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Library Policies

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy and Guidelines

Approved February 23, 2016
by Faculty Senate





The George A. Spiva Library provides organization of and access to information essential to Missouri Southern State University’s commitment to a liberal arts education and distance learning, with a firm emphasis on international studies and quality classroom teaching. The Library also serves as a resource for residents in the region. 

Professional librarians and trained support staff expedite and enhance access to information through the sharing of expertise, participation in networks, the acquisition and maintenance of resources, creation of bibliographic tools and help guides, development of instruction programs, and the availability of reference services. The curriculum and research needs of students, faculty, and staff are met by providing timely access to information in the most beneficial format.

Spiva Library will maintain and enhance user-oriented services, introduce new technologies, and build collections that contain diverse points of view. These initiatives will further demonstrate the central role played by the Library in supporting the mission of the University and the educational needs of our constituents.


The Spiva Library Collection Development Policy and Guidelines are designed to outline basic procedures for the selection, deselecting and maintenance of the various collections Spiva Library is responsible for developing.

Selection of materials for Spiva Library is a community effort that involves faculty and other University staff, librarians and other library staff, and students. The selection is done within the restrictions of a materials budget allocated to the library each year plus gifted materials. The library director manages the funds and the acquisitions process.

To develop a collection that supports the curriculum and information needs of the University, the citizens of Joplin and surrounding communities, the parameters for adding materials to the collection and deleting items from the collection must be articulated to ensure that only necessary materials are added as well as obsolete items discarded. Also the guidelines ensure that limited funds are expended in the most cost efficient manner.

Selection Process

Final approval for the selection of materials belongs to the Director of the Library. However, each academic unit has a library representative appointed by the department head or dean. An allocation of library funds is set aside for the purchase of library materials recommended by the faculty of each such unit. See Appendix C for the Undergraduate Materials Allocation Formula.

These recommendations are given to the unit's library representative, who forwards them to their department’s library liaison to be considered for purchase. The academic faculty is an important source of recommendations for the purchase of library materials, and the Library strongly encourages active participation by the faculty in this process. Within the Library, individual library faculty members function as selectors in various subject and special collection areas.  The Librarians work closely with departmental library representatives and individual faculty members, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the collection in their areas of expertise and acting as a further liaison between the Library and the academic units. The library selectors enhance and supplement the collection development system, oversee areas where there is presently no teaching or research activity, and develop at all levels a balanced and useful collection serving the needs of all clientele.

Selection Criteria

  • Support of the University’s international mission.
  • Support of each academic unit’s curriculum.
  • Support of Library’s special collections: Audio Visuals, Archives, Curriculum, Government Documents, Juvenile, Native American, Young Adult and Legal.
  • Support of students' special interest collections.
  • Reading and understanding level suitable for all clientele: undergraduates, graduates, English as a Second Language, Four States community.
  • High quality of content, literary merit.

    Judgment as to whether specific materials meet recommended quality of content guidelines is exercised most frequently by consulting the opinions of knowledgeable people, either on the campus or in such publications as Books for College Libraries, Choice, Magazines for Libraries and, where available, subject lists for college libraries prepared by learned associations.  Caution is urged in accepting publisher's statements at face value and in selecting titles solely on the basis of the author's or publisher's reputation.
  • Favorable review in Choice or other peer-reviewed subject area journal.
  • Personal knowledge of resource by faculty member or librarian.
  • Currency and timeliness of the materials.
  • Special needs for materials due to institutional or societal changes.
  • Scarcity of material on the subject.
  •  Need for additional materials in a highly used subject area.
  • Format and ease of accessibility – availability of materials through electronic or other access.
  • Usefulness of the material with respect to other works already in the collection or easily accessible from other cooperative institutions.
  • Cost of material in comparison with other equally useful material.

De-Selection Process

De-selection is a conscientious effort to achieve well-balanced collections suitable to the goals and needs of the university, the library, and most importantly, their constituents. De-selecting materials from the library collections is an ongoing process and is as important as selecting materials.

Materials that no longer meet the needs of the university community impede the efficient selection of appropriate material. Items in poor physical condition discourage use and detract from the general appearance of the collection.  Outdated and inaccurate material obstructs use and frustrates users.  Unnecessary items left in a collection can weaken a library collection as much as insufficient acquisitions.

In order to maintain a vital collection of resources, library staff and faculty continuously strive not only to selectively acquire appropriate materials, but also to remove items which no longer meet criteria for inclusion in the collection and which are not expected to be reasonably useful in the future.

It is the responsibility of school deans and department chairs, as part of their allocation fund, to ensure that faculty work with library staff to deselect items from the library collection in their teaching/research areas prior to program review or accreditation visit.

De-Selection Procedure

Library staff will contact department chairs and teaching faculty to discuss the de-selection policy and address concerns and questions.

Library staff will remove materials and place them on a cart for withdrawal. A firm date will be provided by which the teaching faculty must consider them and voice their support or opposition to de-selection from the collection.

The library director will make the final decision regarding material retention or de-selection.

De-Selection Criteria

  • E-resources – including, but not limited to: individual e-books, e-journals, online databases, etc. – that have low usage statistics and/or unfavorable average cost of usage statistics.
  • Obsolete Software.
  • Publication of new edition of title.
  • Multiple copies. Is there justification for retaining more than one copy?
  • Materials that duplicate information already held.
  • Antiquated formats.
  • Availability through cooperative institutions or through Interlibrary Loan.  If the work is of marginal value, and withdrawal is a consideration, is it still reasonably accessible?
  • Age, copyright date
  • Poor, dilapidated physical condition.  Poor sound and/or visual quality. Does the condition of the item warrant discard or replacement
  • No longer relevant to or supportive of current curriculum
  • Content incorrect or obsolete
  • Little or no usage.  Has the book circulated during the last 5-10 years?
  • Overly partisan or narrowly focused materials
  • Materials not meeting standards of quality

Unfavorable reviews in widely accepted review and evaluation instruments such as Choice, Best Books for University Libraries.  Authors and/or Editors not considered prominent or authoritative in their subject or field.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected

Monographs. Current trade, university press, institutional, and government publications acquired. These materials are usually acquired in hardcopy. Hardbound editions are preferred to paperback, where available.  Monographs published in series may be purchased individually based on relevance to the collection.  Individual electronic monographs (E-books) will be purchased when available. E-book collections that are negotiated by and recommended for purchase from the MOBIUS consortium, or are negotiated between the library and a commercial vendor (i.e. SAGE) could be purchased.

Newspapers. Selected local, regional, national and international newspapers are acquired and held for approximately 5 weeks in print format.  Back issues of selected newspapers may be stored in microform format. Newspapers may be acquired in electronic format.

Journals. Generally, no periodicals will be purchased that are not included in a standard index owned by Spiva Library. Due to space considerations and the advent and popularity of electronic full-text journals, there are no plans to significantly increase the number of print journal subscriptions. In fact, it is probable that the number will decrease as more and more titles become available in electronic forms. Journals held in electronic form will usually not be duplicated in print in regard to cost and storage.

No titles will be discontinued without consulting the appropriate department chair. Final purchase and removal decisions, however, rest with the Director of the Library.

Manuscripts, Rare Books and Publications of Local Interest . While the Library does house a small number of rare books in the  Archives  collection, such materials are not pursued or generally collected.  Major publications pertaining to the Four States region and all publications related to the history of the University or published by the University are housed in Archives.  See Appendix A for the Archives Collection Policy.

Government Documents.  Spiva Library has been a selective depository for Federal publications of the Seventh Congressional District of Missouri since approximately 1966.   The priority of the Government Documents Department is to provide quality service as well as easy access to government information, in all forms, to the University community as well as to all constituents of the Seventh Congressional District of Missouri.  See Appendix B for the Government Documents Collection Policy.

Software . Software purchased for the collection will be of research or instructional value and will provide unique access to information. Consideration is made to whether hardware for particular formats is available.

Audio . Musical recordings are purchased according to the needs of music teaching and research. Spoken word recordings may be selected as library materials based on their instructional value.  Consideration is made to whether hardware for particular formats is available.

Film/Video .   Select films and videos are purchased as research or instructional materials. Feature films are purchased selectively and only with respect to their research or instructional value. Consideration is made to whether hardware for particular formats is available.

PamphletsPamphlets will not be purchased unless the information is not available in any other format.

Microforms. Microforms will be purchased when the material needed is unavailable in any other format and for the storage and preservation of newspapers.

Textbooks. Generally, textbooks required by instructors for bookstore purchase will not be collected by the Library. Textbooks will occasionally be purchased in order to supplement specific areas of the collection.

Electronic Indexes and Abstracting Databases.  Fee-based electronic resources are purchased in order to provide online access to books, journals, newspapers, and other literary sources of information.  Criteria examined when considering purchase include:

  • Subscription or access costs are reasonable.
  • Ability of resource to allow for Internet Protocol authentication.  Will it work with the EZproxy to allow for off-campus access?
  • Evidence of resource staying current through regular updates, or demonstrates ongoing maintenance.
  • Resource is developed and maintained by a recognized and respected national or international organization, academic institution, or commercial enterprise.
  • Availability of full-text.
  • Usage data indicate client interest or demand.
  • Resource is generally available and stable. After initial period of instability common with new electronic products, its downtimes or machine address changes are infrequent and announced.
  • User help files are readily available.
  • The amount of user support required from library staff is minimal or acceptable.
  • It is simple to comply with restrictions on duplication or dissemination of information from the resource.
  • Providing access requires little or no change in existing or planned hardware and software resources. 

Open Web resources.  The Library is responsible for the evaluation, selection and listing of relevant and educational sites that are found within its webpages. The selection is dictated primarily by the academic needs of the campus community.

In addition to the item's relevance to the educational needs of our constituents websites are judged for their quality. The quality of an item is based on accuracy, currency, and physical characteristics (e.g., page arrangement, quality of graphics).

Gifts Policy and Donor Guidelines

Gifts are added to the collection when they meet our selection criteria. Acceptance of gifts and donations are based upon, but are not limited to, the following factors:

  • Age
  • Historical relevance
  • Physical condition
  • Scarcity
  • Uniqueness
  • Value

Donors are asked to complete a Donor's Statement (Appendix D) that stipulates the conditions under which gifts are accepted. Also available for use when manuscripts or other original materials are offered to the Library is a Deed of Gift (Appendix E)

It is the responsibility of the donor to keep a list of items donated, and to obtain an appraisal of value if one is wanted. Once a gift is accepted it becomes property of the Library and may be disposed of as the Library sees fit.

Internal Revenue Service regulations prohibit libraries appraising gifts they receive. Gifts appraised at more than $5,000 are accepted only after it has been determined that the items are wanted for the collections.

Only the Library Director may approve acceptance of gifts with special stipulations concerning copyright, legal title, restricted access, location, or other restrictions.  Establishment of separate named and/or housed collections is discouraged, as collections are most useful when integrated with other books on the same subject.

Challenge Policy and Request for Reconsideration Guidelines

Our Library's mission is to select and acquire a wide variety of materials for access by all library patrons. The library seeks to provide information on all sides of every issue, even if that issue is a controversial one. Librarians do not serve as censors for any materials or for any age group, since we believe that everyone, regardless of age, should be free to form his or her own opinion. The resources acquired for the University’s Library are selected to meet the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. The inclusion of any resource does not mean that the library and its staff advocates or endorses the ideas found in that resource. 

Students, faculty and staff of Missouri Southern State University as well as any resident in the Four States area may question the presence of any resource found in the library.  A challenge to any material in the library must be based on the failure of that resource to fall within the Library's selection and collection development policies, including the commitment to intellectual freedom.  Challenged items will remain on the shelf and available to library users during the duration of the challenge.

Any person wishing to challenge a resource will be asked to complete a Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials (Appendix F) form. The completed form shall be submitted to the office of the Library Director.  The Library Director will acknowledge receipt of the form via letter. The Library Committee will then consider the request.  The person making the challenge will be notified in writing by the Library Director of the final decision of the Library Committee and any action to be taken.

Commitment to Intellectual Freedom

The principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights (Appendix G) of the American Library Association shall be followed in the selection of library materials.  Neither Missouri Southern State University, Spiva Library nor their agents act for or against particular issues but seek to maintain a free flow of information in the selection of materials. The disapproval of an item by one group will not be a means for denying that material to all groups if, by library selection standards, it belongs in the collection.

Statement on Access

Spiva Library freely offers access to its collections and services to all patrons without regard to race, age, educational level, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or any other qualification or condition.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities will be able to access the same services the University offers to non-disabled individuals. 

While the widest possible access options are desirable, they may not be available. Internet resources that increase the likelihood of such access are encouraged; however, absence of such options should not exclude it for possible collection.

Review and Revision

The Spiva Library Collection Development Policy and Guidelines is subject to periodic review and revision.


The Spiva Library Collection Development Policy and Guidelines is subject to periodic review and revision.

Appendix A: University Archives and Special Collections Collection Development Policy

The University Archives is the final depository for records, documents, and media, both physical and digital, designated for long-term preservation by Missouri Southern State University’s record retention policy. The University Archives is primarily limited to:

  1. Monographs and copies of published articles by faculty or staff members.
  2. Publications of all departments, schools, programs, administrative units and associated organizations of Missouri Southern State University.
  3. Publications of student organizations or groups.
  4. The official policies and mission and goal statements of Missouri Southern State University.
  5. Official meeting minutes from Administrative Committees, Faculty Senate and Faculty Senate Committees, Staff Senate and Staff Senate Committees, as well as the minutes and recordings from the Missouri Southern Board of Governors meetings.
  6. News releases issued by Missouri Southern State University.
  7. Photographs and audiovisual material created by or for Missouri Southern State University.

The Special Collections of George A. Spiva Library is a depository for materials deemed to be of historical, social, economic and research importance in relation to the history of the ‘local’ area, which is broadly defined as Missouri, along with the states that border southwest Missouri, including Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Materials collected can include:

  1. Rare books
  2. Manuscripts (including collections of family letters)
  3. Photographs
  4. Ephemera
  5. Digital records

Materials not related to local history might be collected for their historic or monetary value, their uniqueness or rarity, or their relation to Missouri Southern State University.

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