I.  Introduction

The library’s collection development policy provides guidelines for planning, building, and maintaining the library collection.  It also serves as a communication tool among librarians and between librarians and the UMA community.  We hope it will explain to faculty, students, staff, and the larger community our motives, standards, and procedures as we purchase materials and plan for the future growth of our collection.

Katz Library programs and services promote intellectual and physical access to the collection, whether within the library walls or shared cooperatively, for members of the University community.  The primary goals of collection development is to build and maintain a library collection which supports the academic curriculum and provide students with important resources they need to complete their coursework as well the intellectual, professional, and cultural development of students and the general information needs of the University community.

The library has a limited budget to buy materials from a large universe of resources. At the same time, the library must support all academic programs offered by the University.  The growing numbers of four-year programs, which have greater expectations for academic research, require greater financial resources than do UMA’s two-year programs.  In this context, the collection should be shaped and developed carefully, making the best use possible of our financial resources. 

The process of collection development evolves as academic needs change and grow.  A policy which guides the shaping of a collection is, therefore, a dynamic document that is flexible and is able to change with changing conditions.

This revision is a major overhaul in the library’s collection development policy, which was written in 1994 and, except for some revision in 1997, has been unchanged since then.  In that time, much has changed at UMA, as well as in the library, and an extensive revision of our policy is essential.

II.  Library Holdings

The collection is made up of a broad range of resources.  The library houses approximately 55,000  books; 350 periodical, newspaper, and microfilm subscriptions; online indexes and full-text databases; online reference sources and journals; sound recordings; video recordings; and DVDs.  The library seeks to hold a good-sized collection in each of these formats in order to meet the needs of two- and four-year programs. 

The library also houses a number of collections devoted to Maine, including the Terry Plunkett Maine Writers Collection comprised of books, videos, and other materials by and about Maine authors.  A leased collection of popular fiction and nonfiction is also available.

Katz Library is not limited to the collection within its walls.  As a member of the University of Maine System, the library is part of the URSUS book collection, the shared catalog of the University of Maine System (UMS), the Maine State Library, Bangor Public Library, and the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library. URSUS provides access to approximately 3 million books.  Circulating books can be requested by the UMA community from any member library.  Books are shipped by a daily courier system that picks up and drops off materials daily during the work week.  On average, delivery takes two-three work days. 

The Katz Library is also part of Maine InfoNet, a catalog that combines and links library collections throughout the state.  Maine InfoNet has more than 2.5 million unique titles and nearly 6 million items.  Starting with 60 of the largest libraries in Maine, the system is expected to include more than 300 library collections.  Currently, it includes such academic libraries as Colby, Bowdoin, Bates, the University of New England, and Maine College of Art; hospital libraries; and the larger public libraries in the state.  Many libraries are part of the courier system described above.  Other libraries deliver books through the U.S. mail.

A collaboration between the University of Maine System and the State of Maine provides UMA with a wide range of full-text databases and indexes, as well as with other online reference sources and periodicals, covering many academic disciplines. The UMS supplements this collaboration with other full-text online databases and indexes and links to free indexes and databases.  UMS libraries regularly meet to decide on the shared online resource subscriptions which will best meet overall System needs.  A System policy for online resources, University of Maine System Libraries Collection Development Policy, is being drafted.  In addition, Katz Library subscribes to a rich collection of online periodical and reference sources.

The library provides books, articles, and other resources through OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), a US and worldwide interlibrary loan system of libraries sharing books and articles with one another.  In addition, Katz Library is a member of the Health Science Library Information Consortium (HSLIC), an organization of over 50 Maine institutions which also shares resources through interlibrary loan.

III.  Selection Guidelines

The support of academic curricular needs is the first criterion for evaluating library materials.  Specific factors in selecting individual items include the following:

  • Is the material accessible to students?
  • Strength of current holdings in the same or similar subject areas
  • Recommendation of faculty, students, or other Katz librarians
  • Examination of critical reviews
  • Accuracy and objectivity
  • Authoritativeness of the author
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Lasting value of the content
  • Cost
  • Projected future use
  • Do other libraries in the University of Maine System own the title?

Other guidelines are also considered:

  1. Textbooks are not normally purchased.  Exceptions are textbooks which have earned reputations as “classics” in their field or when a textbook is the only or best source on a particular topic.
  2. Duplicates are purchased only under special circumstances.
  3. Periodicals and newspapers:  Because these are longstanding financial commitments, Katz follows a general policy of adding new journal subscriptions only when titles of equivalent cost can be identified for cancellation.  In this case, where appropriate, departments may decide which titles should be discontinued.  Any new titles should also be indexed in one of the online services to which the library subscribes.  The availability of a new title in a full-text database is also a consideration in determining new subscriptions.  The library is committed to regular review of all periodical and newspaper subscriptions to insure that subscriptions are responsive to current curricular needs.
  4. 4) Online resources meet academic needs which have not been addressed by the UMS and State consortia.  In addition to selection criteria in this section, an online subscription is selected with the following standards:
    • Whenever possible and fiscally prudent, the library seeks to replace large reference print series with an online version.
    • Provides unique content.
    • In addition to on-campus access, remote access is available to authorized users.
    • Maximizes resource outlay.
    • Easily usable by UMA students.
  5. The library places a high priority on developing an excellent reference collection.
  6. When there is an option of paper or hardcopy, unless cost is similar or the title is expected to be heavily used, the library will generally purchase paperback books with plasticized covers to save money.  Experience shows that the paper/plastic combination holds up well.
  7. The vast majority of selections are current publications.  In view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining out-of-print and reprinted material, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying.
  8. The library acquires English language materials.  Exceptions are for foreign language dictionaries and literature used for classes.
  9. While nonprint materials, such as audiovisual or CDs, are evaluated on the same basis as other purchases, an additional consideration is the library’s ability to provide the equipment and support the use of the material.
  10. The selection of worthwhile items from gifts will be governed by the same
    criteria governing the selection of purchased items.  The library reserves the right to dispose of duplicate and unwanted material as it sees fit.  The library is prohibited by the IRS from making a monetary statement to the donor for tax purposes, but will acknowledge receipt of the gift.  The library does not accept gifts under restricted conditions.
  11. Whenever possible, the library seeks to develop cooperative relationships with University of Maine System and local libraries.
  12. With increased emphasis on four-year programs, the number of Ph.D. faculty
    at UMA grows.  In the future, the library will need to take into greater account the research needs of these faculty members.  However, under current  budget conditions, the library must rely on UMS research institutions and other interlibrary loan sources to support faculty research.

IV.  Selection Responsibility and the Library Liaison Program

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of library collections at the University of Maine at Augusta rests with the head of collection development and Katz Library librarians.  Within the guidelines of the collection development policy, every effort will be made to accommodate requests from the University community.  To develop a well-rounded collection, it is critical to have extensive knowledge of the library’s existing holdings and give systematic attention to identifying the library's strengths and weaknesses, as well as determine what should and can be acquired.  Katz librarians, because of their knowledge of the collection and their ongoing assessment of it, are best able to make these determinations.

The Katz Library actively encourages faculty to participate in the collection building process.  Librarians are assigned selection and liaison responsibilities for academic departments. The liaison program structures communication and the exchange of ideas between the library and faculty.  Liaisons work closely with departments and individual faculty on collection development, bibliographic instruction, and other library concerns.  Liaisons monitor selections, assess collection strengths and weaknesses, and administer the selection process for their areas according to the guidelines set out above.  Liaisons are aware of the state of academic programs and trends in scholarship in their assigned subjects, curricula needs, and collection use.  They also review gifts and serve as advocates for their subject areas.

Librarians select books and other materials from Choice, Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and publisher catalogs, flyers, and mailings.

Faculty members are regularly consulted on the selection of materials.  Book reviews from each issue of Choice are sent to faculty according to academic discipline.  Selections are returned to the library, evaluated first by subject librarians and then the head of collection development, and, if recommended, orders are sent to acquisitions for purchase.  When orders are received by the library, the requesting faculty member is notified.  Faculty members are encouraged to make requests from professional journals and publisher flyers.

V.  Allocation of Funds for Books

A library cannot be limited to a collection of books and other materials in a few disciplines or limited by where faculty do or do not take an active interest.  Holdings in each academic discipline must remain strong to support the curricula; none can be neglected.  Balance and equity among the disciplines must be achieved. To have strength and balance in the collection, book funds are allocated annually among academic disciplines by the head of collection development in consultation with librarians.  Revisions are made each year.  Chief among other factors that may be considered in allocating funds to subject areas are:  historical precedent; the degree level offered in a discipline; the cost of books in a subject area; the need to strengthen the holdings in a particular discipline; whether a field is dependent on books or periodicals; and the strength of the discipline in the various parts of the overall collection.

Allocations serve as spending guides for librarians, who monitor expenditures.  Allocations need to be flexible.  While a small amount of funding is set aside for special needs, these funds cannot always meet all the unexpected situations during the academic year.  Funding is controlled by librarians, who have the most objective view of the collection.

Faculty and administrators are reminded that library support is an additional cost which must be considered when implementing new programs or courses.

VI.  Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

The collection should be fresh; it should be up-to-date, reliable, timely, and in good condition.  Weeding and assessment will be done on an ongoing basis to preserve the quality, currency, and strength of the collection as well as to insure space is available for the best materials.  Obsolete, superseded, worn-out, and inappropriate materials, or materials of no use will be removed.  Repairs or replacement will be made for worn-out materials the library chooses to keep.  Individual academic discipline sections will be regularly reviewed for material that no longer should be housed in the collection.  When new editions arrive, liaisons will evaluate previous editions and withdraw those which are outdated.  Liaisons will regularly evaluate holdings in a subject area to determine its strengths and weaknesses.  When necessary, academic departments will be consulted on weeding and evaluation concerns.

VII.  Intellectual Freedom

It is the responsibility of the librarians to insure that all points of view relevant to the mission of the University are represented in the collection. The library endorses the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, and seeks to provide for the free exchange of ideas.  The library seeks to purchase materials which represent differing opinions on controversial matters.  Selection is without partisanship.  On controversial issues, the library will attempt to see that the views of the best or major spokespersons are represented.

Members of the University community with a complaint about an item or censorship concerns will be referred to the head of collection development.  If necessary, a written statement of the complaint will be made and reviewed by a committee of librarians and faculty. The committee will make a recommendation in writing to the complainant.