CHAPTER 3 – Collection Development

3.1 General Statement
3.2 Responsibility for Selection
3.3 Criteria for Selection
3.4 Content Considerations
3.5 Discarding and Replacing Materials
3.6 Gifts and Donations
3.7 Copyrighted Materials
3.8 Challenged Materials
3.9 Internet Link Selection Policy

3.1 General Statement
Library personnel seek, evaluate, and acquire print and non-print materials to support the educational and resource needs of students, faculty, and staff. These materials include books, periodicals, and electronic resources. Materials requests and needs are solicited from a variety of user groups for the purposes of supporting the quality of instruction and supplementing the curricula. Efforts are made to be inclusive of all user needs in collection development in order to represent diverse populations.

3.2 Responsibility for Selection
Faculty members are subject specialists and are encouraged to request materials that support their programs. The libraries encourage faculty participation in the selection process by making review information and material catalogs available. Students and non-instructional staff are also encouraged to make suggestions. Library staff members select and recommend materials for all collections based on requests, usage statistics, and current trends.

3.3 Criteria for Selection
Preference is given to titles directly related to current academic programs, vocational programs, and course assignments. Books and other materials are selected based on reviews in professional journals and other authoritative sources. The library staff will utilize all resources that help to select and verify high-quality items, including their own personal judgment based upon education, experience, and knowledge of a subject.

Consideration is given to the accessibility or scarcity of materials on the subject, format, timeliness and/or permanence of the information, and reading level. Availability of funds is always a factor in selection of materials. The Gaston College Libraries will consider but does not normally purchase expensive and infrequently used materials that are available in other area libraries. Preference is given to print periodical titles that are listed in print and electronic indexes but are not available electronically.

In addition to publishers’ catalogs, the following professional tools are used to assist faculty members and librarians in selection:  Choice Online, Books in Print, Booklist Library Journal, New York Review of Books, New York Times Book Review, professional journals, etc.

Subject bibliographies and reference guides are also available as aids in the selection of relevant materials.  These include Vocational & Technical Resources for Community College Libraries, Choices Outstanding Academic Books, and vendors such as

Special considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  • Curriculum based needs of the student
  • Instructional needs of the faculty
  • Lasting value of the content
  • Strength of present holdings in same of similar subject areas
  • Authoritativeness
  • Reputation and significance of the author
  • Quality and style of writing
  • Readability and popular appeal
  • Reputation and standards of publisher
  • Format
  • Cost

Textbooks that are currently adopted for class will not normally be purchased for the collection.  The exceptions are those which have earned reputation as “classics” in their fields, or when a textbook is the only or best source of information on a particular topic.  Textbooks may be accepted as donations but they must meet the standards for purchase of materials and the gifts policy.

The library will not routinely purchase consumable materials such as workbooks or tests.

Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances

When there is an option of paper or hardcopy, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content and cost differential.

Lost, stolen, or damaged materials shall be replaced if they are available and warrant replacement.

3.4 Content Considerations
The libraries normally purchase only one copy of each item selected.

The libraries do not generally purchase textbooks for courses being taught. Instructors may place a personal copy on reserve or donate copies to include in the collections.

Materials are typically selected in English and at the relevant reading level of the associated curriculum. This includes materials selected for ESL and EFL programs.

It is intended that the reference collection not only support the research needs of the curriculum, but also the general reference requirements of the general student body, faculty and staff, as well as users from the surrounding community.

Two types of print serial selections are made: popular periodicals that provide appropriate leisure reading and sources for classroom or academic activity.

3.5 Discarding and Replacing Materials
Faculty members, in conjunction with library staff, are encouraged to review the collection in their subject specialty areas, recommending the withdrawal of obsolete materials and suggesting new replacement titles. Library staff periodically reviews the collection for discard recommendations.

Categories of materials discarded include: materials in poor physical condition, outdated/obsolete materials, and unneeded duplicates of materials.

Factors considered when discarding materials include: value to the collection, physical condition, coverage of subject by other materials in collection, availability of better or more recent editions, demand for and past use of materials, accuracy of information content, and number of copies in the collection. Each item that is considered for discarding is individually evaluated. Materials that are lost, worn, or damaged are not automatically replaced.

The following criteria are considered when discarding materials:

  • Obsolescence – the copyright date is more than ten years old or less depending on subject matter.
  • Physical condition – the material is in poor shape
  • Has lost its usefulness with regards to the curriculum, students, and faculty.

Materials purchased with state funds shall be stamped with “discarded” before being withdrawn from the database. Discards are disposed of as prescribed by the Department of Community Colleges: sold for a nominal charge, given to other institutions, or otherwise disposed.

Materials donated, that are not cataloged, will be sold for a nominal charge, given to other institutions, or otherwise disposed of.

Materials withdrawn because of loss, damage, or wear are not automatically replaced.  Replacement is dependent upon relevance to the curriculum, cost of replacement, availability of funds, and user demand for the title.

Binding of books is dependent upon the cost of the process versus purchase of a title and currency of the item.

Duplication of materials is held at a minimum, dependent upon the importance to the curriculum, budget, and the price of the item.

3.6 Gifts and Donations
The libraries welcome donations of books, journals, videos, maps, and other information media in good condition. Materials donated to the libraries become the property of Gaston College. Gift materials are accepted by the libraries with the understanding that the library will evaluate and retain items in the best interest of the libraries’ collection.

Gift materials are evaluated on the same basis as purchased items. Limitations of space, processing costs, and physical conditions are other considerations in the decision to incorporate donated materials into the collections. Items not added to the collections may be sold in the annual book sale.  If donors plan to use their donations as tax deductions, they may wish to have an outside authority evaluate each item’s worth and consult Internal Revenue Service documentation for guidelines. Library staff does not appraise gifts.

Individuals wishing to make a financial donation to supplement the college’s allocation for library collections, resources, and services are invited to contact the Director of the Gaston College Foundation. Contributors should indicate their donations be designated for the library. Financial donations may be made in memory or in honorarium of individuals at the donor’s request.

The following guidelines shall apply:

  • Potential donations are evaluated in accordance with the purpose of the Gaston College libraries, which is to directly support the mission of the college by providing library services and access to information in various formats.
  • Archival materials, i.e., personal papers, ephemera, genealogical information, must be directly related to Gaston College.
  • The libraries reserve the right to determine whether a gift will be added to the collection, where it will be located, and how it will be made accessible.
  • The libraries reserve the right to dispose of materials according to the weeding policy.
  • Gifts of books or other materials are received by the director of libraries.
  • Letters of acknowledgement of donations will be supplied to all donors, but there will be no attempt to assign values for tax purposes. The responsibility of appraisal lies with the donor.  Copies of acknowledgement letters will be sent to the Executive Director Foundation/Resource Development.
  • Potential gifts of furniture and art objects are referred to the Executive Director of Foundation/Resource Development.
  • Delivery of potential gifts will be the responsibility of the donor.

A donor wishing to present a memorial book gift should contact the director to work out the details of the transaction.  The donor may choose a title or subject area for the selection.  A gift plate is placed in the book indicating the honoree and the donor.  A letter noting the donation is sent to the family of the honoree.

3.7 Copyrighted Materials
The Gaston College Libraries comply with all provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The library supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. §107) which permits and protects citizens’ rights to reproduce and make use of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.

3.8 Challenged Materials
The library staff has the responsibility to provide materials and information to meet the needs of the college’s curricula and programs. Collection development is carried out under the guidance of established selection policies based upon the needs of the user groups, service objectives, collection specifications, and current selection needs. The Gaston College Libraries support the American Library Association in its endorsement of both intellectual freedom and the freedom to read as stated in its Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.

The choice to use library materials is an individual matter. While people may reject materials for personal use, no individual has the right to censor or restrict the freedom of others to read these materials.

Requests to remove materials or resources from the library must be submitted in writing to the Director of Library Services.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources

3.9 Internet Link Selection Policy
General Statement
Library personnel select and include resources from the Internet on the library Web site to serve the educational and research needs of students, faculty, and staff. Links are selected to reflect the mission of the library and the curricular and research interests of the students, faculty, and staff and undergo a process of selection for comprehensiveness, relevance to the collection, quality, and educational value.

Responsibility for Selection
Library staff, faculty, students and college staff are also encouraged to suggest links to add to the library website.

Many of the standard selection procedures available for print resources do not work for Internet resources. Standard collection evaluation sources are not yet available for Internet resources; Internet sites change and new sites appear rapidly. Selectors will use evaluation review sources in print publications or on a listserv when they are available, but will frequently rely on personal review of sources for selection.

So many resources are available on the Internet that library staff members do not have time to review them all. If patrons find sites that they would like to be considered adding as a link on the Gaston College Libraries Web site, they can submit a request.

Patrons may request that the Gaston College Libraries reconsider links that have been made from the library’s Web site to outside resources. Patrons requesting reconsideration of any links should follow the guidelines in the “Challenged Materials” section of the library’s Collection Development Policy.

Page last updated April 26, 2024

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