Kean University Library
Collection Development Guidelines
This document offers a framework for consistency in the selection and deselection of materials in order to support the mission of the Library and to be responsive to users’ needs. In addition, it informs library users as to the scope and nature of existing collections as well as plans for the future development of these resources.
The mission of the Nancy Thompson Library is to actively support learning, teaching and research at Kean University. In support of this mission the Library:
- Selects, acquires, organizes and ensures access to current and emerging information resources that serve the University’s learning, teaching and research needs
- Collaborates with other libraries to extend the resources and services available to the University community
At the heart of the University’s educational mission, the Library provides materials in support of the teaching, learning, and research needs of students and faculty. University degree programs inform the levels of collecting.
- For departments offering only an undergraduate degree, collecting focuses on making available those information resources, with the exception of required textbooks, that are likely to be needed by students in preparation for class assignments. Faculty research in these areas is judiciously supported for ongoing projects on an individual title basis.
- For departments supporting the Masters degree and advanced certificates, more intensive collecting is focused on specific courses and requirements for the degree. Research as communicated by faculty and graduate students is supported within fiscal constraints.
- For departments offering doctoral programs, in-depth collecting reflects the major foci of the degree programs. Faculty and student research in these areas is supported within fiscal constraints.
Additionally the Library will:
- Support areas of general academic interest and inquiry including student recreational reading.
- Provide access to resources, such as bibliographies and union catalogs, which can be used to identify and access information sources not owned locally.
- Offer interlibrary loan and cooperative library agreements to supplement the collection and to fill in-depth collecting needs.
Responsibility for Selection
Primary responsibility for selection of all materials and for developing the collection as a whole rests with the librarians on the staff of the Nancy Thompson Library. In order to develop a balanced collection, the librarians will maintain active liaison with the academic departments and other appropriate University offices and programs. To support such collaboration, the Library will maintain a faculty liaison program, in which a designated faculty member in each department (or other appropriate office) will work with the professional librarians on acquisition decisions. It is also the responsibility of each academic department and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College to recommend the acquisition of materials in their disciplines to the Library. Academic departments receive annual allocations of funds for this purpose.
Criteria for Selection
Within the context of the collection development objectives noted above, the Library will conform to the following selection criteria, for example:
- Materials must meet high standards of quality in content, expression, and format.
- Be reviewed favorably in a reputable source.
- Be issued by known publishers or producers with high standards of quality and reliable reputations.
- Be written or produced by authorities or outstanding people in the field.
- Be cited in bibliographies for academic libraries or standard subject bibliographies.
- Materials must be of value to students and/or faculty as required and/or supplementary reading for courses, necessary for research or fulfilling the general aims of the curriculum. The need to balance the collection by subject, according to the level offered in the curriculum, will also be a major consideration.
- Strength of present holdings on the same or similar subject
- Price/relative cost of material in relation to the budget and other available or needed material
- Works of fiction are selected based on choosing established literary works and new works of promise in the literary field, especially those works that support literature course offerings.
- Foreign-language materials are selected to support the curriculum in literature and language studies. Basic language tools such as foreign language dictionaries and phrase books are collected for general reference needs.
- Duplicates are not selected unless warranted by heavy usage of copies already held by the Library.
- The Library does not select materials in proprietary, nonstandard or obsolete formats.
- Current material relevant to the state of New Jersey will be selected.
- Materials relevant to the study of human rights will be selected.
- Classics in a field of study will be selected.
- Kean University faculty publications will be selected.
- Major emphasis will be on current publications, and among these, preference will be given to works which promise to fulfill future as well as current needs. The Library will obtain out-of-print material if readily available from vendors.
- The cost of materials is a necessary consideration. Highly-specialized or other particularly expensive acquisitions should be obtained with grant or other external support.
- An effort will be made to represent the widest possible diversity of viewpoints on any particular subject.
- When considering materials that are available in multiple formats, the following criteria will be considered: user demand, reliability of access, ease of use, cost, space requirements, and the Library’s ability to support the format.
Beyond these general selection criteria, there is the matter of filling retrospective gaps in Library holdings. When professional library staff reviews determine that significant gaps exist in particular areas of the Library collection, acquisitions in those areas will, whenever possible, receive special attention in determining materials purchases in any given fiscal year. Gaps will be assessed in part through comparisons to the standard bibliographic tools and resources. Consultations with faculty and other Library users also will be part of any such determination.
Special Projects Fund
When funding is available the Library may announce an annual “Special Projects Fund” to enable departments, faculty, or programs to improve the Library collection by using additional funds from outside their normal departmental library allocation budget. The Fund is designed to enhance the Library collection by purchasing materials that will:
- Support new majors, programs or curricular concentrations approved by the Board of Trustees.
- Help departments prepare for upcoming program reviews or accreditation visits (within the next academic year).
- Address visiting committee or accreditation team recommendations on the need to improve the Library collection.
- Support collection building on topics which are interdisciplinary in nature and which are difficult to fund with existing departmental allocations (interdisciplinary projects).
- Support student assignments for which the existing collection is inadequate.
Guidelines for Materials in Specific Formats
Electronic resources made available online (e.g., full-text databases, electronic journals, e-books, and other materials accessible through the Internet) will generally be preferred over print versions of the same resource. The following additional guidelines will be considered in selecting electronic resources:
- Documented curricular need
- Accessibility and ease of use
- Cost and potential use
- Compatibility with available hardware
- Licensing requirements and number of users that can access materials simultaneously
- Technical support, both in-house and from vendors
- Ability to provide training in the use of the resource
- Availability of back-files for purchase
If the product is already owned in another format, the following criteria must be met:
- Improved access
- Currency of information
- Space, maintenance, and processing benefits
- Ease of use in comparison to the equivalent in the format already owned
The acquisition and appropriate maintenance of the periodicals collection represents a long-term financial commitment requiring continuing subscription costs. In order to mitigate costs associated with the binding and storage of back issues, or the purchase of microform and the availability of viewing and photocopying equipment, periodicals will be acquired in electronic format whenever available with fully functional IP access.
The following guidelines will be considered in selecting periodicals:
- Documented curricular need
- Coverage in standard indexes and bibliographies
- Cost and potential use
- Number of periodicals supporting a discipline already available from the Library
- A letter from the department chair is needed for the Library to consider subscription to a periodical.
- One-time back file purchases will be considered to support research and clear space
Journal subscriptions will be reviewed regularly to assure that use and value are commensurate with financial commitment to each title. As a matter of policy, the Nancy Thompson Library cannot purchase journals for specific individuals, for short-term projects of any kind, or for purposes other than those listed above. Such purchases must be supported through grants or other external funding.
The Library subscribes to selected major representative national and New Jersey newspapers. Foreign newspapers are purchased only in response to a documented curricular need. As a rule, newspapers that are accessible online will not be duplicated.
The Library does not currently collect materials in microform format.
As a rule, pamphlets are not acquired. Pamphlets requested for specific curricular needs will be considered.
Trade paperbacks when available are purchased with the attachment of a hard plastic protective cover. Hardcover editions are purchased when heavy use is anticipated such as for the Reference Collection. The Library does not acquire mass-market paperbacks.
Atlases are purchased as reference material. The Library does not acquire maps in sheet form for the general collection.
The Library will make available online scores and will supplement to some extent what is not available with piano scores. As a rule the Library will not purchase scores for other individual instruments.
Classroom Instruction Material
Guidelines for the acquisition of curriculum guides, lesson plans, workbooks, charts, instructor’s manuals, educational software, or instructional aides and devices are under development.
The Library does not collect sheet music, loose pictures or pages in folio format, single periodical articles, single issues of a periodical, exhibit lists, calendars, advertising pamphlets, broadsides, or ephemeral material of any kind.
The Library does not collect materials such as article reprints or preprints, equipment manuals, costumes, educational toys and games, medical instruments, models, specimens, laboratory equipment, or materials meant for consumption.
The Library does not maintain a textbook collection. Students are responsible for providing their own textbooks. Selected textbooks will be acquired only if they are valuable as reference and research works in their own right or are of exceptional interest to the general reader.
Theses and Dissertations
The Library maintains a subscription to Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) (ProQuest). Kean University graduates may contact the Nathan Weiss Graduate College for information about submitting their theses to ProQuest for inclusion in the database.
The Reference Collection, in print and electronic formats, provides general information and a foundation for advanced research. Materials will be acquired in print or electronic formats as appropriate. The categories of material in the Reference Collection include the following:
- General reference works designed to be consulted for specific facts.
- Statistical, biographical and other works designed for quick access to information
- Bibliographic works that are either general in scope, on specific topics, or guides to the literature of subjects
- Indexes and abstracts
The Library maintains a selective collection, focused on award-winning literature, for children and young adults in support of the educational degree programs and credit bearing courses.
The New Jersey Collection houses rare printed materials about New Jersey, with a focus on the history of Kean University’s immediate vicinity.
The Library will look to purchase or subscribe to media materials, such as collections of streaming video on a topic, that are available via the internet. As the process for funding the budget to support individual departmental orders for DVDs Is being developed, the Library will purchase individual DVDs.
Kean University Library Archives
Guidelines for this collection will be developed at a later time.
The Library’s ability to purchase materials varies with the size of the annual budget and funds already committed for the fiscal year. When budgetary restrictions are necessary, the Library will use available funds: to provide resources to meet the most immediate instructional needs that are related to degree programs and credit bearing courses; to maintain its course-related research function; and to maintain its basic collection strength. Purchase of expensive items and specialized material may be deferred or eliminated at such times. The Library reserves the right to request written justification for expensive items and for those requiring an ongoing commitment of funds.
Material offered as gifts are accepted with the understanding that they will be evaluated on the basis of the criteria set forth for selection, and only those meeting these standards are added to the Library’s holdings.
The Library does not appraise donations of books and/or other materials for income tax deduction purposes. The responsibility for appraisal and its cost rests solely with the donor.
The responsibility for delivery of gifts rests with the donor.
A standing order is a request to a publisher or vendor to supply each succeeding issue of a particular publication as it is issued. Standing orders are generally available for annuals, series, new editions of continually revised works and subsequent volumes of a work published in a number of volumes issued intermittently. Such orders represent a long term financial commitment and may require extensive storage space. Therefore, standing orders will only be placed when the material is heavily used and all publications of an annual, series or edition are needed.
Standing orders will be reviewed regularly to assure that use and value are commensurate with the financial commitment of each item so ordered.
An approval plan is an agreement with a vendor to send material within certain parameters for consideration for purchase by the Library. Approval plans will be considered to insure adequate up-to-date coverage and balance in the collection.
Collection Maintenance and Replacement
The Library reviews the collection for dated, duplicated, or damaged material and for material that no longer supports the curriculum nor is of general interest. Responsibility for the withdrawal of such material rests with the Library. The faculty will be asked to advise on the retention of materials in their subject areas.
Replacement of materials due to loss, damage or wear is based on evaluation of content, present usefulness, and availability. In reviewing material for retention or withdrawal, the guidelines formulated for selection are based upon degree programs, credit bearing courses, space, and available funds. Print journals which meet these selection criteria may be withdrawn if the Library provides online access to them.
Library Bill of Rights
Kean University Library abides by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights as follows:
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. 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.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries that make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.