Collection Development Policy

final 11/15/07

"Proposal to Eliminate Fundamental Policy Making All Policies Fundamental: Each fund adopted a fundamental policy at its inception requiring that all its policies be fundamental. It is proposed that, for each fund above, the fundamental policy making all fund policies fundamental be eliminated."

From a shareholder proxy from Schwab Funds

  1. Introduction

    • Collection development is the process of building the Library's multi-faceted collections to provide support for a dynamic, multi-disciplinary and diverse curriculum. It involves managing a complex array of information resources, including books, periodicals, visual and audio materials, maps, archives, data collections, and primary resources in many formats, such as digital, print, microform, multimedia. Collection development takes into account collaborative efforts with CSU libraries as well as increased levels of resource sharing among libraries, as well as the data gathering and research necessary to understand the academic community's information needs.
  2. Statement of Purpose

    1. Mission statement:

      The goal of the Library's collections is to promote intellectual discovery for the Sonoma State University community by providing a broad and balanced collection of resource materials. Our primary role is the support of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum; faculty research is accommodated as budgets allow; to a lesser extent, we also serve the education and professional communities and the general public of our region. We develop our collection in the context of an information network that provides an effective core collection, online access to information resources whenever possible, collaboration within the CSU system, and access to the collections of other libraries worldwide.

    2. SSU community profile:

      SSU is a public liberal arts institution with selected professional programs (e.g., business, education, nursing, engineering). The University offers bachelor's degrees (BA, BFA, and BS) in 88 areas of specialization. Master's degrees (MA, MBA, MPA, MS) are offered in 22 areas. An EdD program (in conjunction with U.C.Davis) is also available. (see 4. Related Documents or

      For 2006-07, the number of full-time equivalent students (FTES) was 7312. The campus expects to grow to 10,000 students by 2010. Approximately 569 full-time faculty and 600 staff on campus are also important constituents of the library. The Library additionally provides library services to the technical high school located on campus, as well as reciprocal agreements for California State University faculty, staff and students, and Santa Rosa Junior College faculty and students.

      Our Carnegie classification(basic, as of 2004) is Masters' L.

      The University serves a six-county area, including Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Solano and Lake Counties.

    3. Intellectual freedom

      We subscribe to the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association. We are particularly guided by Section 2, which states: "Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval." (see 4. Related Documents).

      A University Library, by its very nature, is a place where investigation into all ideas is sanctioned, therefore the SSU Library does not impose filters, screens, or other intellectual impediments of any sort on the use of its resources.

    4. Policy evaluation

      This policy will be evaluated periodically to respond to the evolving information landscape.

  3. Selection Policies:

    1. Responsibility for selection:

      Selection of library materials is a responsibility of the librarians, with input from the instructional faculty.

      The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for administering the library materials budget, coordinating the work of the liaisons, communicating effectively with instructional faculty to build a collection that serves curriculum needs, ensuring the balance and interdisciplinary cohesiveness of the collection, analyzing and managing the collection, planning and formulating policies related to collection development issues, and serving as a consultant to the dean, librarians and faculty. Additional duties are described in the Library Faculty RTP Guidelines, Appendix B, Collection Development and Management (Word).

      The Collection Development Committee (CDC) is comprised of all librarians, and is chaired by the Collection Development Librarian. The CDC is responsible for making decisions regarding collection policies, budgetary allocations, database subscriptions, expenditures outside the norm, collection maintenance and issues impacting the collection (in all formats).

      Subject-specialist librarians identify, evaluate and select materials for the collection in specific subject areas. They monitor firm order budgets and standing orders for their selection areas. They identify, evaluate and recommend electronic resources (databases, journal packages, ebook packages, etc.) and major expenditures in their subject areas to the CDC. They consult various reviewing sources in the discipline and initiate orders for the library materials in a timely fashion. They communicate regularly with faculty in their areas regarding budgets, policy changes, curriculum changes, format changes, research needs, new materials of interest and other opportunities. (See 4. Related Documents - Collection Development Liaisons: Basic Competencies and Activities)

      Faculty Liaisons are individuals appointed from within each academic department to communicate with the Library Dean and librarians regarding collection development issues. Departmental library representatives should be faculty with strong interests in library functions, willing to coordinate orders for their departments and serve as advisors to the library on proposed courses and programs. Not all departments have liaisons.

      An approval or subscription plan may be utilized to ensure the timely acquisition of subsections of our collection, for example, popular videos, popular fiction, university presses, etc. The success of an approval plan depends on a well-defined profile (responsibility of the Collection Development Coordinator) as well as stable and uninterrupted funding.

      Selection area delineation (see Collection Development Scope Notes in 4. Related Documents.)


      The California State University has a systemwide procurement and contracting effort which is coordinated and managed by the SEIR group (Systemwide Electronic Information Resources) of the Educational Technology Services Cooperative. The program allows SEIR to negotiate and contract on behalf of the CSU campus libraries and academic departments. Information resources are identified and brought to the University for further review under a process developed by the CSU Electronic Access to Information Resources Committee (EAR), a standing subcommittee reporting to the Council of Library Directors (COLD).

    2. Selection criteria:

      Collection levels, as defined by the American Library Association, refer to the scope and depth of library collections. These levels (Perkins, David L., ed. 1979. Guidelines for Collection Development. Chicago: American Library Association.) are:

      • Comprehensive - in which a library seeks to include all significant works of recorded knowledge.
      • Research - which includes major published research material for dissertations and independent research.
      • Study - which supports undergraduate and graduate course work of less than research intensity.
      • Basic - materials are introductory and selective.

      These levels are parsed into more detail in the OCLC/WLN Conspectus and described in the Guidelines for a Collection Development Policy Using the Conspectus Model (IFLA) (pdf).

      Materials are selected primarily for a four-year undergraduate university with selected graduate and professional programs, at the "study" or "advanced study" levels. Most of our materials are selected for the general academic population and, to a lesser extent, for the advanced academic student. A smaller percentage of materials are purchased for professional research and popular reading and investigation.

    3. Priorities for Selection

      The following criteria predominate in the selection of library resources:

      • Basic materials that support the undergraduate and graduate curricula.
      • General and specialized reference materials.
      • Materials that support the North Bay Regional Collection.
      • Materials that support new areas of the curriculum.
      • Interdisciplinary liberal arts and science materials that add strength and depth to the collection.
      • Materials that reflect the diverse population of the region
      • Faculty research materials that also support curricular needs.
      • Materials that replace lost or missing items
      • Popular materials (books, music and films) for recreational use, primarily for the students living on campus, as funds allow.
      • Acquisition of electronic resources will follow the guidelines as approved by the CSU EAR committee:
      • Principles for CSU Acquisition of Electronic Information Resources (word).
      • Criteria for the CSU Electronic Information Resources Core Collection (word)

      Factors that are also considered in the selection of materials:

      • Format of the material and its accessibility. "It is the policy of the CSU to make information technology resources and services accessible to all CSU students, faculty, staff and the general public regardless of disability." (see 4. Related Documents - Executive Order 926)
      • Current and/or permanent value.
      • Importance of the author or creator.
      • Clarity, organization and accuracy of information and data.
      • Comprehensiveness and depth of treatment.
      • Accessibility of information through bibliographic databases.
      • Literacy or artistic merit.
      • Significance of subject matter.
      • Relationship to materials already in the collections.
      • Availability of materials on the subject.
      • Diverse viewpoints.
      • Recognition in bibliographies, indexes, and review media.
      • Quality of publisher or producer.
      • Cost of the material in comparison with other equally useful material.
      • Potential or known use by patrons.
      • Intellectual level that is appropriate to the needs of students and faculty.
      • Availability of the material elsewhere in the region or through resource sharing partners.

      The following are items that the library generally does not purchase:

      • Rare books and first editions, as such.
      • Textbooks, laboratory manuals, tests, kits and games.
      • Formats that we cannot support, such as PAL videos.
      • Popular materials unrelated to the curriculum, except as noted above.
      • Materials in foreign languages except as needed to support the curriculum and the educational mission of the University.
      • Duplicates.
      • Highly technical and/or specialized material beyond the requirements of the University's curriculum.
      • Inspirational literature.
    4. Acquisition Methods

      The following acquisition methods are used as appropriate:

      • Purchase (through jobbers or direct from the publisher).
      • Deposit accounts.
      • Subscriptions (including leases and licensing).
      • Standing orders.
      • Credit card (CCP account)
      • Approval plan.
      • Gifts (print/non-print).
      • Cooperative agreements (such as depository programs).
      • Fund transfers (for items acquired through SEIR contracts).
    5. Deselection guidelines

      • Duplicate titles that are no longer needed.
      • Duplicate formats, when appropriate
      • Works in languages not appropriate to the curriculum or student needs.
      • Outdated textbooks.
      • Outdated topical material without historical significance.
      • Incomplete sets and short runs of serials and periodicals, selectively.
    6. ARS guidelines

      The following serve as a guideline for placement in the ARS.

      • Bound periodicals
      • Still valuable materials that have not been checked out in more than five years.
      • Materials that are in danger of being vandalized or destroyed.
      • Government documents.
      • Frequently retrieved items may be considered for reinstatement to the book stacks.
      • Selected microform titles.
    7. Data/statistics collection

      The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for collecting and analyzing statistics pointing to user needs and use patterns, on materials in all formats.

      Note: No statistics or other information is kept on the use or use patterns of individuals, beyond the basic record of who currently has a book on loan. The information about who has a book on loan is confidential, and it will not be shared with other entities, without a specific court order. Statistics on general use patterns may be made available to any interested party within the university, but they are not shared with outside entities, such as vendors or the press.

    8. Budget Guidelines:

      Budget priorities and ratio

      The library attempts to maintain a balance between books, periodicals, reference, media, and other materials. This balance shifts as more materials become available online in acceptable formats. The current ratio is approximately 70:30, with 70% going to serials, standing orders, and electronic resources, and 30% reserved for firm orders such as monographs and media.

      Budget Allocations

      An allocation formula is used as a starting point in determining annual subject fund allocations for monographs. This formula includes weighted variables representing the average cost of materials in each academic discipline, the number of undergraduate and graduate students and majors in the discipline, and the number of faculty members in that discipline (see Adjustments to a discipline-based fund will be made to reflect new programs, new faculty or curricular emphases, to reflect permanent budgetary shifts of funds to serials or electronics lines, or to address specific weaknesses in the current collections.


      Inflation is often an unacknowledged element in collection budgets. Inflationary factors for books, serials, electronic databases, maintenance fees for electronic resources, and other items in the library's collection must be tracked and accounted for. Serials and electronic resources must be evaluated regularly for ongoing costs and usage, with cuts made as appropriate, in order to minimize the impact of inflation on the book and media collections. An inflation factor (currently 8%) is added when calculating serials and electronic resources budget allocations each year.

      Restricted funds

      The library is the beneficiary of several donor-advised funds. The Collection Development Librarian oversees the expenditures from these restricted funds. The library generally accepts monetary donations for the collections that are within the general collection development guidelines, but reserves the right to refuse such gifts if conditions are not acceptable or sustainable.

      New programs

      When the university institutes new programs, degrees or curricular areas, the campus should provide funds to support these new efforts. Without this budget augmentation new programs are built at the expense of support for existing curriculum. Once new programs are approved, the library will appoint a subject-specialist librarian to work with the programs to develop these collections.

      Staffing considerations

      Many material formats require special handling or equipment or have significant hidden costs associated with them. Therefore staffing implications and equipment needs are carefully considered in making collection decisions.

      Materials are ordered shelf-ready or with as much pre-processing as possible, in order to minimize the need for in-house cataloging and processing. This effectively shifts these costs to the ongoing materials budget.

    9. Collections


      In general, we purchase a single copy of a monograph. Multiple copies may occasionally be purchased if there is a strong need for copies to be placed in different collections (e.g., the circulating collection and the regional collection), and we may purchase more than one copy of a very heavily used work or a work with a high probability of being stolen or vandalized.

      As a cost-saving measure generally we purchase re-bound, reinforced, paperback books rather than hardbacks, where they are available.

      During any year, there will be some books that are lost or stolen. A 'missing' or 'lost books' report is generated each year in order to facilitate the timely replacement of these materials.


      Periodicals are purchased to support the curricular and research needs of the SSU community. The development of the periodicals collection is the responsibility of the library faculty, in close consultation with departmental faculty. Preference is given to acquiring online journal collections rather than individual titles, although individual titles are added as needed to fill in gaps. Factors considered in evaluating journals for subscription or cancellation include:

      • Use or potential use, and availability of usage statistics.
      • Availability in digital format, with a stable and accessible interface.
      • Accessible through indexing and abstracting tools
      • Cost/benefit
      • Academic level/scholarly content/appropriateness to the curriculum
      • Availability to the SSU community through interlibrary services (ILS).

      Preference is given to online subscriptions, with no duplication in print. The Library may cancel print subscriptions to periodicals that are also available in the full text databases to which the library subscribes. Criteria for online-only access to journals includes:

      • Interface is usable and stable and title is easily accessed.
      • Browseable table of contents, with clear indication of available full text.
      • Availability and quality of illustrations, graphics and tables.
      • PDF versions of articles whenever possible.
      • Compatible from a variety of platforms and browsers.
      • ADA accessible
      • Print and email functions are intuitive and work well.
      • Cost must be reasonable compared to print.
      • Access to backfiles, with current subscription or, if subscription is cancelled, to the issues for which we paid.
      • IP authentication and remote access.
      • No individual user registration
      • Open URL compliant
      • Licensing agreements that allow for interlibrary lending and electronic reserves.

      New periodical and database subscriptions

      Periodicals require a continuing funding commitment and are particularly vulnerable to inflation, with an average annual inflation rate of 8-9% a year. Therefore it is crucial that tight control be kept on the periodicals budget so it does not exceed the recommended 70:30 funding ratio of periodicals to books and other materials.

      Undergraduate use is the main criteria for new subscriptions. Department faculty may request periodicals be added or cancelled, but the Library's decision will depend on availability, cost, and staffing issues. If funds are available, we will cautiously add new titles to meet departmental needs.

      Departments may request cancellation of specific titles in their disciplines in order to add periodicals of equal or lesser cost; a "drop-one, add-one" policy, but the final decision rests with the Librarians, who must balance the needs of the entire campus.

      Additions will commence with the next volume year.

      Research support for faculty

      The library's materials budget allows for limited support for faculty research, dependent on funding. In order to meet the ongoing need for highly specialized and expensive journals the researcher has several options:

      • Interlibrary loan and document delivery services.
      • LINK+ is available for unmediated requesting of books, with delivery via courier, usually within 2-3 days.
      • A deposit account with a document delivery provider, which allows faculty to request an article from the provider and to have it faxed directly a preferred fax machine. The library underwrites the cost of the articles for faculty, within reasonable limits.


      Local, national and international newspapers are available full text electronically through the databases to which we subscribe. Additionally, we subscribe to a limited number of nationally and locally important newspapers in print format such as the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Press Democrat and La Opinion. The library maintains archival copies of selected papers in microform or online format.


      Reference works are items that are meant to be consulted or referred to for specific information rather than read from cover to cover. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, concordances, atlases, and bibliographies are all examples of the type of materials in the library's reference collection. This collection supports the interdisciplinary reference and research services offered by the library as well as the curricular areas noted above, therefore the scope of the collection covers a wider range of human knowledge than the other collections. Preference is given to electronic format.


      The Multimedia collection is selected to support and enhance the academic and professional programs of the university. Non-print acquisitions may range from the popular to scholarly, but are purchased in support of classroom instruction.

      A small popular film collection is available for recreational use.

      Music sound recordings have some unique requirements. The quality of performance and the technical fidelity of the recording are important. For purposes of comparison and study we may acquire more than one recording of landmark works. Recommendations by faculty and students for acquisitions are encouraged and welcomed.

      The Library will not provide duplicating services for any format type, in order to avoid copyright interpretation and potential liability.

      While newer formats may replace titles in older formats, entire collections in older media formats will not be completely replaced by the newer formats, e.g., VHS and DVDs. Where possible, key titles with high circulation statistics in the older format will be sought in the newer formats, but in general, the new format collections will be developed from scratch.

      Streaming audio and video content may be pursued as the technology and funding allow.


      The library purchases scores, but not sheet music.

      Government documents

      The Library has been a select California state depository under the California Library Distribution Act, and a selective housing unit for federal documents through the Sonoma County Library's federal depository program. We therefore have several thousand documents already in our collection.

      However, with the dramatic shift of Federal and state documents policies to providing access to digitized information rather than physical documents, the Library is disengaging from the depository programs. Due to depository restrictions and staffing limitations, this will be a gradual process.

      The library does collect local (city, county and regional) documents from our six county service area. These documents tend to not be digitized, and accessing them in print format is a high priority.

      Our documents are cataloged and integrated into the circulating and reference book collections, rather than being shelved in a separate documents collection. The regional documents of our service area are cataloged as part of the Regional Collection.


      Newspapers, periodicals, books, government documents, and specialized, unique collections in various microform formats have been an important archive supporting academic programs of the university. As these archives become available in digital format, and as budget allows, the Library will attempt to replace the microform with online access.

      Reserve materials

      The Library maintains a reserve collection of materials that support individual class instruction. When budget allows, we order reserve materials requested by faculty, with the exception of standard textbooks and lab manuals. This collection is managed by the Circulation department, which forwards reserve requests to the Collection Development Librarian.

      North Bay Regional & Special Collections (NBR&SC)

      The NBR&SC Department is committed to collecting information about the North Bay counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma, including adjacent coastal and bay areas. Acquisitions are multidisciplinary and must be relevant to the North Bay region. Collection building efforts target informational resources that are in print, out of print, electronic, and unpublished. Primary source material is of particular interest. Key materials include:

      • Books about North Bay people, history, environment and culture
      • Books on regional topics by local authors (books with non-regional content are excluded).
      • Local documents
      • Maps
      • Published and unpublished manuscripts
      • Serials, newspapers and newsletters
      • Cultural heritage resources such as, photographs, oral histories, artifacts, and ephemera
      • Digitized research

      Special Collections

      The Special Collections area of the Library houses materials distinguished by rarity, value, aesthetics, and format. Many items are fragile and irreplaceable, requiring special handling and access procedures. By assembling and conserving an array of primary source materials, Special Collections provides a fertile environment for intellectual discovery.

      The primary standard for inclusion is regional content. In addition, legacy non-regional concentrations in the areas of art, history, anthropology, sociology and literature exist and will continue to be supported. Notable collections include:

      • Jack London Collection
      • Gaye LeBaron Collection
      • North Bay Digital Collections
      • Leopold Justi Collection
      • North Bay Ethnic Archive
      • Finley-McFarland Collection

      Special Collections items may be:

      • Manuscripts
      • Letters, diaries & memoirs
      • Photographs & slides
      • Books & folios
      • Periodicals & clippings
      • Artifacts & ephemera

      University Archives

      The Sonoma State University Archives preserve material produced by Sonoma State University and its constituent parts. These vital print, graphic and media records document the history, growth and development of the University and support its institutional memory.

      Inclusions are:

      • Selected administrative records of the University
      • SSU publications
      • SSU theses
      • SSU artifacts


      SSU is a resource center for materials for children and young adults (YA). This collection serves SSU students in the teaching credential programs and children's literature programs, as well as families, people who work with children and other members of the local community. These materials include:

      • Easy readers: books specifically designed for the emergent reader, with controlled or progressively constructed vocabularies, as well as simple chapter books.
      • Foreign language/bilingual materials: representative works of children's literature in languages other than English, including bilingual works.
      • Historical research collection: to serve the needs of students in the children's literature classes and SSU scholars interested in the field, the historical K/12 collection includes materials that are of interest to scholars and researchers, but that are not appropriate for the other juvenile collections. This includes children's works that are representative of the times in which they were published.


      The Library does not collect curriculum materials into a distinct collection.


      As the primary access point for all formats of information, the library's website links to a variety of sources deemed of interest to the campus community. In addition to the library's catalog, full-text journals and databases, we make a concerted effort to provide clear and easy access to the vast array of governmental, legislative, business and statistical data via selected gateway sites. We also link to a selected group of reference sources and subject-specific gateways. The focus is on high quality gateway sites, with a few subject pages developed by librarian subject specialists to better meet the needs of our constituencies.

  4. Related Documents:

Approved by Collection Development Committee 11-16-2007