Guiding Principles for Collection Priorities

Revised May 2020

The JMU Libraries Collection Development Committee adheres to the goals for developing and maintaining balanced collections across disciplines as stated in the Collection Development Policy.  The policy states:

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.

In addition, the following principles guide the decision-making of the Collection Development Committee:

  • JMU Libraries is responsible for collection development in order to provide access to information resources.  Though this principle is a cornerstone of library services, it is emphasized because collection development is contingent upon availability of funding.
  • Access will be provided via purchasing, borrowing, electronic connections, document delivery, and consortial arrangements.  The appropriate method will be determined by short and long term goals of the library.
  • JMU Libraries collects resources in a variety of formats but with the priority on electronic formats in order to provide our users the highest degree of access.
  • Budget allocation for materials considers many factors, including but not limited to appropriate balance among types of materials (e.g., books, media, journal, datasets, tests), expenditures for interdisciplinary materials and new programs, level of programming, identification of signature degree programs, inflation rates etc.
  • JMU Libraries will work cooperatively with academic departments to identify realistic costs and advise on resource and funding options for new programs.
  • Approval plans are an important means for obtaining materials in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • JMU Libraries utilizes carefully crafted profiles for automated selection and delivery of newly published books. This mechanism, called an approval plan, is an important means for libraries to obtain the latest publications in a timely and cost-effective manner.
  • JMU Libraries also uses patron-driven and evidence-based models for selection whereby a publisher or vendor makes a large collection available to the Libraries at no or little fee.  The Libraries then purchase titles from that collection based on established selection criteria and evidence that the title is being widely used in courses or in research.
  • JMU Libraries enhances its collection through resource sharing via Interlibrary Loan.  The ability to borrow resources from other libraries is a critical service for our faculty and students.
  • Collection data and supplementary assessment data inform budget allocation and collection management activities.

Source(s) of Authority: Collection Development Committee, Director of Scholarly Resources & Discovery