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Collection Development


The purpose of the Clayton State University Library Collection Development Policy is to support the educational, instructional and research goals of its students, faculty and staff. The Collection Development policy provides the framework for selecting, acquiring and managing the resources necessary to achieve the goals of the University.

The Clayton State University Library Collection Development Policy intends to provide general guidelines for allocating funds fairly, establishing collection levels for broad subject areas, and formulating objective selection criteria.

This policy statement is intended to be flexible enough to respond to long- and short- range objectives of the institution as well as changes in Library operations and the publishing industry. Periodic review of this policy will ensure that it reflects changes to academic programs.



The Clayton State Library supports the statements on collection development contained within the "Standards for Libraries in Higher Education" adopted by the American Library Association's Association of College and Research Libraries. Since accrediting agencies, such as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and the Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business generally use these standards to evaluate Library collections, it is important that the Library maintain these standards.

Intellectual Freedom and Censorship

The Clayton State Library recognizes that the free access to ideas and full freedom of expression are fundamental to the educational process. The Library will attempt to purchase materials which represent a wide variety of viewpoints on religious, political, sexual, social, economic, scientific, and moral issues. To this end, the Library subscribes to and complies with the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights.

An individual or group questioning the appropriateness of material within the collection will be referred to the Clayton State University Dean of Libraries.


The American Library Association's Code of Ethics states that "Librarians must protect each user's right to privacy with respect to information sought, received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired.” The Clayton State Library interprets this statement to mean that records of books circulated, titles requested through GIL Express, Interlibrary Loan or the Library’s acquisition department and recommendations for titles to be withdrawn should be treated as confidential information. The Clayton State Library adheres to the American Library Association's "Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records" Confidentiality is also protected under Georgia law (Georgia Code Title 24. Evidence § 24-12-30).


The Clayton State University Library complies fully with all of the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The Library strongly supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) which permits and protects citizens' rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship and research.

Cooperative Development

The Clayton State University Library will exercise collaboration with other colleges and universities by participating in the GIL Express and Interlibrary Loan programs. With these partnerships, the Clayton State Library will avoid duplication of most materials for which a substantial, continuing local need is not envisioned. Titles that are frequently requested through GIL Express, Interlibrary Loan, or Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education (ARCHE) should be evaluated as possible additions to the Library’s collection. Selectors should be cognizant of the databases and full-text resources available through GALILEO. Such information should be used in making decisions about which sources will be purchased locally.

Selector Responsibilities

Library Administration

Library administration will work with academic departments, Library staff, faculty and students to develop the collection. The Dean of Libraries will allocate funds according to the needs of the academic departments. The Library Budget Committee monitors the budget to ensure that funds are assigned to areas with the most pressing needs.

Liaison Librarians

Each academic department is assigned a liaison librarian who is responsible for selecting materials in their assigned subject areas. Liaisons should build relationships with faculty and assist them in identifying resources for their subject areas. Liaisons are responsible for weeding the print collection in their assigned subject areas.


The Library relies on faculty for recommendations regarding materials that best support the curriculum. A Library Committee has been established consisting of faculty representing all the colleges. The purpose of the Committee is to facilitate faculty involvement in collection development and Library policy.


Students are welcome to submit requests for materials. Requests will be forwarded to the appropriate liaison for consideration.

General Selection Guidelines

The following criteria should be considered when selecting materials for the Library’s collections:

  • Appropriateness for graduate and undergraduate curricula.
  • Materials that meet the career, recreational, and information needs of the campus community.
  • Identified strengths and weaknesses of subject areas.
  • Content, format, literary merit, author or publisher reputation.
  • Literary, artistic and social value; appeal to the imagination, senses and intellect.
  • Enduring value
  • Currency and timeliness
  • Expected usage
  • Price or relative cost of the material in relation to Library’s budget and other materials
  • Binding (hardcover books are preferred over paperback provided the price difference between the hardcover and paperback editions is reasonable)

Budgeting and Allocations

At the beginning of each fiscal year the Head of Collection and Resource Management shall prepare for the Dean of Libraries and the Budget Team an estimate of the expected cost of maintaining subscriptions and standing orders in all formats for the upcoming fiscal year. This cost shall be taken into consideration when allocating the materials section of the Library budget. Also considered are reserves that may be needed for reference materials, materials to fill in gaps in the collection, replacement of lost and stolen items, bindery expenses, etc. The remaining funds (if any) are then allocated for one-time monographic purchases by the Dean of Libraries, who may solicit the advice of the Budget Team in making such decisions. Funds should be allocated equitably among the academic units and departments, but need not be allocated equally. A larger or smaller share may be allocated to academic units or departments after taking into account enrollment figures, changes to the University curriculum, the average cost of materials in a particular field of study, or any other criteria which the Dean of Libraries deems equitable to apply. Library Liaisons are responsible for expending any funds for one-time monographic purchases which may be allocated to their assigned areas.

Frequently the Library receives allocations at the end of the fiscal year. These funds may be used to pay for large one-time purchases or may be put on deposit with a vendor to be expended. When end of year funds are deposited with a monographic vendor, Library Liaisons may be asked to assist in expending the portion assigned to their areas.

Selection of Specific Types of Materials

Books and Monographs

All faculty members are encouraged to submit requests for books to support the instructional programs of the University. Requests should be submitted to the Library Liaison assigned to that faculty member’s unit or department. Book order requests are accepted at any time of the year; however, requests are always subject to the availability of funds, and will be made at the discretion of the relevant Library Liaison and/or the Dean of Libraries. If a book is needed urgently or is intended to support a course as opposed to simply strengthening the collection, this information should be included with the request.

The Library Liaisons are responsible for expending any funds designated for one-time monographic purchases and allocated to their assigned areas. Library Liaisons should work closely with faculty in the selection of materials to expend these funds. Requests for an individual title costing over $500.00 must be approved by the Dean of Libraries.

Liaisons should submit orders in the entire amount allocated to them for one-time monographic purchases (if any) before the end of January. Periodic reminders will be sent to the Liaisons. All funds still unencumbered by the end of January may be reallocated to operating expenses, assigned to other Liaisons, or otherwise spent at the discretion of the Dean of Libraries who may solicit the advice of the Budget Team in making such decisions.

Foreign Languages

Foreign language materials are purchased primarily to support the Foreign Language Department programs.

Multiple Copies

To provide the broadest range of materials for the support of the curriculum, the Clayton State Library normally purchases only one copy of a title. Requests for multiple copies will be considered individually depending on the substantiated needs and the value of the item as part of the Library's permanent collection. In instances when a decision is made to purchase multiple copies, the additional copies are acquired in the most economical format.

Two copies of the Clayton State University theses are retained by the Library. One bound copy is added to the general collection and made available for circulation. A second copy is retained as a non-circulating archival copy. Theses of other universities, which are available through University Microfilms, or other vendors may be selected by faculty for the general collection following the same general criteria established for other library materials.

Juvenile Materials

Books for children, young adults, etc. may be maintained in the collection to support the education programs.

Popular Reading Collection

The Library maintains a Popular Reading Collection consisting of Library owned materials as well as current interest titles leased from a book vendor. The addition and removal of titles, as well as the process of returning leased items, is managed by the Department of Collection and Resource Management, with the assistance of Library staff in other departments who may volunteer to participate in the selection process.

Textbooks, Research Projects and Lab Manuals

Textbooks for courses offered by the University will not be purchased. Textbooks received as donations may be added at the discretion of the relevant Library Liaison. The Library does not purchase materials that are needed as permanent support material in classrooms and labs. These materials should be purchased by the academic department.

The Library does not purchase materials for short-term research projects of faculty and staff or graduate students. Use of interlibrary loan is encouraged.

Audio-Visual Materials

Audio visual materials are given the same consideration as any other materials. Requests for audiovisual materials will be evaluated on the same basis as book materials. In general, obsolete formats such as video tapes, audio cassettes, slides and filmstrips should not be purchased for the Library collection.

Computer Software

In general, the Library will not actively build up the software collection, nor automatically order revised versions of purchased software. Developmental software such as those meant to be used to develop and produce multimedia, and/or software for office or classroom use should be purchased by the academic departments. Academic department requests will be scrutinized following the same guidelines as other materials and the additional guidelines below.

Computer software considered for acquisition should:

  • Provide improved access to or be an enhancement or enrichment of current library collections.
  • Have adequate print or online documentation available, such as useful manuals, guides, or tutorials from the producer.
  • Be broadly accessible under current copyright and licensing laws.
  • Can be archived, if necessary.
  • Be user-friendly.

Electronic Resources

The Electronic Resources and Services Department is responsible for the selection, acquisition, access, review and cancellation of cost share and locally provided electronic resources. Selected members of the Collection and Resource Management department support the acquisition of resources and lead the cataloging processes.

Electronic resources are defined as resources that require computer access with an Internet connection. Resources covered by this policy include:

  • Databases
  • Digital Collections
  • eBooks
  • Ejournals
  • Open access resources

Other Formats

The Library will add new types of audio visual and electronic formats only when the format is well-established and stable.

Guidelines for Selection

Priority will be given to resources supporting the curriculum, followed by resources which are of more general interest such as reference materials and other works which benefit both faculty and student research needs. Demand as evidenced by requests from faculty and students as well as feedback from liaison librarians will be taken into consideration when selecting resources.

If possible, and in order to procure the most appropriate resources to meet our users’ needs the library will trial new resources in order to evaluate them before making a purchasing decision. During the trial period the library will solicit feedback from the campus community regarding the value and interest in the resource under consideration. Faculty are not encouraged to contact vendors and request trials on behalf of the library. Responsibility for requesting trials will be made by the Electronic Resources and Services Department. Notification of database trials will originate from the library.

Electronic resources considered for addition to the collection are reviewed using the same general selection guidelines for materials and these additional considerations:

Cost & Pricing

When print resources are available the cost of the electronic resource should be compared to that of the print resource. If significantly higher the library should weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the electronic version versus print. Such considerations would include improved usability, access, as well as any ongoing costs such as annual hosting fees and anticipated subscription price increases.


Electronic resources should feature a user-friendly interface using the latest web practices including but not limited to: personal accounts for customized research experiences, availability of customer support such as tutorials, easy to understand documentation, advanced searching with multiple limiters and permalinks for sharing content, as well as offer various methods of downloading and printing copies for personal use.


Resources may vary according to access restrictions including the authentication method, number of simultaneous users, on and off-campus use, compatibility across platforms (desktop, mobile, tablets) and content format, (HTML, PDF or ePub) all of which will determine the desirability of acquiring the resource. In the case of multiple user formats which can be more expensive, Clayton State University Library reserves the right to make case by case decisions on whether to purchase eBooks in a single or multiple user format.


It is the policy of Clayton State University Library to make resources available to all users regardless of disability. Anything constituting a barrier to access will be considered at the time of purchase. Resources purchased should be ADA compliant whenever possible. For example, streaming videos which contain close-captions and transcripts for the hearing impaired will be preferred. Likewise, e-books should offer the ability for print disabled users to navigate content via screen readers and be compliant with text-to-speech software.


The electronic license should include acceptable license terms related to authorized users, remote access, fair use permissions for course reserves and interlibrary loan, low or DRM-free for eBooks, archival provisions to guarantee access, realistic expectations concerning the Library’s ability to monitor use and discover abuse.

Reviews & Trials

Evaluating an electronic resources relevance to the curriculum and research needs of the campus community will be determined by consulting published reviews in library literature, asking faculty about their current needs and whenever possible allowing the faculty and staff to preview the content and functionality of the resource prior to purchase during a no cost trial period.

Administrator Rights

Local customization via an administration access system is desirable. The vendor should provide usage statistics which are readily available and preferably COUNTER compliant.


Duplication of formats can be considered if the cost is minimal, multiple formats meet the specific needs of different user groups, or the online resource enhances the print version. Content should be updated and made available as frequently as the print version and perpetual access is desirable for journal subscriptions.

Resources which cannot be purchased immediately, may be added to a wish list maintained by the Electronic Resources and Services Department. As funding becomes available items from the wish list may be reviewed and selected for acquisition.

GALILEO Cost-Share Resources

Some electronic resources available through GALILEO are locally purchased by Clayton State University and made directly available to our institution. Others are provided to the entire USG community or specific institutions through cost-sharing agreements. Resources that are provided through cost-sharing may be discontinued in whole or in part after review and discussion by the USG community. Likewise, cost-share resources may be added to GALILEO upon consideration of all USG institutions.

Clayton State University library has input into the selection or discontinuation of GALILEO cost share resources but can only exercise unilateral control over the selection, retention and deselection of resources which are locally purchased by the library.

Licensing Guidelines

Licensing agreements define who is authorized to use library resources. Terms may also define how many users may access a resource at any given time. When negotiating license agreements, the Library keeps the interests of the user in mind and refrains from purchasing products where use restrictions would seriously impede research or be impossible to enforce. The library defines users as full and part-time students, faculty, staff, and affiliated researchers such as retirees. Access based upon geographic locations is not desirable and to be avoided when possible. License agreements should also contain archival provisions which guarantee access to material to which the library has purchased.

The Head of the Electronic Resources and Services Department coordinates the review of license agreements and submits the countersigned license agreement as part of the ordering process.

Open Access Resources

The library supports new publishing initiatives such as Open Access which remove both cost and permission barriers to scholarly content thereby increasing access to academic information. For the purposes of this policy, the Clayton State Library defines an open access resource as any resource that is freely available through the Internet. Types of open access resources eligible for inclusion are eBooks, eJournals, databases, government documents, multimedia, and websites.

The intention of adding open access resources is to compliment and augment purchased resources. Open access resources will be selected for inclusion based on the same criteria as purchased content and the following criteria:

  • The title is an exact duplicate of an existing physical title owned by the Library
  • The title supplements or replaces a physical title that was previously selected for inclusion in the collection
  • The title was specifically requested by a librarian for inclusion
  • The title has a long-standing reputation within the Open Access community
  • The title adds academic value to the Clayton State community
  • The title was authored by Clayton State University faculty
  • The vendor providing the OA content abides by the OASPA Statement on Open
    Access (

The Electronic Resources and Services Department and other interested parties will determine if a recommendation meets the established criteria. Some OA material may not have MARC records and instead use other metadata schema's. Collection and Resource Management will be consulted when needed to incorporate these records into ALMA.

Retention and Review

Databases, serials and open access materials will be periodically reviewed by the Electronic Resources and Services department and liaison librarians to determine whether these materials will be retained, removed, or replaced. Faculty will be consulted regarding the continued usefulness of existing resources, to review new requests as well as to solicit their input about the library collection. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be used to evaluate the collection and new requests.

A subscription may be cancelled by the library if 2 or more variables are met:

  • usage statistics are consistently low over a significant period
  • the resource’s price inflates to a level beyond affordability
  • content is no longer supporting the curriculum or research needs of the Clayton State community
  • content is found to duplicate content in another more affordable resource
  • a competitive or comparable product has become available on the marketplace that can deliver a more superior research experience
  • poor customer or technical support service from the vendor
  • a change in terms of access (such as an increase in embargo period to content)

The Head of Electronic Resources and Services is responsible for notifying the vendor within the time frame determined by the license agreement of the intention to cancel an electronic resource subscription.


The Clayton State University Library welcomes the donation of all formats of research materials, including books, journals, sound and video recordings, photographs, and manuscripts, as well as monetary gifts for the purchase of library materials. Donations must supplement the Library’s current collections and support the institution’s curriculum and research needs. Gifts are accepted or declined in accordance with the criteria established in the library's and University Archives’ Collection Development policies.

Conditions for Acceptance

  • Prior to accepting any donation regardless of the size, the Department Head of Collection and Resource Management in conjunction with the Department Head of Access, Research, and Instructional Services and the Dean of Libraries will determine if the materials support the curriculum and research needs of the campus community and/or fill a gap in the current library collection.
  • Materials for the University Archives will be vetted and accepted by the University Archivist. The University Archivist reserves the right to accept, reject, or otherwise dispose of any donated materials. Once accepted, all materials become the property of the University Archives.
  • Upon acceptance, the donor will be referred to the Department Head of Collection and Resource Management or University Archivist to arrange a mutually agreed upon time to receive gifts and to ensure formal acknowledgement and consideration. After acceptance of the gift, the donor receives a letter of thanks and acknowledgement from the Executive Assistant to the Dean.
  • Once gifts are received by the Department Head of Collection and Resource Management, all materials become the property of the Clayton State Library. The library reserves the right to accept, reject, sell, or otherwise dispose of donated materials based on recommendations from library faculty/subject liaisons and the Department Head of Collection and Resource Management.
  • The library does not accept gifts that have undue restrictions or conditions placed upon the use of items or monetary gifts.
  • The Clayton State Library will not appraise or assign monetary value to donated materials. Donors who wish to claim gifts as an income tax deduction should arrange to have an evaluation made by an independent appraiser prior to donation of the materials.

Out-of-Print Titles

Most titles selected for purchase are current publications. The Library recognizes the need for some retrospective purchases and may make such purchases to fill gaps in the collection. However, in view of the expense of obtaining out-of-print material it is more important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective purchases. Frequently such material can be obtained on interlibrary loan if needed.

The Library normally does not purchase or replace out-of-print materials unless they are deemed standards in the field and important to the collection or are specifically requested by a member of the faculty to support a particular class. In this case, the item is purchased if available at a reasonable price either from an on-line vendor or an out[1]of-print jobber.

Selection of Specific Types of Materials

Archives and Special Collections

The Archives provides an environment to protect and maintain materials that have been determined to have extraordinary value to the University. The archives collects, preserves, and provides access to source material documenting the academic and cultural history of the University. Collecting efforts are focused on primary source materials of enduring research and instructional importance. The collections contain monographic and serial materials in various formats including manuscript material, maps, photographs, digital objects, and other forms of material valuable to the purpose of the repository. The archival holdings are separately housed with security and preservation safeguards.

No money will be diverted from the Library budget solely for the purchase of archival material. Acquisitions are made through donations, and the library reserves the right to refuse any donation not meeting its criteria and to dispose of materials in an appropriate manner.

Special Collections is housed within the University Archives. Items added to special collections should be unique or of limited availability including limited editions, and very old or very rare editions. No Library funds are allocated specifically to build holdings in Special Collections. Any purchased items that are appropriate for Special Collections should also support the curriculum of the University. As with donations to the Archives, the Library reserves the right to refuse any donation to Special Collections that does not meet the needs of the Library or the University and to dispose of any donated material in an appropriate manner.


The management of serials requires a higher degree of selectivity than that of books. Initiating a serial subscription implies an ongoing and costly commitment for many years in terms of payments, binding, and storage. Responsibility for selecting periodicals is shared by faculty and the Library staff. The annual subscription list is the result of many decisions made over previous years. The library staff coordinates evaluation of titles of interest to the various departments to identify titles that might be canceled and to gather suggestions for titles to be added. Evaluation of periodical titles considers those titles available electronically, interlibrary loan request records, etc. Because serials costs are rising at a much faster rate than book costs, every effort is made to hold the number of subscriptions to the minimum consistent with need, and to coordinate holdings as much as possible with other University System libraries.

The Library will normally rely on interlibrary loan for periodical backfiles it does not hold. Exceptions will be considered for material in great demand, as evidenced by interlibrary loan requests, limited backfiles needed to support a new area of study, or needed backfiles that for some reason are not available through interlibrary loan. Microfilm or electronic access would be the normal medium for additional periodical backfiles. Backfiles may be ordered throughout the year. Requests will be evaluated according to the selection guidelines described above and as funds are available.

Ordering of single issues/volumes, or scattered and incomplete sets of periodicals is generally discouraged. Exceptions are made for individual issues needed to complete a volume. Occasionally the purchase is much less expensive than interlibrary loan and the concomitant copyright charges. In those instances where it appears that a continuing need for the single issue or volume exists, the library may bind the issue and add it to the collection as a monograph.

Changes to standing orders may be made on an ongoing basis; however, since most periodicals are paid for on a calendar year cycle, decisions about adding or cancelling periodical subscriptions must be made by October 31 at the latest, in order to allow the Department of Collection and Resource Management to process the changes in time to take effect the following January. If Faculty input or surveys are being used as part of the decision-making process, then all such information must be received by September 15 in order to allow time for the Library Leadership Team and Budget Team to collate and review the information. Cancellations of current subscriptions or commitment of funds from the department book allocation may be required in order to initiate a new subscription. Requests for new periodical titles should be submitted to the Library Liaison who handles the subject area. If patron requests, indexing, discipline surveys, citation studies, or additions to the curriculum indicate that a periodical should be added, the liaison librarian will contact the department chairman to discuss subscribing to the journal. The Dean of Libraries makes the final decision regarding the addition or cancellation of periodical titles but may solicit the advice of the Budget Team and the Library Leadership Team before making such decisions.


Approximately 10 subscriptions to local, national and international newspapers are maintained. Most newspapers are retained two months. Suggestions for substitute subscriptions will be reviewed with the periodicals list.


Microfilm is a valuable means of storing and making available material, which will receive relatively low use, that will deteriorate rapidly or that is rare, expensive, or otherwise unavailable. Examples are newspapers. Printed copies of materials we currently hold on microfilm should not be purchased in paper format.

Reference Collection

The Purpose of the Collection Development Policy for the Reference Collection is to establish guidelines for the acquisition, placement and weeding of materials in the Reference Collection. A diversified collection of standard reference works selected by the reference librarians, with suggestions from the faculty, make up the Reference Collection. Emphasis is placed on bibliographic materials. Materials in the Reference Collection are non-circulating, and include general reference items, reference atlases, indexes/abstracts, and reference sources. In addition, separate collections are maintained for Ready Reference and Legal Research. Items will be considered for Ready Reference only if there is a frequent and ongoing need for consulting the material.

Library liaisons are responsible for collection development for their subject areas, but reference librarians also share in the selection of resources for the Reference and Ready Reference Collections.

Selection of materials for reference is based on authoritative nature, currency, relevance, and ease of use.

Academic research beyond the scope of library reference materials is available and supported through online electronic resources.

Evaluation of the Collection

The continuous review of library materials is necessary as a means of maintaining an active library collection of current interest to users.

The systematic removal of material no longer useful is essential to maintaining the high quality and integrity of the collection. The Library Liaisons are responsible for weeding their assigned areas of the collection. Typically, the following categories of materials will be subject to weeding:

  • Duplicates of titles no longer in demand.
  • Material of no current or historical significance to the University.
  • Badly damaged or worn material.
  • Format obsolescence
  • Peripheral material that is inconsistent with current selection criteria.

For periodical titles both the value of complete holdings and the consequences of any action taken should be added to the factors influencing withdrawal/cancellation decisions. Periodical cancellation generally results from one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Changes in the University programs.
  • Budgetary constraints.
  • Emerging electronic resources that make continuation unnecessary.
  • Insufficient use to warrant continuation.
  • Shortage of physical space in the Library.

The Library staff seeks the advice of departmental faculty members in the evaluation process.

If a book is no longer appropriate for the Clayton State Library collection, but is the last copy in the state, it will be forwarded to the University of Georgia Library, following the University System 'last copy' policy. Books designated for discarding may be put on an electronic "Exchange List", which is circulated to other USG libraries. Books selected from the list by other libraries are shipped to them for the cost of postage.


This document states the general goals and guidelines for development of the collection of the Clayton State University Library. This policy will constitute a commitment of those selecting library materials throughout the University to maintain the collecting program described and to make periodic and carefully considered adjustments to the policy as the Clayton State University Library and the information universe evolve.