Collection Development Policy

I. Introduction

The Cullom-Davis Library provides the foundation for the instruction and research programs of the university and thus is an integral part of the university's academic programs. The university's commitment to scholarship requires an equal commitment to provide the means to carry on the intellectual activities that promote that scholarship. Library collections are among the most valuable resources a university can provide for the activities of its students and scholars. Library resource materials must be acquired and made available, not by the demands of the moment and the biases of an individual, but on an organized and systematic basis with due regard to the intellectual freedom essential for scholars and encouraged by academic institutions. The Library is a visible expression of the commitment of the university to the ideals of scholarship and intellectual freedom; its growth and development are of concern to all members of the academic community. This policy is a statement of the operating guidelines used by the Cullom-Davis Library in its acquisition and maintenance of materials. Rising costs, increases in publishing output, and relentlessly increasing demands for information resources necessitate careful materials selection, soundly based on an understanding of the immediate and future goals of the library, the institution, and the students it serves. A collection must be systematically shaped and developed in order to make best use of the funds allocated to it. Adherence to these guidelines should insure well-balanced collections that meet both the current and future needs of academic programs and satisfy the instructional and information needs of the academic community.

II. Objectives

The primary goal of the Cullom-Davis Library is to support the mission of Bradley University. Its collection should, therefore, reflect the curricular and research needs of the students, faculty, and staff. Because the library cannot completely satisfy all informational needs of all users, a consistent and conscious effort must be made to first provide the resources required by most library patrons.

The goal of collection development is to provide a collection, both within the Cullom-Davis Library itself and immediately accessible through cooperative arrangements and through electronic means, that meets the accreditation requirements of the university and of individual programs, as well as the American Library Association's standards for college and university libraries.

The library faculty, in consultation with the classroom faculty, will continue to develop and modify this policy to meet the changing demands of Bradley University.

III. Intellectual Freedom

The Cullom-Davis Library supports the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, its Intellectual Freedom Statement, and its statement on Challenged Materials. (See Appendices.) The library attempts to acquire materials that represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Selection is nonpartisan regarding matters of race, sex, religion, or moral philosophy.

IV. Fund Allocation

It is the Library Director's responsibility to allocate the materials budget to fulfill the Library's collection development goals. The materials budget is first divided into funds by format (i.e. books, serials, microform, electronic resources, etc.) to ensure that there is money for all types of materials. Money from the budget for one format may not be used for the purchase of a different format without the approval of the library director. Each format's allocation is then divided into general and subject-specific funds, the latter being based upon criteria that include, but are not limited to, the number of faculty members, the number of courses taught and students served, and the recorded circulation of the existing collection. The University Library Committee and the Dean of each College are consulted on these allocations, and the Chair and Library Agent in each department are informed of the budget in their respective subject areas. All faculty may make suggestions and recommendations to the Collection Development Librarian and to the Library Director regarding changes in the allocations. The Library Director makes the final decision in allocation of funds based on availability of funds, stated need, and importance to the program and the University. As new programs are approved, the Library will make every effort to ensure their support by securing adequate additional funding from the university.

V. Selection Responsibility

The collection development librarian and library faculty liaison are responsible for the overall management and development of the library collections. Faculty members in all disciplines are encouraged to take an active role in recommending library materials, working through either their departmental library agent or their library faculty liaison. A library agent in each academic department acts as a central figure for collecting requests from departmental colleagues, and a library faculty liaison for each subject area works with the agent and other faculty to discuss current publications as well as research and curricular needs. Student and staff requests for acquisition of materials are also welcomed and are reviewed using the same criteria as requests from other sources. Materials purchased with library funds become university property housed in the library.

VI. Consortia/Access

Because no university library can provide all of the materials needed by its users, resource sharing via consortia and cooperative collection development is critical. Consortial negotiation for online resources makes a variety of materials more affordable. Cooperative collection development agreements between libraries should be considered for specific subject areas, for infrequently used materials, and/or for more in-depth research needs.

Consistent, reliable, and timely access must be provided to materials not permanently acquired. Access is provided through interlibrary loan, direct electronic access, or other means.

VII. Selection Guidelines

The institutional goals stated in Section II must always provide the framework for selection. Thus, the major responsibility and top priority of the library is curricular support and development, which includes the purchase of materials to meet University and departmental accreditation needs. The library also endeavors to serve the needs of the faculty by either purchasing or securing through electronic access or interlibrary loan those resources needed for faculty study and research. In addition, the library serves the entire university community through the purchase of recreational, cultural, and general information materials.

The fulfillment of academic curricular need and the quality of content are the first criteria against which the selector evaluates any potential item. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include:

  • Authoritativeness of the author or reputation of the publisher
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment
  • Strength of present holdings in same or related subject area
  • Lasting value of the content
  • Cost
  • Suitability of format to content

Additional general guidelines are also used, regardless of format:

  • Textbooks are not normally purchased. The exceptions are those that have earned reputations as "classics" in their fields or which are the only or best sources of information on particular topics.
  • Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances. (See Collection Development Duplication Policy.)
  • In instances where the cost of an item is high and the demand is low, the holdings of nearby libraries are considered in determining whether or not an order should be placed.
  • When there is an option to purchase paperbound, hardbound, or electronic monographs, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential.
  • Resources that are missing, lost, or withdrawn because of wear are not automatically replaced. Such items are replaced based on their importance to the collection, the demand for the material, and availability and cost of replacement.
  • While the library primarily acquires materials published in English, it is recognized that materials published in other languages may be necessary to support the internationalization of the curriculum. Foreign language materials will be purchased to support language instruction.
  • The majority of selections are current publications. The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases, and systematically uses standard bibliographies and other evaluation tools to locate and fill gaps in the collection. However, in view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining out-of-print and reprinted materials, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying.
  • The library liaison may review requests with the corresponding departmental library agent.

In addition to the guidelines above, which apply to all formats, the nature of serials and non-print materials requires further considerations.

A. Serials

Serials are the major source of current information in a number of disciplines. They serve to keep the collection up-to-date, provide material not available in books, and otherwise supplement the monographic collections. Because serial titles represent an ongoing commitment, budgeting and selection processes differ from those involved in purchasing monographs. Because each periodical title involves a prospective long-standing commitment, and because of increasing periodical subscription rates, limited funds and space considerations, acquisition of a serial title requires and receives substantially more consideration than acquisition of a single monograph. In most cases, the cancellation of a journal title or titles of equal cost is required to provide the funds necessary for a new subscription. Budgets for other formats cannot be used to acquire serials without the approval of the Library Director. Back runs of qualifying serials or journal subscriptions are purchased only as deemed necessary or as the budget permits, and may be purchased in microform or in electronic format.

Some or all of the following criteria are used in evaluating titles for acquisition or cancellation:

  • Support of present academic curriculum
  • Strength of the existing collection
  • Present level of use of this or other periodicals in this subject area
  • Projected future level of use
  • Cost, projected availability of funds
  • Reputation of journal and/or inclusion in a prominent abstracting and indexing source
  • Number of recent interlibrary loan requests for this periodical, if not currently owned
  • Availability and retention of full text articles in online databases

B. Electronic Resources

The library makes materials available in electronic format. These include online indexes and databases, electronic books and journal subscriptions, CD-ROMs and other software, and newer formats as they become viable. Selection criteria for electronic resources are the same as for other formats. In addition, these other considerations may apply, depending on format:

  • License agreement terms that are acceptable to the library and the university.
  • Degree of overlap with any print equivalent and the ability and desirability to cancel the print.
  • Reliability of the vendor and quality of the product, determined by reputation, review, and preview, if offered.
  • Cost in relation to the anticipated benefit, as well as the possibility of favorable pricing arrangements.
  • Accessibility from workstations both on and off-campus and by simultaneous users.
  • Interface and ease of use.
  • Reliability and permanence of archival access.

Electronic Journals

Electronic-only journals, and print journals that are also available electronically, are evaluated according to the criteria for both serials and electronic resources.

Electronic Books

Books available in electronic format are considered with care according to the guidelines for both print monographs and electronic resources. Since these products are in their infancy, particular attention is given to the following:

  • Checkout and use mechanisms and their impact on availability.
  • Aggregated collection content, relevance for the curriculum, coverage, and quality.
  • Printing and downloading capabilities and their impact on usability.
  • Compatibility with available hardware, if required.

CD-ROMs and Computer Software

The criteria applied to the selection of print and other electronic materials are applied also to the selection of CD-ROMs and other computer software. In addition, it is necessary to determine compatibility with existing and commonly used hardware and software, and the sustainability of the format.

C. Non-Print Material

Requests for other non-print materials, such as audio and video cassettes, CDs, and DVDs, are evaluated on the same basis as monographs, with special emphasis on the suitability of the format to the content and on the quality of the production, as well as concern for the sustainability of the format, and the obsolescence of the equipment needed to access it. Non-print materials are considered simply a different format of subject information. Evaluation, weeding, and replacement of non-print items follow the same guidelines and procedures as for monographs.

VIII. Specialty Collections

Most materials that are obtained are integrated into the general collection. The major exceptions are items with special housing or usage requirements, or limited circulation, which are kept in separate areas within the library:

A. Special Collections

Materials are placed in the Special Collections Center when they are considered too valuable, fragile, or difficult to replace to justify unsupervised use. Media and formats include books, serials, maps, prints, magnetic recordings, photographic images, manuscripts, and ephemera. Items are added primarily by transfer from the general collection, deposit, and donation, although some limited purchases may be made with special funds.

The Center has substantial interest in developing and maintaining collections focused on university and faculty publications; the history of Bradley; Bishop Philander Chase and Jubilee College; Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War; the Industrial Arts Education Movement; the history of central Illinois; and the history of public safety communications technology. In addition, there are smaller collections centered on photography, book arts, general rare books, and selected curricular interests

B. Music Resource Center

The Music Resource Center collects a wide range of performance materials, mainly printed music and recordings, and maintains a collection of significant reference sources regarding the type of music taught in the Bradley music curriculum. Curricular materials are collected to provide a sampling of educational materials available to teachers of music at all levels. It also maintains a synthesizer and music-applications software.

C. Government Documents

The Cullom-Davis Library is a selective Depository of federal government publications. Selected items are deposited in the library, according to the guidelines of the U.S. Congress Joint Committee on Printing. The Library currently receives approximately over 60%, of the available items available for selection by Depository libraries. Item selections are based on community and university needs. Depository status requires service to both the community at large and the University. Selections reflect these needs. The Library's areas of interest are legislation, demographics, health sciences, education, and technology, with emphasis on electronic products. Items of ephemeral value are kept for five or ten years, depending on use, and then discarded according to Depository guidelines. Superseded items are discarded.

D. Curriculum Materials Center

The Curriculum Materials Center endeavors to collect a range of sample educational materials used in elementary, middle, and secondary schools in order to give education students the opportunity to study such materials by actually examining them, assessing them, and then using those that they select. A representative selection of K-12 textbooks and accompanying materials, educational software, videotapes, manipulatives, reference books, testing instruments, and curriculum guides from Peoria area schools are collected for this purpose. A collection of children's and young adult literature includes Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, and Rebecca Caudill award winners, as well as other notable titles.

E. Reference Department Collection

The Reference Department collection supports administrative, academic and research needs. In addition to materials that reflect University curriculum, the collection contains resources to support undergraduate research in general subjects that are not necessarily curriculum related, such as public affairs, current events, etc. In general reference materials are often used for current, quick information, such as addresses, brief introductory materials, etc., and for bibliographic information leading to more in-depth articles, e.g. indexes, bibliographies, etc.


IX. Gifts

The Cullom-Davis Library accepts gift materials or cash donations to purchase library materials which conform to library guidelines. All gifts are subject to review. The impact of the donation on university resources is considered. The value of the donation is weighed against the cost of processing, maintaining, and housing the material. Condition of the materials is a factor in determining if a gift is accepted. Only a librarian or the library director can determine the disposition of a gift. The library cannot be responsible for the appraisal of donated materials. The library does, however, acknowledge all gifts, whether or not they are added to the collection.

Gift material is added to the library's collection only if it meets the selection guidelines set forth in this policy and one of the following conditions is found to exist:

  • The material is not already in the collection and is perceived by the librarian responsible for the appropriate subject area to fill a gap in the collection.
  • The material is already in the collection but in bad physical condition. In this case, the library's old copy should be withdrawn.
  • The material, if a set or serial, is in reasonably complete condition to make a beneficial impact on the library's collection.

The library determines what classification, housing, and circulation policies will apply to any gift material added to the collection.

All gifts are received with the understanding that the library retains the right to dispose of gifts at any time and in any manner deemed appropriate, including sale at the annual book sale, or by discarding.

X. Collection Maintenance & Evaluation

Weeding is an important aspect of collection development in the university library. It is the responsibility of the librarians, in cooperation with the departmental faculty, to withdraw materials that are damaged or no longer appropriate to the collection. The decision to withdraw materials is based on the following criteria:

  • Circulation record of the item
  • Obsolescence of the material
  • Availability of replacement for a damaged item
  • Availability of the item in other area libraries
  • Importance of the item to the collection
  • Space constraints

Classic titles and titles of importance for historical research will be kept. Materials in deteriorating condition but still relevant and useful will be repaired when possible. Individual sections of the general collection are periodically reviewed to locate candidates for weeding. Withdrawn materials may be sold in the annual library book sale, offered to other libraries or interested parties, and/or discarded.