Collection Management Policy

I. Introduction

It is the responsibility and goal of the Stewart Library to acquire materials for the onsite collection and provide access to off-site resources that (1) support the university’s educational objectives and programs, and (2) support the scholarship and research interests of faculty and students. The resulting collections of information resources are among the most valuable and permanent the university can provide and as such deserve conscious, consistent, and continuous management and stewardship. 

The library’s Collection Management Policy establishes guidelines for the selection and acquisition of library resources that support teaching and learning at Weber State University. A collection management policy must be flexible to respond to the long and short range objectives of the institution, the available resources, and the varying circumstances and needs within the university community. This policy emphasizes providing access to electronic resources and the importance of cooperative collection management efforts within the Utah Academic Library Consortium.

Effective management of library collections is a highly consultive and collaborative process. It encompasses the range of activities involved in assessing needs and identifying, evaluating, selecting, and acquiring information resources. At WSU, subject librarians are assigned to each of the colleges. It is their responsibility to consult regularly with faculty and students in the college to assess instructional and research needs, and to collaborate with faculty in developing and managing the collections.


II. University Mission Statement

Weber State University provides learning opportunities appropriate to a comprehensive institution of higher education, welcoming participants from all regions, nations, and cultures. The mission of the university is to meet the educational needs of Utah through roles assigned by the State Board of Regents in the liberal arts and sciences and a variety of vocations and professions. Primarily committed to quality undergraduate education, the university offers degree programs which include advanced professional preparation.


III. Library Mission and Goals

The Mission of the Stewart Library is to: 

  • Support the instructional, scholarship, and community service mission of Weber State University through the development of on-site collections, access to off-site resources, personalized assistance in the use of library and information resources, and instruction on research strategies and tools.

  • Systematically assess the services we provide and the relevancy and use of the collections and use assessment outcomes to continually improve our resources and services. 

In support of the university’s mission to “provide students with high-quality comprehensive programs in professional and liberal arts areas as well as studies in advanced professional fields,” the library has adopted the following strategic goals:

  • Improve the quality and relevancy of the collection by systematically assessing the information resources needs of the academic community and continue to develop a focused, core collection of print and electronic resources to support instructional and research needs.

  • Enhance access to information resources by subscribing to electronic databases and full-text journals and, in consultation with faculty, canceling print subscriptions for titles available full-text online.<

  • Provide a comprehensive instruction program that includes for credit, online and on demand instruction in order to graduate students with information literacy competencies.

  • Augment the library’s budget by increasing private donations.


IV. Principles of Service

The Stewart Library is committed to providing service of the highest possible quality; respecting each patron as an individual; responding to patrons in a timely, courteous, and helpful manner; and maintaining confidentiality of records and transactions.

The library is committed to preserving academic and intellectual freedom; ensuring a climate of openness and trust; fostering an appreciation of diversity among staff and patrons; supporting equal opportunity, staff development and training; affirming individual dignity; and recognizing merit. The library is committed to providing effective stewardship of the property entrusted to it and providing for the safety and welfare of staff and patrons.

The library is committed to acquiring and maintaining appropriate resources for the collections; providing equitable access to resources and systems; promoting information literacy among the University community; exploring and implementing innovations and technological advances that increase information access; and remaining open and responsive to change. The library, recognizing the mutual interests that bind the wider library community, is committed to participating in library networks; following recognized standards and conventions; and sharing resources and expertise. The University’s educational mission is the governing principle underlying all library service.


V. Collection Management Responsibility

An essential part of the mission of the Stewart Library is to develop and manage collections to meet the teaching and research needs of the WSU faculty, students and staff. Subject librarians are assigned to each college and, in collaboration with academic faculty, have primary responsibility for developing and managing the library’s collections, and for ensuring budget allocations are expended wisely. The University Librarian oversees the collection management process and is responsible for making budget allocations.

For the purposes of this Policy, the term “collection management” is used broadly to describe activities which include:

  • Systematically assessing the library needs of the university community.

  • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current collections.

  • Evaluating and carefully selecting new materials in all formats to support the teaching and research needs of the WSU faculty, students, and staff.

  • Promoting and facilitating the use of library resources and services.

  • Continuing the effort to find the most effective means of providing information to the WSU community.


VI. Budget Allocations

The library makes every effort to use its available resources as equitably and effectively as possible in developing its collections of information resources. Annual allocations are made to acquire library resources in support of the various academic disciplines and programs. The amount of the allocation may vary from year to year, depending upon the amount of funds available and the identified needs of the academic programs. In determining allocation amounts, a number of factors are taking into consideration, including:

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the extant collection.

  • Identified programmatic needs.

  • Student/faculty use of information resources in the subject area.

  • Publishing output and average cost of library resources in the subject area.

  • Program level (graduate, undergraduate.)

  • Number of faculty teaching in the discipline.

  • Number of students and number of majors offered in the program.

  • Current ongoing commitments (journals, standing orders, etc.) 

Gift monies and additional one-time funding are routinely used to supplement annual allocations.
Budget allocations are made in July. One half of the allocation should be encumbered by no later than December 15th, the remaining one half should be encumbered by no later than April 15th.


VII. Selection Aids

Various selection aids are utilized in selecting quality resources for the collections. These selection aids include, but are not limited to, professional journal and newspaper reviews, professional association reviews, publisher catalogs, subject specific bibliographies, standard lists and literature guides. Faculty, staff, and student recommendations are also considered as selection aids for collection management purposes.


VII. Levels of Collection

Academic fields vary in their need for and use of library resources. One discipline may require that a library collection be composed primarily of monographic, often highly inter-disciplinary materials, while another may rely heavily on journals. In attempting to meet the needs of the WSU community, the Library must be cognizant of the differing requirements of the various disciplines and systematically solicit information on the curricular and research needs of each academic department. These identified needs, along with the type, level and scope of the various programs, the current and projected degrees offered, and the anticipated changes in courses offered, can then be used in determining the appropriate level of collection activity necessary to meet the current and future needs of the departments. The following definitions were designed to aid academic libraries in identifying both the extent of existing collections and the extent of current collection activity in a subject field. These definitions are intended as broad guidelines only.

A. Minimal Level. A subject area outside the scope of the Library’s collection efforts in which very few selections are made beyond basic reference tools.
B. Basic Level. A highly selective collection that serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. This level will include a small general interest collection not necessarily identifiable to any specific subject area but intended for general informational and basic intellectual needs. 
C. Study Level. A collection intended to support undergraduate or minimal graduate course work and sustain independent study. This level is adequate to gain the depth of knowledge of a subject that is required for limited or generalized purposes of less than research intensity. It will include a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference sources and primary bibliographies pertaining to the subject. 
D. Research Level. A collection that includes the major source materials required for dissertations and independent research including materials containing research reporting new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as an extensive collection of journals. 
E. Comprehensive Level. A collection in which a library endeavors to include all significant works of recorded knowledge in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and very limited field. This level of collecting intensity is that which maintains a “special collection”; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.

The library's depth of collection in each subject field reflects the curricular and research needs of students and faculty. The level toward which the library strives is the Study Level to support master’s and undergraduate programs. For subject fields in which WSU does not offer courses the Minimal Level of collections (few selections beyond very basic reference tools) are maintained.


IX. General Criteria for the Evaluation & Selection of Library Materials.

The library collects materials in all formats that support the curricular and faculty research interest of the university. The following criteria provides general guidelines in the selection of information resources for the library’s collections:

  • Appropriateness for and relevancy to the undergraduate and graduate programs offered at Weber State University is the primary criterion.

  • Perceptions of need and evidence of demand for materials within a subject area.

  • Strength/weakness of the collection in a particular subject area and the designated collecting level.

  • Quality of the resource in content, format, and/or literary merit.

  • Currency and timeliness of the material. Current publications are given priority. Efforts are made, however, to secure important retrospective materials, both in and out of print, as needed in specific disciplines.

  • Language. Selections in English and those languages taught at WSU are given preference.

  • Faculty/staff/student requests.

  • Published reviews.

  • The following categories of materials are not normally purchased: Reprints of articles available in another form. Textbooks adopted for classroom use.


X. Censorship Statement.

The library endorses the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and Freedom To Read statements. We seek to provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues.


XI. General Acquisition Guidelines

Audio Materials: Compact disc format is the preferred medium for audio materials. Audio cassettes are purchased when a CD for the item is not available. Phonograph records are no longer purchased.

Computer Disks or CD-Roms: Computer materials are selected using the same criteria as for other types of materials.

Computer Programs: Computer software programs are not purchased or added to the library’s collection.

Copyright: The library respects and adheres to the applicable copyright laws of the United States. Therefore, unpublished or copied materials in any form will be added to the collection only when copyright compliance can be verified.

Dissertations/Theses and Faculty Publications: The library maintains a copy of each thesis and project written by a university graduate and actively seeks a copy of any publication of the faculty, including their dissertation. These publications become a part of the University Archives Collection.

Electronic Resources: Electronic resources including databases and electronic books are acquired based on the following criteria when applicable:

  • Cost

  • Demand

  • Quality of indexing and search capabilities

  • Ease of use

  • Suitability to curriculum support

  • Technical support requirements

  • Compatibility with existing network system

  • Licensing restrictions

(For additional information see the Electronic Resources Policy.)

Fiction: Development of a fiction collection that is not curriculum related is not a priority. However, the collection does contain a significant amount of what is considered “good fiction,” much of it acquired through gifts.

Foreign Language Materials: Materials which support instruction in languages taught at the university (currently French, German, Japanese, and Spanish) will be added as needed.

Gifts: The library looks upon gifts and donations as an important adjunct to its acquisitions program and appreciates the thoughtfulness of those making the donations.
The decision to add gift material to the collection is made by the relevant subject librarian. Gifts duplicating material already owned are not usually added to the collection. (For additional information see the Gifts-in-Kind Policy.)

Games: Simulation games which directly support WSU instruction and research may be purchased. A sample collection of children’s games which directly support the Teacher Education program may also be acquired.

Journals: The library’s journal collection is developed and maintained to support, in so far as existing resources allow, the instructional and research needs of the university community.

  • Electronic journals are preferred when available (and cost is not prohibitive.) In addition to the established criteria for all new materials, new electronic journal subscriptions will be reviewed for the following criteria:

    • Accessibility of the journal via the World Wide Web

    • Availability of the journal in full text through an electronic database

    • Cost

    • Electronic or print indexing availability

    • Licensing restrictions and vendor support

    • Reliability of access

    • Percentage of full text included electronically

    • Availability of electronic archiving

  • Print journals are purchased to keep the collection up-to-date with current information in various fields, to provide material not available in books; to supplement the book collection, and to serve as selection aids, book reviewing media and professional reading sources. In addition to the established evaluation criteria for all materials, a new print subscription shall be reviewed for the following criteria:

    • Electronic or print indexing coverage available in other library resources

    • Electronic version is unavailable

    • Faculty request/need

(For additional information see the Journal Collection Management Policy.)

Juvenile and Young Adult Literature: A modest amount of funding is allocated each year to purchase award-winning juvenile and young adult titles to support instruction in the English and Elementary Education departments. These titles are located in the Young People’s Collection.

Manuscripts: Manuscripts in printed, edited form, facsimile editions, and microform are selected by subject librarians using the same criteria as for other monographic materials. (For policy on acquiring original manuscripts see Special Collections Policy.)

Maps: Maps perceived as relevant to WSU teaching and research interests are collected. Priority is given to collecting maps of North America which augment U.S. depository maps.

Monographs: A monograph is a single volume, dealing systematically and in detail with one subject or class of subjects. This definition includes monographic series (series of monographs with a collective title, often issued by a university or society) and reference sources such as encyclopedias, almanacs, and biographical sources. Monographs are selected for the library's collection primarily to serve the curricular and research needs of the university community.

Models: Three dimensional models needed to directly support WSU teaching and research are acquired.

Multiple copies: Because it is desirable to acquire as many titles as possible, ordering more than one copy of an item should be done only when need is certain. Use of reserve services as an alternative is encouraged. An exception to this guideline is the case of placing a copy of a work in both the general collection and one in Special Collections. In no case should additional copies be ordered simply to make student textbook purchases unnecessary.

Music Scores: Music scores are selected by the relevant subject librarian and the Music Department. Scores are cataloged and located in the music collection.

Newspapers: The library acquires newspapers on a current and highly selective basis to meet the teaching and research needs of the university. Electronic subscriptions are preferred.

Out of Print Materials: Efforts to obtain material on the out of print market will be made if the relevant subject librarian or a member of the faculty perceive the out of print item to be sufficiently important to warrant the effort and ensuing probability of added costs.

Pamphlets: While the goal of the library is to acquire, in appropriate format, resources that meet the needs of its users, selection of pamphlet material is not encouraged because of the expense involved in the management and maintenance of these materials.

Paperbacks: While purchasing hardback copies in some subject areas may be preferred because of permanency, purchasing a paperback copy (and covering it in-house with plastic) often represents a significant cost-savings and should be considered.

Rare Books: Rare books will not be purchased. To do so would be inappropriate, given the library’s stated objectives and financial constraints. (Rare books acquired as gifts are discussed in the Special Collection Policy.)

Reference Collection: Authoritative, up-to-date reference materials supply essential information and are housed in a non-circulating Reference Collection. (See Reference Collection Management Policy for specific information.)

Replacements: Material lost or missing from the collection may be replaced. Demand for the resource, its value to the collection, and whether or not it has been superseded by a new edition or newer material should be considered before purchasing a replacement copy. Alternative titles within the same subject area should also be considered.

Special Collections: The Howell Library and Special Collections Department provides for the selection, storage, and preservation of “special” print and non print materials. Designation of materials to be included in these collections is determined by one or more of the following characteristics: monetary value; rarity; age; intrinsic qualities (fine bindings, significant provenance, limited or special editions, etc.); and subject matter. Acquisition of materials for Special Collections is accomplished through gifts, transfers, and purchases. (For additional information see the Special Collections Policy.)

Textbooks: Textbooks may be selectively acquired using the same criteria as is used for any new monograph. However, textbooks and their accompanying manuals, workbooks and other auxiliary materials are by nature introductory or state of the art surveys and tend to become outdated rapidly, with the exception of classic textbooks in technical, scientific or business fields that have become recognized as standard reference and review sources.

A textbook which is adopted as a required text for any WSU course will not be acquired unless it is perceived to have value as a reference or research work beyond its classroom application.

U.S. Government Publications: The library is a selective depository for U.S. Government Publications. It also acquires publications of local, state, and regional agencies. Selection of U.S. Government Publications is based on the needs of the University Community and profiled. The profile is reviewed regularly by the various subject librarians. Selected items are cataloged and become a part of the general library collection. The balance of the depository items are cataloged according to SuDoc number and maintained in a separate Government Publications collection.

University Archives: The library maintains an archival collection to preserve those materials, regardless of format, which document the history of the university, its faculty, and students. The Archives is not intended to be a records management facility housing limited-retention records. (For additional information see the University Archives Acquisition Policy.)

Videos: Videos are purchased to support instruction and research and are charged against the same budget as are books and other non-serials materials. While DVD is the preferred format, VHS cassettes are purchased when the desired item is not available on DVD. All copyright restriction are respected.

Weeding: Systematic weeding of the collection is an integral part of the collection management process and is a responsibility of subject librarians, in collaboration with faculty. (For additional information see the Withdrawal & Disposition of Materials Policy.)