Purpose of the Policy
The Collection Development Policy identifies and communicates the long- and short-term collection goals and policies of James Madison University (JMU) Libraries and Educational Technologies (L&ET). The Policy states the principles and guidelines to be followed by librarians and departmental faculty in developing and maintaining balanced collections across disciplines. It also takes into account the mission and goals of the University while being responsive to the changing needs of a dynamic institution. When this policy refers to "collections," it implies all library resources, whether owned, leased, or borrowed, physical or electronic. The Collection Development policy will be periodically reviewed in order to ensure that its provisions continue to reflect the current requirements of academic programs, collection needs, and the allocation of resources.
JMU is a predominantly undergraduate, public, comprehensive university. The University comprises six colleges and a graduate school and more than 75 academic programs. JMU offers a robust general education core curriculum and more than 100 degrees on the bachelor's, master's, educational specialist, and doctoral levels. The university mission is to prepare students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives.
JMU Libraries functions as a division of L&ET, which positions campus library operations and instructional technologies together under the same leadership. The mission of L&ET is to enrich our communities by building learning and information environments where people connect with ideas and each other to discover, create, and share knowledge. JMU Libraries, consisting of Carrier Library, Rose Library, and the Music Library, supports the mission and future vision of the University through its services and collections. Through collection development, JMU Libraries provides access to appropriate and diverse knowledge that facilitates and promotes scholarly inquiry.
Scope of Collections
To assure the prudent allocation and expenditure of monies for collections and other information resources, the libraries are viewed as a coordinated whole rather than individual or autonomous entities developing collections without regard for need or duplication.
- Carrier Library collections consist of books, journals, and media collections supporting study and scholarship primarily in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Carrier Library also houses Special Collections and government documents.
- Rose Library collections consist of books, journals, and videos supporting study and scholarship primarily in the sciences, health sciences, and technology.
- The Music Library supports the unique study and scholarship needs of the School of Music. It provides reference, media playback, scores, journals, sound recordings, videos, software titles, and several special collections. Books and selected other materials supporting the School of Music are housed at Carrier Library.
- JMU Libraries supports study and scholarship in the College of Education by maintaining a children's and young adult literature collection, housed in the Educational Technology and Media Center in Memorial Hall.
JMU Libraries is dedicated to providing information for students and faculty at the point of need. Placement of physical collections is generally based on perceived needs and campus proximity of library facilities to academic department locations. In order to support online and distance learning activities, where students and faculty may be located away from campus, JMU Libraries exercises a preference for selection and access to digital resources thereby increasing user accessibility, regardless of physical location.
Membership in the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) and contributions to cooperative agreements continue to provide substantial access to materials, particularly electronic, for JMU users. JMU Libraries actively seeks opportunities to combine purchasing power with other libraries and within the VIVA membership to acquire digital resources that are consistent with our collection priorities.
Collection Priorities and Intellectual Freedom
The Libraries' collection will directly reflect and support its mission and the goals of the University. Specifically, the priorities for building balanced collections across disciplines include:
- providing university-level scholarly resources that support the academic programs and faculty research interests. Collections will reflect diverse viewpoints and areas of scholarship.
- affirming the Libraries' commitment to enabling every person to engage in the lifelong pursuit of knowledge by supporting the open exchange of ideas, innovation, intellectual freedom, diversity, and equitable access to information.
- continuing the Libraries' tradition of meeting curricular changes and intellectual demands with thoughtful innovations that respectfully build on past achievements.
In carrying out its collection development activities, JMU Libraries adheres to the principles expressed in the following statements from the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights: "Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.... Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."
In building and managing collections, JMU Libraries relies on the expertise of its liaison librarians, who are responsible for the full life-cycle of collection management from point of selection to withdrawal. Each liaison librarian is responsible for primary selection in one or more subject areas. Liaison librarians interact with departmental faculty and students in selecting materials that reflect and anticipate changing curriculum needs, faculty research interests, interdisciplinary trends, and scholarly communication paths.
In order to guide appropriate selection for each subject area, liaison librarians develop subject collection development policies. Liaison Librarians and departmental faculty may also develop and monitor approval plan subject profiles in order to obtain books in a timely and cost-effective manner.
The Collection Development Committee (CDC) plans, organizes, and monitors activities related to collection development, evaluation and maintenance for all types of information resources. The committee is committed to a global view of collections and develops policies and guidelines for collection development, including collection maintenance, analysis, and assessment of the collections. The CDC has the primary responsibility for managing continuing expenditure commitments (e.g., periodicals, licensed electronic resources) and makes decisions on major purchases and licenses in response to recommendations from librarians, university faculty, and the library Collection Management Department. The CDC operates using the Guiding Principles for Collection Priorities.
Final authority for expenditure of University funds for library collections rests with the Dean of Libraries & Educational Technologies.
JMU Libraries acquires or provides access to a wide variety of resources in print and digital formats. The libraries evaluate potential acquisitions on numerous criteria, including but not limited to:
- quality of material
- readership level
- curriculum relevance
- historical value
- user demand
- impact to the entire collection
JMU Libraries primarily collects resources in print and electronic formats, with an emphasis on electronic formats for journal collections, media collections, and reference resources. JMU Libraries secures access to information through direct licensing from authorized providers and by utilizing connections to free resources. In addition, selection criteria specifically applicable to digital formats will be considered, including but not limited to:
- Uniqueness and comprehensiveness of information
- Currency and validity of information and frequency of updates
- Enhanced content, additional functionality, availability of site license
- Cost effectiveness of access
- Archival access
- Copyright and fair use, including interlibrary loan privileges
- Confidentiality and privacy provisions for all library patrons
- Availability of usage statistics based on accepted standards
- Legal issues, including licensing requirements and restrictions
- Reliability of vendor or publisher in providing customer and technical support, training, etc.
- Reputation and authority of publisher
- Technical support for storage and delivery of locally hosted content.
JMU Libraries welcomes gifts that enhance the existing collection. Selection standards and guidelines for both purchased and donated materials are the same. Once accepted, JMU Libraries reserves the right to decide on the final disposition of gifts. For more information, please refer to the more on the JMU Libraries gift policy.
Liaison librarians, with primary support provided by the Collection Management Department, will conduct ongoing assessment of the collection to ensure availability of adequate and appropriate resources to support the curriculum.
JMU Libraries normally will acquire only one copy of a title. Non-circulating titles will be added to the collection in the location where they best serve the needs of the JMU community. Faculty and/or liaison librarians should be prepared to justify requests for duplicate copies.
Lost, damaged, or missing items are not automatically replaced but instead are evaluated based on the collecting guidelines and usage data. If damaged or lost materials in obsolete formats are determined to be important to the collection, JMU Libraries will attempt to replace such materials. If no exact replacement can be found, a similar but not exact item may be purchased as a substitute. See Preservation section for related policies.
Periodic weeding of the collection ensures that collections remain current, authoritative, and match user needs at JMU.
Liaisons will use the following criteria when evaluating material to be weeded:
- Collection level: How vital is the item for JMU coursework and research?
- Intrinsic value: Is the item a seminal work in its field?
- Format: Is the format obsolete?
- Duplication: Is demand sufficient for multiple copies of the item?
- Physical condition: Can a damaged item be repaired? Should it be replaced?
- Research value: Are older materials still valuable for research interests?
- Edition: Is the edition of an item held by the library superseded by a newer edition or format (e.g. electronic or online/networked)?
- Completeness: Is the item part of a set or series of which the library does not have a complete run?
- Uniqueness: Is the item held only by JMU?
- Usage: Has the item been checked out frequently or recently?
Withdrawal of library materials must be authorized by the librarians responsible for the portion of the collection containing potential withdrawals.
JMU Libraries actively supports preservation considerations including preference for alkaline paper and purchase of soft-cover editions of titles which are bound according to specific industry standards and the JMU Libraries binding policy.
If funds are available and an item is deemed worthy of preservation, materials may be replaced through acquisition of an alternative format (where available) or (where not available) be transferred to such a format under the terms and rights of 17 US 108 (.pdf). This section of the copyright law permits qualifying libraries and archives to reproduce a published work that it owns when either its format is considered “obsolete” or an “unused replacement cannot be obtained at a fair price.”
Cooperative Collection Development
JMU Libraries supplements and enhances its collections through cooperative collection development, resource sharing, and licensing of digital resources. It is essential that institutions share collection resources to ensure broad access to all necessary scholarly resources. JMU Libraries is an active participant in the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) consortium and fully supports VIVA’s Mission “… to provide, in an equitable, cooperative and cost effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia's non-profit academic libraries serving the higher education community.” VIVA provides core digital resources essential to JMU users. VIVA promotes resource sharing among its members and encourages the quick delivery of infrequently-used materials needed by JMU faculty and students from other institutions of higher learning through the interlibrary loan service. Interlibrary loan is also used to borrow materials from non-VIVA libraries.