Collection Policy


(Library Mission Statement)

Gus Nichols Library is committed to lifelong learning to create an environment that fosters education of the whole person. The library supports Faulkner University’s mission through maintaining a broad range of quality learning resources and services. The library is committed to excellence in instruction, advancement of knowledge, moral and spiritual values which, through these efforts, might enrich the community. The library strives to stimulate teaching and learning by creating an environment in which instruction, research, and integrity of character can thrive.

Nichols Library provides academic resources to meet research needs of Faulkner’s students, faculty, and staff. The library strives to provide resources which are consistent with the university and library mission statements. The development of the library’s collection is a critical part of meeting those needs. The library’s aim is to collect and provide quality information resources in formats deemed most appropriate, and which support all undergraduate and graduate disciplines offered by the university.


The library’s objectives are as follows:

  1. Aid students by providing a collection that satisfies their information queries
  2. Provide faculty with the resources needed which supports course offerings, and assists in professional development through acquisition of materials, consortia agreements, and/or interlibrary loan privileges
  3. Gain faculty cooperation in the selection of new library materials
  4. Select materials in a manner which will ensure a balanced collection
  5. Serve churches of Christ throughout Alabama by providing a collection that relates to the work of the Church

Who We Serve

Nichols Library serves as the main library at Faulkner University. The library provides support to 70+ academic programs, including 15 graduate degrees and 7 online degrees, over 3,200 students, and 117 full-time faculty members as well as numerous support staff. The surrounding community is welcome to use the library. There are three extension centers that offer courses to students in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile, AL. All centers have a Resource Room, which provides library materials to students currently enrolled. Additionally, the library provides resources for the Kearley Resource Room located in the V.P. Black College of Biblical Studies.

The library promotes intellectual freedom among its users, and implements some of the principles outlined by the Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association). The library also seeks to adhere to the religious principles set forth in the University’s mission statement. Thus the professional librarians at Nichols Library reserve the right to waive any ALA guidelines that may compromise the University’s religious objectives. The library collects materials that represent diverse views on matters of race, sex, religion, and moral philosophy, and these materials may present ideas that do not adhere to the religious convictions of the university community. As a disclaimer, the library posts statements that the views held within its holdings do not necessarily reflect the views of Faulkner University.

The library upholds copyright laws and expects patrons to do so as well.

Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The Purpose of Nichols Library is to support the university’s academic curriculum. Beyond the scope of this objective, the library does not actively acquire information resources, which support the interests of the general public, unless the students may substantially benefit from such resources socially, intellectually, or morally.

The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to define guidelines and procedures that assure quality and relevance in the selection of resources for the library’s collection, as well as the de-selection of resources. These resources include both electronic and print materials. The goal of Nichols Library is to support the curriculum by collecting resources for the university’s academic disciplines, as well as aid in the research of its faculty, students, and staff.

Major factors that influence selection of materials include:

  • Relevance to the curriculum, programs, and research of Faulkner University
  • Balance of the collection
  • Accuracy and objectivity
  • Librarian review and recommendations
  • Faculty review and recommendations
  • Author/publisher/producer reputation
  • If other academic research libraries or Church of Christ affiliated colleges/universities hold the item.

By using these factors, the librarians can make informed, professional decisions on needed resources for the library’s collection, as well as any resources that may need to be removed and/or updated.

Maintaining a collection development policy helps the library to meet several goals:

  1. To Ensure the library acquires resources needed to support the university curriculum
  2. To make relevant resources available to students, faculty, and interested individuals, to satisfy information needs
  3. To Organize library resources through standard library procedures, whereby the collection is arranged in a systematic fashion
  4. To Prepare library materials for circulation using standard circulation procedures
  5. To Continue to follow standard library protocol which ensures full cooperation with other libraries

Responsibility for Collection Development

Ultimate responsibility for collection development at Nichols Library is vested in the Director of Libraries. The Director, in turn, has delegated collection development for the main library to the Collection Services Librarian, and the Technical Services Librarian. For the University’s Resource Rooms at the Extended Educational Centers, the Library Director has delegated responsibility to the Technical Services Librarian. These designated librarians supervise the evaluation, acquisition, and de-selection of information resources for their respective collection. The serials collection is supervised by the Technical Services Librarian, and the University’s archives collection, by the Public Services Librarian.

The University’s librarians and faculty are responsible for submitting new or replacement resource selections to the Collection Services Librarian and/or Technical Services Librarian for acquisition.

Gus Nichols Librarians seek faculty input for the library’s collection. Faculty recommendations are encouraged and welcomed to develop the discipline within specific fields, and resources essential for particular courses.

The librarians continuously submit resources for consideration as areas are identified which are underrepresented and need resources, updates, or contain information which will augment the collection. The librarians are asked to select resources which will promote the mission of the university, the goals of the academic programs, and the research needs of the university community.

Selection Methods

Faculty and staff select materials based on a wide variety of sources, including, but not limited to, reviews in subject area journals, colleague recommendations, as well as references in subject area books, papers, bibliographies, and database searches.

Librarians select materials based on reviews in professional journals, online catalogs, ads from academic publishers and vendors. Subject searches of print and online bibliographic sources may be consulted to augment coverage of specific subject areas. Interlibrary loan requests of students and faculty may indicate specific items which need to be added to the collection, as well as subject areas which need to be expanded.  Resources for College Libraries is used to aid in this process. OCLC and Worldcat are used to determine the number of copies that are available at other libraries throughout the world.

Acquisitions Policy

The basic overall selection of library materials is to ensure that items selected are chosen for value of interest, information, and enlightenment of all patrons of the Nichols Library. The library strives to collect resources which reflect as many points of view as possible concerning the problems and issues of our times. They are international, national, and local in scope. One or more of the following criteria are used by the Collection Services Librarian and the Technical Services Librarian in selection of new materials and in the approval of faculty recommendation:

  1. The number of students enrolled within the discipline of the subject area
  2. Feedback on the frequency of reference queries within the discipline
  3. Circulation of materials in the subject area
  4. List of course offerings
  5. Reviews of the item in professional literature
  6. New edition availability


Donations to the library, as related to acquisitions, will be subject to the above criteria and will be evaluated to determine their relevance (out of date, no longer valid research, etc.) and if the materials meet the needs of the faculty, students, and staff.


The library houses a few textbooks currently used in the classes conducted on and off campus, but not all textbooks used in courses taught are found within the collection. When these items are requested by faculty, students, or staff, the requests are evaluated based on requirements of the students, need within the collection, and acquisition budget.

Electronic Resources

The library’s collection contains electronic resources, eBooks and ejournals, which are available on and off campus to faculty, students, and staff. E-books are selected based on subject to help support the programs provided by the university.

Audio-visual resources

The library holds various formats of audio-visual materials including CD’s, DVD’s, and flash drives. When selecting audio-visual materials, librarians seek items in the most current format available, and which contain closed caption and/or English subtitles.

Off-site Storage

In an effort to best utilize our allotted space, the library has a storage unit, located off campus, used to house both reference volumes and a number of bound serials. This unit is located only a few minutes from campus. In the event that a title is requested which may be located in the unit, it can usually be retrieved within 24 hours.

Gift Acceptance Policy

Nichols Library is pleased to accept gifts and donations of books or other academic-related resources. There is no assurance that all resources donated to the library will become a part of the collection. The items donated must meet the criteria within this policy. All resources will be assessed by the librarians to determine adherence with the mission, purpose, and goals of the library. Should resources not meet the criteria set forth within this policy, the materials may first be offered to faculty, and then to other institutions.

Donations and gifts will be evaluated for placement in the collection based on the following criteria:

  • Content: is the content academic or is it general or leisure in nature?
  • Physical condition: is the item sturdy enough for use and if not, can it be repaired?
  • Duplication: is the item a duplicate of an item already held within the collection, either identically or in coverage of content?
  • Value: does the item meet the qualifications of a rare book?

A standard donor form must be completed in writing which includes name, address, signature and a brief description of the materials which are being donated. An itemized list of donated materials will be compiled and made available to the donor upon request. Monetary values cannot be assigned by the library or professional librarians. If a donor values a donation over $500, a professional appraisal, at the donor’s expense, must be submitted before the library can accept it.

Donations and/or gifts will not be added to Special Collections with the exception of materials considered rare, related to the history of Faulkner University, or to the churches of Christ with which it is affiliated. Any gift or donation received by Nichols Library which is accompanied by inflexible donor restrictions cannot be accepted.

Outdated materials will be withdrawn from the collection and this includes gifts and donations. The library retains the right to divide gifts or donated items into separate categories in accordance with established library and archival procedures.

Monetary gifts or books donated in honor of, or in memoriam, will be added to the collection, after assessment, and will include the addition of a bookplate inside the chosen book which honors/memorializes the specified individual.

Inventory and De-selection of Resources

De-selection, or weeding, is the discarding or removal of resources that are assessed as no longer useful or needed. Periodic and systematic removal should be done to make the best use of shelf space, and maintain the physical and intellectual quality of the collection. This may include gifts and donations to the library. All portions of the collection are examined. De-selection/weeding and inventory is an ongoing process with certain items such as annuals, newspapers, and a number of periodicals. The book collection may be inventoried and weeded often depending on the subject area.

The Collection Development Librarian and the Technical Services Librarian have the responsibility of evaluating the collection (inventory) on a periodic basis. Some subject areas require collection evaluation more often than others.

If the librarians disagree on whether to keep or weed an item, then the Director makes the final decision.

Reasons for weeding during inventory include the following:

  • Loss of value to the collection because of poor content, age, or defacing
  • Removal of duplicate copies from the collection
  • Curriculum needs change, therefore, it eliminates the usefulness of some of the library’s resources

Each subject area of the library is examined differently due to its content. Some subject areas do not become obsolete or inaccurate as quickly as other areas. An example of this may include medical, science, and technology resources which may quickly become dated and contain misinformation.

One or more of the following criteria may be reason for the removal of resources from the collection:

  1. Out-dated information (e.g., age of item(s) in certain subject areas)
  2. Information presented by a given item, although current, is factually inaccurate
  3. Item in question is either exceptionally esoteric or does not support the curriculum
  4. A new edition supersedes an existing edition
  5. Item is in poor and irreparable condition, and can be replaced by something comparable in scope
  6. Item has not circulated in 5-10 years, depending on the subject area, or statistics indicate that it is not being used in comparison to similar resources

When weeding, it is important to keep in mind quality over quantity. Materials should be physically reviewed, and determination made of whether the information is covered elsewhere in the collection.

Materials should also be checked for inclusion in standard bibliographies or equivalent sources. Circulation statistics will be examined over the last 5 years. Consideration of replacement costs for badly worn items will be included in the decision. The librarians, involved, will determine the best means of disposal for withdrawn materials, either by offering items to faculty, offering on a duplicate exchange list, or discarding the item. To complete the de-selection process, the withdrawn item’s record will be deleted or revised within the library’s cataloging system. If the final copy is removed, OCLC holdings will be updated to revise and reflect our actual holdings information.

When discarding resources, faculty within departments will be notified and ample opportunity given for examination of materials, and advice offered, before discarding.  Faculty may move resources to their department or advise to continue with discard. Gus Nichols Library reserves the right to set time limits for holding/keeping materials for faculty review, and for continuing discard process if any of the reasons outlined within this document are involved.

Policy Evaluation and Revision

The Collection Development Policy provides information concerning the activities that are used to build and maintain the various library collections under the auspices of Nichols Library. Whenever new library procedures are instituted or five (5) years have elapsed, whichever occurs first, this policy will be reviewed and changes made accordingly.

This document is proposed and intended as a guide to provide and maintain resources for institutional research for those who use it.


Revised August 21, 2017