Skip to Main Content

About the Library: Collection Development

Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials

Purpose of Collection Development Policy The collection development policy is a guide for the selection, acquisition, and retention of all library resources. The library collection includes or provides access to resources in a variety of media formats, including print, non-print, and online.

I. Purposes of the Carlyle Campbell Library in Regard to Collection Development

  1. To select, house and provide access to resources that support the curriculum of the college as described in the current college catalog.
  2. To select, house and provide access to a basic collection that educates and inspires students in accordance with the stated purpose and mission of Meredith College. (Meredith College's Values and Mission Statement)
  3. To select, house and provide access to resources that support the strategic plan and vision of the College.
  4. To provide access to resources that support research needs of the students, Meredith faculty, administration, and staff.
  5. To select, house, and provide access to resources that will offer a balance of knowledge and opinions so that no subject is presented in a one-sided manner and so that areas of knowledge not mandated by course requirements but of importance to the community of the educated are included in the collection.
  6. To provide materials for recreational reading.
  7. To acquire, provide access, and preserve in a formal archival program the records and history of Meredith College and related areas of interest.

II. Recommendations and Selection of Resources

  1. Recommendations:  All members of the Meredith community (students, faculty, administrators, staff and alumnae) are encouraged to recommend resources that the library may acquire and/or provide. Members of the faculty have specific responsibility for making recommendations in their subject fields. Members of the library staff have the additional specific responsibility for monitoring balance with and among library resources and for strengthening weak areas.
  2. Responsibility for selection:  With the aid and advice of faculty and library staff and within budgetary restrictions, the Dean of Library Information Services is ultimately responsible for the selection of all library resources. The Dean of Library Information Services makes such decisions within the framework of the college purpose and policies.

III. General Guides to Selection

Resources are selected in accordance with the mission and learning outcomes as listed at the beginning of this document. Emphasis is given to resources which support the curricular needs of the institution and to resources which provide a broadly-based and well-balanced collection. Standard selection tools such as reviews and bibliographies are used to determine which resources provide the highest quality in presentation and content. Budgetary constraints are taken into consideration in the selection of all library resources.

  1. Priority:  Priority for additions to the library collections are the following, in descending order:
    1. resources supporting the curriculum
    2. standard reference tools
    3. resources contributing to a balanced and diverse collection
    4. resources supporting research of the students, Meredith faculty, administration and staff
    5. materials for recreational reading
  2. Format considerations:  Format selection decisions are based on a number of factors including:
    1. ease of use
    2. cost
    3. durability
    4. electronic access options
    5. accessibility
  3. Format selection considerations:  Print materials are acquired in the least expensive format available. Softcover is preferred over hardcover although hardcover is ordered if specifically requested by faculty. 
  4. Current publications vs. out-of-print publications:  Due to higher cost, out-of-print materials are acquired only when no in-print materials will meet the same need. Out-of-print materials are pursued and purchased, however, when the need arises.
  5. Multiple copies:  Multiple copies of titles are not ordered. Requests for more than one copy of any title should be discussed with the Head of Technical services.
  6. Cooperative agreements:  In order to increase the ability of the library to provide the resources and services needed by its users, Meredith has cooperative relationships with other libraries. These agreements are not used by Meredith College to avoid responsibility for providing their own adequate and accessible library resources and services.
  7. Consortial purchases:  Whenever possible and advantageous, the library collaborates with library consortia to purchase resources.

IV. Guides for Selecting Specific Types of Resources

  1. Periodicals  The periodicals collection gives balanced subject coverage to support the curriculum and includes discipline-specific, interdisciplinary, and general interest titles. Each is selected on the basis of recommendation of faculty and library staff, inclusion in indexes at Meredith, content, and cost.

    Because of increasing journal prices and decreasing space for maintaining backfiles, the format(s) of each title, both current and backfiles, is considered as well. Journals may be received and backfiles maintained in print/paper, on microform, or digitally. Maintaining journals and backfiles in more than one format is carefully considered and decisions are made on a title-by-title and format-by-format basis.

    While traditional selection criteria apply to the selection of electronic titles, the management of this format is more complex. Special criteria for selecting electronic subscriptions or collections of titles from Internet-based sources are found in Section IV, B of this document.

    The staff performs an ongoing journal review of individual titles and aggregator databases containing the tiles based on the following criteria: nature of use, extent to which the title supports academic programs, options for access, embargo periods, cost, and availability from other collections.‚Äč 
  2. Electronic Resources  The library provides electronic access to resources, the contents of which fall within the guidelines of this collection development policy. Resources in electronic formats include, but are not limited to, online books, encyclopedias, full-text article databases, bibliographic indexes and streaming audio and video collections.  Whenever possible and advantageous, the library collaborates with library consortia to purchase access to electronic resources.

    Selection considerations which apply to electronic resources include:
    1. Cost
    2. Usability
    3. Accessibility
    4. DRM or other license restrictions, including limits on simultaneous users
    5. Search functionality, including relevance ranking and availability of limiters
    6. Availability of comparable content on the free web
  3. Textbooks used in college courses  Copies of textbooks currently in use at the college are not usually purchased by the library. Copies of textbooks are normally added only when the title represents the best source of information on the particular subject.
  4. Curriculum collection  The purpose of the curriculum collection is to provide resources that support the areas in which the college offers teacher certification. The collection includes state-adopted textbooks, supplementary textbooks, juvenile and easy books, multimedia and audio-visual resources, games, kits, and other teaching and learning materials. Resources intended for use by teachers and not by birth to grade 12 students are integrated into the regular circulating collection.
  5. Non-print materials  The library selects a variety of audio-visual materials to support the academic programs of the college. Selection is based on faculty requests, market availability, use patterns, and on the desire to develop a well-balanced collection.  The library provides the campus with a pool of hardware resources to facilitate use of non-print resources in the library, in classrooms, and in other learning/teaching spaces. 
  6. Printed and recorded music  Printed music and recordings are selected with the following being given priority (in descending order): keyboard and vocal literature; orchestral, chamber, and non-keyboard solo literature; and band literature. In addition, materials are selected to develop a representative collection of music from all periods.  Full-size editions of printed music are preferred. Miniature scores or piano reductions may be selected based on budgetary restrictions and/or market availability. Hard copy of collected complete works of composers are preferred.
  7. Meredith College theses and honors papers One copy of Meredith College graduate theses and one copy of undergraduate honors papers are added to the collection of the Carlyle Campbell Library. A copy in PDF format is also required. 
  8. Archival materials   The following types of archival materials are collected: college publications; non-current records generated by college offices (on a space-available basis); and Meredith memorabilia (scrapbooks; photos; alumnae papers, journals, and diaries which pertain to Meredith); publications of Meredith faculty; past presidents' papers; papers of emeriti faculty; objects related to Meredith history; and audio and video recordings of selected college events. The complete Archives collection development policy is here
  9. Standing orders  Standing orders for materials such as monographic series, yearbooks, and proceedings of conferences which are published in serial form are placed with the publisher/vendor for automatic shipment since in many cases the publication date is not known. Standing orders are reviewed periodically for relevance to the curriculum. Selections are based on recommendations from faculty and library staff.
  10. Rare materials  At the discretion of library staff, certain library materials are made part of a non-circulating special collection kept in the Harris Room. Materials in this special collection include: rare editions, valuable editions, and certain fragile volumes and material. Items are included in the special collection because they require special handling or care to assure their long term availability. Every item must support the College curriculum. A rare book collection as such is not part of the library's mission. The special collection is supervised by the Head of Technical Services in Carlyle Campbell Library.
  11. Resources for patrons with disabilities The library staff works in cooperation with the offices of the Dean of Students, the deans of the College, and the Office of Disability Services to provide information access and resources for patrons with documented disabilities.

V. Gifts

Gifts are accepted according to the attached gift policy (See Gifts To the Library).

VI. Withdrawal from the collection

To maintain a viable, working collection it is necessary to withdraw materials from time to time. When there is uncertainty about the usefulness of library materials, the advice of faculty may be sought.

Criteria for withdrawal:

  1. The material is worn or damaged beyond repair or rebinding.
  2. The material contains obsolete, inaccurate, and superseded information which would be misleading to the user.
  3. The material is superseded by a newer edition held by the library. Titles are evaluated individually to determine if older editions should be retained.
  4. The material is one of multiple copies.
  5. The item has been missing from the library for more than two years and no circulation record exists.
  6. The material is being replaced in another format

Materials withdrawn from the library collection will not automatically be replaced. Their replacement will be evaluated according to the guidelines in this collection development policy.

VII. Reconsideration of Materials

The philosophy of library service at Meredith College and this collection development policy are based on two sets of principles: (1) the mission of Meredith College and, within that mission and the regulations of the college, (2) the tenets of the "Library Bill of Rights"  and the "Freedom to Read" statement, both adopted by the American Library Association.

  1. Policy  The library staff and Meredith College subscribe to the philosophy of free access to material and to the following principles taken from the Library Bill of Rights which apply to the selection and reconsideration of library materials:
    1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.
    2. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
    3. 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 disapproval.
    4. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
    5. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  2. Procedure  Members of the Dean's Council and the Library Dean should be thoroughly familiar with the procedures for handling requests for reconsideration and shall be guided in their recommendations by the principles stated in this collection development policy.  If materials comply with the guidelines of this collection development policy, they should not be removed from the collection because of pressure by groups or individuals. 

    If the appropriateness of material is questioned, the following procedure is used:
    1. The person requesting the reconsideration is directed to the dean of library information services.
    2. The Dean of Library Information Services asks the person making the request to complete a "Request for Reconsideration" form. No request for reconsideration will be accepted without a completed form. No individual may authorize action on questioned material, regardless of source or degree of complaint, prior to submission of and a decision on a request for reconsideration.
    3. If the request for reconsideration cannot be resolved by the Dean of Library Information services, the Dean's Council of the current academic year serves as the body to study and make recommendations. All complaints along with the "Request for Reconsideration" form and the questioned material will be submitted to the council.
    4. The written report and recommendation of the Dean's Council are sent to Provost and the Dean of Library Information Services.
    5. The Dean of Library Information Services is ultimately responsible for the selection of all library materials and makes such decisions within the framework of the college purpose and policies.
    6. The Dean of Library Information Services notifies the person requesting the reconsideration of the decision.

VIII. Interpretation of policy

Questions concerning this Collection Development Policy should be discussed with the Dean of Library Information Services.