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Allen Memorial Library Policies and Procedures Manual: Collection Development Policy

a collection of all policies and procedures for the VCSU Allen Memorial Library


The Allen Memorial Library serves the faculty, staff, and students of Valley City State University by providing selected information sources in a variety of formats.  The collection development policy provides general guidelines relating to the collection and maintenance of these information resources. 

The primary objective in creating and maintaining the AML library collections is to support the learning and research objectives of the VCSU community.  This is accomplished through selecting and purchasing materials relevant to the curriculum offered at VCSU, and the associated research and teaching activities that accompany that curriculum.

Selection Criteria

When selecting materials to include in the collection, the primary considerations are the quality of the materials and their relevance to the curricular needs of the university.  In addition, the following criteria are used to evaluate purchase decisions:

  • Price
  • Accuracy
  • Authority
  • Anticipated use and/or demand for material
  • Critical reviews
  • Lasting value of the material
  • Intended audience
  • Suitability of format to content and curricular area
  • Current holdings in the subject area

No materials will be excluded from consideration because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social views of the material, the author, or the intended audience.  Individual items which may be considered offensive or controversial may be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints and effectiveness of the overall library collection. 

Selection Resources

  • Publisher catalogs/flyers
  • Review sources 
    • Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, LJ, and SLJ are all available through Academic Search Complete. Choice is available through Gale Academic OneFile with a 6-month embargo.  


Weeding, or the deselection and removal of outdated, damaged, and/or unneeded materials, is a critical part of managing a library collection. This process is necessary to keep the collection current, viable, and useful. Weeding is an active and continuing process done by librarians to ensure that our collection meets the needs of our students, faculty, and staff.

The purpose of weeding is to:
  • Maintain a relevant and up-to-date collection to best serve the needs of the campus community
  • Review the collection for content, and identify areas where additional titles are needed.
  • Increase circulation and make the library more user-friendly.
  • Locate books that need to be repaired, rebound or replaced.
  • Save the expense of housing unused or unnecessary materials.
  • Utilize available space in the best and most efficient way.

General Criteria

Content: Books may be in excellent physical condition but contain inaccurate information or be presented in such as way as to warrant weeding.  Weed based on the following criteria:

  • Superseded editions (i.e. a newer edition is available)
  • Outdated language, photographs, or illustrations
  • Ephemeral; waning interest
  • Dated or inaccurate information
  • Age of material

Condition: Materials in poor condition are prime candidates for replacement. Weed items which have the following defects and cannot be repaired in a cost-effective way:

  • Loose, frayed or broken binding
  • Yellow, brittle pages
  • Soiled covers and pages
  • Missing pages and illustrations
  • Heavily marked pages
  • Mutilation or damage

Circulation: Circulation reports show the frequency of circulation and/or the most recent  date the item has circulated. Generally, items that have not circulated for the last ten years should be evaluated for deselection. Do not discard items which are considered foundational or noteworthy within the discipline or subject area, or which may be used for reference.

For more detailed weeding criteria, please see CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. 

Collection Assessment


Collection assessment aims to determine how well the collection supports the goals, needs,and mission of the library or parent organization. It provides a better understanding of the collection and the user community. Librarians gain valuable information that helps them decide if a collection is meeting it's objectives, how well it is serving users, in which ways or areas it is deficient, and what remains to be done to develop it. --- From Collection Development and Management, 3rd edition by Peggy Johnson

Collection Review Type Description Assessment method Frequency Timeline
General Collection (full) Review of the main library collection Benchmarking; usage statistics

Usage stats: Annually

Benchmarking: every 3 years

General Collection (by DDC divisions) Review of the general collection from a subject-focused POV List checking; usage statistics 1-2 divisions assessed annually cont.
Print Reference Review of the current print reference collection List-checking; condition every 3-5 years 2023
Curriculum Collection Review of the curriculum colleciton; includes juvenile, K-12 textbooks, and activity books/kits Usage statistics; list-checking 1 subset every 2 years 2024
North Dakota Collection Review of full holdings in the ND Collection List-checking; condition every 5 years 2022
Ebook Collections Purchased ebook collections such as ProQuest Ebook Central Usage Statistics Every 3-5 years 2026
Print periodicals and newspapers Review of print periodical and newspaper subscriptions Usage; survey Annually 2025
Streaming AV resources Review of audio and video streaming resources such as Kanopy, FOD, etc. Usage statistics Annually 2024
Databases/E-Resources Review of databases and online subscription resources Usage Statistics Annually 2024
Library service subscriptions Review of the library's internal services software, subscriptions, and applications Cost-benefit analysis; usage; needs assessment every 5 years or as needed 2028
AV collection Review of physical audiovisual collection, including physical music resources Usage statistics; condition; currency 1 subset every 5 years 2023



The Library welcomes gifts in any format which enhance and enrich the existing collections, and support the instructional and research programs of Valley City State University. All donations will be reviewed by collection development librarians before being added to the collection.
All gifts are accepted with the understanding that upon receipt the materials become the property of the Valley City State University Library and that the Library reserves the right to determine acquisition, retention, location, cataloging, and other considerations relating to the gift's use or disposition.
Gifts with restrictions (such as separate housing, perpetual retention) are usually not accepted but will be considered upon consultation with VCSU Academic Affairs Office.
Library staff cannot provide appraisals, tax advice or interpretation of tax laws. For specific questions regarding charitable donations, donors should consult the IRS or a tax expert. The IRS Publications 526 (Charitable Contributions) and 561 (Determining the Value of Donated Property) can help answer questions about regulations governing noncash charitable contributions. Donors must fill out IRS Form 8283 (Noncash Charitable Contributions) when filing taxes if they are claiming a deduction of over $500 for all contributed property.
Donors may receive a written acknowledgement of the gift from the Library.

Selection Responsibilities and Campus Input

The library’s professional staff share the responsibility for materials selection, under the guidance of the Director for Library Services.  While faculty are encouraged to participate in selection in areas of their expertise, primary responsibility lies with the library staff. 

The library encourages faculty input as a vital means of keeping the collection current in all subject areas. Students and staff are also encouraged to contribute to the development of the collection. All requests are reviewed to ensure that they meet the guidelines for inclusion. Faculty requests are given the highest priority.

The Director for Library Services supervises the collection development process.  This includes monitoring the overall collection development budget, communicating expenditures in each assigned area, resolving issues, carrying out selection in assigned areas, and overseeing the ordering process.


If available, print volumes are usually purchased as paperback editions.  Duplicate editions are not generally purchased. Out of print materials are rarely purchased, primarily to replace heavily used or foundational items in the collection. However, priority is given to current publications of long-term worth. Popular fiction is purchased as a part of our general interest/multidisciplinary collection, but is not a primary focus of the collection.
Electronic books are preferred for programs taught primarily or entirely at a distance unless the cost difference is prohibitive. 
Textbooks are purchased only by special arrangement, and are used to provide a low-cost alternative to student purchase. 
Serials and Newspapers
Nearly all journals are purchased through consortial database purchase. Those journals purchased in print are due to scarcity of electronic content.  Electronic purchases are preferred due to the possibility of multiple users, along with increased access for researchers not physically on campus or in the library. 
The library also purchases a number of newspapers and popular magazines in both digital and electronic formats.  Those purchased in print are primarily local or regional magazines or newspapers, or magazines for leisure reading for students.  Subscriptions to these resources are reviewed annually for usage and feasibility.
Audio/Visual materials
Audio and visual media such as DVDs, CDs and LP records are purchased by the library on a limited basis as funds permit.  Preference is given to materials requested by faculty which supports the curriculum. In addition to the physical media collection, the library subscribes to a number of audio and video electronic resources.  The preferred format for new acquisitions is streaming or hosted content, which allows for much greater access for patrons. 
Government Documents
The Allen Memorial Library is a selective depository for the Federal Depository Library Program.  Documents are housed in the library and are available to the general public.

Collection Areas

Allen Memorial Library assigns collection development responsibilities for the following subjects and collections:
  • Art
  • Business
  • Communication Arts
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering
  • Curriculum Library/Juvenile Collection
  • Education
  • General Interest/Multidisciplinary
  • Graduate Studies
  • Kinesiology and Human Performance
  • Language & Literature
  • Math
  • Music
  • North Dakota Collection
  • Reference
  • Science
  • Social Sciences
Select materials covering the following topics: design, printmaking, drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, art business, art history, graphic design.
Keep all basic materials, especially histories. Discard in the fine arts sparingly. Keep collections of music, engravings, finely illustrated books.
**Online components: Art Education, some intro classes. Otherwise, select physical.
Select materials in the following areas: Accounting, Agribusiness, Finance, Human Resources, Marketing, and Management.
Select high quality books related to accounting, finance, marketing, and agribusiness. Popular business titles age quickly; consider discarding works over ten years old unless considered classics.
**Primarily digital.
Communication Arts
Select materials in the following areas: Corporate Communication, Digital Media Management, Media, social media management, basic journalism.
Select for currency and applicability to general student research. Subtopics to select include media studies, public relations, and interpersonal communication.
**Primarily physical
Computer Science & Software Engineering
Includes the following disciplines: Software Engineering, Computer Science.
**Primarily digital.
Curriculum Library (K-12 collection)
Prioritize award-winning books, classics, and books in underrepresented areas.  Collection should be well-balanced and provide education students with a variety of materials for K-12 students, and should include a mixture of contemporary and classic books.
Retain all Newbery and Caldecott medalists, and literary classics and perennially popular titles.  Weed nonfiction regularly for relevancy and accuracy.
**Physical texts are heavily preferred.
Includes the following disciplines: Library media and information sciences, technology education, elementary education, teacher preparation, psychology.
Select high-quality books relating to teacher preparation, classroom management, theories in education, and current standards.  Weed sparingly, focusing on outdated theories and concepts.
**Primarily physical texts; digital materials are purchased for GRAD.
General Interest/Multidisciplinary
Includes popular fiction, audiovisual materials, and materials that cross disciplines. 
Select materials with strong critical reviews and high popularity; weed as popularity wanes.
**Primarily physical.
Graduate Studies
Includes teaching and technology, tech ed, English as a Second Language, and Library and Information Technology.
Select primarily online materials focusing on educational theory, research, and standards.
**Fully online program; purchase primarily digital
Kinesiology and Human Performance
Includes the following disciplines: Athletic Training, Coaching, Exercise Science & Leisure Studies, Health Education, Physical Education K-12.
**Combination of physical and digital.
Language & Literature
Includes the following disciplines: English, Literature Studies, Professional Writing, English Education, literary criticism and theory.
 Language: Keep classical authors and dictionaries of major foreign languages and any other languages taught. Selection in this area will largely overlap with Education. General interest topics, grammar guides, and accessible linguistics works may be selected.
 Literature: Keep basic materials, especially works and criticism of classical authors. Keep literary history unless it is superseded by a better title; keep collected works unless definitely superseded; discard poets and dramatists no longer regarded in literary histories; discard the works of minor novelists whose works have not been re-issued and who are no longer of interest to readers.
 Fiction: Select with an eye to books that will retain relevance. Award-winners, popular authors, and series may be selected. 
**Primarily physical unless multiple copies are needed.
Includes the following disciplines: Mathematics Education.
**Combination of physical and digital.
Includes the following disciplines: Music Education, Music Production & Recording, Piano Pedagogy, Music Composition.
Keep all basic materials, especially histories. Keep collections of music, engravings, finely illustrated books. Weed sparingly.
**Combination of physical and digital materials.
North Dakota Collection
Maintain as complete a collection as possible of fiction, nonfiction, and government documents related to the state of North Dakota, its indigenous people, and its heritage and history.  Prioritize new books relating to the state and its peoples.  Weed only when materials need to be replaced.
**Primarily physical
Purchase primarily quick reference and style guides; most print reference materials have been superseded by online resources.  Online reference books for a specific discipline will be purchased from the funds budgeted for that discipline.
Weed outdated and inaccurate materials; replace only if no online counterpart exists or when the print book is used regularly.
Includes the following disciplines: Biology, Biology Education, Chemistry, Chemistry Education, Earth & Environmental Science, Fisheries & Wildlife Science, Health Science, Medical Laboratory Science, Physics.
Discard books with obsolete information or theories; all general works which have been superseded, unless they are classics in their fields. Botany and natural history should be inspected carefully before discarding.
**Combination, with preference for physical
Social Sciences
Includes the following disciplines: Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, History, Human Services, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology.
Ensure that controversial issues are represented from all viewpoints and that information is current, accurate, and fair. Requires frequent revision because much of the material will deal with problems of temporary interest, which can be replaced later by historical coverage of these topics.
 History: Main factors: demand, accuracy of facts, and fairness of interpretation. Select according to demand and potential use, and when existing topic coverage requires updating. Consider discarding personal narratives and memoirs in favor of broader histories, unless the author is a person of interest or the book is notable for style or content. Discard contemporary writing which is now recorded in basic histories (such as World War II materials), historical works which are only summaries and are not authoritative, and works of travel over ten years old, unless distinguished by the style or the importance of the author. Keep histories which have become literary classics. Retain all items related to North Dakota history.
**Primarily physical.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

Allen Memorial Library serves the faculty, staff, and students of Valley City State University by providing information resources in a variety of formats. Materials are selected to meet the academic, curricular, social, and intellectual needs of the VCSU community. The librarians at Valley City State University have an established process for selecting, assessing, and maintaining the materials within the library collection.
A person who wishes to request the reconsideration of library material must file a formal written request for reconsideration using the library-provided form. The request will be reviewed by the appropriate subject librarian along with a member of the faculty as appropriate, who will develop a recommendation that will be submitted to the director for library services. The director for library services is responsible for making the final decision.
The following standards shall be used to guide the reconsideration of a resource:
  • Libraries have diverse materials reflecting differing points of view, and a library’s mission is to provide access to information to all users.
  • All library users have a First Amendment right to read, view, and listen to library resources.
  • Materials challenged as obscene will be evaluated using the three-pronged "Miller test" as codified by Miller v. California.
  • The Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association will be used as guidelines for collection development and reconsideration.
  • Any member of the VCSU community has the right to express concerns about library resources and to have those concerns taken seriously.
  • When library resources are reconsidered, the principles of the freedom to read, listen, and view are defended rather than specific materials.
  • A questioned item will be considered in its entirety, not judged solely on portions taken out of context.
  • Questioned items will remain in circulation during the reconsideration process.
  • The reconsideration process must be completed in its entirety and not subverted or ended prematurely.
A committee will be called and a response provided to the requestor within 30 business days. Once an item has been reviewed for reconsideration, it will not be considered for reconsideration again within a period of at least 5 years.

Reviewed January 2023