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This policy is a statement of collection development and management guidelines for Reed Library’s print and electronic collections. Its primary purpose is to provide a structured framework for the continued growth and maintenance of these collections. This policy relates to items collected for the Main Circulating Collection; separate addenda are attached for specialized collections.

About the Library

The Daniel A. Reed Library is the sole library of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia. The Library contains materials in varied formats consistent with a liberal arts university, including works in the humanities and physical and social sciences. Within Reed Library there also exist several distinct collections: the Music Collection, Juvenile Collection, and Archives and Special Collections.

Library Mission Statement Summary

Reed Library’s mission is to provide quality information services to all library patrons, including Fredonia students and faculty. In support of that mission, the Library will:

  • collect, organize, disseminate, teach, and facilitate access to information

  • support the curricular needs of Fredonia's students and faculty

  • support the intellectual needs of the broader Fredonia community

To read the entire Library Mission Statement, go to:

Overall Collection Development Philosophy

Reed Library’s general collection development philosophy is tied to the campus mission statement, whereby:

“Fredonia educates, challenges, and inspires students to become skilled, connected, creative, and responsible global citizens and professionals.”

To that end, Reed Library is committed to supporting Fredonia’s undergraduate and graduate curricula, and to providing resources to meet the educational needs of our diverse campus community.

As an important part of the Library’s collection development philosophy, the Library affirms the principles of the Library Bill of Rights as authored by the American Library Association. The Library always strives to provide materials created from a variety of viewpoints, regardless of partisan or doctrinal objections.

Responsibility for Collection Development

The Library has sole responsibility for its materials budget. The primary responsibility for the curation and maintenance of the Library’s collection rests with the Library’s Collection Development Committee (CDC), which is made up of members of the Library Faculty. In addition, the CDC formulates collection development policy and is responsible for its implementation. The CDC looks at the Library’s collections in a broad manner, and then coordinates both print and electronic resource purchases to develop and maintain a well-balanced and cohesive library collection.

Always responsive to changes in academic curricula, the CDC also works in collaboration with teaching faculty to identify quality academic resources for specific subject areas. The CDC then coordinates any faculty recommendations into the Library’s overall collection development model. This collaboration insures that the Library’s collections not only continue to maintain their currency and relevance, but also continue to adequately support the curricular needs of Fredonia’s students.

Selection Criteria - General

The Library’s collection development priority is to support the curricular needs of Fredonia’s undergraduate and graduate students, with primary emphasis placed on the informational needs of the undergraduate curriculum. Secondary emphasis is placed on the informational needs of the graduate curriculum; collecting in this area requires providing resources for subject areas both in broader scope and greater depth than the undergraduate curriculum.

The CDC uses standard collection development tools to assist in the selection of subject-specific materials. These tools include but are not limited to Choice reviews, and the online Resources for College Libraries. Certain subject areas also have their own selection tools (e.g., A Basic Music Library for selection of printed music and sound recordings).

As a general rule, the Library does not purchase textbooks. The Library does not have the budget to continuously acquire textbooks in multiple disciplines, as many of the texts become quickly dated and are supplanted by new editions.  Faculty are encouraged to place personal copies of textbooks on course reserve for their students’ use. The Library will work with any faculty member to help identify Open Education Resources (OERs) as a possible alternative to high-priced textbooks.

Multiple copies of items are considered for purchase only in exceptional cases. Such titles must be in heavy demand, either currently or expected, and meet one or more of the following criteria: a) heavy use for class assignments, b) noteworthy status of a title (e.g., classic work), c) eminent reputation of an author/editor, or d) high circulation of a title.

The following is a list of important criteria considered in the selection of library materials:

  • Relevance to Fredonia’s curriculum

  • Scholarly merit

  • Audience

  • Positive review in a professional review source (e.g., Choice)

  • Listing in a reputable collection development source (e.g., Resources for College Libraries)

  • Academic reputation of publisher

  • Reputation of author and/or editor

  • Timeliness of subject matter, with cogent treatment of contemporary issues

  • Comprehensive treatment of subject matter

  • Recent publishing date of material (to maintain currency of the collection – note that older works of established merit are considered to support new programs and fill in gaps in existing subject collections)

  • Price

  • Language (the Library principally, though not exclusively, collects English-language materials)

  • Availability in multiple formats (e.g., print, online)

  • Availability at other institutions, especially within SUNY

Selection Criteria - Specific Formats

Print Monographs

Selection of print monographs follows the general criteria listed previously, with the following additional considerations:

  • Hardcover vs paperback – a hardcover edition of  a title is usually purchased only if a paperback version is unavailable

  • Online availability – the decision to purchase a monograph in electronic format, rather than print, is at the discretion of the CDC

  • Usage as textbook – textbooks are not usually purchased, as outlined in the general selection criteria of this document. Consideration for purchase may be given if a textbook is also considered a standard work in a particular academic discipline

Monographic Standing Orders

The Library has a limited number of active monographic standing orders. Consideration of new standing orders and evaluation of current standing orders is made by the CDC with the following criteria in mind:

  • Curricular or academic relevance

  • Frequency of publication

  • Cost of subscription

  • Need for periodic updates to a source

Print Serials

Subscriptions to serial publications (e.g., journals) in print are considered only for titles that are not available full-text through an existing Library online subscription. In addition, print serials are only considered if deemed essential to Fredonia’s curriculum.

Audiovisual Materials (general)

Audiovisual materials for the general collection are purchased to supplement the print and electronic holdings of curricular areas. The following criteria are considered:

  • Format of material – audio materials are purchased in Compact Disc format, while video materials are purchased in DVD format. BluRay discs are not purchased if the same title is available in DVD format.

  • Content of material – spoken-word recordings will only be purchased to support curricular needs of certain areas, such as drama and poetry. So-called “Books on CD” are generally not considered for purchase.

Online Resources

The purchasing of online resources (e.g., databases, indexes, Ebook repositories) is more complicated than the procedure for acquiring print resources. The following is a brief list of criteria the CDC considers when purchasing online resources:

  • Subscription cost

  • Coverage of resource

  • Vendor

  • Consortia agreements

  • Structure and usability of user interface (UI)

  • Probable use for distance learning


Microforms are only purchased when relevant material is not available in any other format.


The Library values the donation of gifts to the collection and appreciates relevant resources that support the curricular and research needs of Fredonia’s academic community. Ultimately, the CDC decides which donations to accept for the collection (with the exception of Archives and Special Collections, Reference Collection and Music Collection). In the decision-making process of accepting a gift for the collection, the CDC considers whether an item:

  • supports the curriculum

  • enhances current collected research areas

  • demonstrates literary or scholarly merit

  • is in good physical condition

  • is in line with current cooperative collection development agreements

Some larger gifts may be accepted, though not all materials within those donations may ultimately be added to the library‘s permanent collection. Any materials not accepted into the collection will either be a) discarded, b) donated or c) sold and monies designated for purchasing new items for the collection.

Accepted gifts to the Library will be acknowledged in a letter from the CDC, but only upon request of the donor(s). Appraisals and/or lists of books donated are the responsibility of donors and must be completed before the donation is made to the Library. Donors should consult their tax advisors about the need for a professional appraisal.

Questions about donations to Archives & Special Collections, the Reference Collection or the Music Collection are dealt with in their respective policies (see addenda).

Collection Maintenance

An academic library’s collection must be both intelligently developed and prudently maintained. The maintenance of a library collection occurs by it being reviewed on a regular and continuing basis; this ensures that the collection continues to be relevant to the current curricular, research and informational needs of students and faculty.

Library materials in all formats that no longer meet the needs of the university’s academic community may be removed from the Library’s collection. Librarians on the CDC are responsible for making decisions with regard to weeding the collection on a regular basis, thus maintaining the overall health of the Library’s collection. Working with faculty and using standard reference and selection tools, librarians ensure that the Library’s collection is current, pertinent and well-maintained in order to more effectively meet the curricular and informational needs of the university’s academic community.  

Along with other procedures, Reed Library employs two popular and proven methodologies for collection maintenance that are currently used in many public and academic libraries:

  • MUSTIE - Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, Trivial, Irrelevant, or (obtained) Elsewhere

  • CREW - Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding

The specific weeding procedure employed at Reed Library is covered in a separate document in this policy’s addenda.

The Library’s CDC is responsible for making decisions to replace lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out monographs, as funds permit.  The following criteria are considered:

  • replacement with an exact copy vs. a comparable text

  • most appropriate format for the replacement (print, digital)

  • replacement vs. rebinding (especially for inexpensive in-print titles)

  • current editions vs. earlier editions

  • popular editions vs. critical editions

Approved by the Reed Library Collection Development Committee, March 29, 2018
Approved by the Reed Library Faculty April 5, 2018