Collection Management Guidelines – Overview

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview of the Collection Management Program
  3. Funding and Budget Allocation
  4. Consortial Arrangements and Resource Sharing
  5. Selection Guidelines
  6. Special Types of Materials and Collections
  7. Evaluation of the Collection
  8. Review and Revision of Guidelines
  9. Intellectual Freedom
  10. Copyright
  11. Glossary

      • Purpose
        The Ottenheimer Library selects materials primarily for the instructional and research activities of the students, faculty, and staff at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The library’s Collection Management Guidelines: Overview states the overarching principles that the library follows in the selection and acquisition of library materials. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide consistency among the persons responsible for collection management and to communicate library policy to the faculty, staff, students, and the community. Guidelines for subject areas are at Collection Management Guidelines: Subjects.
      • Library Mission
        Based upon its responsibility to the university as stated in the library mission statement: “Ottenheimer Library collects, organizes, and provides access to information resources and library services that enrich and support the university’s research and teaching mission, foster intellectual development, and promote academic excellence.” The library fulfills its mission by building a rich resource of research materials, providing access to collections and services, maintaining a dialogue with the scholarly community, encouraging public engagement, and forming external alliances.
      • Audience
        The main audience for these guidelines is the university community of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. Other users and potential resource sharing partners may also find the guidelines useful.

      1. Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement
        The primary subject areas collected are those that support the instructional and research activities of the university. The majority of print materials are arranged by the Library of Congress Classification System.
      2. Language
        The main language of the collection is English. The library collects materials in other languages based on their relevance to university programs with a foreign language component. Additional criteria considered for the acquisition of foreign language materials are the reputation of the author and the publisher.
      3. Selection Responsibility
        Final responsibility for the development and maintenance of the library’s collection rests with the dean. The director of technical services and technology oversees the collection management program. The collection management librarian, library selectors, and faculty liaisons actively participate in the selection of materials for the collection.

        • Collection Management Librarian
          The collection management librarian coordinates the selection of library materials in all formats. Requests for purchases come from faculty liaisons and from library selectors.
        • Faculty Liaisons
          Faculty liaisons are teaching faculty chosen by their departments to solicit requests for library materials from their colleagues to support teaching and research. The liaisons facilitate communication between the university’s academic units and the library’s collection management department.
        • Library Selectors
          Library selectors participate in the selection and evaluation of materials for the library. Selectors work within the constraints of the library’s budget and follow the principles written in: Collection Management Guidelines: Overview.

      Funds to purchase library resources originate primarily from state appropriations and from tuition revenue.  Supplemental funds come from gifts, grants, and other sources which are generally limited and ordinarily have restrictions on their use. The director for technical services and technology administers the materials budget with input from other library administrators, the head of acquisitions, and the collection development librarian. The budget is typically divided between one-time and ongoing expenditures. Ongoing publications (journals, databases) receive the initial allocation.  Remaining funds are allocated for one-time expenditures (books, DVDs, CDs). Based on institutional priorities the library allocates its materials budget by subject using a series of fund codes to track expenditures. The materials budget supports the purchase of all formats designated in section 5 of the Collection Management Guidelines: Overview and provides funding for:

      • Access charges for electronic resources.
      • Membership in consortia.
      • Access to and preservation of purchased and donated library resources.

      The library participates in national, regional, and statewide consortia. As a member of ARKLink, Amigos, Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), and LYRASIS, the library receives discounts for the acquisition and/or licensing of electronic content. The library also participates in the National Science Foundation Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program and pursues informal consortial arrangements with other University of Arkansas libraries. Membership in OCLC and ARKLink allows the library to borrow from and share its resources with other libraries through interlibrary loan and reciprocal borrowing arrangements.

      Support of the university’s teaching and research programs is the library’s highest priority in selecting materials for its collections. The library acquires and/or licenses resources produced in all formats, but reserves the right to reject purchasing in a format considered obsolete, outdated, or unproven. Generally, the library does not purchase multiple copies of any title. All purchases depend on the availability of funds.

      1. Types of Materials Collected
        • Books
          The library acquires books in print or in electronic format.
        • Electronic Resources
          E-resources acquired and/or licensed include, but are not limited to, electronic journals, online databases, electronic reference materials, electronic books, and streaming media collections. Due to the unique nature of e-resources, the library uses special criteria for selection. See Collection Management Guidelines: Electronic Resources for these criteria.
        • Journals and Newspapers
          The preferred format for journals and newspapers is electronic. The library rarely acquires new subscriptions to these materials in print.
        • Media
          The library acquires sound and visual recordings on digital video disc (DVD) compact disc (CD), and streaming audio.
        • Microforms
          The library acquires microform materials selectively.
        • Musical Scores
          Single copies of musical scores are acquired as needed in support of the curriculum and upon specific request of an instructor.
        • Maps
          The library purchases maps, atlases, globes, and charts selectively. The government documents collection regularly receives maps from the U.S. Government Printing Office as part of the depository program.

      • Children’s Books
        The library acquires children’s books primarily to provide a working collection for students enrolled in the College of Education programs. Award-winning children’s books receive first priority.
      • Dissertations, Theses
        Students at UA Little Rock submit dissertations and theses electronically to ProQuest as mandated by the university, and provide the library a print copy. The library does not ordinarily acquire dissertations and theses produced at other universities.
      • Textbooks
        The library does not routinely acquire current course textbooks. The library may acquire and /or license textbooks that are considered definitive sources in a subject area.
      • Gift Materials
        Gift materials are subject to the same criteria for addition to the collection as purchased materials. The library reserves the right to accept or reject gifts and the right to dispose of unwanted gift material. Detailed criteria for gift collections are in: Collection Management Guidelines: Gift and Donations.
      • Government Publications
        The library is a selective depository for Federal and European Union documents.  Detailed selection criteria for the documents collections are in: Collection Management Guidelines: Government Documents.
      • Reference Collection
        The head of the reference department coordinates the selection of reference resources in all types and formats. Detailed selection criteria for the reference collection are in: Collection Management Guidelines: Reference.
      • Special Collections
        The library’s Special Collections contain materials that are historically significant to the university, as well as research materials that are rare and/or fragile.

      Weeding, preservation and conservation, and replacement are all important aspects of collection evaluation. Responsibility and authority for the preceding activities are shared by the director of technical services and technology, the collection development librarian, and library selectors.

      • Weeding
        Weeding is an essential, continuing library practice in which materials are removed permanently from the library’s collections. Whenever possible, both teaching faculty and library personnel participate in the process to ensure that publications of historical or research significance are not discarded. Detailed criteria for weeding are in: Collection Management Guidelines: Weeding.
      • Preservation and Conservation
        Preservation is the activity to prevent, eliminate, or retard deterioration of library resources. The library protects the physical integrity of materials in the collection through conservation measures, such as temperature and humidity control. The library acquires replacements in available formats, or by having damaged materials professionally rebound.
      • Replacements
        Materials in various formats that are missing, lost, damaged, or withdrawn are not automatically replaced. Potential replacements are evaluated using the same criteria for selection as regularly acquired and /or licensed items. Heavily used materials will be replaced as funding permits.

      The collection management librarian and other designated library personnel will review the Collection Management Guidelines: Overview annually.

      The library community has adopted various documents defining aspects of intellectual freedom. The library supports the American Library Association’s Bill Of Rights, Freedom To Read Statement, and the American Film and Video Association’s Freedom to View Statement. The Library also endorses the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries as approved by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors. Any individual or group questioning the appropriateness of materials within the collection will be referred to the director of technical services and technology.

    10. GLOSSARY
      Acquisitions. Process of ordering and receiving library resources.
      Amigos. Consortium of libraries primarily in the Southwestern United States that provide opportunities for networking, collaboration, and cost savings through group purchasing for products and services.
      ARKlink. Consortium of Arkansas college and university libraries cooperating to purchase and deliver services and collections to researchers in the state.
      Collection Management. Process of selecting library resources and evaluating materials for cancellation, withdrawal, and preservation.
      EPSCoR. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. National Science Foundation program designed to strengthen research and education in science and engineering throughout the United States.
      GWLA. Greater Western Library Alliance. Regional consortium of libraries in the Midwest, South, and Central United States that provide opportunities for networking, collaboration, and cost savings through group purchasing for products and services.
      Library of Congress Classification system. A system developed by the Library of Congress to organize and arrange library resources on the shelves.
      LYRASIS. Membership organization of  libraries in the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Southeast, and Western regions of the U.S that provide opportunities for networking, collaboration, and cost savings through group purchasing for products and services.
      Microforms. Reduced images of print materials produced on reels (microfilm) or flat sheets (microfiche).
      OCLC. International organization providing library services (cataloging, interlibrary loan) and access to online databases.
      Weeding. Process of selecting items for withdrawal from the collection.


The Collection Development Policy Revision Committee thanks the FAU Libraries for granting permission to use their policy as a model.

Created September 1997
Revised December 2012 by the Collection Development Policy Revision Committee

Carol Macheak
Donna Rose
John Warrick
Maureen James, Chair