Collection Development Statement
Adopted by STLCC Libraries’ Collection Management Committee members on December 9, 2020.
This collection development policy establishes rationale and priorities for the selection of STLCC Libraries’ materials and the criteria for withdrawal of materials. In addition to these general guidelines, policy statements for specific formats and areas of the collection are presented below.
STLCC Libraries supports and endorses the following statements from the American Library Association and its affiliated Divisions and Round Tables:
- Library Bill of Rights
- Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights
- Intellectual Freedom
- Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
- Freedom to View
STLCC Library faculty and staff have primary responsibility for the collection, but the selection and withdrawal of materials are activities shared with other members of the College community. Librarians work with faculty to ensure that materials supporting the instructional programs of the College are added to the collection. Recommendations from instructional faculty are particularly important in building a collection that bolsters student success. Additionally, all members of the College community are encouraged to suggest additions. Librarians review requests with the same selection and withdrawal criteria, described in more detail below.
Collection development goals
As mentioned above, the STLCC Libraries’ collection’s primary goal is to foster student success by providing resources and materials to support the curriculum and instructional programs of St. Louis Community College. STLCC Libraries also serve a community of lifelong learners with a broad range of interests and prior educational experiences, including patrons who may only use the libraries while studying at STLCC, and some without previous library experience. Therefore, additions to the collection include a variety of general information resources in subject areas not covered by classroom instruction but are generally supportive of a learning environment. For those members of the college community whose scholarly or research needs are beyond the scope of STLCC Libraries’ collections, librarians can help identify, locate, and borrow such materials through MOBIUS or interlibrary loans. Faculty and staff pursuing degrees at other institutions should expect to use library services at their degree-granting institutions for research-related needs.
Within the constraints of available funds, facilities, and staffing, STLCC Libraries will acquire and make available materials in various formats. STLCC Libraries are involved with various resource-sharing agreements that substantially increase the number of materials available to the college community.
Selection of materials by the STLCC Libraries does not imply endorsement of the contents or the views expressed in those materials. However, STLCC Libraries adheres to the principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights, which state that “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.” The Library Bill of Rights further states: “Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.”
Guidelines for selection of materials
The following guidelines help librarians select quality print, electronic, and other materials for inclusion in the collection. A selection decision doesn’t have to fulfill all criteria in order to be considered worthy. General factors to consider when evaluating materials in all formats for selection:
- Relevance to students’ learning needs
- Relevance to instructional needs of the faculty
- Relevance to existing and new STLCC programs
- Accuracy and objectivity, currency, interest level
- Academic level primarily appropriate for community college students and/or general readers
- Reviews and reputation of the author, publisher, and/or producer
- Reflective of diverse perspectives and life experiences
- Accessibility of resources
STLCC Libraries’ collection strives to meet the needs of its diverse student body and recognizes that diverse authors and viewpoints are not always equitably represented by mainstream publishers. Selectors are encouraged to seek out small and/or alternative press and self-published content as needed to create a collection that reflects the diverse cultures and life experiences of STLCC students, faculty, and learning community.
Priority shall be given to resources that directly support subjects and credit courses offered at St. Louis Community College. STLCC Libraries’ selectors should be alert to important new works in their subject areas, works by key authorities in the field, and major critical studies. Although the publisher or sponsoring organization is another important consideration, this does not preclude purchasing self-published materials. As appropriate for a two-year institution, selectors will generally choose materials accessible to the general reader, rather than specialists. Contingent upon available funds, secondary priority will be given to the acquisition of materials to support backfilling the collection in areas where deficiencies have been identified by faculty or Libraries’ staff.
Textbooks adopted for class use will not normally be purchased for the collection. Instructors wishing to place textbooks or other materials on reserve for their students to access are encouraged to do so. Generally, STLCC Libraries will not purchase consumable materials such as workbooks or tests.
Depending on need and popularity, selectors may occasionally purchase multiple copies of an item or the same item in multiple formats.
Selection and deselection decisions are based on curriculum and research needs, budgetary restrictions and maintenance costs; resource overlap; content value; accessibility and ease of use; and any other criteria deemed impactful to a resource’s usefulness.
As part of its ongoing efforts to provide the highest quality, cost-appropriate, and most useful resources, STLCC Libraries will undertake trials of new electronic resources to evaluate them before purchase or license. During such trials, STLCC Libraries will make efforts to gather feedback from faculty and students on the resource’s worth to our academic community. STLCC Libraries will consider this feedback as part of the evaluation process. STLCC Libraries will not undertake a trial for a resource unless there is intent to consider it for purchase.
STLCC Libraries strive to provide access to databases and other non-print materials relevant to faculty and student needs. These may include databases, electronic book collections, streaming media content, open access content, and more. The same selection and evaluation principles will apply to these materials as to all other collection materials, with the highest level of consideration given to resources that comply with web accessibility standards.
St. Louis Community College Libraries maintain collections of archival material to collect, preserve and make accessible historical records that document the functions and activities of the College.
- Most archival material is collected via transfer from College departments and affiliated organizations to document College activities.
- Decisions and recommendations about materials for inclusion in the Archives will be made by the District Dean of Libraries or their designee(s), as based on their purpose, value to College history, and other information needs.
- Archival materials may include, but are not limited to:
- Departmental records of historical value.
- Accreditation self-studies and reports.
- Faculty sabbatical reports.
- Student publications, including student newspapers and literary journals.
- Staff newsletters.
- Historical records of student organizations.
- Photographs of campus buildings and events.
- Audiovisual materials such as recordings of College officials and events.
- Materials not accepted:
- Materials requiring special housing or excessive demands on archival resources.
- Duplicates of collections maintained by other departments.
- Personnel records, student records or other material of a confidential nature.
- Routine correspondence and accounting transactions.
- Conditional transfers are not accepted. Acceptance of material to the Archives does not commit the Archives to retain material in perpetuity.
- Decisions and recommendations about materials for deaccession and withdrawal from the Archives will be made by the District Dean of Libraries or designee(s), as based on their purpose, value to College history, and other information needs.
- The Archives’ processed files and materials will be made accessible to users by appointment.
The STLCC libraries are not currently accepting donations of physical materials due to:
- existing and new projects
- limited shelving space at most libraries
- lack of appropriate college storage environments (location, temperature, accessibility, etc.).
Although STLCC Libraries will continue to add new materials, the decision not to accept donations at this time ensures that the Libraries’ faculty and staff can adequately evaluate existing collections and maximize use of library materials.
Monetary donations to the STLCC Libraries are accepted through the STLCC Foundation.
Deselection or “weeding” of materials to be removed from collections is an important part of the overall collection management process. Building a viable collection of materials to serve the college community is a dynamic process that includes evaluation of the current collection and the removal of materials that are obsolete, damaged beyond repair, or no longer relevant to the curriculum. Similarly, a review of electronic resources to determine current relevance to the curriculum and other College needs must be periodically undertaken.
Librarians weed the collection by employing their professional expertise and knowledge of the curriculum. Librarians engage faculty to review materials in their subject areas and to identify items that should be withdrawn, and electronic resources to be discontinued.
Periodic collection review for weeding will focus on:
- Outdated materials and formats
- Superseded editions
- Excessively worn or damaged materials. Items in poor condition, but still valuable in terms of intellectual content and curriculum support, will be considered for replacement.
- Multiple copies of items that are no longer needed to support the curriculum
- Textbooks and instructional materials or previous editions of more recent texts
- Materials that are no longer of value to the collection, as indicated by circulation counts and/or relevance to the curriculum.
- Electronic resources that fail to meet accessibility guidelines.