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Collection Development Policy

I. General Policy Statements


This collection development policy is a statement of the principles and guidelines used by the Townsend Memorial Library in the selection, acquisition, evaluation, and maintenance of library materials. It will be used both in providing consistency among those responsible for developing the collection and in communicating the library's policies to faculty, students, staff, and other interested persons. It is understood that as the programs and other information needs of the University change, so too the collection development policy will change to meet such needs.

Mission Statement:

Townsend Memorial Library contributes to the fulfillment of the University's mission by pursuing the following objectives:

  • To select, acquire, organize, maintain and make accessible a collection of printed and non-printed, primary and secondary materials which will support the educational, research, and public service programs of the undergraduate and graduate schools of the University.
  • To enhance the library's resources and services through cooperative relationships with other libraries and agencies.

Purpose of the Policy:

  • To provide guidelines for the selection of materials to be added to the collections whether by purchase or gifts.
  • To ensure the systematic growth of the collection based on a plan reflecting the purposes and nature of the University and of the evolving curriculum.
  • To clarify the Library Collection development policies for faculty, students, and administration. To inform and advise in budgetary decisions.
  • To allow comparison between the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor policy and those of other libraries.
  • To provide a basis for the evaluation of the collection. To anticipate future needs and problem areas in the library's collection.

Responsible Entities for Collection Development:

Responsibility for administering the collection development program, including planning, development, maintenance, preservation, budgeting and evaluating the collection, rests with the Associate Dean of the library and the library faculty.

The Dean and library faculty provide mechanisms for insuring equity, continuity, and flexibility in the collection program. Their responsibilities include:

  • Recommendations of appropriate library resources in support of the mission of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
  • Reviewing and approving collection development policies, including overall strategic objectives for collection development at the Library.
  • Identification of areas of collection strengths and weaknesses to guide the setting of priorities in collection development and preservation.
  • Granting approval or denying requests for major purchasing decisions including handling of long-term acquisitions commitments (e.g., standing orders, online databases, e-books and e-journals, continuations, and serials), acquisitions of special collections, special purchase requests, collection improvement proposals, etc.
  • Establishing procedures for the approval of new subscriptions and the review of existing subscriptions.
  • Identification of current issues in collection development for discussion within the Library and for articulation, as appropriate, to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor community.
  • Participation in cooperative collection development projects involving other institutions as the committee sees appropriate.

II. Selection of Materials

Parameters of Selection:

The subject selection areas for the library include all courses of study in undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Types of materials purchased for the collection include monographs, periodicals, online databases, serials, electronic subscriptions, and other necessary multi-media products.

Selection Priorities:

The priorities for selection are organized to support the curricula within the University and the needs of the primary users listed under the Service Parameters heading of this document. The research requirements of faculty are to be taken into consideration, especially if they are closely related to the curricula. The following is a hierarchical list of acquisition priorities:

  1. Materials to support accreditation requirements and academic departments as well as materials.
  2. Materials required supporting undergraduate majors and graduate programs.
  3. Materials required for other courses and programs offered by the University.
  4. Materials required for faculty research not directly related to the above.
  5. Materials responding to other needs of the library and the academic institution.

It is to be understood that these priorities are dependent also upon the collection level that has been established for each area, as well as how the other collections rate within their levels. These priorities do not determine how much is to be spent on each collection, but are to make sure that those collections that have problems meeting the first priority are remedied as soon as possible.

Selection Criteria:

Quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular needs are the first criteria for selection of items to be included in the library's collection. Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  • Lasting value of the content;
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment;
  • Strengths of present holdings in same or similar subject areas;
  • Availability of material in other formats (such as online);
  • Authoritativeness of the author or reputation of the publisher;
  • Use of review sources;
  • Cost.

Other guidelines also utilized:

  • Textbooks are not normally purchased (exceptions may occur when a textbook is the only or best source of information on a particular topic);
  • Duplicate or multiple copies are purchased only under unusual circumstances determined by circulation, reference, reserve or other related statistics;
  • Lost, stolen, or damaged materials will be replaced if it meets current selection criteria. All core related materials will be replaced. Identical or similar materials may replace lost or stolen materials if the original is no longer available;

Responsibility for Selection:

Selection of materials for the collections is carried out cooperatively by library faculty in consultation with teaching faculty.

Departmental Faculty are responsible for submitting requests for purchases and cancellations of subscriptions for their departments and for providing information about departmental needs to the library. Teaching faculty members submit their book requests to their library liaison librarians.

The library's Collection Development Policy guidelines will be followed in material selection and deselection, preservation, replacement, or removal of deteriorating and outdated or irrelevant materials in the collection. All requests for materials are reviewed and compared to selection guidelines. Student and staff requests are welcomed and will be reviewed by the same standard, as are requests from other sources. Teaching Faculty will notify and communicate the implementation of new academic programs within the University so that needed resources may be provided.

III. Collection Evaluation


Collection evaluation is a measurement of the library's physical holdings and any quality online resources to which the library has access.

The Library will use subject-specific and standard bibliographies and reviewing sources in evaluating the collection; the Library will follow the standards of collection evaluation recommended by the Association of College and Research Libraries; and will use library faculty expertise as a resource for both selection and evaluation of the collection. Evaluation of the collection should be conducted on a regular basis.

Collection Depth Indicators:

The Library maintains different levels of collection development for various collections. Collection depth indicators are numeric values that describe the Library's collecting levels and goals. The Research Libraries Group developed the following levels of coverage:

  1. Basic Information Level - a collection of up-to-date general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, such as dictionaries, bibliographies, and selected editions of important works. A basic information collection is not sufficiently intensive to support any courses or independent study in the subject area involved.
  2. Instructional Support Level - a collection that is adequate to support undergraduate and most graduate instruction, or includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of major authors, some secondary writers, journals, and reference tools, including online databases.
  3. Research Level - a collection that includes the published materials required for research, such as important reference works and abstract services, a wide selection of specialized monographs, extensive journal holdings, and sufficient online resources. Older material may be retained for historical research. Collection Policies

Books and Monographs

The Library collects primary and secondary publications to support the educational and research needs of the students and faculty in all academic fields relevant to University programs.

Monographic series may be acquired as individual titles, or by establishing a continuation order. The need to purchase all volumes in a series or a work issued in parts is the primary requirement for establishing a continuation order. Further justification in the form of cost savings may be required.

Theses and dissertations completed at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor are added to the collection, as are dissertations ordered or received as gifts that serve curricular interest and meet the criteria of the Policy.

Other considerations include:

  • Languages - For undergraduate classes other than Foreign Languages and literatures, the Library purchases English language materials. For graduate classes, the Library purchases materials in foreign languages to support curricula.
  • Faculty Publications - The Library collects all University of Mary Hardin-Baylor faculty publications.
  • Multiple Copies - The Library ordinarily purchases only one copy of each title, except when heavy usage demands purchase of multiple copies. Requests for more than one copy of any item will be scrutinized carefully. Duplicate books received as gifts will be added to the collection if warranted by heavy use of the books already in the library.
  • Recreational Materials – The primary goal of Townsend Memorial Library is to provide resources that support teaching and learning at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. In recognition of the need to provide some reading material for non- academic purposes or “leisure” reading for students and faculty, the library maintains a small budget for purchase of leisure reading. UMHB patrons may request titles through our “Suggest a purchase” form found under the “Help” tab on the library’s homepage at

    Any single patron may request that the library purchase two books during the fiscal year for leisure reading.


The objective of a periodical policy is to develop and maintain a periodical collection that is closely related to the University's curricula and is responsive to student, faculty, and administrative needs.

Periodicals include journals, magazines, and serials that are issued more frequently than once a year and are not classed as continuations. Because the purchase of a periodical subscription represents an on-going commitment, the funding and selection of periodicals differs from the funding and selection of monographs. Acquisition of a periodical requires and receives substantially more consideration than acquisition of a single monograph.

The Serials Manager normally orders periodical subscriptions on an annual basis. All subscriptions selected for inclusion in the Library must be evaluated and recommended by faculty bibliographers and professional librarian staff. The Library Associate Dean provides final approval for all purchases.

In most cases, the Library will provide journal subscriptions in one format only and preference will be given to electronic formats. Retrospectively, as a print subscription journal becomes available in an electronic format, print cancellation and conversion to an electronic subscription will be favored unless doing so compromises student/faculty use or is not cost effective.

There are several considerations for periodical collection development. These include

  1. The addition of new titles to the collection
  2. The continuation of existing subscriptions
  3. The preservation and maintenance of back files
  4. The deselection of titles through subscription cancellations and total or partial elimination of back files.

General criteria used in evaluating periodicals for acquisition, on-going subscription, cancellation, and maintenance of back files include:

  • Intellectual content as judged by consultation with teaching and library faculty who have knowledge of the field
  • Relevance to the present academic curriculum
  • Centrality to the discipline
  • Collection balance
  • Frequency of current use or projected future use
  • Language
  • Reputation and indexing of the periodical as judged by an examination of authoritative reviews and citations in standard bibliographies
  • Cost and availability of
  • Refereed status
  • A number of recent Interlibrary Loan requests for a periodical title not owned

Additional criteria for electronic journals include:

  • Availability of journal articles in a format that provides acceptable quality of non-text images.
  • Availability of electronic back files
  • Licensing and access requirements
  • Availability of the journal in full-text format in aggregator databases or free access

Periodical titles of general interest

The Library acquires a limited number of periodicals of general interest. The Library will not subscribe to periodicals for recreational reading or hobbyists. Criteria to be considered for these periodicals include:

  • Intellectual content
  • Inclusion in indexing services
  • Usage
  • Cost


The Library will subscribe to a representative but limited number of newspapers in order to support teaching, research, and to provide sources of local, national, and international news, as well as, general intellectual and cultural awareness for faculty and students.


The goal of library binding is to preserve and make materials accessible in their original format for as long as needed at the lowest possible cost. Print titles that are not permanently retained or those that are archived in a stable location that will be accessible on a long-term basis will not be bound. The Library will consider curricular relevance, electronic availability, and usage data in selecting titles to be bound.


The Library may procure some periodical titles through membership in an association or society when those publications are the primary benefit of such membership. The Library cannot justify expending funds on memberships that are not of direct benefit to the Library.

Back Files

A back file is not automatically maintained for every title to which the library subscribes. Distinctions are made between publications whose primary purpose is current awareness (e.g. newspapers, newsletters, weekly news magazines) and those with a more enduring content.

Indexing is an important factor in determining whether a back file is maintained. Periodicals that are not indexed at all, that are cited in indexes not owned by the library, or that are not accompanied by their own index are not good candidates for back files. Whenever possible, the library may prefer electronic back files rather than preservation through binding.

Criteria for selection of titles for back file maintenance include:

  • Electronic availability in a stable database or other location
  • Relevance to curriculum needs
  • Availability of indexing

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources refer to those materials or services that require a computer or mobile device for access, including, but not limited to, electronic journals, electronic books, bibliographic or full-text databases, and internet resources. The goal of the Library is to purchase or maintain subscriptions to electronic resources that are necessary and vital in support of the curriculum and that supplement other library resources.

General Selection Criteria

  1. All electronic resources should fall within current collecting guidelines as described in the Townsend Memorial Library collection development policy.
  2. All electronic resources should be relevant and appropriate to the Library’s user community and reflect current academic needs and the University’s mission.
  3. If the electronic resource duplicates another resource already available in the Library, the proposed electronic resource should offer some value-added enhancement. Library staff should reevaluate and make a selection/retention decision.
  4. In addition to the cost of the product, if any, the following hidden costs need to be considered: licensing fees, hardware, software, staff training and continuing education, duplicating support materials, updates, maintenance, cost of additional simultaneous users, and any other costs.
  5. The product should be “user-friendly,” that is, provide ease of use and guidance for the user via appropriate menus, help screens, or tutorials.
  6. The product must be easily accessible. Remote access is essential, and unlimited concurrent users and IP recognition are preferred. User limits will be considered if the number of concurrent users is sufficient for the program supported by the resource.
  7. The product should equal or improve the quality of library resources.
  8. The Library’s cooperative/consortia arrangements may influence the outcome of the criteria.
  9. The Library will negotiate and comply with vendor licensing agreements.
  10. Due to the volatile environment of electronic resources and ongoing financial commitment, each electronic resource will be reviewed annually by library staff.


The reference collection consists of materials which, by their arrangement, treatment, or content, can be consulted for bibliographic or factual information. The collection contains selected multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary materials which cross subject boundaries.

Currently published material has priority over retrospective material, although in selected instances, retrospective collections are maintained for full historical coverage. The aim, however, is to acquire and retain works that are currently the most authoritative in their fields. Superseded editions are withdrawn and/or transferred to the circulating collection.

Selections of materials are not geographically, but topically based, in that all areas relevant to the University's learning and research process are considered for inclusion in the collection.

Scholarly and authoritatively informational works, appropriate for use at undergraduate, graduate, and research levels, are selected.

Reference Collecting Levels:

  • Almanacs, annuals and yearbooks - The latest editions of pertinent materials for the curriculum are purchased. The geographic and subject coverage of these materials reflect and support the teaching and research trends of the University.
  • Anthologies - A few anthologies reflective of and pertinent to the curriculum are maintained in the Reference Collection.
  • Atlases - A representative up-to-date collection of the major, comprehensive regional and thematic (e.g., historical, economic, and linguistic) atlases is also included.
  • Bibles - An extensive collection of Bibles, concordances, and commentaries is maintained.
  • Bibliographies - General bibliographies on broad topics may be included in the Reference Collection. Those with a narrow scope, such as single author or subject bibliographies, are ordinarily not put into the Reference Collection. Exceptions are only occasionally made for major authors or for topics in great demand or of current interest.
  • Biographical dictionaries - Biographical dictionaries having a very narrow, regional, chronological, or subject coverage are considered on their individual merits and on their potential usefulness in the Reference Collection.
  • Companions and Specialized Encyclopedias - The reference department maintains a collection of companions and specialized encyclopedias that reflect the programs of the University.
  • Concordances - The reference collection contains concordances only for major works such as the Bible and Shakespeare.
  • Dictionaries, language - The objective is to acquire the most scholarly and authoritative dictionaries available.
  • English language dictionaries -
  • Foreign language dictionaries - For those languages taught at the University or in which there is significant scholarly research, an extensive collection of general and etymological dictionaries is maintained. For other languages, the reference collection holds translation dictionaries plus the major dictionary of the language.
  • Dictionaries, specialized - Specialized subject dictionaries are collected if they reflect the programs of the University.
  • Electronic information retrieval services - The reference department maintains online access to a wide variety of electronic information sources. These can be bibliographic, numeric, or full-text in nature. Print equivalents are discouraged due to limited funds and space.
  • Encyclopedias (general) -
  • Encyclopedias (specialized) - Encyclopedias on specialized subjects are collected if the subject area is pertinent to the University curricula. The New Catholic Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia Judaica, and others are available in electronic format for scholarly research.
  • Handbooks - Handbooks are collected only if organized so as to lend themselves to reference use.
  • Maps - (See Atlases)
  • Periodicals and newspapers - Bibliographies of periodicals, newspapers, and union lists are found on the Library's databases, including Lexis-UNI.
  • Quotations and proverb books - All current editions of major English language dictionaries of quotations, proverbs, etc. are selected for the reference collection.
  • Style manuals - A good selection of current style manuals which serve as standards for their respective fields and are suited to the needs of writers in the business, sciences, humanities, and social sciences is maintained.

Weeding Policy

Weeding is an important part of collection development and management of collections. Weeding, or deselection, is the careful elimination from the collection of unwanted or unnecessary materials that accumulate over time. This is done not only to conserve valuable space, but more importantly to increase the value or usefulness of the collection. The process of weeding should also be used to assess materials in need of repair or replacing.

Like collection development, weeding, or deselection of materials is a collaborative endeavor involving library faculty and teaching faculty as appropriate.

The process of weeding should also be used to assess materials in need of repair or replacing. Options for preservation of such materials include:

  • Replacement of item;
  • Scanning of the item into electronic media (if allowed by Federal copyright laws);

Criteria for Deselection

Items contained within the collection may be removed according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance - the items contained within the collection must be relevant to the goals of the Collection Development Policy. Collections should be reviewed if any substantive additions or changes to University curricula are made.
  • Poor Content / Inaccurate Information - Works that are of poor content and found to contain inaccurate or false information are to be considered for deselection.
  • Damaged Works - If a work has been damaged by intensive use and replacement would be less expensive than repairs, the work is to be disposed of and replaced.


The Library materials budget is a part of the total Library budget, and is the responsibility of the Associate Dean of the Library. The Acquisitions Librarian will assist in the initial preparation of the budget.

The budget is set according to the needs of supporting University programs. The Library attempts to distribute its funds in such a way as to ensure a solid foundation for a collection serving a variety of users in a variety of disciplines, while allowing some freedom of choice among disciplines in meeting immediate and sometimes unanticipated needs.

The general categories of the Library Materials Budget include:

  1. Department Allocations - Monograph orders are submitted to the Acquisitions Department by library faculty and departmental faculty. Student requests and those received from the library's "Suggest a Purchase" form will also be considered. Allocation is not derived from a formula. Instead, program needs, content quality, and collection quantity drive the appropriations.
  2. Serials - Due to budgetary constraints, all new periodical subscription requests must be approved by the Associate Dean of the Library and appropriate staff. A special form for requesting such purchases must be submitted to the Serials Librarian. In light of recent serials price escalation and technological advances that are making alternatives to ownership of some serials more viable, the Library is committed to exploring such alternatives and financing those which are reasonable, economical, and that support the needs of the library users. Periodical orders are submitted to the Serials Manager for purchase. Serial subscriptions are collected in print or electronic format, but with a growing preference for electronic. If the title is available full-text in a stable online database (one that is a permanent part of the library's electronic collection), it will not be purchased either in print, or as a direct electronic subscription.
  3. Standing Orders / Continuations - Standing Orders / Continuations are materials that the library purchases on an ongoing basis when new titles are published. New standing orders or continuations must be approved by the Acquisitions supervisor. The budgets for standing orders and/or continuations are integrated into the regular departmental acquisitions budgets. If available, standing orders / continuations will be purchased in an electronic format, as part of a stable online database, or as a direct subscription.
  4. Electronic Orders - Because of space constraints, the Library makes every effort to acquire materials in an electronic format, when available. Because of their often substantial cost and interdisciplinary nature, the Library will purchase electronic materials after careful consideration and evaluation in terms of the collection goals of the library. Requests for new electronic orders should be submitted to the Acquisitions Librarian.
  5. Preservation - The Library believes that preserving the collection for continued use by the University community, and, in some areas, by the scholarly community at large, is a natural extension of our collection development responsibility, and requires the allocation of sums for regular repair and rebinding, for binding some serials, as well as other preservation methods when indicated.
  6. Special Purchase Requests - The Library recognizes that some items needed to strengthen our collections are too expensive to be covered by funds available to the requestor. A request can be made to the Associate Dean of the Library for a special purchase of materials.

Gift Policy

  • Acknowledgement - Each gift to the University Library is acknowledged, unless the donor requests otherwise. Acknowledgements typically include the date of receipt, number and type of gift donated.
  • Donor Recognition -
  • Tax Information and Appraisals - Usually a gift of books or other material will qualify as a deduction for income tax purposes. The donor is responsible for establishing the fair market value of an item given to the library. IRS regulations prohibit the library from providing appraisals of gifts. However, the library may provide reference assistance to donors in using standard sources related to evaluation of library materials, or suggest names of appraisers for donors to contact.


The Library has an obligation to protect library collections from removal of materials based on personal bias or prejudice, and to select and support the access to materials on all subjects that meet, as closely as possible, the needs, interests, and abilities of all persons in the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor community

This collection development policy serves as a tool to help the Library build a strong local collection in the areas that are central to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor’s programs of teaching, scholarship. and research. This policy is not exhaustive, and library faculty reserve to the right to make necessary changes when needed.

Page last updated August 10, 2023