Collection Development Policy

Introduction and Philosophy

In accord with the liberal arts intellectual foundation of Emory & Henry College and the mission to “challenge all persons to confront historical and contemporary ideas and issues,” Kelly Library acquires and makes available materials in a variety of formats intended to support all areas of the curriculum and other educational, research, and recreational needs of the community.

The Community

While Emory & Henry College is the primary community to be served, the library is available for use by the regional community. In addition, the library is available for use by students from other regional colleges and universities and provides materials to libraries anywhere in the world via interlibrary loan. As a selective federal government document depository, we select documents to serve the government information needs of the college and residents of the Ninth Congressional District.


The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to provide guidance to librarians and faculty responsible for materials selection. Rising costs, increasing publisher output, new technologies, severe space limitations, and expanding demands for information necessitate careful materials selection.

Selection Responsibility

The Library is responsible for the development of its collections. However, selection of library materials is the joint responsibility of librarians and faculty, with consideration given to requests by students and other users. The Collection Development Librarian coordinates efforts of selectors and determines whether requested materials conform to the goals, qualitative guidelines, and the selection and acquisitions policies presented in this document. The Government Documents Librarian is responsible for the selection of federal publications.

Budget Allocation

A portion of the annual library book budget will be earmarked to purchase materials recommended by the academic departments. The amount set aside will be determined by the library staff based on the total book budget available, the needs of the collection, and various factors associated with the curriculum. Requests from the faculty are sent to the Collection Development Librarian for review. The Library staff retains the right to order materials with these book funds and to return for reconsideration any requests which do not meet the criteria set forth in this Collection Development Policy.

The librarians also select general materials. General materials include those items which may be interdisciplinary in nature, or of broad community interest and appeal, such as local publications, best sellers, works by Emory & Henry faculty or alumnae, works by Virginia authors, or books on topics of current controversy or interest.

The librarians are also responsible for keeping balance in the collection and for assuring that all aspects of the curriculum are supported. The library budget will absorb processing costs for government documents and provide support staff to adequately maintain the collection.

Selection Guidelines

The subject scope of Kelly Library supports primarily the teaching curriculum. Materials that meet the standards required to support undergraduate-level work will be sought. The emphasis of new acquisitions, therefore, will be on those materials likely to be used by faculty in preparing their courses and by students in doing research related to their studies.

The librarians use many selection aids, such as Library Journal, New York Times Book Review, new acquisition lists from peer libraries, professional online discussion lists, bibliographies, and reviews from disciplinary journals to choose titles for the collection.

In evaluating a book request, the Collection Development Librarian considers some or all of the following criteria:
•Available reviews of the title
•How that title supports the curriculum or enhances the collection
•Expected use, given the demand in that subject area
•Quality of the material, authority of the author, reputation of the publisher, accuracy of the information
•Price and availability of funds
•Relation to other materials on the subject already in the collection
•Whether the item is held by other libraries in the HAL consortium or is held in another format.

Other general guidelines:

The library acquires material in English except for materials in the foreign languages taught at the college.
The library does not purchase college-level textbooks unless they are the only or the best source of information on a topic or they are written by a member of the college faculty or staff.
Duplicate copies will not be bought unless there is a compelling reason to do so and decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Resources that are missing, lost or withdrawn because of poor physical condition will not automatically be replaced. The merits of an item must be considered by the library staff before replacement copies are authorized. Demand for the resource, its value to the collection, and whether or not it has been superseded by a new edition or newer material will be considered as criteria in requesting replacements. In general, the Library will not attempt to replace out-of-print titles. The exception will be the replacement of lost or stolen titles which are standards in their fields and are currently out-of-print.

Worn or damaged books may be repaired, rebound, or withdrawn from the collection depending upon the value of the book to the collection, availability and price of the book on the new or used market.

The library will buy print materials in the least costly format, usually paperback when available. Exceptions are made for books for which high use and long-term relevancy is expected.

Due to higher cost and increased staff time out-of-print materials are acquired only when no in-print materials will meet the same need.

Government documents will be selected according to the applicable criteria listed above and guidelines from Instructions to Depository Libraries and the Federal DepositoryManual. Collection development tools such as the Item Lister, List of Classes of United States Government Publications, Subject Bibliographies and Catalog of United StatesGovernment Publications will be used. If a government document is declared lost or missing, the government documents librarian will make the decision on whether or not to replace the title.

The Reference Collection

The reference collection is designed to meet the basic research, verification, location, and information needs of the college community. The development of strong reference collections is essential to the entire institution; both because the reference collection is the basic tool of students and researchers and also because it is comprised of those items which generally cannot be borrowed from another library. Reference materials have historically been in print format with many titles being multi-volume works. The increasing availability of reference works in electronic format have made it possible to increase access and, in some instances, to even reduce the cost of providing access to an expensive multi-volume title. Selection of reference materials now requires careful consideration of the format as well as the work itself. (See Guidelines for the Selection of Electronic Resources). An attempt is made to provide basic reference works in subject areas contained in or overlapping the curriculum areas, as well as those subject fields common to general information requests.

Children’s Collection

The juvenile collection in Kelly Library is intended for prospective teachers, other adults who are being trained to work with young people and for the children of the college community.

Juvenile books will be collected in the following categories:
•Newbery and Caldecott Award winners
•ALA Notable Books
•Juvenile fiction
•Non-fiction (poetry, biography, science etc.)
•Transitional books for young adults
•Books dealing with issues such as death, divorce, alternative life styles, etc.

Journal Subscriptions

Requests for new journal subscriptions are considered very carefully. Journals subscriptions represent an ongoing financial commitment and journal prices historically increase approximately 9% - 12% each year. In addition, space for shelving print periodicals has shrunk dramatically so that it is necessary that any new journal addition be offset by a cancellation.

Because of increasing journal prices and decreasing space for maintaining backfiles, the format(s) of each title, both current and backfiles, must be considered. Journals may be received and backfiles maintained in print/paper, on microform, or digitally (CD ROM or via the Internet). Maintaining journals and backfiles in more than one format is carefully considered and decisions are made on a title-by-title and format-by-format basis.

While traditional selection criteria apply to the selection of electronic titles, the management of this format is more complex. Special criteria for selecting electronic subscriptions or collections of titles from Internet-based sources are found in the Guidelines to the Selection of Electronic Resources below.

Guidelines for the Selection of Electronic Resources

The term “electronic resources” refers primarily to digitized textual material such as periodicals, periodical indexes, monographs and other databases. These resources may be physically stored on a disk, a CD-ROM, a DVD, a campus network server, or a remote server.

Unlike printed books, which have only one reader at a time, electronic resources may have multiple users from a variety of interfaces. Access levels may vary from one user to unlimited simultaneous users and the access mode may vary from a single dedicated computer workstation to a campus network to the Internet. Pricing for electronic resources vary according to size of the database, publisher, mode and level of access, and institution size.

It is the library’s goal to provide the widest level of campus and remote access to electronic resources that our technology and our budget will allow. Preferably, access to Web based databases will be by IP authentication when available.

The library provides electronic access to resources, the contents of which fall within the guidelines of this collection development policy. Resources in electronic formats include, but are not limited to, CD ROM resources, remote Internet-based resources, text databases such as encyclopedias and full-text journals, and graphic and multimedia files.

In addition to producing information in tangible formats, the federal government is making the transition to a more electronic environment. Therefore, Kelly Library will catalog and make this electronic information available to its patrons. The Electronic Resources / Government Documents Librarian will monitor New Electronic Titles and GOVDOC-L to keep informed about electronic government information.

Whenever possible and advantageous, the library collaborates with library consortia to purchase access to electronic resources. Kelly Library is a member of VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia; the Appalachian College Association, ACA, and its library component, Central Library; and Holston Associated Libraries, HAL. The buying power of these consortia is substantial and they are often able to negotiate prices for electronic resources that Kelly Library could not afford to consider alone.

Selection considerations which apply to electronic resources include:
•Availability of value-added enhancements not in the print equivalent (e.g., wider access or greater flexibility in searching)
•Availability of and support for appropriate software/hardware required to operate or access the resource
•Mode of access (e.g., campus network access, library-only access, access on stand-alone workstations)
•Limitations to access required by vendor’s license agreement (e.g., lease vs. own; access to archived resource)
•Vendor reliability and continued support for the resource via updates or new versions
clarity and thoroughness of documentation
•Availability of customer support from vendor during library hours
•In the case of periodical databases, the availability of backfiles, the frequency of update, common searching of multiple titles.

Additional selection criteria for electronic resources include:
•Content and scope (Important vs. extraneous information)
•Authority of the resource and of the publisher and/or vendor.
•Current and projected curricular needs
•Other print and electronic holdings in the relevant discipline
•Cost of purchasing and maintaining the resource


Decisions to purchase an electronic resource should not be made without requesting a trial of the product, seeking reviews or recommendations of the work, and carefully evaluating the licensing and/or consortial agreements pertaining to the resource under consideration.

Video & Audio Recordings

The primary goal is to provide video and audio recorded materials (VHS videocassettes, DVDs, CDs, and audiocassettes) that support specific areas of the curriculum. When video and audio materials are requested for recreational use they are ordered only if funds are available at the end of the budget year.


Considered the responsibility of individual academic departments and Academic Computing, software is usually not purchased by the Library except when disks accompany books or other library materials or on a case-by-case basis when such packages support the academic program but do not qualify for departmental or Academic Computing support.


Kelly Library welcomes gifts of books and other library materials as well as monetary gifts to purchase such materials. Because of the hidden expense of processing and maintenance and because space is very limited, every donation must be carefully evaluated to determine that it meets our collection guidelines, that there is sufficient shelf space to house the donations, and that we have the funds and the staff time to process and maintain such additions.

The donor of a monetary gift may suggest a subject area in which the funds are to be spent if that subject is a part of the college program, but the library reserves the right to choose specific items that are needed to support the curriculum.

The following guidelines govern the acceptance of library donations:
•Once accepted, all gifts become the sole property of Kelly Library. The Library reserves the right to determine the housing and circulation policies of gift items, as well as the disposition of items that do not meet the collection criteria or are duplicates of works already held.
•Gifts may qualify as legitimate deductions for tax purposes. However, the Library is considered to be an interested party and cannot provide an appraisal of the gift. Donors are responsible for making an inventory of the items given and for all appraisal expenses.
•The Library will provide bookplates or other indications for special gifts or memorials if desired by the donor.
•Donors will be asked to sign a Gift Form which will provide a brief description of the gift and a current name and address of the donor so that appropriate acknowledgement may be made.
•Exceptions to these guidelines must be agreed upon in writing by the donor and the library director.

Withdrawing Materials

Deselection of library materials is essential to maintain a current, active, and useful collection that supports the current curricular and educational goals of the college. In addition, space limitations require that the size of the print collection be reduced to fit into current shelving and that the collection remain at this optimum level. This means that as items are added to the collection, an equivalent number of items will have to be withdrawn.

The Government Documents Librarian is responsible for deselecting materials in the government documents collection. Selective depositories must hold publications distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program for five years and must follow disposal requirements established by the FDLP. After the five year retention period is met, the criteria outlined in this section will be followed.

Faculty will be notified when materials in any field are being deselected. If faculty members question a decision, library personnel will discuss with faculty at least two options: maintenance in the library or alternative preservation in an individual department.

Factors involved in the decision to withdraw materials are:
•Value to the collection
•Physical condition
•Number of copies of the item in the collection
•Coverage of the subject by other materials in the collection
•Age or obsolescence
•Historical value


The following materials may be considered for deselection:
•Outdated materials (in scope, content, or relevance to the curriculum
•Superseded editions not containing unique information
•Incomplete sets of longer works (Unless the work is vital to the collection, in which case the missing volumes may be replaced)
•Material worn beyond repair and not vital to the collection
•Materials that no longer support the changing curriculum
•Materials which have not been used for a reasonable time except for items considered classics or having some unique relevance to the collection
•Materials that have been replaced by another format

Government Documents

Kelly Library is one of the approximately 1300 depositories in the Federal Depository Library Program. Emory & Henry College has been a depository since 1884 and is one of three in the Ninth Congressional District (the others are University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Virginia Tech). Kelly Library is a selective depository, which means it is allowed to select the categories of publications it wishes to receive. The current selection rate is 20-25% of the documents available through the depository program.

The primary clientele of Kelly Library is E&H students, faculty and staff. Its secondary clientele is members of the Holston Associated Libraries consortium (eight academic, law and public libraries in southwest Virginia and upper east Tennessee), community borrowers and residents of the Ninth Congressional District.

Emory & Henry College is a small (under 1000 FTE), private liberal arts institution founded in 1836 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The Ninth Congressional District is mostly rural and small town/suburban, although Washington County (VA) is located within the standard metropolitan statistical area of Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol TN-VA. Primary industries are agriculture, forestry, some manufacturing, coal mining, retail and tourism.

The goal of the government documents collection is to support the curriculum of the college and make available documents in subjects of interest to residents of the Ninth Congressional District. Information in all formats will be collected. Subjects of special interest include, but are not limited to agriculture, census information, civil rights, education, environmental quality, foreign relations and diplomacy, forestry; general history and military history, health, mining, Tennessee Valley Authority and tourism and recreation.

Various aspects of collection development as related to government publications are covered in the “Community,” “Selection Responsibility,” “Budget Allocation,” “Selection Guidelines,” “Guidelines for the Selection of Electronic Resources” and “Withdrawing Materials” sections of this policy.


This policy shall be approved by the library staff and the library advisory committee. Final approval shall be by the Faculty with recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee of the college.

Intellectual Freedom

The staff of Kelly Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association. The staff of Kelly Library is responsible for ensuring that all points of view are represented in the collection and that materials are not removed from the collection by groups or individuals because of doctrinal or partisan disapproval. The library will follow guidelines in the Intellectual Freedom Manual of the American Library Association when responding to censorship.