Collection Development Policy
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This policy is a statement of the operating guidelines used by the Raritan Valley Community College Evelyn S. Field 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 and the institution and the patrons it serves. A collection must be systematically shaped and developed in order to make best use of the funds allotted. The following are general policies that guide the process of developing the Raritan Valley Community College Library collection.
In this policy, the word "materials" shall be used to encompass all classes of materials that a library collects and makes available to its users.
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The primary goal of the Raritan Valley Community College Library is the support of the academic programs at Raritan Valley Community College. Institutional objectives, as stated in the Mission Statement and Core Values of Raritan Valley Community College, are as follows:
Raritan Valley Community College is an educational community that works to develop critical thinking, foster intellectual curiosity, promote leadership, encourage social responsibility, support personal growth, and sustain engaged citizenship within a diverse population of students and community members.
- RVCC is an open admission institution with high standards and excellent support services.
- RVCC serves as an important center for our community.
- RVCC participates as a reliable partner with the regionís K-12 schools to support active learning and college readiness.
- RVCC must provide support for student success, but students are responsible for their own achievements.
- The College values the diversity of our communities as a resource that strengthens the institution.
- The College is accountable for the prudent use of all its resources and seeks transparency in all its operations.
- The College measures its success against national models and standards.
- The College commits to environmentally sustainable practices.
- Educational programs must be affordable.
- A healthy college community depends on integrity and respect.
- The best college decisions are made on a learning-centered foundation.
- Learning is a lifelong endeavor.
III. SELECTION RESPONSIBILITY
It is the Library Director's responsibility to allocate the materials budget in such a way as to fulfill the library's collection development goals. The funds available for materials are divided among the academic departments and librarians. The amount allocated to each subject area is decided by the librarians who consider such factors as the number of courses taught in the subject area, the number of students and faculty involved, the average cost of materials in the field, the average age of materials within each discipline, circulation experience, and library involvement relevant to the coursework of the discipline.
This basic model will be used in arriving at the allocations, with the realization that some flexibility is necessary for changing conditions (for example, new course offerings, new levels of academic accreditation for programs, changes in student research requirements, etc.). Budget allocations are revised annually at which time appropriate changes are made.
When new degrees are proposed, the academic department proposing the new degree should request library funds in the proposal. The proposal should include a one-time start-up cost (which will vary depending on current library holdings) as well as an amount of continuing costs. The Head of Technical Services or the Library Director should be involved in writing that portion of the proposal. New programs started without library funding will not be part of the annual fund allocation.
V. SELECTION GUIDELINES
The institutional goals, which are stated in Section II, must always provide the framework for selection. Thus, the major responsibility and top priority of the library lies with the teaching programs. The library endeavors to serve the needs of the faculty either by purchasing (if the materials can also be used by the student body) or by securing through interlibrary loan those resources needed for faculty study and research. Although a lower priority, the library services the entire college community through the purchase of recreational, cultural and general information materials.
The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular need are the first criteria against which any potential item is evaluated. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include the following:
- lasting value of the content
- appropriateness of level of treatment
- age and strength of present holdings in same or similar subject areas
- suitability of format to content
- authority of the author or reputation of publisher
- accuracy, currency
- circulation experience within the discipline
Other guidelines are also followed:
- Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances.
- 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 made.
- When there is an option of paperback or hardcopy, the choice is paper unless the material is judged to have added value in hard cover. When available, a hard plastic cover will be applied to protect the material.
- Lost or stolen materials shall be replaced after 6-9 months (or immediately, if needed) if they are available. The current book trade and aforementioned selection criteria shall be considered.
- Except for foreign language dictionaries, the library acquires primarily English language reference and research sources. Literature and language materials that are used heavily in the teaching or learning of foreign languages are collected as well.
- 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 material, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying. When a title is determined to be out-of-print, a decision to locate and purchase the title through out-of-print or rare book suppliers will be made based on expected higher costs, delivery delays, and importance. In general, newer editions and alternate selections will be preferred.
The library staff uses the following as primary selection tools, with additional sources as needed: Choice (monthly), Library Journal (bi-weekly), American Libraries (monthly), New York Review of Books (bi-weekly), New York Times Book Review (weekly), publishers' catalogs and pre-publication literature, and selected subject-specific professional journals.
- Fiction:The Library purchases and accepts gifts of novels, classics, and semi-classic fiction materials having value to the curricula. The Library acquires fiction when it is of literary merit or social significance and supplements the resources of the Library. Novels of serious purpose are purchased considering a public varying in reading and language ability, education, skills, taste, and interests. A collection of popular, best-selling fiction titles will also be maintained for the recreational use of the college community.
- Texts:The library will acquire textbooks according to criteria established by the director. Currently, the criteria call for a purchase price in excess of $35 and a combined course enrollment of twenty-five students or more. When a textbook is replaced with a new edition, the older edition will be placed into the circulation collection. However, editions previous to that will be discarded.
- Government Documents:RVCC is not a designated depository. However, documents will be purchased, cataloged and classified as needed. The same criteria for acquisition listed above will apply to materials acquired from the Government Printing Office.
It is the policy of the Raritan Valley Community College Evelyn S. Field Library to add new serial titles as budget allows and as is appropriate for the curriculum. Faculty requests for new subscriptions to be kept in the library and used by library patrons will be accommodated as is possible within the existing library budget. It is the goal of the Library to subscribe to titles that our students and patrons will use. Periodicals purchased should be appropriate to the curriculum and on a level suitable for the needs and abilities of the students.
Some or all of the following criteria are used in evaluating titles for acquisition or cancellation:
- strength of the existing collection
- potential use of this periodical compared to other periodicals in this subject area
- projected future use
- cost compared to other periodicals in this subject area, projected availability of funds
- reputation of journal and/or inclusion in prominent abstracting and indexing services
- format (print, microform, electronic)
- if not owned, number of recent interlibrary loan requests for this periodical
- current availability within full-text databases. However, the availability of images or color reproduction within full-text databases may influence the purchase of hard-copy periodicals.
VII. AUDIOVISUAL MATERIAL
Audiovisual Materials are selected according to the same guidelines as listed above. These materials are part of the circulating collection. Academic department allocations may be spent on audiovisual materials in addition to monographs. The format should be governed according to popular standards.
VIII. ONLINE DATABASES, FULL-TEXT PERIODICALS, AND INDEX AND ABSTRACTING SERVICES
Information is now published in many formats. Increasingly, we see resources being made available in electronic format. This material includes e-books, e-journals, films and documentaries, reference materials, and websites. The Library recognizes the value in these sources and acquires them as an integral part of the library's collection development process. In some cases, the electronic access supplements the print version; in other cases the electronic version replaces the print version altogether. Evaluation, weeding and replacement of electronic and online items follow the same guidelines and procedures as for monographs with the following additions:
- Materials are also evaluated for their value in supporting distance learning courses.
- Extra consideration is given to cost. These materials tend to be more expensive and are frequently available only as part of larger sets. Evaluation of these materials will include possible added value through access by distance learners, increased indexing, or additional content.
- Site license restrictions, copyright restrictions, and other legal considerations. Ownership vs. limited licensure.
- System requirements, such as computer compatibility; quality of programming, freedom from bugs and viruses; longevity of hardware technology to access content.
- Reputation of vendor for technical support. Are support materials (manuals, thesauri) provided?
- User-friendly interface? Learning curve? Networkability? Durability?
Gifts are encouraged, with the understanding that the library may dispose of them or add them to the collection at its discretion, and in the same manner as purchased material. As a general rule, gift books will be added to the collection based on the same criteria as those purchased. Gifts are not appraised for tax purposes but will be acknowledged in the form a written thank-you.
X. COLLECTION MAINTENANCE AND EVALUATION
Weeding is an important aspect of collection development in the library. Upon arrival of new editions, the reference staff evaluates previous editions and withdraws those deemed outdated. The reference collection is continually monitored for outdated material, which is replaced or withdrawn. Individual sections of the general collection are periodically reviewed. Faculty members are encouraged to assist in spotting outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise. A general inventory will be conducted on a regular basis.
XI. COOPERATIVE NETWORKS:
With advances in automation and participation in library networks (OCLC, VALE, Somerset County Library System, etc.), the decisions made by the Raritan Valley Community College Library become more significant to those involved in cooperative collection development. As it becomes increasingly apparent that no college library can provide all of the materials needed by its users, it becomes extremely advantageous to share resources. New breakthroughs in online catalogs that extend beyond the individual library make cooperative collection development more of an alternative for the Raritan Valley Community College Library than has been possible or feasible in the past. Future revisions of this policy statement will undoubtedly reflect mutual reliance for specific subject resources.
XII. INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM:
The Raritan Valley Community College Library supports the American Library Association's BILL OF RIGHTS, INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM MANUAL, and its statement on CHALLENGED MATERIALS. The Library attempts to purchase materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Selection is without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, religion or moral philosophy.
XIII. RECONSIDERATION OF LIBRARY MATERIALS:
The Library has the right to have and to loan materials as supported by the materials selection criteria. If a Library patron objects to any materials, a verbal objection may be taken to the Library Director. If the objector is able to convince the Director that the Library Collection Development Policy was not followed, the objector will be instructed to complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form and submit it to the Library Director. The form is available at the Reference Desk. The Library Director will schedule a meeting within a month of receiving the completed form. The meeting will include the Director, the objector, and other persons deemed appropriate by the Director (i.e. another librarian, subject expert, departmental chairpersons, etc.). The material in question will remain available for circulation until the matter is resolved. A decision will be made within two weeks to either remove the material from the collection or to overrule the objection. The objector will be notified in writing by the Library Director.
R. Egan 9/17/2012