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I-25: Library Collections Policy

Policy Number: I-25
Last Reviewed: July 17, 2013
Responsible Dept.: Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

Purpose

The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to establish guidelines for the selection and maintenance of materials in Brown Library.

Introduction

In support of the mission of Virginia Western Community College, Brown Library strives to provide high quality, relevant and balanced collections in a variety of formats to meet the needs of our diverse community.

Collection Development Goals

The primary goal of Collection Development at Brown Library is to support the core academic curriculum, instructional programs, and any special subject areas unique to Virginia Western Community College. Materials are primarily selected to support students in their academic research and to support faculty and staff in their academic disciplines.

Because Virginia Western is a two-year college, most of the books acquired are at an introductory or undergraduate level. In consideration of faculty professional development and access to current materials in their fields, the library acquires some higher-level resources. Typically, the individual research needs of our faculty are met through a variety of online research databases and interlibrary loan, rather than direct ownership of highly specialized research materials.

The library's collection also includes a variety of general information resources in subject areas not covered by classroom instruction, but intended to support the College's community of lifelong learners. Where feasible, the library will support the cultural and recreational reading interests of its students, faculty, and staff.

Responsibility

Library materials are selected through a cooperative process, with participation and recommendations by faculty, librarians, staff, and students.

  • It is the responsibility of the library staff to obtain new books of general interest.
  • t is the responsibility of the teaching faculty to advise the library on the materials necessary to support their courses and programs. Requests are screened for duplication in holdings or coverage. Evaluation of need is determined by monitoring circulation, acquisitions and interlibrary loan statistics. When there is a question about a request, the Coordinator of Library Services will consult with the requester.
  • The Coordinator of Library Services serves as the leader of the library's collection development team and shall determine the suitability of all proposed materials for the collection, whether purchases or gifts.

Requesting Items for the Collection

Brown Library uses online library services as a tool for book suggestion, selection, and ordering. Through such services, the library provides faculty members with links to book information in their respective subject areas. After review of the information, faculty members may make online requests for these materials to the Coordinator of Library Services. Faculty members are notified by email when their selections have been catalogued and are ready for use.

Faculty, staff, students and community patrons may also suggest items for inclusion in Brown Library's collection online through the library's web page.

Collections

Print Books

The purpose of the library's print book collection is to support the core academic curriculum, instructional programs, and any of the college's special subject areas. English is the primary language of the book collection in print format. Foreign language materials may be acquired to support specific curricular needs. A book leasing program is utilized to offer popular fiction titles for recreational reading.

Cloth or hardback editions are preferred. Paperbacks are acquired when that is the only format available, or when there is a substantial price difference between the paper and the hardback edition. Books that are frequently updated (nursing/medical texts, computer manuals, test preparation materials, etc.) are purchased in paper formats when available. To enhance longevity of use, paperbound items are reinforced.

Selection Criteria
The following criteria are used in the selection of books in print format:

  • Relevance to the curriculum-based needs of students
  • Relevance to the instructional and professional development needs of faculty.
  • Response to reference questions asked in the library
  • Response to assignments
  • Predicted likelihood of use by students, faculty and staff
  • Appropriate academic level
  • Timeliness and significance
  • Correlation to the existing collection
  • Authority and credentials of author and publisher
  • Inclusion of the title in standard bibliographies or lists
  • Cost effectiveness, including price and demand
  • Avoidance of unnecessary duplication
  • Textbooks are generally not selected. Faculty members are encouraged to place textbooks and supplemental readings on reserve.
  • The purchase of duplicate copies of materials is acceptable (on a limited basis) when there is a demonstrated need.
  • Brown Library does not generally acquire materials that are consumable (such as workbooks) or kept outside of the library. Materials housed in the academic schools and other areas of the college are purchased and maintained through the resources of those areas.

Print Periodicals

The print periodical collection supports the college curriculum foremost, then serves to provide general interest and recreational reading for the college community. Access to periodicals is most comprehensively provided through the library's electronic databases; however, a small collection of periodicals in print is selected and retained. Print periodicals have a non-circulating status. These periodicals must be read within the library only and cannot be checked out.

Most of the library's print periodical titles are retained for two years (the current year plus the immediate previous year). Print periodicals supporting the college's Health Professions programs are retained for three years as stipulated by faculty.

Library staff members and faculty members review the periodical collection and subscription list annually.

Selection Criteria
The following criteria are used in the selection of periodicals in print format:

  • Relevance to the curriculum-based needs of students
  • Relevance to the instructional and professional development needs of faculty.
  • Response to assignments
  • Predicted likelihood of use by students, faculty and staff
  • Appropriate academic level
  • Timeliness and significance
  • Scope and depth of subject coverage
  • Correlation to the existing collection
  • Cost effectiveness, including price and demand
  • Brown Library does not acquire materials that are consumable or kept outside of the library.

Periodical Databases Online

Brown Library's online periodical databases support the College curriculum as well as provide a collection of general interest resources. The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) provide the library with access to online databases of academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, and bibliographic citations.

Selection Criteria for Other Databases
The library may choose to independently subscribe to databases other than those made available through the VIVA and VCCS consortium. Decisions to independently subscribe to electronic collections are governed by the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the curriculum-based needs of students
  • Relevance to the instructional and professional development needs of faculty.
  • Response to assignments
  • Timeliness and significance
  • Reputation and authoritativeness
  • Reliability of access
  • Unlimited or multiple-use access is preferred
  • Full-text availability
  • Full-page images as well as color embedded images
  • Technical accessibility and compatibility with existing and future hardware capabilities
  • Cost effectiveness, including price and demand

Electronic Books

The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS) provide the library with access to electronic books for Virginia Western students.

Audio Books

The VCCS consortium provides a collection of audio books that are accessible through the Brown Library catalog. Students may browse, check out, and download these items.

Gifts and Donations

Materials received as gifts are evaluated by the same criteria as materials purchased. Acceptance does not imply a commitment on the library's part to process a gift into the collection. Gifts must be free of restrictions and are accepted with the understanding that materials may not be added to the collection and may be offered to another department in the college. Responsibility for appraisal value resides with the donor. In all cases, the final decision and ultimate disposition of gift materials will reside with the Coordinator of Library Services.

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

The library staff is responsible for performing ongoing assessment of the library collection to ensure relevancy and continued support of the College's mission. Other collection evaluation considerations include the resource needs of students, staff, and faculty, curriculum changes, educational trends, long range planning and budget. The Coordinator of Library Services is responsible for the final decisions in collection evaluation and maintenance.

Determining the Adequacy of the Collection

Brown Library subscribes to industry-standard collection development resources. Through these resources, Brown Library's collection is compared to college library standards, with an evaluation of the collection by subject area to identify strengths, weaknesses, gaps and overlaps. This collection analysis is then used to determine the most appropriate books for selection and for de-selection (weeding), to determine the allocation of acquisition funds per subject, and, overall, to determine if the library has sufficient resources to support college programs, which is the overarching goal of any academic library.

Removing Items from the Collection ("Weeding")

Library staff members work closely with faculty to weed the collection on a regular basis. Faculty members come to the library, view the selections in their subject areas, and designate specific items for removal.

The following categories of materials will be considered for weeding from the collection:

  • Outdated materials
  • Superseded editions, unless these editions contain unique or historic materials
  • Excessively worn or damaged materials.
  • Duplicate copies which are no longer needed to support the curriculum
  • Textbooks and instructional materials or previous editions of more recent texts

Items in poor condition but still valuable in content will be considered for repair or replacement. Simple repairs (joints, spine, pages, etc.) are done in-house. Replacements are considered for more severely damaged items. Weeded materials are withdrawn and disposed of in accordance with state guidelines.

Newspapers are weeded monthly. Journals and magazines are weeded once a year in January.

Retention Plans

Based on faculty recommendations, Brown Library follows the retention plan below:

Print Magazines and Journals

  1. Titles for Health Professions Programs
    • Nursing journals - keep three years
    • Dental Hygiene journals - keep five years
    • Radiography journals - keep five years
  2. Inquiry Journal (The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges) - Keep all issues.
  3. All other titles - Keep immediate past year issues and current year issues.

Print Newspapers

  1. Keep The Roanoke Times for two months
  2. Keep all other titles for one month.

Print Books

  1. Titles for Health Professions Programs
    • Nursing books - keep three years
    • Dental Hygiene books - keep five years
    • Radiography books - keep five years
  2. Titles in medicine, law, computers, science, and reference
    • Check yearly and replace outdated information

Intellectual Freedom Statement

As an academic institution, Virginia Western's Brown Library seeks to uphold the tradition of intellectual freedom and to create an atmosphere conducive to research and learning. Further, Brown Library shall provide books and other library resources for the education and information of all members of the Virginia Western community. The library shall attempt to provide materials and information representing a variety of points of view on current and historical issues. Materials shall not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

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