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Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

Policy Purpose

The purpose of the Newton Gresham Library is to fulfill the mission of Sam Houston State University by supporting the instruction and research needs of the university’s students, faculty, administration, and staff. Accrediting agencies of SHSU’s academic departments require library support for all course offerings, in-person and online.

The Collection Development Policy establishes guidelines for the planned development of library materials in every format. It regulates the practices of materials selection and deselection. It acts as a resource for collection assessment, budgeting, coordinating vendor tools and assisting collection development activities.

Selection Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for all library collection development rests with the librarians.

The selection of broad and multi-subject databases, e-journal, e-book, streaming media collections, plans allowing short term use, or the purchase of broad portfolios of materials are decisions coordinated by the collection development librarian, with all affected librarians given opportunity to offer input.

Subject librarians are appointed to liaise with academic departments and oversee collection development for those departments’ subjects. Subject librarians are responsible for analyzing the part of the collection, in all formats, germane to their subject. and working to select materials that meet the supported departments’ needs. They employ statistical analysis of usage, professional reviewing tools, bibliographies, evaluations, citation analysis, consult faculty and interlibrary loan reports, among other tools, as well as professional expertise in making these selections. They identify new resources that support their subject(s) and work with the collection development librarian to arrange funding to purchase identified resources.

General Material Selection Criteria

Within the context of this policy, “collection development” is the management of both digital and physical materials the library provides access to.

Institutional goals, relevancy to the research and curriculum needs, quality of content and fulfillment of academic need are the primary factors taken into consideration when selecting materials. 

The library is committed to upholding intellectual freedom as expressed by the American Library Association in their Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statements. In particular, we emphasize the principle from Article II of the Library Bill of Rights which states, “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.” 

Specific considerations in choosing individual items may include some or all of the following criteria:

  • value or use of the content to the collection or university community
  • literary merit
  • strength of present holdings in the subject area
  • appropriateness for audience
  • demand or projected use
  • uniqueness of subject coverage
  • cost (one-time and ongoing)
  • authoritativeness
  • reviews in subject-specific or standard library reviewing sources
  • currency of the resource’s information, if necessary for subject matter
  • adequacy of existing access methods
  • availability of indexing (journals)
  • consortial arrangements

Each discipline may have other considerations and specific collection focuses.

Selection Policies by Purchase Type:

Single Unit Purchases

            Materials published or produced as single, non-continuing purchasable unit are selected by subject librarians within the confines of the budget allocated to each subject. Please click here for library practices and procedures for purchasing single unit items.

Continuing Resources

            Materials published or produced and sold as a continuing resource and/or that have fees continuing beyond the initial purchase fee are identified and suggested by the subject librarian. The decision will be made by balancing the competing requests and the available budget for continuing resources. 

See below for library practices and procedures for purchasing various types of continuing resources, see below.



Standing Orders

Streaming Media (Audio and Video)


Materials may be available in more than one format. The library actively collects material in the most efficient, effective and appropriate format for the use of the content.

Factors taken into consideration in deciding the format include but are not limited to:

  • cost-effectiveness
  • anticipated use
  • requestor’s / department’s preference
  • ease of use/access
  • permanence of access
  • stability of format
  • available technology support (equipment, hardware, software) 
  • frequency of updating
  • quality of color, illustrations, tables
  • support of remote users
  • licensing options and requirements
  • user authentication options for electronic titles
  • accessibility
  • physical space availability

The Library may automatically switch format if the original format becomes unavailable. For example, if the publisher decides to switch from print to electronic only format.

In general, the Library will acquire any given information source in one format. The Library may duplicate formats when:

  • One format is unstable or doesn’t provide adequate coverage
  • Multiple formats are essential to meet the different needs of user groups that cannot be accommodated through other Library/University services

Selection Intensity Levels: Much of the library collection is made up of large, multidisciplinary, electronically accessed collections that are selected collectively by the librarians. A portion of the library material’s budget is reserved for subject selectors to purchase non-continuing resources (print books, eBooks, films, scores, and similar materials) that support their assigned department’s subjects or the mission and goals of the library. The following classifications are used to denote the levels at which selection of materials should be used for specific subjects.

Our levels are based on Library of Congress Collecting Levels

Basic Information Level: Basic explanatory works, historical descriptions, and general reference tools. Popular or topical reading material may be collected.

Instructional Support Level: Material supporting course offerings at SHSU.  Course offerings and descriptions may be found here:

Undergraduate Catalog

Graduate Catalog

Research Level: Material supporting the composition of theses, dissertations, and the conduction of independent research by faculty and students. This includes source materials, new findings, experimental results, and other information useful to researchers.

Unique Materials Categories


NGL generally does not purchase the textbooks used in SHSU courses. However, a Subject Librarian has the discretion to purchase a textbook not used in SHSU courses if it serves as a useful library resource. For a full description of library practices regarding textbooks, please see our Library Textbook Practices and Procedures page.


Pending a recommendation by the Subject Librarian, the Library may accept donations of materials without commitment to add items to the collection. The Library may dispose of items not added to the collection in a suitable manner. Upon request, simple letters of acknowledgment may be sent to donors. When accepting gifts, the Library adheres to current IRS ruling regarding such gifts and keeps appropriate records. The library does not make attempts to appraise gifts as recipients’ appraisals are invalid for tax purposes. Serious appraisals are handled by outside appraisers at the donor’s expense. 

Original: 1990
Review Cycle: Five Years
Review Date: Spring 2018


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