Policies : Collection Development Policy

University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu Library
Collection Development Policy

I. Introduction
This policy is a statement of the operating guidelines to be used by the University of Hawai'i-West O'ahu Library in its acquisition and maintenance of materials. Rising costs, increases in publishing output, and relentlessly increasing 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.

In this policy, the word "materials" shall be used to encompass all classes of items that a library collects and makes available to its users.

II. Objectives

The primary goal of the UH - West O'ahu Library is the support of the undergraduate academic programs at UH - West O'ahu. These programs enable students to pursue baccalaureate-level study in the liberal arts and career-related programs that emphasize the values, ideals and challenges of the liberal arts. UH West - O'ahu believes its primary function is to develop a liberally educated citizenry, instilled with a desire for life-long learning.

III. Selection Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the library's collection rests with the Librarian. All requests for materials are reviewed for their adherence to the selection guidelines as stated in Section V, Selection Guidelines. It is the Librarian's responsibility to assign selection responsibilities to library staff and to solicit selections from faculty in their respective areas of expertise. It is hoped that faculty continually monitor their professional literature for appropriate library acquisitions, and that they make the library staff aware of library material most useful for course requirements and for student's research needs. Student and staff requests for acquisition of materials are also welcomed and encouraged and are reviewed by the same standards as are requests from other sources.

IV. Fund Allocation

It is the Librarian's responsibility to allocate the materials budget in such a way as to fulfill the library's collection development goals. The bulk of the materials budget is currently divided among monographs, serials, and videos. The funds available are divided among the three divisions. The amount allocated to each area reflects such factors as the number of courses taught in the subject area, the number of students, and faculty involved. Some flexibility is necessary due to changing conditions, for example, new course offerings, new levels of academic accreditation for programs, changes in student research requirements, etc.

V. Selection Guidelines

The institutional goals stated in Section II provide the framework for selection. Thus the major responsibility and top priority of the library lies with the teaching programs at the undergraduate level. The library attempts to serve the needs of the faculty either by purchasing (if the materials can also be used by the student body) or by securing through interlibrary loan those resources needed for faculty study and research.

The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular need 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
  • authoritativeness of the author or reputation of publisher
  • cost
Other guidelines are also enforced:
  • Textbooks are not normally purchased. The exceptions are those which have earned a reputation as "classics" in their fields, or when a textbook is the only or best source of information on a particular topic.
  • Duplicate copies are purchased only under unusual circumstances.
  • In instances where the cost of an item is high and the demand is low, the holdings of nearby libraries are considered in determining whether or not an order should be made.
  • When there is an option of paper or hard copy, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential.
  • Lost or stolen materials shall be replaced after six to nine months (or immediately, if needed) if they are available. The current book trade and aforementioned selection criteria shall be considered.
  • Except for foreign language dictionaries, the library acquires primarily English language reference and research sources. Literature and language materials that are used heavily in the teaching or learning of foreign languages will be collected as well.
  • The majority of selections are current publications. The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases, and systematically uses standard bibliographies and other evaluation tools to locate and fill gaps in the collection. However, in view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining out-of print and reprinted material, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying.

The library staff uses some or all of the following selection tools, with additional sources consulted as needed:
Choice, Library Journal, American Libraries, New York Times Review of Books, publishers catalogs and pre-publication literature, selected subject- specific professional journals, Guide to Reference Books, American Reference Books Annual, and Books for College Libraries.

VI. Serials

Because serials represent an ongoing commitment, budgeting and selection differ from that involved in purchasing monographs. Because each periodical title does involve a prospective longstanding commitment, and because of increasing periodical subscription rates and limited funds, acquisition of a serial title requires, and receives, substantially more consideration than acquisition of a single monograph. UH - West O'ahu Library presently subscribes to about 120 titles including serials, periodicals, newspapers and indexing services. Back runs of qualifying serials or journal subscriptions are purchased only as deemed necessary or as the budget permits.

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

  • support of present academic curriculum
  • strength of the existing collection
  • present use of this or other periodicals in this subject area
  • projected future use
  • reputation of journal and/or inclusion in a prominent abstracting and indexing source
  • if not owned, number of recent interlibrary loan requests for this periodical
  • cost, projected availability of funds

VII. Non-Print Material
Requests for non-print materials (audio and video cassettes, slides, etc.) are evaluated on the same basis as are monographs, with special emphasis on the suitability of the format to the content, and on the quality of the production. Non-print materials are considered simply a different format of subject information. Evaluation, weeding, and replacement of non-print items follow the same guidelines and procedures as for monographs.

VIII. Specialty Collections

Most materials that are obtained, including government documents, are integrated into the general collection. The exceptions are the Reference and the Hawaiian/Pacific collections. Items in these collections are shelved separately.

IX. Gifts

Gifts are encouraged, with the understanding that the library may dispose of them or add them to the collection at its discretion, and in the same manner as purchased material. As a general rule, gift books will be added based on the same criteria as purchased ones. The library assumes no responsibility for appraisal of gift items, nor can the library accept gifts under restricted conditions.

X. Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

Weeding is an important aspect of collection development in the college library. The reference collection is continually monitored for outdated material, which is replaced or withdrawn. Upon arrival of new editions, the librarian evaluates previous editions and withdraws those deemed outdated. Individual sections of the general collection are periodically reviewed. Faculty are encouraged to assist in spotting outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise.

XI. Intellectual FreedomThe UH - West Oʻahu Library supports the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, its Intellectual Freedom Statement, and its Statement on Challenged Materials. The Library attempts to purchase materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters. Selection is without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, religion, or moral philosophy.