North Hall Library


Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to provide direction for the Librarians responsible for choosing the materials and services which meet the informational needs of Mansfield University. Rising costs, increases in publishing output, new technologies, and expanding demands for information necessitate careful materials selection, soundly based on an understanding of the immediate and future goals of the Library and the institution it serves. A collection must be systematically shaped and developed in order to make the best use of the funds allotted to it.

North Hall Library is strongly committed to creating a virtual library in which resources will be available online anywhere anytime. Demonstrating this commitment the library is spending an increasing percentage of its allocation on materials in electronic format, making them remotely accessible whenever possible, and linking to them through the library catalog whenever appropriate and feasible.


The Collection comprises all materials in all formats acquired by the Library for the University. It includes online resources and materials housed in North Hall.


The primary goal of the Collection is to support the educational programs of the University. Secondarily it may meet other educational, research, and recreational needs of the University community.


Although the Collection is available for use by area residents, the University is the primary Community to be served and the Collection is developed on that basis.

Selection Responsibility

Responsibility for the selection, development, and maintenance of the Collection rests with the Librarians, who are aware of appropriate selection tools, use patterns, collection imbalances, and the specific informational needs of library users. Input and requests for specific materials will be solicited from classroom faculty, who know the coursework and the course-related information needs of students and themselves, and other college personnel, who are aware of the informational needs of their offices. Other requests for selection of materials are accepted and reviewed by the Librarians. No approval plans or automatic patron driven acquisition systems are used in selection of library materials.

Fund Allocations

It is the joint responsibility of the Director of the Library and the Librarians to allocate the materials budget in such a way as to fulfill the library's collection development goals. The funds available for each department include an equal base appropriation plus funds based on such factors as the number of students enrolled and use of the Collection (circulation). Fluctuation in fund allocation occurs and is due to changing economic conditions.

Selection Guidelines

To meet the stated goals, representative materials in all areas of knowledge will be collected, when possible, but only subject areas relating to the University's academic curriculum--departments, majors, and minors--will be developed in-depth.

The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular needs are the first criteria against which any potential item is evaluated. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  • Lasting value of the content
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment
  • Strength of present holdings in same or similar subject areas
  • Suitability of format to content and compatibility with university-owned equipment
  • E-books must be compatible with university supported e-book platforms.
  • Authoritativeness of the author or reputation of the publisher
  • Published reviews
  • Cost
  • Demand
  • Need
  • All new serial and database subscriptions are subject to the approval of the library faculty and the Library Director.  Availability of funds, support of the curriculum, and projected use of the resource are primary considerations for approval of new serial and database subscriptions.

Other guidelines are also utilized.

  • Duplicate copies are purchased only under unusual circumstances determined by circulation, reference, or reserve statistics.
  • The majority of selections are current publications. The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases; however, in view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining out-of-print and reprinted material, it is more important to allocate funds for items of perceived long-term worth. The library does have the responsibility to keep appropriate historical records (local and regional history and those items necessary to support the curriculum).
  • Some selections may be made in anticipation of future needs of departments and the University.
  • In recognition of the fact that information comes in diverse forms, the Library may acquire: print materials; electronic resources; sound recordings; video recordings; slides; maps; games; mixed media kits; realia; software; etc. [See also: Non-print Materials and Electronic Resources.]
  • Except for selected reference and music sources, materials in foreign languages will generally be collected only in support of the classroom curriculum. An exception may be made in other areas when an appropriate English-language source is not available.
  • Materials with an emphasis on local or University-related topics will be collected whenever possible.
  • Lost or stolen materials will be replaced, if available and if funds allow. Lost or stolen material may be replaced by identical or similar materials.
  • When there is an option between paper or hard-bound copy, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential.
  • E-books are preferred over physical books if they are to support an online program.
  • For e-books, preference should be given to the platform that provides the largest number of access points and greatest usability.
  • Projects of cooperative acquisition with other libraries are encouraged and supported.
  • In instances where the cost of an item is high and the demand low, the use of interlibrary loan, if applicable, may be considered as an option over acquisition.
  • Popular fiction and non-fiction, as well as materials on temporarily popular subjects, self-help, or how-to books will be collected sparingly. Need for such materials will be met either through interlibrary loan, rental collections, or referral to public libraries.


Both print and electronic periodicals--also known as serials, journals, or magazines and including subscription indexes--represent an ongoing commitment, and the funding and selection of periodicals differs from the funding and selection of monographs. Because of increasing subscription rates and limited funds, acquisition of a periodical requires and receives substantially more consideration than acquisition of a single monograph.  All new periodical subscriptions must be approved by a majority of the librarians and the director.

Due to limited funds and the use of interlibrary loan, back runs of periodical titles will rarely be purchased. If retrospective holdings are to be purchased, electronic versions will be considered.

Some or all of the following criteria are used in evaluating periodicals for acquisition or cancellation:

  • Availability of indexing
  • Support of the present academic curriculum
  • Collection balance
  • Availability in an electronic format (preference for full-text if comparable to print)
  • Amount of current use, or projected future use, of this or other periodicals in a subject area
  • Reputation of the periodical
  • Cost and availability of funds
  • Number of recent interlibrary loan requests for a periodical title not owned
  • In the case of electronic periodicals, availability of and need for perpetual access


When ordering a new title, the Librarian recommends whether back issues of the periodical are to be kept and if so, in what format. For print titles, the Librarian also specifies how many years' issues are to be "On Display" (current issues, not yet bound).

The following criteria guide the recommendation to bind back issues:

  • Availability of other formats
  • Cost
  • Importance of pictures and the availability and/or quality of pictures in other formats


Use of periodicals will be monitored regularly by means of usage statistics and analysis of interlibrary loan activity. Liaison librarians will also regularly review titles with departments.


The Library strives to provide access to representative national and regional newspapers through the online databases.  Only print newspapers that can be delivered on the day of publication will be considered. Back issues will not be kept in paper format.

Non-print Materials (excluding Electronic Resources)

Non-print materials (sound recordings, video recordings, kits, realia, etc.) are evaluated on the same basis as monographs, with emphasis on the suitability of the format and the quality of the production. Non-print materials are considered a different format of subject information. Evaluation, deselection, and replacement of non-print materials follow the guidelines and procedures outlined in Selection Guidelines and Collection Maintenance/Deselection.

Electronic Resources

Electronic Resources are evaluated on the same basis as monographs as detailed in Selection Guidelines. Librarians should consult the Electronic Resources Librarian prior to ordering electronic resources to determine technical requirements and compatibility with existing computing infrastructure. Additional considerations in selecting electronic resources include the following:

  • Quality of product design
  • Capability for local area networking, if applicable
  • Ease of installation
  • Compatibility with supported campus operating systems
  • Remote accessibility (both on and off-campus)

Archives/Special Collections

Archival and special materials primarily devoted to the history of the University are collected. Also included are regional and local histories, rare and unusual materials, and materials needing protection. Evaluation, deselection, and replacement follow the same guidelines and procedures outlined in Selection Guidelines and Collection Maintenance/Deselection.


Gifts are accepted, with the understanding that the Library may dispose of or add them to the Collection at its discretion, and in the same manner as purchased materials. Gifts are given to the appropriate liaison Librarian, or, in special instances, the Director of the Library, who will make the initial decision to accept or decline the gift. The Director of the Library will be notified of all gifts that require formal acknowledgment to the donor. The acknowledgment will be done by the Director of the Library.

As a general rule, gifts will be added to the Collection following the same selection criteria as similar purchased materials. The Library assumes no responsibility for appraisal of gifts, nor will the Library accept gifts under restricted conditions.

When a gift is accepted, it becomes the property of the Library, which will determine whether it is to be added to the Collection or discarded. If a donor wishes to claim a charitable deduction for income tax purposes, the donor is responsible for providing a detailed inventory of the gifts, with a request for an acknowledgment from the Director of the Library. No member of the Library staff will provide an appraisal. If the donor wishes to make a tax claim, the donor must determine the fair market value.

If a gift is declined, it will: remain with the potential donor, be returned to the donor, or disposed of by the Librarian making the decision to decline.


The Library owns equipment that facilitates the use of library resources by patrons. The guidelines for selection of equipment include:

  • Currency
  • Durability
  • Suitability
  • Cost
  • Demand
  • Need

Collection Maintenance/Deselection

The deselection or removal of materials and equipment from the Collection, is an integral and ongoing aspect of collection management. It is the responsibility of the Librarians to regularly evaluate the Collection and deselect materials according to the following criteria:

  • Material in poor physical condition
  • Outdated material
  • Material/equipment superseded by newer editions or formats
  • Unnecessary duplicate materials

Intellectual Freedom/Censorship/Challenges

The Mansfield University Library supports the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Statements, particularly: the Bill of Rights; and the Interpretation on Challenged Materials. "Article II, Section D.2." of the Agreement Between Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) states: "There shall be no censorship of library materials." This statement should suffice in instances of challenges to the Collection.

The library attempts to purchase materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Selection is without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, sexual preference, religion, or moral philosophy.

Last Reviewed by Department: April 2014

Last Reviewed by Library Director: 6/5/2019

Updated by Coordinator of Technical Services: 3/9/2021