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Collection Development Policy

​​​​Introduction | User Community | Collection Goals | Selection Responsibility | Selection Criteria | Acquisitions | Collection Evaluation | Withdrawal, Deselection, and Replacement

Last Updated: 7/02/04


The purpose of this policy is to provide general direction for collection development and management in the Central Michigan University (CMU) Library. Additional policies specific to subject areas are addressed in the collection policies by subject. The Clarke Historical Library maintains a separate collection development policy.

The CMU Library’s collection development philosophy is to support the mission and strategic plans of CMU by selecting and providing access to the information necessary to support the curricular needs of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the research needs of the CMU community as funds allow. Since programs, funding levels, and research priorities change and evolve continuously at CMU, the collection development program must remain flexible and ready to change direction and emphasis to support evolving institutional needs with available resources.

User Community

Central Michigan University is a diverse community of faculty and students numbering over 28,000, with a Carnegie Classification of Doctoral/Research-Intensive. The Library’s primary users are the students, faculty, and staff of the University. The Library’s secondary users are members of the community who have open access to the facility and collection.

Collection Goals

The University Library will acquire, preserve, or provide access to all types of information sources which are deemed necessary to meet its responsibilities to the University’s mission. The Library must balance access to and ownership of information resources. These resources include, but are not limited to, books, documents, periodicals, maps, microforms, and non-print media.

Selection Responsibility

Responsibility for the selection of current materials rests with Subject Librarians who are liaisons to academic departments or programs. The Director of Collection Development serves as primary liaison to interdisciplinary programs.

The University Library participates in cooperative licensing of electronic resources through the Michigan Library Consortium.

Selection Criteria

Selection Priorities

The Library’s main priorities are acquiring materials which support the curricular needs of the University faculty and students, including material for course preparation, lectures, and assignments, as well as resources which support the university’s research and scholarly activities as funds allow.

A secondary priority is to provide a collection that supports the public service mission of CMU as a state-supported university and regional community resource, including ​ federal government publications.

Depth of Coverage

Depth of coverage ranges from a basic undergraduate level to an in-depth research level depending on the degree conferred. The collection development policies for the particular subject areas will direct the growth and depth of the collection.

The collecting level codes and language codes from the American Library Association’s Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements (1996, pp 13-25) 1 are used to indicate the depth of coverage ranges in specific subject areas. Collecting level 3c shall only be applied to subject areas supporting master’s programs. Collecting level 4 shall only be applied to subject areas supporting doctoral programs. As the Library does not have sufficient funding to collect at the comprehensive level, collecting level 5 shall not be used for any subject area.

Information Sources for Selection

Subject Librarians use numerous sources to identify materials for acquisition within their subject areas. Regular contact with library liaisons and other faculty of the academic units is an essential part of this process. To facilitate the collection development process, the Library receives certain designated categories of materials through approval plans with a selected commercial vendor. The profiles governing such approval plans are compiled jointly by the relevant subject librarian and the academic department. Subject librarians monitor the performance of approval plans in their subject areas and report problems to the Director of Collection Development.

Current vs. Retrospective Selection

Primary emphasis is on the acquisition of current titles. The Library will make an effort to acquire retrospective works and backfiles as funds permit and programmatic needs may require.

General Guidelines for Types and Format of Materials

Books and Monographs

The Library collects primarily single copies of books. When a book is published in both hardcover and paperback editions, the Library will usually acquire the paperback version, unless the size and format of the hardcover edition make the content more accessible.


Journal and magazine subscriptions for the Library are selected to cover, as broadly as possible, all fields relating to the undergraduate curriculum of the University. Journals representing a greater depth of coverage are chosen for the graduate programs. In addition to scholarly publications which support the curriculum, it is the policy of the library to maintain a collection of general interest magazines and selected professional library journals.

Newspapers are selected to represent a variety of social, cultural and political viewpoints, and to provide instructional and research support. Local and some state newspapers are collected, as well as a few national and major city newspapers. Preference is given to papers having national audiences, recognized as having wide influence, and commercially indexed. A small but representative selection of foreign newspapers is acquired.

New subscriptions supporting new or expanding programs are contingent upon availability of funding. Generally, new subscriptions are added in exchange for cancellation of a like amount from current subscriptions. These addition/cancellation decisions are made in close discussion between subject librarians and department faculty. Consideration of the value for the cost of information resources is important. Such an approach attempts to compare the expected benefit of purchases with their cost and potential use.

The Library encourages departments to consider obtaining articles through Documents on Demand rather than acquiring subscriptions to specialized serials that may serve narrower audiences at the University. Given the rapid turn-around of most ILL article requests, using this option is a way for the Library to supply the materials needed by faculty and students without incurring long-term subscription obligations.

Electronic format is now the preferred format for most periodical literature.​ The Library will not normally subscribe to a serial in multiple formats.

Electronic Formats

The University Library collects bibliographic materials, full text files, numeric data files, streaming video, and graphic and multimedia files appropriate to the scope of the Library's collection. Courseware and instructional programs are generally not collected. The Library will collect computer software only as accompanying material or used to facilitate access to other electronic formats collected by the Library. (For more information, see Electronic Resources Acquisitions Policy.)

Audio and Visual Materials

Audiovisual materials are collected primarily for instructional purposes. The preferred format for films is standard DVDs. Streaming films may be purchased (or leased) depending upon the availability of a title and its cost. Commercial audio materials and CD-ROMs are usually not acquired unless specifically requested by a faculty member, or unless the information contained is essential and not available in other formats. Some print materials arrive with accompanying CDs, which will be housed with the volumes in the regular collection. Closed caption formats are collected when available.

Children's and Young Adult Literature

The Library identifies and acquires children's and young adult literature to support curricular and research needs. Both original works and scholarly studies of children's and young adult literature will be collected.

Dissertations and Theses

Dissertations and theses of Central Michigan University students in print format are acquired and housed in the University Library. Other dissertations and theses are available through a commercial database subscription.

Foreign Languages and Translations

The primary collecting language is English. Translations into English of major foreign-language works, supporting curricular needs, will be purchased whenever possible. Materials in languages other than English are collected for language instruction. Materials in other languages may also be necessary in other disciplines on a very selective basis.


Maps and other cartographic materials are collected to support instruction.


This format includes microfiche, microfilm, and microcards, and is useful for preservation purposes and space saving. For microfilm and microfiche, silver halide film is preferred. Microcards are no longer purchased.

Multiple Copies

The Library generally does not purchase multiple copies of monographs or duplicate serial subscriptions. Works for which circulation records and patron requests indicate exceptionally heavy demand may be considered for duplication, especially upon recommendation by faculty. A duplicate may also be considered when justification can be made for a reserve or reference copy in addition to a circulating copy. Duplication of print and electronic versions of the same monograph should be considered if the formats meet significantly different needs of user groups. Otherwise duplication is not encouraged. Some duplicates are purchased as office copies where needed to support ongoing work in Library units.


Pamphlets are generally not purchased, although some pamphlet publications may be received as government depository materials.


Posters are generally not purchased, but may be received as government depository or archives materials.

Publications by Local Authors and CMU Faculty

The Library acquires publications by local authors if the material supports curricular and research needs of the University.

Generally, the Library expects that CMU faculty will give a copy of their work to add to the collection. The Library will acquire substantial scholarly monographs written by CMU faculty, with the exception of textbooks, workbooks, laboratory manuals, etc. if they support curricular and research needs of the University.


Reprints of monographs and journals are collected, based upon the availability and comparative quality and price of the original, electronic, or microform edition, or the existence of additional material in the reprint edition.

Anthologies of reprinted materials

Anthologies of reprinted materials are usually not collected.

Reserve Materials

Required or collateral reading materials are placed on Reserve by faculty members for use by their students. These materials may be books and serials from the Library's collection, photocopies, or personal copies belonging to member of the faculty. Books that must be acquired for Reserve are purchased, by faculty request through the Subject Librarian, from the department’s monograph acquisitions fund.


Introductory Textbooks are not generally purchased. The exceptions are textbooks that have earned a reputation as classics in their fields, or when a textbook is the only or best source of information on a particular topic. Workbooks, lab manuals, and other consumable materials are not collected.

However, the University Library maintains a collection of current elementary and secondary school textbooks for the Teacher Education classes. This collection is built by soliciting donation from publishers. Materials are not catalogued and are not circulating.


Acquisitions Budget

The acquisitions budget comes to the Library through the University budgeting process. Generally, it reflects an increase to cover projected inflation of ongoing serial subscriptions and new book purchases. In years where the Library does not receive sufficient funding to cover inflationary increases, the Director of Collection Development, in consultation with the subject librarians and the Associate Dean of Libraries, will determine areas of the budget to receive lesser allocations in that fiscal year.

As funding increases generally only cover projected inflation, the Library has no additional funding available to support new programs. Therefore, additional funding to support library resources for new programs must come through the planning process.


Funds are allocated to support the mission of the Library and the University. Allocation decisions consider factors that include campus priorities, program strengths, local demographics, collection use, interlibrary loan data, and publishing trends.

Funding allocations are made to support new directions in service, placing greater reliance on technology and integrating electronic information formats into daily routines and decision-making. The Library acquires access to information resources in electronic format wherever possible.

Endowment funds

Endowment funds are sometimes made available by the Dean of Libraries. Although some funds may be restricted to a specific subject or discipline, as a general rule, endowment funds are used only to pay for one-time purchases, not for subscriptions requiring a continuing financial commitment.


The University Library accepts gifts of materials. Gifts are added if they help meet curricular and research needs, enhance collection strength, or add significantly to the collection in a new area of study for the university. Scholarly materials including manuscripts, recordings, books, and significant runs of scholarly journals usually are acceptable. Outdated textbooks, popular books and magazines, duplicates, and materials in poor condition are not accepted.

The Library reserves the right to review all gifts before acceptance. Subject Librarians evaluate gifts on a title-by-title basis. Once accepted, all gifts become the property of the University Library. The Library reserves the right to determine retention, location, cataloging, disposition and other factors relating to the gift.

Gifts to the University Library are tax deductible, but IRS regulations prohibit the University Library from providing estimations or appraisals. (For more information see Gift Policy.)

Collection Evaluation

The Library conducts periodic, systematic evaluations of the book collection using the WLN Conspectus process as the basis to ensure that the collection keeps pace with changing programmatic needs of the University community. Subject Librarians assess materials for preservation, replacement, or withdrawal in order to ensure the continued integrity and usefulness of the collection. Statistical tools, such as data from circulation reports, age of collection, in-house use, interlibrary loan borrowing, journal impact factor, and local online usage are used in collection assessment.

Evaluation of periodical subscriptions is ongoing.

Withdrawal, Deselection, and Replacement

Withdrawal is the permanent removal of outdated, superseded, damaged, or redundant material from the collection. Deselection is the decision-making process for withdrawal. Primary responsibility for deselecting lies with the Subject Librarians, although advice can be sought from relevant departmental faculty. Withdrawal should be considered in cases of: superseded editions, obsolete materials, and materials that are out of scope for the collection. Materials that are infrequently used, but still of long-term research value may be retained in the collection as long as shelving space permits.

As material becomes worn, dated, damaged, or lost, replacement decisions made by Subject Librarians should be based on: availability of the item to be purchased, sufficient need to replace that item, historical or research value of the item, updated material that would better serve users needs, availability of item via MeLCat or Documents on Demand.

The Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement and all relevant interpretations as adopted by American Library Association are part of this Collection Development Policy. If any of library users have objections to any materials selected for the CMU Libraries, they may register such objection by completing the Form for Requesting Reconsideration of Library Materials​.


Anderson, J. S. (2 Ed.). Guide for written collection policy statements (Vols. 7). Chicago: American Library Association.​