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Collection Development Policy: Home

Information on Materials Selection Criteria

Library Resources


Doris & Harry Vise Library
Cumberland University
1 Cumberland Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
Tel: 615-547-1299
Fax: 615-444-2569

Vise Library 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?

Books & Serials

  • Hardbacks/Paperbacks: When a choice exists between hardback and paperback books of the same item, paperbacks are purchased. The library places plastic covers over books to ensure a longer lasting value and preservation.
  • Textbooks: Textbooks are not routinely purchased, but are considered when specifically requested by faculty or frequently requested by students. Exceptions also include items deemed "classics" in a particular field or otherwise relevant to the collection.
  • E-Books: The library subscribes to OCLC eBooks and the Rittenhouse R2 PDA program.
  • Juvenile Material: The library collects award-winning children's and juvenile books primarily to support the needs of the School of Education. Book awards influencing this part of the library's collection development include Newbery, Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Belpré Medal, Sibert Informational, and the Schneider Family book awards. 
  • Young Adult Material: The library collects popular and critically recognized Young Adult (YA) titles in response to our student demand. Book awards influencing our YA collection development include the Michael L. Printz and Stonewall book awards.
Unlike books, serial subscriptions require ongoing financial commitments. Thus, serials tend to be scrutinized carefully. Librarians and faculty conduct periodic reviews of individual periodical titles. The criteria used in deciding to drop or add a particular title are as follows:
  1. Does the periodical support the curriculum?
  2. Is the periodical available in full text in one of the library's online databases?
  3. Is full text availability limited by any embargoes or delays?
  4. Is the cost of the periodical becoming prohibitively expensive?
  5. Does usage warrant continuing the subscription?
The library subscribes to a select number of local and national newspapers. Newspapers are retained for four weeks and then discarded. Three newspapers, the Lebanon Democrat, the Wilson Post, and the Mt. Juliet News are retained for permanent use on microfilm.

Back Runs
Back issues of most print serial titles are kept for ten years.  The library will rely on interlibrary loan to acquire articles from serials it does not hold.

Online Databases
The library subscribes to a variety of online databases. Most contain the full text of a magazine or journal article. The databases also serve as indices for serials available from the library.



Government Publications:
The library is not a depository for either state or federal documents. However, the library does purchase materials published by governmental agencies. These consist mainly of statistical books and other reference material.

The library does not select microforms except for the newspapers listed above.

Maps and Atlases:
The library will repair or replace atlases already existing in the collection and acquire updated editions. Maps are not selected.

Special Collections - The Stockton Archives:
The library contains an archive of materials associated with Cumberland University. Cumberland staff, students and alumni donate most of this material. However, the library may purchase documents relevant to the university's history.

Tennessee Collection - Dissertations and Theses:
The library does not collect dissertations or theses. However, materials written by Cumberland University faculty are accepted on donation and placed in the Stockton Archives.

Telephone Books:
Due to the availability of free telephone books and listings on the Internet, the library does not collect these materials.

College Catalogs:
Since a great number of colleges provide copies of their catalogs on the Internet, the library does not collect these materials.

Audio/Visual Materials:
DVDs are actively selected. The criteria for selection are identical to that of books. Audiocassettes and video cassettes are not selected.

Weeding Policy:
Librarians assess the relevance and physical condition of materials in the collection on a continuing basis. Materials deemed outdated or otherwise irrelevant for the university are removed. Materials judged to be in poor condition, but still useful, will be repaired or replaced if possible. Also, materials superseded by newer editions will be replaced. Particular attention is paid to the areas of health sciences and computer information; material in these subject areas older than five years or two editions is removed from the collection.

The library accepts most donations with the understanding that materials not added to the library collection will either be sold through Better World Books (to add to our materials budget) or offered free to library patrons. 

The library endeavors to preserve materials as best as possible. Items are evaluated on a continuing basis. The main priority is that the materials remain in good condition for regular library use. However, with the exception of items in Special Collections, the library makes no effort to preserve material for perpetuity.