Skip to Main Content
Ask Us!Toggle Chat Widget

Collection Development Policy: Policy

Printable Version

Collection Development Policy

I. Summary

The Walker Library’s general collection supports the core studies and interdisciplinary work of the MTSU community. Library resources serve students through access to excellent scholarly material; access is made possible through traditional purchasing as well as subscriptions to electronic resources, user-driven selection programs, and open access materials.

The Walker Library’s general collection supports the core studies and interdisciplinary work of the MTSU community. Library resources serve students through access to excellent scholarly material; access is made possible through traditional purchasing as well as subscriptions to electronic resources, user-driven selection programs, and open access materials.

II. University Profile

Middle Tennessee State University is a comprehensive university that places student success and retention at the forefront of its goals and objectives. The University generates, preserves, and disseminates knowledge and innovation and uses scholarship to enhance teaching and public service. The University is committed to preparing students to thrive in their chosen professions and a changing global society. MTSU is a member of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee and is governed by an independent board.

III. Library Mission

The MTSU Library, an active partner in the scholarly communication process, provides information resources and instructional services to meet the needs of students, faculty, staff and researchers. The library contributes to the university's quest to develop educated men and women through a commitment to strong collection development, innovative, responsive and expert assistance, creative collaboration that expands the availability of resources, careful resource management, and a conducive atmosphere for library service and study.

IV. Definitions

  1. Liaison: a member of the Library staff who has the responsibility for working in a partnership with one or more academic departments, schools, programs or colleges to develop and maintain the Library collections and provide instruction.
  2. General Collection: the collection that contains the majority of the materials in the areas of the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, science, and technology.
  3. Primary Users: students, faculty and staff of Middle Tennessee State University are the primary clientele of the general collection.
  4. Selection: refers to the act of choosing materials to make accessible to Walker Library patrons via the library catalog, discovery system, website, or other means. Selection does not necessarily imply permanent ownership.
  5. Community Users: a library user who is not formally affiliated with MTSU.

V. Scope of the Collection Development Policy

The Collection Development Policy applies to the General Collection of the James E. Walker Library. Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the general and unique collections rests with the Dean of Libraries. Delegated responsibility for coordinating the collection as a whole lies with the Chair of the Collection Development and Management Department in close consultation with subject librarians, who represent the needs of the students and faculty. Academic faculty and subject librarians are responsible for recommending resources in the fields of their particular expertise to support the curriculum and research mission of the University.

Some unique collections of the JEWL have individual collection policies. The unique collections are governed by the Collection Development Policy, but are allowed variance in primary and secondary clientele, selection guidelines and collection maintenance. The variance will be determined by the heads of unique collections to meet the needs of the special materials and their clientele. Collections that are governed by specific collection development polices include JEWL Scholar, the Institutional Repository, Special Collections, Music Collections, and The Womack Curriculum Collection, and Government Documents. Those policies can be found in appendix A of this document.

Collection Priorities

The JEWL collections will directly reflect and support its mission and the goals of the University. Specifically, the priorities for building balanced collections across disciplines include:

  1. Providing university-level scholarly resources that support the academic programs and curricular needs of our faculty and students. Collections will reflect diverse viewpoints and areas of scholarship.
  2. Supporting the research needs of our faculty and graduate students.
  3. Affirming the Library's 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.

VII. Guiding Principles

In carrying out its collection development activities, the Library adheres to the principles expressed in the following statements from the American Library Association:
Library Bill of Rights
Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries
Diversity in Collection Development
Freedom to Read
Freedom to View
Library Privacy Guidelines
Library Services for People with Disabilities

VIII. Collection Development Responsibilities

The following groups and individuals aid in the selection and maintenance of the library collection:

  1. The Information Resources Group (IRG) was formed in 2013 and revised in 2021. Its members consist of librarians and staff from the Collection Development and Management Department and librarians from the Department of User Services. The IRG is focused on the evaluation, recommendation, and acquisition of strategic and interdisciplinary library collections in multiple formats. The group advises the Chair of Collection Development and Management in these acquisitions.
  2. Liaisons develop and sustain ongoing partnerships between Walker Library and Middle Tennessee State University’s academic departments. In their work with the collection they select and de-select in all formats, assess collections, monitor the approval plan and recommend revisions to the profile, evaluate gift materials and participate in cancellation projects when necessary. They work collaboratively with MTSU teaching faculty to improve library resources as well as enhance engagement, outreach, and communication pertaining to relevant resources for their assigned areas.
  3. Faculty play a crucial role in advising librarians what resources are needed for curricular and research support. Requests from faculty take priority in our budget.
  4. In addition to the groups above, any member of the MTSU community may request that the library purchase or subscribe to an item. Requests should be submitted through the item request form on the library’s webpage.


IX. Materials Budget

The university administration is responsible for the amount approved and allocated each year for the library budget. The Dean of the Library, as fiscal agent for the library, is ultimately responsible for the expenditure of all library funds, including the funds utilized for the purchase of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and other materials. At this time, we attempt to maintain an 85% - 15% split in the budget with 85% of the materials budget dedicated to renewing Continuing Resources costs and 15% of the budget reserved for books, media, music scores and other one-time purchases..

2019 Budget allocation: 4.3M

X. General Selection Guidelines

A. General selection guidelines for all materials are:

Support for curriculum and research: Materials must relate to the teaching and research of current MTSU students and faculty. The Library’s materials budget will support access to and/or discovery of materials available for use by students.


Lasting value: Longevity of the content, including but not limited to:

  • Anticipated value to the current patron population based on predicted need, demonstrated by evidence such as feedback from trials.
  • Quality of scholarship (the information in the resource logically pertains to its apparent subject; the information is reliably accurate, demonstrably factual and reasonably comprehensive or complete within the context of the subject; and the citations or links within the resource are valid).
  • Uniqueness of content or treatment. Interdisciplinary resources that can be used by many researchers are favored..
  • Appropriateness of the level of treatment (depth, breadth, etc). Full-text access is preferred to indexing services.
  • Objectivity (the information presented is open to verification and validation within the context of the subject).
  • Currency of information and/or frequency of updating, as assessed within the context of the subject.
  • Quality of the physical condition of the product, if applicable.

Organization: how the information is organized and retrieved; quality of indexing or MARC records.

Usability and accessibility: JEWL will strive to purchase materials that meet accessibility standards for users.

Cost and terms: When purchasing, JEWL will consider overall cost and purchasing method. Strength of present holdings in subject areas or similar subject areas.

Authoritativeness of the author and/or reliability of the publisher, compiler, producer, vendor, etc.

Format: Preference will be given to materials in electronic format with unlimited DRM-free use unless there is a specific request for print.

Multiple copies: James E. Walker Library does not collect duplicate material with only a few exceptions. Please see the Duplicate Collection Development Policy in regard to purchasing multiple copies. .

Consumable materials: JEWL will not purchase materials intended to be consumed or printed on low quality materials (e. g. workbooks, tests, test-prep books, software, etc.) for the general collection.

Textbooks:JEWL will not purchase or maintain a collection of currently adopted textbooks for coursework as part of the general collection. Requests for purchases of textbooks will be considered on a case-by-case basis; textbooks must have value beyond that of a textbook to be considered for inclusion.

B. Electronic Resources Selection

Electronic resources shall be selected based on the following characteristics in addition to those stated above:

  • Remote access availability and number of simultaneous users allowed. Resources restricted to a specific location will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Usability: Standards for the proper functionality of the resource include but are not limited to:
    • Absence of additional non-standard or proprietary technology,
    • Absence of additional fees or registrations,
    • Absence of barriers for accessing text directly in order to change displays for alternative methods of viewing.
    • Closed captioning included on audio visual materials
    • Ease of use for novices;
    • Device compatibility;
    • Adequate help resources;
    • Adequate output options (printing, downloading);
    • Availability of digital archiving rights; and
    • Ease of archiving, replacing, or preserving.
  • Network hardware and/or software compatibility.
  • Quality and usability of retrieval/search engine.
  • Availability and quality of vendor support.
  • Licensing considerations include, but are not limited to:
    • Tennessee state contract requirements;
    • MTSU standards for accessibility and usability;
    • Interlibrary Loan rights;
    • Patron privacy protections;
  • Treatment of graphics, formulae, and other nonstandard characters.
  • Availability of standardized usage statistics.
  • Other technical manageability concerns.
C. Continuing Resources

Serials selections and purchases will be guided by the following guidelines as well as those stated above:

Current subscriptions are reviewed annually by the Information Resources Group and Liaisons for continued appropriateness to the University’s and the Library’s mission to ensure the most efficient use of library funding. Resources that show low use will be considered for cancelation.

XI. Gifts

The library welcomes gifts in any format that is currently acquired for the general collection. For information on the donation process, please see our Gift Policy. Acceptance of a gift does not mean that it will be added to the collection. Gifts will be evaluated by Collection Development and Management staff prior to being added to the collection using the same guidelines listed above. Gifts must meet our Collection Priorities (see section IV) and be in excellent physical condition. Acceptance of gifts also depends on our collection priorities at the time, staff time needed to process the collection, and space availability. Gifts that are not added to the collection will be donated to another organization or recycled.

XII. Collection Maintenance

A. Deselection

Deselection or "weeding" of library materials is essential for the maintenance of an active, academically useful library collection. Deselection provides quality control for the collection by the elimination of outdated, inaccurate, and physically deteriorated materials. Un-used or seldom used volumes and unneeded multiple copies may also be weeded in order to solve space problems. Library faculty and staff are responsible for conducting an ongoing de‐selection effort in their areas of collection responsibility and for maintaining the quality of these collections.

B. Placement of Materials and Access to the General Library Collection
  1. Patrons have access and check out privileges to the physical print collection, with a few exceptions unless the needs of the JEWL primary users necessitate special placement in reserves. The primary reason for placing items on reserve is that they will be used repeatedly by large numbers of patrons, (e. g. required or recommended reading selected for courses by faculty members). For information on JEWL borrowing policies, see our website,
  2. Some materials in the physical collection may be considered for placement in a secured location or reserves for the purposes of preservation or security. Librarians will consult with heads of unique collections before placing items in those collections.
  3. The majority of our electronic collection is licensed to be used only by MTSU students, faculty and staff. Community Users not affiliated with MTSU will be limited to resources that can be accessed in the building with a guest login.
C. Reconsideration of Materials

The JEWL is committed to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. The sole test of a controversial item will be its contribution, direct and indirect, to the academic needs of the faculty and students. If the nature of the material makes theft probable, accessibility can be safeguarded through placing the item in Special Collections.


The following documents were consulted, reviewed, and adapted for the creation of this policy:

George Mason University Libraries Collection Development Policy.

Grand Valley State University Libraries.

James E. Walker Collection Development Policy – Fall 2009

James E. Walker Library 2015-2020 Strategic Directions

Mississippi State University Libraries Collection Development Policy. Revised and Updated by LaDonne Delgado in consultation with the MSU Libraries Faculty and Staff, August 11, 2017.

Old Dominion University Libraries Collection Development Policy by Corrie Marsh, Collection Development Librarian, August 1, 2018.

University of North Texas Libraries Collection Development Policy.

JEWL Collection Development Policy - March 2020, rev. 2022.