraisals of monetary value are not offered as case law recognizes this as a clear conflict of interest.
  • Deacquisition   

    The librarians weed several hundred items annually. Damaged, worn, and outdated titles are prime candidates for removal from the collection. Library faculty take this responsibility seriously and recommend titles for removal only after adequate investigation as to their potential continued value to the collection. Some cases require the involvement of teaching faculty. The library liaisons work through their respective departments in such cases.

    Criteria for Selection of Electronic Products


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