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LIB-006 Collections Development Policy

Policy on Collections Development

Category: Library

Number: LIB-006

Responsibility: University Librarian

Approver: Library Management Team

Approval: September 1, 2012

Revised: January 26, 2016

Endorsed by Senate: March 4, 2016


The purpose of the collections development policy is to provide a written framework to guide the planning, building, selection and maintenance of library information resources in a manner that is relevant to the teaching and research needs of Algoma University and is cost-efficient. The policy provides a framework of principles that ensures selection across the curriculum in a manner that will serve the undergraduate and research communities at Algoma University.

The collection development policy does not replace the judgment of staff who are responsible for the selection and management of library resources. The intent of the policy is to describe the principles of collection management in a manner that is transparent and clear including how materials are selected, maintained and evaluated. Detailed needs for each department will be developed and maintained as that department’s Collection Development Department Profile.


Collection Assessment

The systematic evaluation of the quality of a library collection to determine the extent to which it meets the library's service goals, objectives and the information needs of its clientele. Deficiencies are addressed through collection development.[1]

Collection Development

The process of planning and building a useful and balanced collection of library materials over a period of years, based on an ongoing assessment of the information needs of the library's clientele, analysis of usage statistics, and demographic projections, normally constrained by budgetary limitations. Collection development includes the formulation of selection criteria, planning for resource sharing, and replacement of lost and damaged items, as well as routine selection and deselection decisions.[2]

Collection Development Department Profile (Department Profile)

Documents outlining the detailed needs of a given department and its programs. Their purpose is to create a detailed and fine-tuned profile of the program’s teaching and research needs.  These will be flexible documents, tailored to department's needs.

Collections Management

The application of quantitative techniques, such as statistical and cost-benefit analysis, to the process of collection development, usually limited to large libraries and library systems. In a more general sense, the activity of planning and supervising the growth and preservation of a library's collections based on an assessment of existing strengths and weaknesses and an estimate of future needs.[3]

Collections team

All members of the library staff who are involved with the management and development of the Library’s collections.


This policy applies to the entire Arthur A. Wishart Library user community.


1. Policy

1.1   Collection Development at Algoma University is predicated on the following principles.

1.1.1.  Algoma University is a teaching-oriented university that provides programs in liberal arts and sciences and professional programs, primarily at the undergraduate level, with a particular focus on the needs of northern Ontario; and

1.1.2.  it cultivates cross-cultural learning between aboriginal communities and other communities, in keeping with the history of Algoma University College and its geographic site. [4]

1.2. Teaching staff and students engaged in research should have ready access to the widest reasonable variety of information resources in any format.

1.3. The level or intensity of collection development is it to be maintained, dependent on budget, resource, curricula changes, and other identifiable variables, through the judicious acquisition of print and digital resources, as well as a program of de-accessioning obsolete materials, aided by careful collection analysis.

1.4. In order to build an effective collection and to maintain its high quality, co-operation between the library, the librarians, the library staff, the teaching staff and students is essential.

1.5. Wishart Library seeks out partnerships with other institutions and organizations whenever possible, so the university community benefits from provincial and nationwide collection initiatives such as the Ontario Council of University Libraries (part of the Council of Ontario
Universities) and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (part of Universities Canada).

1.6. Librarians and library para-professionals carry the lead responsibility for collection development, but welcome input from each academic department with respect to their disciplinary holdings, as well as the committees of Senate charged with program and curricula
development. The specific needs of each department will be documented in its departmental profile.

2. Responsibility

2.1. Responsibility for applying collection development guidelines rests with the University Librarian who ensures the overall quality and balance of the collection.

3. Selection Framework

3.1. The collections team will use the following sources to evaluate the state of the collection:

3.1.1. Members of the collection team will meet each department at least once a year to help determine their needs.

3.1.2. Schedules and reports of internal Undergraduate Program Self-Studies.

3.1.3. The Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, Quality Assurance Framework. [5]

3.1.4. The requirements of the Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board, where applicable. [6]

3.1.5. Curricula changes from the Algoma University Senate / Curriculum Committee.

3.1.6. Current course syllabi.

4. Selection Criteria

4.1. The following criteria are used for all library materials:

4.1.1. relevance to programs and curriculum

4.1.2. currency (date of publication)

4.1.3. appropriateness of level of treatment

4.1.4. reputation of the author, publisher/vendor or editor

4.1.5. practicality of format

4.1.6. overall value of format

4.1.7. cost, ongoing expense and availability

4.1.8. duplication and/or relationship to other items in the Library.

5. Community Requests

5.1. Requests from students, teaching staff and staff are necessary to keep the collection active and current.  In most cases, books requested by faculty are purchased subject to budgetary approval in as timely a manner as possible.

5.2. The library will act on all collections issues and requests within five (5) business days of receiving them. However, the library cannot guarantee a particular request will be completed by a certain date.  The library cannot control the schedules of external agents – other libraries, vendors, publishers, film studios, etc. – and some requests can take months to complete.

5.3. Requests for databases are considered on a case-by-case basis, and receive added consideration when are multi-disciplinary and could benefit a number of subjects. The acquisition of new databases may take longer to account for budgetary changes and approvals, as well as licensing windows set by vendors or purchasing consortia.

5.4. Requests for materials from patrons outside the University will be considered if they have academic potential for the Algoma University community.

6. Other Considerations

6.1. Languages: The main languages for collecting are English, French, and Anishinaabemowin.  Other languages will be collected as needed.

6.2. Algoma University Authors: Books authored by Algoma University Faculty are purchased and made available both in the circulating collection and in Special Collections for preservation.

6.3. Replacement copies: Lost or damaged copies are considered for replacement by Collections staff.  The decision to replace an item is based on past use, currency, relevance to current collecting goals, and price.

6.4. Donations: Items donated to the collections are carefully assessed for relevance and value added to the collection.  Please see the policies on donations and university archives.[7]

6.5. De-selection: Collections should be reviewed and undergo de-selection on a regular basis to remove items that are outdated, contain inaccurate or superseded materials, damaged, no longer circulating, or where multiple copies of the same item exist with low circulation statistics for each copy.  De-selection, therefore, is the corollary of informed selection and complementary to selection criteria.  Please see the library’s policy on de-selection for guidance. [8]

6.6. Challenged Materials: If a Library patron objects to an item in the collection, the University Librarian will respond and consider the objection. While all challenges to library material are seriously entertained, the Library’s goal in such cases is to uphold the principles of intellectual and academic freedom.  For guidance please see: the Canadian Library Association`s Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries [9] and the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights[10]

6.7. Open Access: As a voting/ directing member of CRKN and OCUL, the library is committed to expanding our collection of Open Access materials and research published in Canadian scholarly journals.  In addition, the library fully supports the recommendations in Canada’s Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.[11]

[1] Joan M. Reitz, “Collection Assessment,” Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, Libraries Unlimited, (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[2] Joan M. Reitz, “Collection Development,” Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, Libraries Unlimited, (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[3] Joan M. Reitz, “Collection Management,” Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science, Libraries Unlimited, (Last accessed March 4, 2016).

[4] Algoma University Act, 2008, S.O. 2008, CHAPTER 13, Part II, s4. (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[5] Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance, "Quality Assurance Framework," ( (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[6] Postsecondary Education Quality Assessment Board, "PEQAB Handbook," (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[7] Arthur A. Wishart Library, "Donations Policy," and "University Archives Policy," (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[8] Arthur A. Wishart Library, "De-selection Policy," (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[9] Canadian Library Association, Statement on Intellectual Freedom and Libraries, (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[10] American Library Association, Library Bill of Rights,  (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).

[11] Canada,Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications,  (Last accessed: March 4, 2016).