Mary and Jeff Bell Library



This Collection Development Policy is intended to guide the selection of materials to be added to the collections of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. This policy applies to all materials considered for addition, whether they are to be selected explicitly for purchase, received through blanket orders or approval plans, or are presented to the Library as gifts. As a statement of library policy, it is used in the allocation of funds and in the effort to obtain additional funding from endowments, gifts, grants or other opportunities. By identifying those areas of lesser collecting interest, it assists in decision-making concerning resource sharing and cooperative collection development arrangements with other libraries. It is a source of information for those both within and outside the TAMU-CC community on the strengths of our collections.

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The primary purposes of collection development in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library are to provide the information resources in print and other formats necessary to carry out the University's teaching commitments and to support the research of its students and faculty. The collections also seek to support the work of staff engaged in University business, and the general cultural and intellectual development of students. The Library, in addition, accepts responsibility for building and maintaining specialized collections in certain limited areas where it is traditionally strong, in order to serve as a regional or national resource for scholars. The Library, in carrying out its collection development activities, 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."

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Selection of materials for the collections is carried out cooperatively by members of the faculty and subject liaison librarians assigned to the various subject areas. The subject liaison librarians have responsibility for coordinating collection development in each subject area. Expenditure of the funds for materials purchases is monitored by the Associate Director for Systems and Technical Services and the Business Coordinator. Single purchases costing more than $150.00 must be approved by the Associate Director for Systems and Technical Services.

Acquisitions are financed chiefly by an appropriation of HEF funds from the University to the Library and by income from Library endowments, supplemented by gifts and grants. The Library automatically receives books in English currently published by several hundred North American and British university and trade publishers in a range of academic subjects represented in the university curriculum. These materials are reviewed for retention by librarians and any members of the teaching faculty who choose to participate in the reviewing process. Approval plans are financed from general library materials funds. Library materials funds from the University appropriation are allocated to academic departments and to certain library units for the purchase of books that will not be received on the approval plans. In addition, income from endowment funds restricted to particular subjects by the donor is available, and is used especially for the purchase of items for the Special Collections and Archives Division.

Subscriptions and continuations also are funded through the Library's materials allocation, subject to guidelines reviewed annually by the Executive Committee of the Library. The Executive Committee of the Library includes, ex-officio, the Associate Director for Systems and Technical Services, the Associate Director for Public Services, the Special Collections Librarian/Archivist, the Business Coordinator of the Library and the Director of the Library. It reviews requests for major collections and other expensive purchases; advises on fund allocation matters; reviews and approves collection development policies; and coordinates collection development projects.

In all cases provisions must be made to insure that the cost of commitments is covered. Requests for all new continuations are channeled through the subject liaison librarians; requests for new subscriptions are also reviewed by the Serials Librarian before being submitted to the Executive Committee. Their cost must be covered by transfer of funds from an appropriate section of the materials budget or through cancellation of existing subscriptions. The Serials Librarian annually recommends to the Executive Committee on the funding of new subscriptions, and the method of handling these may change from year to year.

The Acquisitions Section of the Technical Services Department is responsible for processing orders submitted through the subject liaison librarians or directly by members of the faculty. Such processing entails searching the Library's holdings records to prevent duplication, placing the orders with particular vendors, charging funds, keeping accounting records, maintaining an on-line record of orders in process, and preparing incoming materials for cataloging. The Innovative Interfaces Incorporated acquisitions system is utilized in ordering, paying invoices, and in fund accounting. The receipt of serial issues is entered into the system by the Department under the supervision of the Serials Librarian. The subject liaison librarians have on-line access to this system and can track the receipt of materials and monitor their fund balances.

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General policy: The Mary and Jeff Bell Library collects primary and secondary publications, bibliographic and reference sources in the format best able to support the educational and research needs of TAMU-CC students and faculty in all academic fields relevant to University programs.

Specific policies governing particular types and formats of materials:

  1. Books/monographs are usually collected in clothbound editions. However, paperback editions are preferred for very high-use items, time sensitive materials, and items that are available only in paperback editions. Textbooks, workbooks, study guides, etc., translations of English titles into foreign languages, or of foreign titles translated into non-English languages are collected only by exception. Books of a very popular nature and self-help books are collected only when justified by some educational consideration.
  2. Journals/periodicals/annuals are normally acquired only through subscription. Individual issues or reprints of articles are rarely purchased. In addition to collecting journals that support the teaching and research programs of the University, the Mary and Jeff Bell Library will acquire periodicals of more general interest to the academic community. Among the factors that are weighed in the selection of general interest periodicals are:
    • the substantial nature of articles in the periodical and their intellectual content;
    • the degree to which the periodical reflects thoughtful assessment of contemporary trends in society;
    • inclusion of the periodical in indexing and abstracting services;
    • strength of demand combined with lack of ready availability elsewhere;
    • cost.
  3. Monographic series may be acquired as individual titles, or by establishing a continuation order. The need to purchase all volumes in the series is the primary requirement for establishing a continuation order. Further justification in the form of cost savings or difficulty in learning of the publication of new volumes may be required. Normally, continuation orders are established for desired works published in parts.
  4. Newspaper subscriptions will be carried by the Library in order to support teaching and research, to provide current and historical sources of national and international news and general intellectual and cultural awareness for faculty, students, and staff. The Library welcomes donations of subscriptions to home town newspapers. Non-United States newspapers may be collected in direct support of teaching and research, and to provide some limited coverage of major regions of the world by outstanding newspapers. Newspapers of a cultural, business, political, organized labor, or social orientation will be considered on a title by title basis. A few newspapers of permanent research value will be collected in storage-saving alternative formats; paper copies of others will be acquired only for current awareness purposes.
  5. Microforms are acquired when the desired material is available only in microform, or when it is significantly less expensive and sufficiently usable in that format. If dissertations must be acquired because of the importance of the particular title, the scarcity of other research material in the subject or the Library's commitment to comprehensive collecting in the subject, microform is the preferred format. Microform is also acquired for the preservation of certain titles when binding and/or storage is not feasible. Large collections of source material are frequently acquired in microform. Before such purchases are made, attention should be given to providing appropriate housing and equipment; adequate bibliographic access should also be examined, with collections having machine readable cataloging being particularly favored. Microform subscriptions in lieu of binding are placed for those serials which: a) are difficult to bind because of format or heavy usage; b) typically have many missing issues; c) are subject to regular mutilation. If microform copies cannot be acquired from an existing source, the Library may arrange to have the serial microfilmed, with appropriate copyright permissions. Silver halide is generally preferred for microfiche purchases; 35 mm is preferred when microfilm is acquired. The Serials Librarian countersigns all order request for microforms, so that equipment needs and particular formats can be monitored.
  6. Audio materials, including both music and spoken word recordings, are collected and housed in the Library Media Center. Recordings requested by faculty members in support of teaching and research and recognized classic recordings are given preference for acquisition. Compact disc is the preferred format. Because playback equipment is no longer available for LP and reel-to-reels, these formats are no longer purchased. Cassettes are purchased only if compact disc is not available.
  7. Video materials which are expected to be of significant long-term value in support of teaching or research are collected. DVD (Digital Video Disc) is the preferred video format. Items not available in DVD will be purchased in VHS (Video Home System). Because playback equipment is no longer available for other video formats, DVD and VHS are the only formats currently collected.
  8. Software necessary to provide access to materials owned by the Library is collected. Software that supports academic coursework is also acquired and mounted on equipment available for use by the university community in the Library Media Center.
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Allocation. The purchase of library materials is currently funded entirely through the Texas Higher Education Fund (HEF). The university administration determines the amount of funding received by the Library from the total HEF pool each year. From the allocation of HEF funds, priority is given to fulfilling current and continuing obligations such as periodicals subscriptions, standing orders, electronic database subscriptions, new academic program funding and approval plan commitments. A portion of the remaining library materials funds is allocated to specific units for reference materials, special collections materials, binding, general print and general media materials. Remaining funds are allocated to the colleges based on a formula that was developed and approved by the University Library Committee in 1994. The formula is based on the number of FTE faculty teaching in each discipline and the number of credit hours taught in the discipline during the previous fiscal year.

Approval Plans. The Library acquires current materials to meet curricular needs through an approval plan provided by a national vendor. The profile for the plan was established and is revised in consultation with faculty members for each discipline and closely follows curricular offerings at the university. The plan is monitored closely to ensure that changes in curriculum are reflected in the profiles. The Associate Director for Systems and Technical Services assumes responsibility for reviewing monthly reports of returned materials as well as university documents regarding new programs or courses. Individual subject profiles are adjusted as needed. All profiles are completely reviewed and revised with the assistance of vendor representatives and faculty every two to three years. With the development of new programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the Library will review the need for establishing additional subject specific approval plans with additional vendors.

Serials. The Library currently allocates a large portion of the library materials budget for subscriptions to print serials and aggregated electronic serials. In 1997 following a comprehensive serials review program, the serials budget was allocated among the colleges proportionally based on the formula used to determine firm order funds. Periodic comprehensive serials reviews may result in redistribution of serials allocations based on the proportions suggested by the allocations formula. No changes in allocations normally occur between comprehensive reviews. Print subscriptions are largely managed by a serials management vendor. Titles purchased through the vendor are reviewed yearly, in concert with an annual renewal process, and changes are made based on the following circumstances:

  1. Suggestions from faculty and staff to add or cancel titles to better serve the curriculum and the growing research components of University life. Suggestions must undergo formal review by faculty in the subject area, the Serials Librarian, the Librarian Liaison, and the Executive Committee before action is taken. Due to budgetary constraints all additions must be balanced by the cancellation of a title of equal monetary value.
  2. Forced replacement of titles due to publication discontinuation.
  3. Decreases in budget, necessitating cancellations or replacement of costly titles with more economical ones.
  4. Increases in budget, allowing for the addition of new subscriptions (after formal review of requests).

Gift periodicals are accepted for addition to the collection on a limited basis, as long as they are necessary to the collection and in good condition. The Periodicals Department also participates in a duplicate exchange program, which allows the Library to fill gaps in the collection at minimal cost.

Electronic Resources. The Library recognizes the importance of electronic resources in support of education and research at the university. Electronic resources include but are not limited to, online indexes and abstracts, full-text and full-image databases, full-text and full-image journal collections, electronic monographs and serials, and electronic government statistical resources. Resources may be interdisciplinary or subject specific in nature. As a rule, the Library chooses electronic resources that may be accessed via the World Wide Web and that can be made available to the user population from any Internet connection.

Because of the often substantial cost and the interdisciplinary and serial nature of electronic resources, funds are allocated from the Library's general materials budget and not from regular departmental allocations. Subject liaison librarians may make recommendations for new electronic resources in support of programs within the scope of their responsibilities. Recommendations for interdisciplinary electronic resources may be made by any librarian. All librarians are included in the review process, and approved electronic resources are forwarded to the Executive Committee for final approval. When possible, trial subscriptions to electronic resources under consideration are provided and faculty members in relevant disciplines are included in the review process. All electronic resource subscriptions are reviewed annually as a part of the regular renewal process and the decision to continue or discontinue subscriptions is made based on usage statistics, relevance to curricular and research needs, and projected funding availability.

Preservation. The Library recognizes that preserving our collections for continued use is an important part of its mission and responsibility to the university community, and requires the allocation of sums for regular binding of serials, for repair and rebinding of monographs, and for preservation quality microfilming as well as other preservation methods when indicated. A binding machine is available in the Access Services Department and is used to make minor repairs to damaged volumes. Items that suffer more extensive binding damage are sent to an external bindery for repair. Items that are damaged beyond repair are removed from the collection. If these items are determined to be necessary to the teaching or research missions of the university, efforts are made to purchase replacement volumes.

The Library employs preventative preservation techniques to ensure the long-term health of paper bound volumes. Reinforced covers are placed on all paper bound volumes and pages are reinforced at the time of acquisition.

Serials preservation is undertaken in the form of binding, and by replacing print issues with microfilm. Decisions regarding what journals to have bound are made by the Serials Librarian in consultation with faculty and subject liaisons. Non-print formats are purchased when possible and feasible, as a preservation and space-saving solution.

Preservation of software and audio-visual materials is accomplished through the authorized duplication of these materials for library use. The original is placed in an archive, in accordance with copyright law. A replacement program is in place for audiovisual items originally purchased in older formats (motion pictures, reel-to-reels, beta, LP and cassette) and deemed of continued necessity to the teaching and/or research missions of the University.

Special Purchase Requests. Individual faculty members and faculty/program committees may submit special purchase requests to subject liaisons or the Director of the Library. Funds unencumbered at the end of the fiscal year may be used to support these one-time purchases.

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Duplication. Because of the limited funding available, library materials normally are not duplicated or acquired in multiple copies. Exceptions are made in the following circumstances.

  1. Demand, present or anticipated, is sufficiently heavy to justify duplication. A faculty member may request that one additional copy of a title be purchased if the title will receive heavy use by students in one or more of his/her courses.
  2. The currently published title focuses on Texas and Mexico. Duplicate copies may be purchased, with one copy residing in the circulating collection and one copy residing in Special Collections.
  3. The title is a basic reference or bibliographic item that is essential in more than one location. Examples of this type of material include dictionaries, thesauri, and style manuals.
  4. The condition of the existing library copy has deteriorated so that repair is not possible.
  5. Duplication in a second format. Serials may be purchased in both print and non-print formats to ensure preservation and future access. Current print issues are frequently replaced with a microfilm copy. Full text databases may duplicate items currently held in print. Monographs may be purchased in electronic formats through shared collections. Items within shared collections may duplicate print resources.

Recommendations for duplication are the responsibility of subject liaisons. Duplication of serial subscriptions is rarely done and must be approved by the Executive Committee.

Gifts. Gifts, both individual items and collections, can be valuable additions to the collections. No conditions as to retention or treatment are accepted. Subject liaisons review gift volumes for retention. Subject collecting policies, as well as the need for duplicate copies, the value of the items, their physical condition, etc. are considered in retention decisions. Types of material that would not normally be purchased may be accepted as gifts. The Library does not provide appraisals or estimates of value for gift materials.

Replacement. Material that has been lost or damaged is replaced on the advice of the subject liaison. These requests may be generated by patron search requests or inventory results. Deteriorated volumes found by the Access Services Department during the course of its regular duties will also be considered for replacement. The following criteria are considered in the decision to replace a volume.

  1. Continued value of the material.
  2. Demand for the material.
  3. Extent of coverage of the subject in the existing collection.
  4. Availability of newer or better material in the field.
  5. Cost and appropriateness of replacement rather than rebinding.

Reserve Materials. The Library purchases no items exclusively for its reserve collections. Faculty members may request that items from the circulating collections be placed on reserve for one semester. Faculty members may also place personal copies of monographs in the reserve collection. One copy of each required textbook for classes offered during Fall and Spring semesters are provided by the University Book Store and placed on reserve for student use throughout the semester.

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Reference Materials. The Bell Library reference department regularly removes outdated reference materials according to a schedule established by the Associate Director for Public Services. Indexes and abstracts available both in print and online may be weeded from the print collection as electronic archives are made available.

Government Documents. Superceded and outdated government documents are weeded from collections as deemed necessary by the Documents Librarian and as permitted by depository regulations.

Serial Collections. Withdrawal of holdings of serial volumes is considered under the following conditions:

  1. They are duplicate copies.
  2. The holdings are non-current and represent less than three years.
  3. The holdings are scattered, represent less than half of a total back-run of a title, and the Library determines that missing issues cannot or should not be acquired.
  4. The title considered is not covered by indexing and/or abstracting services.

Current popular periodicals are withdrawn on a regular schedule. For most popular periodicals only the most recent one to two years are retained. Most print newspapers are retained for no longer than two months.

Print periodicals, including newspapers, for which cumulative microfilm volumes are received are withdrawn upon the receipt of the microfilm volume.

Main Collections. Withdrawal projects are designed to focus collection maintenance attention on specific areas of the collection and titles from the general collections are withdrawn in consultation with university faculty and library professional staff. The following factors are considered when evaluating a title for withdrawal.

  1. Relevance of the title to the University's teaching and research programs
  2. Availability of the title through resource sharing and interlibrary loan agreements or within electronic monograph collections
  3. Current and historical circulation statistics for the title
  4. Physical condition of the volume

Because of the University's and the Library's developing research mission, the Library preserves even infrequently used materials in areas in which we have an identifiable collection responsibility. Materials that are damaged beyond repair and/or present a danger to the surrounding collection are withdrawn from the collections.

Large scale weeding of materials is not practiced; weeding practices for individual subject areas of the collection are determined by subject liaisons in consultation with university faculty in order to maintain collections that most effectively serve the research and scholarly needs of the university community.

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There is an annual allocation for books, microforms, and other print and non-print items collected by Special Collections and Archives. There is also a separate allocation for acquiring historic photographs through reproductions. Materials are purchased for the Kilgore Collection, one of the core holdings of rare and out of print items, through the annual interest from the Daniel E. and Carol Issense Kilgore Endowment for Texana. Items are also purchased through special gift funding, grants, and/or supplemental library allocations. When possible, memorial book and print collections as well as individual books or print items are obtained through donations. Manuscript and archival materials are chiefly acquired through donations. Oral history interviews are conducted by Special Collections staff or gathered through cooperative efforts with faculty, students, and other interested researchers. The interviews are recorded on audio cassettes and added to the oral history collection within Special Collections and Archives. The specific collecting guidelines of Special Collections and Archives are described in its separate collecting policy.

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Amendments or alterations to the Collection Development Policy will be presented to the Executive Committee whenever any significant changes in policy or practice occur. The University Libraries' Collection Development Policy will be reviewed regularly in order to assure that its provisions continue to reflect the current requirements of academic programs, the state of collections, and the allocation of resources. The subject liaison responsible for each subject area will initiate the review of the subject's collection development policy and submit the needed revisions to the Executive Committee for approval. June, 2001.

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We invite questions and/or comments and look forward to hearing from you. Contact Edward Kownslar at

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