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Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy is intended to serve as a statement establishing written guidelines for the acquisition and maintenance of Cumberland University's library collections. The increase in demand for information in a wide variety of formats, coupled with an increase in the amount of information produced, necessitate a consistent collection policy with which to select materials within financial constraints. The policy is flexible and subject to review and will change as the information needs of the university change.

The primary goal of the library's Collection Development Policy is to ensure that the library builds and maintains a collection attuned to Cumberland University's undergraduate and graduate curricula.

Collection Development Responsibility:
Both librarians and faculty members share responsibility for building and maintaining the collection. The librarians participating in collection development serve as liaisons to faculty members, soliciting and gathering their input; additionally, the course catalog for each upcoming semester is surveyed for required and supplementary texts to determine feasibility of adding these materials to the library collection. Librarians may also serve as subject specialists based on their specific training and experience, recommending material, assessing and maintaining the collection, and keeping abreast of new information. Tools used in the selection of new material include book reviews from the Association for College & Research Libraries magazine, Choice, which publishes 500 reviews per month, spanning more than 50 academic specialties; taking into consideration the university's academic disciplines, librarians seek out those titles receiving Choice "Essential" or "Highly Recommended" reviews. Other collection enhancing materials are identified in academic publisher catalogs and through student, faculty, and staff requests.

Allocation of Funds:
The materials budget is divided according to academic discipline based on the following considerations: number of faculty within a division, average cost of books in a discipline, course content within a division, and analysis of program resource needs.

Selection Philosophy:
The library collects a wide variety of materials in a number of formats, including electronic and print books and serials, online databases, and DVDs. The library collection, with some exceptions, is based on quality, not quantity. As a small library, space and budget considerations preclude buying materials that do not meet the current needs of the school's curriculum. Also, duplicates will not be added to the collection unless heavy demand is expected.

Selection Guidelines:
In addition to the general guidelines above, materials are judged according to the following standards:
  • Currency: The focus of collection development is on current materials. Exceptions include selecting materials that form part of a core collection in a subject taught at the university. The library also endeavors to replace lost or stolen items.
  • Language: The library favors material published primarily in English.
  • Reputation of Author and Publisher: How authoritative are the author(s) and publisher of the material in question?
  • Strength of Present Holdings: Is the library already sufficient in the area?
  • Cost: Does demand for an item justify the acquisition of a high-cost item?
  • Lasting Value: Does the item have lasting value?