Collection Development Policy


Collection Development Policy

Policy and Procedural Information

Issuing Office

Jerry Falwell Library


Affected Parties

Library employees; university faculty members, students, administrators, and staff


Policy Language

The collection development policy presents the library’s plan for building and managing library collections. It addresses the scope of the collections, library resources budgeting, selection responsibility and guidelines, and resource sharing.


Policy Rationale

The collection development policy is designed to accomplish three distinct purposes: to serve as a communications tool for informing the university community of the library’s guidelines for building and maintaining collections; to serve as a management tool for providing a greater degree of consistency and continuity in the selection policies and practices of the library; and to assist library and university administrators in the allocation of funds for library materials.


Definition of Glossary Terms

Collection: “Materials in all formats and genres that a library owns or to which it provides remote access, through either purchase or lease” [Peggy Johnson, Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, 3rd ed (Chicago, IL: ALA Editions, 2014), p. 1]



I. Introduction

The collection development policy is framed within the context of Liberty University’s mission: to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world. The library supports this mission by supporting the academic, cultural, and social environment of the university. The library serves residential and online students comparably.

The collection development policy is designed to accomplish three distinct purposes: to serve as a communications tool for informing the university community of the library’s guidelines for building and maintaining collections; to serve as a management tool for providing a greater degree of consistency and continuity in the selection policies and practices of the library; and to assist library and university administrators in the allocation of funds for library materials. 

Intellectual Freedom
As an institution of Christian higher learning and insofar as it does not conflict with the doctrinal statements established and endorsed by the university, the library supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights.

II. Budget

The library’s fiscal year begins July 1 and ends on June 30. The library works to develop collections alongside each academic department and encourages departments to submit requests throughout the year. Although the library does not allocate specific amounts to academic units, the library strives to provide adequate and relevant collections to support programs within colleges and schools. Reports of subscription and non-subscription spending can be generated upon request. 

Because the Jerry Falwell Library strives to make all resources readily available to Liberty University colleges and schools, purchases restricted to specific audiences negate the objective of equitable access for all library users.


III. Selection Responsibility

The library oversees the nature and quality of its collections and seeks the assistance of the university's residential and online faculty for building collections. As authorities in their respective fields, their involvement in the selection of materials is essential. Therefore, all faculty members are encouraged to submit requests for materials that support their specific curricular and research needs. This can be accomplished in one of three ways, as determined by the dean of the college or school: (1) all requests are filtered through the dean of the college or school, or the chair of the department; (2) each college, school, or department may choose to form a library committee; (3) all faculty may submit orders directly.

Other members of the university community, including administrators, staff, and students, are also invited to participate in the selection of materials. They may request specific items via the Suggest a Purchase Form based on their curricular, research, or recreational needs.

All requests for materials must conform to the selection guidelines established by the library. Selection of materials will be based largely on the availability of funding and the appropriateness of the materials for the library's collections. The final decision for selection of materials will rest with the Jerry Falwell Library and in accordance with section V. Collection Development Guidelines.

Each department has a designated librarian who serves as its liaison. This person demonstrates interest in the literature relevant to the department and is prepared to (1) supply their department with relevant bibliographic information such as reviews, catalogs, and other aids; (2) channel department requests for purchases to the Acquisitions Unit; (3) ensure that the diverse library needs of all members of the department are adequately addressed; and (4) serve as the point of contact between the library and their department. 


IV. Overview & Scope of Collections

Liberty University offers a diverse array of instructional programs. The library reflects this diversity by collecting materials at varying levels of intensity, depending on the subject matter of the material and the prominence that this subject has in the instructional programs of the university. Therefore, a collection intensity level has been assigned to each appropriate segment of the Library of Congress Classification system. These levels describe the degree to which the library seeks to collect materials for that specific subject area. The following is a summary of the numerical designations for each intensity level used by the library, with a brief description of that level.

1. Basic Level. A collection area in which general materials are selected based on their appropriateness for introducing and defining the subject area. These works may also serve to indicate sources and varieties of information available elsewhere.

2. Survey Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for directly supporting the instructional programs for this subject area at the lower undergraduate level.

3. Advanced Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for directly supporting the instructional programs for this subject area at the advanced undergraduate level.

4. Research Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for supporting the graduate curriculum and/or faculty-level research in this subject area.

Please note that the most intensive level of collecting is the Comprehensive Level, in which a library seeks to amass an exhaustive collection of all significant works of recorded knowledge in a defined field of study. The library does not collect at this level.

Statement of Collection Levels by Subject

The following table represents the intensity levels at which the library seeks to collect materials:


V. Collection Development Guidelines (listed alphabetically)

Assessment of the Collection

Evaluation is an important, ongoing element of collection development and is accomplished through both direct and indirect means. The Collection Management Department collects and analyzes usage data in order to understand customer behaviors and needs. Continuous analysis of collection usage, spending, and selection leads to improved and new acquisitions models. Interlibrary loan requests and reserve requests are used as data points that help assess the demands of customers. The library solicits and values the expertise of the teaching faculty.

Audio Visual Materials

Audio visual materials, such as streaming media, DVDs, and CDs, are supported by the materials budget, and selectors are encouraged to include such materials in their requests. Preference is given to the most up-to-date format.


Print books and e-books are selected through various means and according to differing models, dependent on format. Customers may request an e-book or print book format; in instances where the preferred format is not available, an alternative format may be selected. Collection Management has adopted an e-book preference model in light of trends observed at institutional and industry levels. In addition to traditional firm order purchasing of e-books, the library provides access to more than 200,000 e-book titles through several purchasing models: Evidence Based Acquisition (EBA), Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA), and Access-to-Own (ATO). In these models, access is provided to library customers, but ownership is not achieved until agreement terms are met. These terms include a combination of librarian selection, purchase triggers, and usage. The library subscribes to electronic book collections as a supplement to titles that are owned or available through demand-driven models.


Materials are withdrawn from the library in order to maintain a current, active, and useful collection that reflects the goals of the library. Consultation with the faculty is an essential part of this process as a safeguard against the withdrawal of materials with special qualities or significance.

The Collection Management Department conducts deselection based on the following criteria:

1. Obsolescence

2. Appropriateness of subject matter to the collection

3. Extent and recency of past use

4. Number of copies in the collection

5. Existence and availability of indexes for serial publications

6. Cost of maintaining subscription or remote access

7. Overlap of content in other sources

Withdrawn materials may be donated to nonprofit organizations, sold, offered to faculty and students, or discarded.

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources (e-books, e-journals, research databases) are an integral component of the library’s collections, supporting both online and residential programs of study. Nevertheless, special considerations must be given to these resources, including:

· Cost, including the possibility of consortial arrangements, any hidden costs, and whether the cost is for a one-time purchase (which may include annual access fees) or a subscription

· Technical considerations:

· Access by IP recognition, including remote access

· No requirements for additional or special hardware or software, other than what is freely available and widely used

· Compatibility with open URL link resolvers, discovery services, and other management tools used by the library

· Full-text availability

· User-friendliness, including features such as prompts and menus, context- or function-specific help screens, and tutorials

· Update cycles, if currency is a factor

· Vendor reliability regarding content, business practices, customer and technical support, documentation and training, and notification of content and format changes

· Printing, downloading, and e-mail capabilities

· Availability of the most current release of Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) compliant usage data

· Acceptable license terms

Faculty Publications

As stated in the Faculty Handbook, faculty authors should donate a copy of each published work for inclusion in the Archives. If the library purchases a faculty-authored work, that copy will be housed in the collection that is most relevant for its use.

Gifts and Donations

Books and other materials are gratefully accepted by the library with the following frameworks: No conditions may be attached to their disposition, and only those materials which prove to be in good condition and which conform to the collection goals, guidelines, and policies are added to the collection. The Collection Management Department acknowledges all donations. However, the appraisal of gifts for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. In general, the library conforms to the “Statement on Appraisal of Gifts” developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries. Donors are asked to complete a Donation Form.


The primary language of materials will be English except for materials that support the curriculum in modern languages, theology, and biblical studies.

Magazines, Newspapers, Periodicals

The library will maintain holdings of select magazines, newspapers, and periodicals deemed as core to supporting the curriculum; the majority of serial holdings will be made available in electronic format. In addition, a limited number of popular magazines for recreational reading will be purchased. 

Micro Formats

Although materials disseminated in micro formats are not intentionally sought, the library will continue to support the use of materials already held in the collection in micro format. 

Multiple Copies

When acquiring titles, the library gives preference to unlimited access e-book purchase options that are cost-effective. Only one copy of a print title will be purchased, unless actual or anticipated demand warrants the purchase of additional copies. If there are requests to purchase more than one copy of a particular title, they will require supporting justification. Given the composition of the university’s student body, some duplication of materials across formats is expected.

Musical Scores

Print scores are included in the selection activity of the library and are currently housed in the automated storage and retrieval system. Electronic scores are available in multiple databases on the library’s website.

Non-Traditional Items

The library maintains a collection of non-traditional items (e.g., games, tools, cookware) that meet the following criteria:

· Support for reasonable student needs or interests

· Relevancy to the collection

· Alignment with circulation and borrowing services workflows

· Quality and significance of creator

· Cost

· Safety of use

Objectionable Materials

Any member of the university community who finds the content of an item objectionable may request that its inclusion in the collection be reconsidered. The process for submitting such a request follows.

The customer should obtain, complete, and submit an “Evaluation Form for Objectionable Item.” The form and a copy of the item are received by the Head of Collection Management. A review committee will convene to review the customer’s concern and to examine the objectionable item. The committee will submit its decision in an “Objectionable Item Review Report” to the JFL Administration.

If contact information was provided, the customer will be notified of the decision and the rationale for it. The reports from the committee will be kept on file by the Collection Management Department.

Recreational Materials

The library collects a limited number of fiction and popular titles to supplement academic programs. These are evaluated on an individual basis. 


Replacements for physical materials that are missing, lost, or damaged are not automated. The merit of the book or other materials must be evaluated by the Collection Management Department. If it is decided to replace the lost item, the most suitable format is chosen and acquired.

Reprints/Superseded Editions

Reprints are not added if a copy of the work already exists in the collection. Superseded editions will be included if requested by a selector.

Selection Principles

The following criteria may be considered for selection decisions, as appropriate to the nature of the item:

· Relevance of the title to the university’s curriculum

· Favorable treatment in standard review sources and/or bibliographies

· Evidence-based and user-driven demand

· Reputation of the publisher

· Reputation/authority/importance of the author

· Accuracy of content

· Currency of content

· Lasting value of the work


Because of various legal and practical implications associated with software purchases, installation, use, and maintenance, software will not generally be purchased for the collection.


Textbooks are not, as a rule, purchased unless within the structure of the university’s Inclusive Access program or unless supporting justification is given. In addition, supporting materials, such as workbooks and other “consumable” materials will not be acquired.

Theses and Dissertations

In compliance with the Registrar’s Office policy, students who author graduate theses and dissertations are required to post an electronic copy to the Scholars Crossing with assistance from library personnel.

VI. Resource Sharing


The library will participate in consortia and other relevant partnerships and associations that result in benefits to the library and its constituency. Current memberships include the American Theological Library Association, the Center for Research Libraries, the Christian Library Consortium, the Directory of Open Access Journals, LYRASIS, the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), and the Westchester Academic Library Directors Organization (WALDO).

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) 

The library participates in regional, statewide, and national resource-sharing programs in order to obtain materials for customers that are not available from its own collections. For more information, see the ILL web page.



Consequences for failure to comply with policy will be determined on a case by case basis.





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