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:



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.

Additionally the Library will:


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:

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:



Guidelines for Materials in Specific Formats

Electronic Resources

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:

If the product is already owned in another format, the following criteria must be met:



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:

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.


Music Scores

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.


Exceptional Formats

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.



Specific Collections

Reference Collection

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:


Juvenile Collection

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. 


Special Collections

The New Jersey Collection houses rare printed materials about New Jersey, with a focus on the history of Kean University’s immediate vicinity.


Media Materials

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.



Other Considerations

Expensive Purchases

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.




Standing Orders

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.


Approval Plan

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.