Collection Development

I. Introduction

This policy is a statement of the operating guidelines used by the Harford Community College Library in its acquisition and maintenance of materials. Rising costs, increase in publishing output, and relentlessly increasing demands for information resources necessitate careful materials selection, soundly based on an understanding of the immediate and future mission of the Library, the institution, and the students it serves. The following are general policies which guide the process of developing the HCC Library collection. In this statement, the word “materials” shall be used to encompass all classes of materials, including electronic resources, that the Library collects and makes available to its users.

II. Library Mission Statement

As an integral part of the total educational effort of Harford Community College, the Library contributes to excellence in teaching and learning by supporting and expanding classroom instruction. The Library provides easy and comprehensive access to information in various formats. Responsibilities include instructing students, faculty and members of the general community in information-seeking skills for self-directed studies, critical thinking, and lifelong learning, while serving as a resource center for the citizens of Harford County.

III. Intellectual Freedom Statement

In striving for excellence in providing service at HCC, the Library is guided by the principles set forth in the American Library Association Bill of Rights. The Library's collection is designed to include diverse viewpoints rather than supporting any one view of a particular topic or issue. Some material may be offensive to individuals or groups for many possible reasons. The Library staff does not approve or endorse any particular viewpoint or belief represented in the collection. The Library’s role is to provide materials which will allow individuals to examine issues freely and make their own decisions, and to make sure that diverse viewpoints are represented in support of academic offerings and to suit the varied backgrounds of the campus population.

IV. Collection Development Priorities

The Library's first priority is to provide materials to students in support of curricular requirements. Materials recommended for students at an undergraduate level will receive first priority for purchase. The Library serves faculty research needs by purchasing more advanced materials on an infrequent basis or through Interlibrary Loan. General materials to meet the needs of community members are purchased minimally.

V. Selection Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Library collection lies with the Library Director, who has delegated this responsibility to the reference department, under the leadership of the Assistant Director of the Library/Collection Development and Reference. It is the responsibility of the Assistant Director to assign selection responsibilities to reference staff and to solicit recommendations from faculty in their respective areas of expertise. Faculty have the responsibility to monitor their professional literature for appropriate library acquisitions, and to make the reference staff aware of library material most useful for course requirements and student 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 all other sources.

VI. Selection Criteria

Physical materials for purchase will be evaluated based on the following:

  • Relevance to the curriculum
  • Accuracy of information
  • Appropriate content level for projected audience and use
  • Timeliness and lasting value of subject matter
  • Physical quality including paper, typography, binding durability
  • Presentation quality including writing style, clarity, illustrations
  • Authority and reputation of the author and/or publisher
  • Strength of the current holdings in same or similar subjects
  • Cost of material relative to budget

VII. Purchasing Guidelines

The library will select for purchase:

  • Materials which support the stated curriculum guidelines for individual courses
  • Materials which meet the needs of students with differing levels of ability and learning styles
  • Subscriptions to selective local and national newspapers
  • Juvenile literature as needed to support various Education department programs
  • Paperbacks in lieu of hardcover unless extremely heavy use is expected
  • Replacements for books lost, missing, stolen, or damaged on a case-by-case basis
  • Selective print serial subscriptions

The library will usually not select for purchase:

  • Foreign language materials unless they support specific courses
  • Multiple copies
  • Rare or out-of-print books or other archival-type materials
  • Material for short-term projects (Interlibrary Loan used instead)
  • Research material inappropriate to a level one undergraduate library
  • Popular fiction or nonfiction unless longevity in the collection is expected
  • Consideration will be given to materials targeted to an undergraduate audience, although more advanced materials will be purchased as warranted.

Textbooks may be purchased to provide a general introduction to a topic. Textbooks in current use may be purchased and placed on reserve for in-house use. Subject areas that exhibit higher demand for books will be supported at a higher level in order to meet that demand. Cost must be a factor in selecting materials. Items with unusually high costs will be scrutinized to be sure their anticipated level of use will justify the expense. This is especially true of serials, which can be expensive and require a commitment over time.

VIII. Purchasing of Materials

The Library maintains day-to-day control of its book budget. It does not assign annual allocations to subject areas or academic divisions except for the purpose of internal record keeping. The Library can then maintain the necessary flexibility to meet unanticipated demands and take advantage of economical purchase opportunities. Vendors will be chosen for both books and periodicals to obtain the maximum discounts and the best service.

IX. Serials

As student research preferences become more focused on digital availability, the physical serials collection continues to shrink. Because serials represent an ongoing commitment, budgeting and selection differ from those involved in purchasing monographs. Increasing periodical subscription rates and the relatively easy availability of serials titles through online databases dictate that the acquisition of a serial title in print requires substantially more consideration than acquisition of a single monograph. Back runs are never purchased.

The criteria used in evaluating titles for acquisition or cancellation are:

  • Support of present academic curriculum
  • Strength of the existing collection
  • Projected future use
  • Availability of full-text of the journal via the Library’s subscriptions to online database
  • Inclusion in indexing and abstracting sources

X. Non-Print Materials/Models/Realia

Requests for audiovisual materials (CDs, DVDs, streaming video, 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. Evaluation, weeding, and replacement of non-print items follow the same guidelines and procedures as for monographs. The Library will purchase video in DVD format whenever possible; the Library will not purchase any items in videocassette format. Whenever possible, closed captioned items will be purchased. Three-dimensional objects such as models and realia are occasionally purchased.

XI. Gifts

Gifts are encouraged with the understanding that the Library may dispose of them or add them to the collection at its sole discretion, and in the same manner as purchased material. Gift material will be added using the same criteria as purchased material. Donations are acknowledged by the Library; however, the Library cannot appraise gift items, due to Internal Revenue Service regulations. The Library reserves the right to refuse donations with restrictions attached, such as retrieval from another location or special shelving requirements.

XII. Electronic Resources

These are defined as any material requiring a computer for access. Online databases are chosen using similar criteria as other library materials (relevance to curriculum, quality of material) with increased emphasis on four criteria: cost, expected use, ease of use and vendor support. The Library also purchases select e-books, using the same criteria as print monographs.

XIII. Internet Resources

The Library supports the instructional program of the College by collecting or providing access to materials in multiple formats. One important resource, the internet, is readily available to any Library user. Careful selection of internet resources and availability of these through the Library’s webpage will accomplish several objectives:

  • Increase awareness and maximize use of significant sites
  • Provide value-added access to internet resources often absent when using search engines to locate resources
  • Enhance and expand the Library’s collection of information formats

Inclusion or exclusion to links is at the Library’s sole discretion. Inclusion of links does not constitute an endorsement of or agreement with the views of the content provider. Links are included according to the same collection development guidelines applied to other materials. Records for selected sources may appear in the Library catalog. When cataloged, in addition to descriptive and subject cataloging, these records will provide the necessary URLs for locating the resources on the internet. The responsibility for selecting these materials falls to the reference staff. 

In addition to content, librarians should closely consider the criteria listed below when considering the addition of internet resources:

  • The improvement or enhancement that the resource will give to existing print materials
  • The broad accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements
  • The currency and relevancy of the resource’s information
  • The stability of the resource
  • The user-friendliness of the resource
  • When possible, available reviews of internet sources will be consulted before their selection.

The improvement or enhancement that the resource will give to existing print materials The broad accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements The currency and relevancy of the resource’s information The stability of the resource The user-friendliness of the resource When possible, available reviews of internet sources will be consulted before their selection.

De-selection of an internet resource should occur when:

  • An internet resource is no longer available or maintained
  • The currency and reliability of the information has lost its value
  • Another internet site or resource offers more comprehensive coverage

XIV. Library Archives

The following materials are collected and indexed:

  • College catalogs and schedules
  • College newspapers and literary magazines
  • College yearbooks
  • Memorabilia (newspaper clippings, theater programs, commencement programs, etc.)
  • Photos of College staff, students, members of the community and College buildings and grounds
  • Accreditation self-studies and reports
  • On occasion, other items deemed of archival interest will be added to the collection, at the discretion of the Library staff.

XV. Special Collections

The following materials will be considered for inclusion in Room L303 (Special Collections room):

  • Titles that focus on the history of Maryland
  • Titles that focus on the history of Harford County, especially the Hays-Heighe House and Prospect Mill Farm
  • Copies of books that have been signed by the author, especially if connected to an event at HCC
  • Scholarly Publications by recognized faculty and Staff
  • Special Gifts to the College

XVI. Collection Maintenance

Weeding is as important an aspect of collection development as acquisition, and is done on a continuous basis. Faculty are encouraged to assist in determining outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise.

Objectives of Weeding:

  • To increase the relevance of the existing collection to current curricular needs
  • To make the most efficient use of shelf space
  • To maintain the collection in an acceptable physical condition

Weeding Criteria:

  • Outdated or inaccurate information
  • Damage which cannot be repaired
  • Multiple copies of seldom used titles
  • Periodicals replaced by electronic sources
  • Older editions which are superseded by material in a newer edition
  • Materials which no longer support the curriculum, unless the item has broader value to the collection as a whole

Weeding Policies:

  • Weeding will not be done solely on the basis of circulation statistics.
  • The last copy of an item authored by a faculty member will not be weeded.
  • Weeding shall not have the effect of biasing the collection in favor of one viewpoint.
  • Faculty members are encouraged to recommend items for weeding in their subject areas.
  • Faculty may recommend an item for weeding based on their department’s needs; however, Library staff may elect to
  • keep the item based on needs of other departments.
  • The Library staff will make final weeding decisions.
  • Withdrawn items will be made available to the College community at no cost; some material may be set aside for the
  • Library’s annual book sale.

XVII. Requests for Reconsideration

Patrons with a complaint about items in the collection should submit their concerns in writing to the Library Director. A committee of librarians and faculty members will review the complaint and the materials in question and make a recommendation to retain or withdraw the item. The complainant will receive a written response.

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