Collection Development Policy
One of the primary services of college library is to provide a mix of resources that support the mission of the institution, the curriculum, course relatedness, student assignments and the interests of the faculty and staff. The term “resources” encompasses books and monographs, popular magazines, audiovisual materials, scholarly journals, assorted realia, proprietary periodical databases and the tools to locate these resources. Appropriate collection development also requires the removal of resources and the cancelation of services that either no longer serve the needs of the community or because of costs, are not sustainable or because of facility planning or reconfiguration.
Although a library collection policy for a college such as Morningside is straight-forward in its application, its implementation, particularly for books is complex as it requires a decision-making process that is repeated hundreds of times per year. Additionally, selection criteria are many and may be weighted differently depending upon the specific resource or the timing of an acquisition decision. The complexity of the process also reflects the fact that library faculty and their teaching colleagues may at times view resources and their relative value and importance differently. In other words, the selection of resources is both a ‘science’ based on specific, albeit many criteria and an art informed by intuition, experience, collaboration and a subjective view of the value of a specific resource.
Books and monographs are major resource types included in the library's collection. A description of the Hickman Jonhson Furrow Library's acquisitions process of books and monographs and a listing of selection criteria follow below.
The process for books:
Most book requests are in response to the distribution of CHOICE Review cards. Printed on each of these 3×5” cards is a review of an academic title of possible merit for our library. Published 10 times per by the American Library Association, the review includes a summary ranking of “Not recommended” to “Essential.” The library distributes these (3-4 times per year) to the departments; in response, individual faculty members return cards of titles of interest complete with an explanation of their request to acquire the title. Librarians also give consideration to any other request for a resource that may become known to the requestor through other channels such as review articles or news and other media reports. A department may also choose not to receive CHOICE cards. In those cases, Librarians will act on the department’s behalf and choose appropriate resources.
An Explanation of Selection Criteria for books:
Relatedness to the curriculum, specific courses and professional research interests: This information is supplied by requesting faculty member.
CHOICE recommendation: Essential (3), Highly recommended (2), Recommended (1), Optional, Not recommended (0)
Faculty recommendation: Essential (3), Recommended (2), Submitted but with no recommendation (1)
These may be found in various scholarly publications & Amazon.
Although a title may receive rave reviews and recommendations, its cost relative to the value of competing choices may be difficult to justify.
State of existing collection:
A requested title’s Subject Headings can be determined and a search made in the library catalog for titles having similar headings. Currency of the collection is also given consideration.
Relatedness to new program initiatives and courses:
e.g. Leadership studies, Food studies & SOTL
Availability of peer-reviewed scholarship via proprietary electronic databases: Scholarly communication in some fields appears primarily in journals rather than monographs.
Librarians individually rate on a 0 to 5 point scale. The rating is a reflection of all the criteria identified herein. Hickman Johnson Furrow Library practice also informs a librarian rating. Over the course of the year, hundreds of reference questions are answered. From those interactions, library faculty gain a sense of what may be of use and interest to students and faculty.
The process after requests are received and scored:
As requests are received, each is scored and ranked according to the several criteria identified and described above. A ‘score’ is a point total reflecting the relative ‘enthusiasm’ of a Choice card reviewer (0-3), the faculty requestor (1-3) and each librarian (0-5) for a particular title. The ranking by total points becomes especially important when a budgeting constraint prevents all requests from being filled. For example, a $6000 spending limit applied to a major order may prevent the purchase of titles receiving fewer than eight points. If a book is not ordered, it will be considered again during the next selection cycle. It should also be noted that in rare cases, a title may not receive any consideration. Once a purchased item is received, the requestor is notified of its receipt.
The selection of resources for the Hickman Johnson Furrow Library is a collaborative process. Librarians depend on their teaching colleagues who are experts in their disciplines to recommend titles, to consult relative to future trends in their fields of study and to encourage the use of new resources once they are acquired.