Collection Policy

Nichols Library provides academic resources to meet the research needs of students, faculty and staff of Faulkner University 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 collects 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 the students by providing a collection that satisfies their information queries
  2. Provide faculty with the materials they need to both support their course offerings and assist them 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 new materials in a manner that ensures a balanced collection
  5. Serve churches of Christ throughout Alabama by maintaining a collection that relates to the work of the church

Nichols Library serves as the main library at Faulkner University. The library provides support to more than 50 academic programs, over 2900 students, and 155 full-time faculty members as well as numerous support staff. The community is welcome to use the library as well. There are three extension centers that offer courses to students in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Mobile, AL. All the centers have a Resource Room, which provides library materials and access to electronic resources to the students attending classes at each center.

Among its users, the library promotes intellectual freedom, and implements most 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 states 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 supports 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 materials for the collection, and in the deselection of materials as well. The goal of Nichols Library is to support the curriculum by collecting materials for the university’s majors, departments, and programs.

Main factors that influence selection of materials include the following:

  • Relevance to the curriculum, programs and research of Faulkner University
  • Balance in the collection
  • Accuracy and objectivity
  • Librarian review and recommendations
  • Faculty review and recommendations
  • Author/publisher/producer reputation

By using the factors mentioned above, the Collection Services Librarian can make informed, professional decisions on the materials needed for the collection as well as any materials that may need to be removed and/or updated.

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

  1. Ensures the library acquires materials needed to support the university curriculum
  2. Makes available resources to students, faculty, and interested individuals, so as to satisfy their information needs
  3. Organization of library resources through standard library procedures, whereby the collection is arranged in a systematic fashion
  4. Preparation of library materials for circulation using standard circulation procedures
  5. Continuing to follow standard library protocol; this 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 for the resource rooms at the extended educational centers to the extended services librarian. These designated librarians supervise the evaluation, acquisition, and deselection of information resources for their respective collection. The serials collection and University Archives are also overseen by the extended services librarian.

The Faulkner University librarians and faculty are responsible for submitting material selections to the collection services librarian and technical services librarian.

As library allocations become available (see below), the faculty members are asked to submit titles for consideration. Faculty members and departments are expected to recommend purchases that will develop the entire field of their discipline as well as provide materials essential for specific courses.

The librarians of Nichols Library continuously submit titles for consideration as they see need within the collection, find areas that are under-represented, and find new titles that will augment the collection. The librarians are asked to select titles that will promote the mission of the school, the goals of the academic programs and the research needs of the university community.

Allocation of Funds

Nichols Library encourages the active support and input of faculty members in the selection of new materials. One way the library solicits faculty input is through a departmental allocation of library funds for non-serial items. The request for this input is sent out each semester. The funds involved in this process belong to the library budget and in no way represent any sort of monetary concession to the departments.

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, catalogs, ads from academic publishers and vendors. Subject searches of print and online bibliographic sources may be completed to augment coverage of specific subject areas. Also, interlibrary loan requests of students and faculty may indicate specific titles that may need to be added to the collection as well as subject areas that need to be expanded.

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 the patrons of the Nichols Library. There is to be the fullest practicable provision of the material presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times-international, national, and local in scope. One or more of the following criteria are used by the collection services librarian in selection of new materials and in the approval of faculty recommendation:

  1. The number of students enrolled in given subject areas
  2. Feedback from the other librarians on the frequency of reference queries in a discipline
  3. Circulation of materials in a subject area
  4. List of course offerings
  5. Reviews that an item has received in professional literature

Donations to the library will be subject to the above criteria and will be evaluated to determine their relevance (outdated, no longer valid research, etc) and value to the library.

Gift Acceptance Policy

Nichols Library is pleased to accept gifts and donations of books or other educational materials. The library cannot guarantee that all books donated to the library will be added to the collection. The materials will be assessed by the Collection Services Librarian to see if they meet the mission, purpose, and goals of the library. If the materials do not meet the criteria set by the library, they will be offered to other institutions.

Gifts and older items may be evaluated for placement in the collection by at least one of the following:

  • Content – is the content of a sufficient academic nature or is it more general or leisure in nature?
  • Physical condition – is the item sturdy enough for use and if not, is it repairable?
  • Duplication – does the item duplicate an item already in 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 generated at the donor’s request by the Bibliographic Technician. Monetary values will not be assigned by the library or professional librarians. If a donor values a donation over $500, a professional appraisal must be submitted before the library can accept it. This will be at the donor’s expense.

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

As materials become worn from use, out of date, or otherwise inappropriate for the collection, they will be withdrawn from the collection. 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, after assessment, will be added to the collection including a bookplate that honors/memorializes the specified individual.

Deselection of Materials

Deselection, or weeding, is the discarding of materials that are no longer useful. Periodic and systematic weeding should be done to make the best use of shelf space and maintain the physical and intellectual quality of the collection.

Reasons for weeding include the following:

  • Retirement of items that have lost value to the collection because of poor content, age or defacing
  • Extraction of duplicate copies and textbook copies from the collection
  • Wants and need change, therefore eliminating the usefulness of retaining some items

All portions of the collection should be examined. Book, periodicals, audiovisual materials and electronic resources are included in the examination. Deselection is an ongoing process with certain items such as annuals, newspapers, and some periodicals. The book collection should be weeded on a five (5) year basis; three (3) years at the Resource Rooms. One or more of the following criteria may be grounds for the removal of materials 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 inaccurate
  3. Item in question is either extremely esoteric or does not support the curriculum in a meaningful manner
  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 with an electronic resource, statistics show that it is not being used compared to similar resources

When weeding, it is important to keep in mind quality over quantity. Materials should be physically reviewed, taking into consideration what coverage of that subject will be left out. Outdated, irrelevant, and worn-out materials should be pulled from the collection.

Also, materials should be checked for inclusion in standard bibliographies or equivalent sources. The item will be reviewed for use over the last five (5) years and consideration of replacement costs for badly worn items will be included in the decision. The collection services librarian will determine the best means of disposal for withdrawn materials, either by offering on a duplicate exchange list or discarding the item. To complete the deselection process, the withdrawn item’s record will need to be discarded or changed within the library’s cataloging system, Innovative.

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. The director of libraries, delegated professional librarians, Faulkner University administrative staff, and concerned individuals will use this policy.