Colgate University Libraries Collection Development Policy

I.   Mission Statement of the Colgate Libraries

The Colgate University Libraries provide resources and services to support and strengthen Colgate's educational programs and to facilitate the creation and dissemination of knowledge. A goal in support of this mission is the selection, organization, and preservation of collections and the provision of both physical and intellectual access to resources appropriate to the curriculum of the University, the current research interests of the faculty, and the needs of the Colgate community.

 II.  Scope of the Collection & Collection Intensity

The collection consists of all monographic, serial, loose leaf and electronic materials, manuscripts, maps, indexes, abstracts, microfilm, audio-recordings, scores, and films in the Case and Cooley Libraries. The collections provide basic and in-depth information sources in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences, and selected coverage of subjects not directly related to the curriculum.

For core subjects we collect at the "Advanced Study Level" which is defined as "a collection which is adequate to support the course work of advanced undergraduate and master's degree programs, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity.  It includes a wide range of primary resources, basic monographs and retrospective collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject." [Guidelines for the Formulation of Collection Development Policies, David L. Perkins, editor, Collection Development Committee, Resources and Technical Division, American Library Association, 1979.]

 III. Commitment to Intellectual Freedom

 The Library adheres to the Library Bill of Rights (ALA, 1996). Sections I and II of this state that: "Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. 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."  For more information about intellectual freedom issues see the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom website or the Intellectual Freedom Manual Case Main Z711.4 .I57. 

Access to library materials shall not be restricted because of age, race, religion, national origins, or social or political views.

 IV. Responsibility for Selection

The selection of library materials is the joint responsibility of the Faculty and Librarians. Faculty members are largely responsible for recommending the acquisition of materials in areas in which they teach and conduct research. Any member of the faculty may request that an item be added to the collection. Participation in the selection process is also the responsibility of all of the Library Faculty. Each member of the Library Faculty will be assigned as a liaison to at least one academic department to coordinate selection in that subject. 

While faculty recommendations are welcome and their help solicited, the librarians must carry the responsibility for areas neglected by faculty in order to achieve a balanced collection and coordinate the resource development of the library as a whole. The ultimate responsibility for the overall development of the collections rests with the Head of Collection Development.

Recommendations for purchase from students, staff, and administrative officers are also welcome.

 V.     Selection Priorities

(1) The library's first priority is to serve the curricular needs of Colgate University. Preference will be given to resources that: serve as required or supplementary readings for courses, support independent student research, assist faculty with the teaching of classes, or fulfill the general aims of a liberal arts and sciences education.

(2) The purchase of research materials solely for individual faculty or academic support staff will be subordinated to the adequate fulfillment of the first priority of acquiring resources to support the curriculum. The library endeavors to serve the needs of Faculty and academic support staff primarily by providing access to specialized materials through the reference collection. When possible, interlibrary loan, commercial document delivery services, or personal purchases should be used to fulfill specialized needs. The library will not always be able to meet the needs of all Faculty members for their personal research, but no Faculty member should have to depend upon another library for the preparation of lectures and teaching.

(3) The Library will also purchase, as the budget permits, books for the recreational, cultural, and general information needs of the entire college community.

 VI. General Criteria for Selection

Materials will be chosen after considering the following variables:

-Relevance of subject matter to Colgate’s current academic community.
-Patterns of use indicate that there is additional need for materials in an area.
-Availability of other materials on the subject.
-Reputation of the author, artist, or composer.
-Quality of the writing.
-Literary merit or artistic quality.
-Accuracy of information or data.
-Timeliness or permanence of the material.
-Inclusion of the title in recognized bibliographies, lists, or indexes.
-Favorable recognition in standard reviewing sources.
-Price and availability of funds. If an item is held in ConnectNY or in a local library we may defer the purchase.
-Reputation of the publisher.

VII. Library Faculty Liaisons to Academic Departments

Each member of the library faculty is assigned to two, three, or four academic departments. The librarian liaisons share responsibility with departmental faculty for the selection of library materials and most are active selectors. Liaisons also provide academic departments with information about new acquisitions, services, and changes in library policy. They help ensure that the Libraries act in response to the faculty's needs. They try to stay abreast of new courses, programs, and faculty interests, and any other developments likely to influence the need for library resources and services. Many departmental liaisons are also active in providing instruction in information literacy.

Mark Sandford is the interim supervisor of the Acquisitions and Serials Departments and coordinates collection development activity in both Case and Cooley libraries. We welcome questions about acquisition or collection development policy as well as suggestions for strengthening the collection.

VIII. Gifts to the Library

The Library welcomes donations or gifts of books that support the University's programs. Gifts/donations are added according to the same selection criteria as purchased materials. Since processing and housing materials is expensive, the library reserves the right to accept or discard any materials received as gifts/donations. If gifts are accepted it should be understood that upon receipt the University becomes the owner of the material and, as such, reserves the right to determine its retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations related to its use, maintenance, or removal. Gifts/donations that are not added to the collection are usually put in the library book sale or forwarded to other libraries.

The Library encourages donors to consider, for their own interest, obtaining an appraisal of their gifts for income tax purposes. Such appraisals are the responsibility of the donor and should be made, if possible, before the gifts are transferred to Colgate in order to establish their fair market value. The Internal Revenue Service considers the Library to be an interested party which therefore precludes appraisals made or financed by Colgate. For this reason, donors must bear the costs of appraisal, but the costs may be deductible expenses.


More about our gift policies

IX. Specific Policies and Guidelines

Duplicate copies: Normally, only one copy of each book will be purchased. If there is likely to be high demand for multiple copies, this title should be considered for textbook adoption.

DVD or Video

Dissertations: We will attempt to purchase dissertations requested by Colgate faculty and by seniors who are conducting honors level research. Masters theses will not be purchased.

Digital Resources

Foreign Language Materials: Resources selected should be in the English language except for basic and representative works in any language taught at Colgate. Exceptions to this will be foreign language dictionaries, encyclopedias, other reference tools, and other materials determined to be necessary to support the curriculum.


Paperback vs. Hardbound Editions:  Paperbacks will be selected over hardbound editions if the cost of the paperback edition is substantially ($20) less than the cost of the hardbound edition.

Periodicals and Other Continuing Titles

Replacements: Titles withdrawn by reason of condition, loss, or damage will be replaced if they meet current selection criteria, have a strong record of circulation, and are still available. Availability of the title in the ConnectNY union catalog will be checked before purchasing a replacement.

Reserve Reading Materials: Acquisition of materials for reserves is electronic preferred. Print will only be ordered when ebooks are not available or are restricted to a 1 su license. Normally the Libraries do not purchase more than one copy of each item requested for hard copy reserves. The Libraries do not normally purchase paper copies of books already owned in electronic format. If the Libraries own more than one copy of an item or if the instructor provides more than one personal copy, all available copies will be placed on reserve. Instructors who believe that additional copies are needed should contact Ricki Muller (x7491) in Case Library or Kristi Mangine (x7312) in Cooley Science Library. Additional copies may require purchase with funds from the instructor's academic department or program.

Text Books:Since it is the purpose of the library collection to supplement and augment the curriculum, textbooks adopted for class use will not normally be purchased for the library collection unless the information is not available in any other form.

Weeding: Judicious and systematic weeding of a collection is recognized as important to keep resources alive and up to date. Materials considered for discard contain information that has become obsolete or misleading, superseded editions, surplus copies of standard works no longer in demand for course reading, worn out or extensively marked books, or broken files of non-indexed low-use journals.