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Chowan University

Library Policies

Collection Development Policy Statement for Whitaker Library

Updated August 2022 - (Approved by Library Committee March 1, 2016)


This policy is proposed as a statement of the operating guidelines used by Whitaker Library in its acquisition and maintenance of materials. A collection must be based on an understanding of the purpose of the library,and must be systematically shaped and developed in order to make best use of the funds allotted it. The following are general policies that guide the process of developing Whitaker Library's collection. In this policy, the word "materials" shall be used to encompass all classes of materials that a library collects and makes available to its users.

Acquisitions Priorities:

Whitaker Library shall acquire materials according to the following policy:

Whitaker Library serves the students, faculty, staff and friends of Chowan University by providing resources and services that enhance success in learning and teaching.

Selection Responsibilities:

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the library's collection rests with the University Librarian, through her to the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, and ultimately with the President of the University.  Faculty librarians are assigned the responsibility for collection development and maintenance, although the library recognizes the knowledge and training of university personnel and solicits from them suggestions in their respective academic fields.  Suggestions from students are also considered.  All purchase orders for library materials shall originate in the library and go through proper university channels.


Selection Guidelines:

1.  Library allocations:

The quality of content and fulfillment of academic curricular need are the first criteria against which librarians evaluate any potential item.  Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  • Support of present academic curriculum
  • Lasting value of the content
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment
  • Strength of present holdings in same or similar subject area
  • Cost
  • Suitability of format to content
  • Authoritativeness of the author or reputation of publisher
  • Present use of similar items
  • Projected future use

Other guidelines are also used:

  1. Textbooks are not normally purchased.
  2. Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances.
  3. When there is an option of paper or hardcopy, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential.
  4. Lost or stolen materials shall be replaced immediately provided they meet selection criteria.
  5. The majority of selections are current publications. The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases, and systematically uses standard bibliographies and other evaluation tools to locate and fill gaps in the collection.  However, it is most important to spend funds for valuable current publications of long-term worth, thus lessening a future need for retrospective buying.
  6. Foreign language titles may be suggested and selected for purchase, but the library typically purchases books in English language editions.
  7. Electronic Resources and Periodical titles purchased will be selected based on an evaluation process similar to monographic materials.
  8. The library will provide access to periodicals and other electronic resources via consortia purchasing when feasible.
  9. The library uses appropriate academic selection tools, which might include but are not limited to: Resources for College LibrariesChoiceBooks in Print, Ulrichsweb and "New York Times" best seller lists.

2. Academic Department Allocations:

Each academic department will be allocated money to spend for one time purchases. The area allotments shall take into consideration the number of students in the area, the cost of that type of materials, and the need to keep all collections up to date. Each academic area will be given practically a free hand in spending the amount allotted to it in the budget. The library will communicate fund allotments with the departmental budget officer. Area members may select by whatever method they feel best serves the needs of Chowan students. In February of the budget year, the library will make any unspent funds available to other departments who have depleted their allotment, but still have a wish list.

3.  Reserve Textbook Collection:

Whitaker Library does not have adequate funding to acquire required textbooks.

The Provost’s Office manages a small Textbook Fund to acquire selected textbooks in courses that meet the following criteria: 

  • Course is part of the General Education Core
  • Course has significant enrollment

The library houses current editions of textbooks in the Reserve Textbook Collection, which is supplemented by donations from individual faculty members and departments.  The Reserve Textbook Collection is intended as a backup for students and not as the primary resource for access to the textbooks required for their coursework. The size and comprehensiveness of this collection varies from year to year according to demand, funding, gift copies, and the cost of textbooks.


Gifts are accepted, with the understanding that the library may dispose of them in any fashion it considers feasible or add them to the collection at its discretion, and in the same manner as purchased material. As a general rule, gift books will be added based on the same criteria as purchased ones. The library assumes no responsibility for appraisal or listing of gift items. The University Librarian has the authority to accept gifts under restricted conditions.

Collection Maintenance and Evaluation:

Deselection is an important aspect of collection development in the university library. Upon arrival of new editions, library faculty may evaluate previous editions and withdraw those deemed outdated. Individual sections of the entire collection are periodically reviewed. Faculty are encouraged to assist in spotting outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise. Other criteria for deselection may include the physical condition of the material, age of material, use of material, and unnecessary duplication occurring in the collection.

Those materials which appear to meet any of the criteria for deselection are taken off the shelves. Library faculty then assess the material using the selection guidelines and make a decision that each item will be (1) discarded, (2) repaired or rebound, (3) replaced, or (4) returned to the collection.

  1. An item that no longer meets selection criteria will be withdrawn and discarded.
  2. If the item is damaged, and meets selection criteria, certain repairs can be done in house, including page mending, reattaching covers or pages in most cases. Items requiring rebinding are sent to a commercial bindery. In each case, when the item is repaired it is returned to the shelves.
  3. An item that meets selection criteria, but which is beyond repair will be replaced with an exact copy if it is still in print, or with a suitable substitute.
  4. In some cases an item will be pulled that, after study, is determined to meet selection criteria, and that item will be returned to the shelves.