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Elizabeth Lovsin

LIS 748.01: Berendt


Collection Development Policy Review

University of Texas at Austin Libraries


The website for the collection development policies of the University of Texas at
Austin Libraries is not as user-friendly as other libraries online policies. A sidebar to the
left of many pages only includes five links to various sections of the policies. While the
links to all sections are included in the Subject Policies page, this is not the page a
user is first directed to regarding collection development, nor is it one of the sidebar
links. The website would increase its usability if it provided links to all major sections of
the policies in the sidebar of every page.
Despite the navigability issues, the policies presented offer a wealth of
information about the collection and the way it is managed. The various responsibilities
of library employees and faculty are clearly explained in the Acquisitions Manual for
Faculty. A link to the Subject Specialist Directory provides contact information for
each subject specialist librarian, as well as links to subject-specific research guides and
databases (University of Texas at Austin Libraries [UT]). While the purpose of this
manual is to explain library procedures to university faculty members, it is a wonderful
resource for any user who wants to research a subject or contact an expert.
The processes of the library and justification for these processes are explained in
numerous sections, links to which can all be found on the Subject Policies page.
There are separate policies dealing with digital collections, brittle and irreparable
materials, disposing of items, duplication of materials, electronic materials, duplicate
periodicals, reinstatement of withdrawn items, replacement of lost or damaged items,
materials requiring special protection, withdrawal, and endowments and gifts (UT).
This information is often very detailed, and offers valuable guidance for library

employees and explanations for users and funders (IFLA p.2). Some of the policies,
however, seem redundant: the Electronic Formats Collection Policy could be
combined with the more extensive Digital Library policy, or the very brief Duplicate
Periodicals merged with the general Duplication policy. Combining these like policies
would increase clarity and ease of reading.
Many of these policies also serve the important protective function of a written
policy (IFLA p. 2). The Materials Retention and Disposition policy, for instance,
provides a written defense of the removal process that can be relied upon if someone
complains about the weeding of library items. Various policies enable the library to turn
away unwanted gifts and refuse requests to buy duplicates of items, and explain why in
reasons non-librarians can understand. There are also resources about protecting
intellectual property and engaging in the open access movement and other nontraditional forms of scholarly communication (UT). Missing is a policy about challenges
to materials with a link to the Library Bill of Rights (IFLA p. 3).
There are sixty-nine separate subject policies, far more than the twenty-four
WLN/OCLC Conspectus Divisions, which is an indicator of the scope of the collection
(IFLA p. 6). The vast majority of these subject policies follow the same format: Purpose,
General Collection Guidelines with a consistent set of guideline subtopics,
and Observations and Qualifications by Subject and LC Class which provides
conspectus reports (UT). This consistency in format is a benefit to library employees
and users in understanding each section of the collection. In the conspectus reports for
most subjects, both the libraries own Collection Development Policy (CDP) levels and
traditional conspectus levels are provided and are meant to reflect current collecting

intensity (UT). Again, the consistency and thoroughness of these reports reflects
careful planning and the importance of collection management to the libraries.

Montana State University Library


The organization of this policy is incredibly user-friendly. The entire policy is
located on one webpage, which lists the separate components of the policy. Each listed
item is a link that, when clicked, expands to show the text for that item. Containing all of
the policy information on one page makes it very easy to navigate, and also helps one
to see the policy as a coherent whole with interrelating parts.
The introduction is comprehensive: it provides links to the full mission and vision
of the libraries, states the purpose of the policy, highlights the importance of intellectual
freedom and provides the ALA Code of Ethics and Library Bill of Rights as support, and
explains staffing and budget (Montana State University Library [MSU]). This provides a
foundation for the entire policy of professional ethics and realistic obligations.
The Scope of collection section begins by highlighting user needs, the needs of
the university community, as the basis for the collection. Links to the academic catalog
are provided, highlighting the importance of the curriculum to the libraries collection.
Selection goals, priorities, and criteria are included in this section, as is information
about cooperative purchasing and gifts. The Collection Evaluation and Maintenance
section provides concise information about evaluation, preservation and replacement,
duplication, and weeding. Only basic information is provided, with links to additional
information as needed. For example, the four concise sentences under the Gift Policy
heading provide a link to a full policy with extensive information about what will and will

not be accepted (MSU). The brevity of the main policy makes it easy to read and
comprehend, and links to more detailed documents make it possible to learn more
about a topic when one so chooses.
The next section, Specific Policies for Discrete Collections, provides specific
selection criteria, access goals, and format information for ten separate collections.
While the Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections include a brief conspectus report,
the other collections do not. Finally, the Specific Policies for Formats explains the
criteria and considerations for selection of nine different types of formats, highlighting
issues of electronic selection (MSU).
The economy of language throughout this policy makes it accessible. While nonlibrarians might be confused by the mention of metadata standards without any
explanation, the overall effect of this efficient writing is more likely to increase
understanding among library users and stakeholders than to create confusion. One
negative aspect of this concise language is that there are not extensive descriptions of
processes to aid in training of library staff (IFLA p. 1).
The major problem with this policy is that it does not include conspectus reports
or any evaluation of the general (non discrete) collection. In the Evaluation selection
of the policy, only one sentence describes the factors that are considered in the
collection evaluation process (MSU). Without conspectus reports, there is no proof that
evaluation of the current collection is happening, nor is there any way to objectively
assess the scope and strength of the collection (IFLA p. 3). The absence of conspectus
reports could lead one to assume that active collection evaluation is not a priority. This
is a major failing in an otherwise efficient collection development policy.

Campbell County Public Library System


The website for the Campbell County Public Library System collection
development policy is easy to navigate because links to all major sections are in a
sidebar to the left of every major section page. The visual layout of the links also helps
users to get an understanding of the overall layout of the policy.
The policy opens with an introduction that lists the professionals involved, which
provides legitimacy to the document. The introduction then addresses the style and
purpose of the policy, basic budget information, and a description of the community
served by the library (Campbell County Public Library System [CC]). This is the only
one of the three policies to provide geographic, demographic, and economic information
about the user community. Perhaps this is a more common practice for public rather
than academic libraries, but user community information provides a valuable context to
evaluate the relevancy of any librarys collection (IFLA p. 2).
After a section providing links to the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to
Read Statement, the Selection Process topic offers an abundance of information.
Both Selection Guidelines and Reconsideration of Library Materials stress the
librarys goal of maintaining a balanced and diverse collection (CC). These sections of
the policy provide protection for the library in the case of a challenge, by offering written
support for processes and decisions (IFLA p. 2). The entire process of filing a challenge
is explained in detail which may have the effect of dissuading potential challengers
and a reconsideration form is included in the appendix, as are links to ALA
interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights. This is the only policy to go into detail about

the reconsideration process and intellectual freedom, but it makes sense that public
libraries are more likely to receive challenges than academic libraries.
Other sections in Selection Process address practicalities like selection
responsibilities, gifts and memorials, repair, and duplication. The Weeding section
describes the weeding process as necessary to a successful collection, and outlines
weeding criteria (CC). These sections offer helpful guidance to library employees,
explaining the criteria for various decisions and the official procedures to follow (IFLA
pp. 1-2). The policy is therefore also protecting not just the library, but also its individual
employees: if a staff member follows protocol and a user complains about it, the written
policy makes it very easy for the library to support the employee.
The Collection Evaluation section is very brief. It stresses the importance of
evaluation and identifies some quantitative and qualitative standards used to assess
collection strength (CC). This combination of qualitative and quantitative measures is
likely to increase the accuracy of the evaluation (IFLA p. 4). The bulk of the policy is
subject- and format-specific evaluations. All of these statements include: General
Comments, Development Plan, Influencing Factors, and Retention/Weeding. The
nonfiction and reference sections break down the collection by Dewey categories and
provide a brief narrative assessing collection depth. The other sections do not have
anything resembling conspectus reports, but they do offer narrative evaluations of each
section of the collection (CC). While conspectus reports are thorough, the narrative
presentation is likely to be more readable to the general library community. Regardless
of the presentation, this policy shares an effective evaluation of the collection.

References
Campbell County Public Library System. (2012). Collection development policy.
Retrieved from http://www.ccgov.net/625/Introduction.
International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Section on Acquisition
and Collection Development. (2001). Guidelines for a collection development
policy using the conspectus model. IFLA. Retrieved from
http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/acquisition-collectiondevelopment/publications/gcdp-en.pdf.
Montana State University Library. (2010). Collection development policy. Retrieved from
http://www.lib.montana.edu/collections/cdpolicy.php.
University of Texas at Austin Libraries. (2014). Collection development policies,
principles & guidelines. Retrieved from
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/admin/cird/cird.html.