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Library Policy: Collection Development

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


The primary goal of the Library's Collection Development Policy is to provide guidance for the selection and maintenance of collections that support and enhance the curriculum and instructional programs of Georgia Highlands College, as well as the general information needs of students, faculty, and staff who comprise the College’s community of lifelong learners.

This community possesses a broad range of interests and prior educational experiences. Therefore, the Library's collection also includes a variety of general information resources in subject areas not covered by classroom instruction, but supportive of a learning environment. Within the constraints of available funds, facilities, and staffing, the Library will acquire and make available materials and media in a wide variety of formats.

All members of the College community are encouraged to use this document to participate in Library collection development through the Purchase Request Form on the library home page.


This policy is designed to guide the systematic development and management of GHC Library's collections of print, audiovisual, online, and electronic materials. It has the following objectives:

  • To assist librarians in providing current, diverse, and balanced collections of materials to support the instructional, institutional and individual needs of students, faculty and staff.
  • To provide access to materials in appropriate formats consistent with the College's fiscal resources.
  • To encourage all members of the College community to participate in collection development.
  • To serve distance learning students and faculty by providing access to materials in the most appropriate and cost-effective manner.
  • To assist with fiscal planning.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Each librarian, as well as the Library Director, has collection development responsibilities. Specific responsibilities are to:

  • Stay current on the information needs of the GHC community.
  • Develop collection development policies and procedures.
  • Develop budget allocations.
  • Develop collections in assigned subject areas.
  • Select in areas not otherwise assigned which contribute to a diverse collection.
  • Serve as liaison to faculty, administrators, and staff in designated subject areas.
  • Participate in assessment and weeding.
  • Market the Library's collections to the College community.

Although the Library Director and faculty librarians are ultimately responsible for the Library's collection, the entire College community is encouraged to recommend additions at any time.

Budget Allocations

Each area of the curriculum has its own materials budget allocation. Allocations are made by the faculty librarians and the Library Director, and are based on curricular relevance, program size and research needs, publishing costs within specific disciplines, balance of the collection, and general overall collection needs. Faculty and staff planning new courses and new programs are encouraged to contact the Acquisitions Librarian. The Library book budget may be periodically adjusted depending on the overall Library budget, and the needs of the College and individual programs.

General Selection Guidelines

The following guidelines assist Library faculty in selecting quality materials for inclusion in the collection:

  • Relevance to instructional needs of the faculty.
  • Probable need based on existing programs and collections.
  • Intellectual content and scholarly worth.
  • Degree to which resources directly support subject areas and vocational emphases currently represented by credit courses at GHC.

Limitations and Basic Standards

The following guidelines set basic standards and limitations for materials in the collection:

  • The Library will select books and other instructional materials to secure an adequate basic collection to support all areas of the curriculum.
  • The Library will not develop in-depth collections which are unrelated to the curriculum.
  • Individual research interests will be supported to the extent that they are reflected in the curriculum and do not undermine the balance of the collection.
  • Advanced level research is not supported by the book collection. GIL Express and Interlibrary loan are provided to meet these needs.
  • The purchase of material written in languages other than English is limited to languages taught at the college.
  • The holdings of other USG schools may be considered in purchase decisions.
  • The Library will attempt to balance print, electronic and online resources without unnecessary duplication. Duplicate copies of a title may be purchased when high demand is anticipated, or to meet requirements for alternative formats.

In general, the Library does not collect:

  • Audio CDs.
  • Audiobooks.
  • Computer software.
  • Games.
  • Instructors' manuals.
  • Laboratory manuals.
  • Manuscript and archival materials.
  • Out-of-print materials.
  • Pictures, photographs.
  • Specialized materials particular to the research of individual faculty.
  • Textbooks, unless applicable to the broader curriculum.
  • Theses, dissertations.

Criteria for Selection of Materials

  • Reviews.
  • Currency and quality of content.
  • Timeliness and lasting value.
  • Reputation of the author or publisher.
  • Physical and technical quality.
  • Ease of access and user-friendliness.
  • Depth of current holdings in the subject.
  • Demand and frequency of GIL Express requests placed for material on the subject.
  • Cost.
  • Availability in alternate formats.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected


Books are acquired to support the needs of GHC students, faculty, and staff.

Books may be collected in print and electronic/online formats.

Reference Materials

The reference collection includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, directories, indexes, bibliographies, statistical compilations, and handbooks.

The reference collection is regularly reviewed for currency, accuracy, and relevance.

Reference materials may be collected in print and online formats.


The periodicals collection supports the GHC curriculum as well as providing a core collection of general interest periodicals.

Periodicals are primarily acquired through online databases. New print subscriptions are only acquired after careful consideration by the faculty librarians.

Cooperative acquisition of electronic periodicals databases is actively pursued.

Audiovisual Materials

Audiovisual materials include DVDs, CDs, streaming audio and video, and a variety of other formats.

Audiovisual materials may be collected in physical, electronic, and online formats.

Specialized Audiovisual Materials

Some audiovisual materials (such as specialized course-specific DVDs or interactive tutorials) may be expensive. Inclusion of these materials in the Library's collection should meet the following guidelines in addition to general selection criteria:

  • Item has demonstrated applicability in more than one course or discipline.
  • Treatment and presentation of subject content are on an appropriate academic level.
  • Format is cost effective, durable and accessible.

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources include web-based resources, licensed resources and databases, electronic periodicals, and e-books.

The Library may purchase or provide access to online electronic resources in lieu of other formats.

Selection criteria for electronic resources include:

  • Relevance to curriculum.
  • Demand by users.
  • Recommendation by faculty.
  • Cost.
  • Currency of data.
  • Extent of cumulative coverage.
  • Production quality.
  • Training requirements.
  • Ease of use.

Recreational Materials

In addition to purchasing materials directly related to the College's curriculum, the Library may selectively acquire popular materials of general interest. These materials will be obtained primarily through our print and online leased collections.

Books for Newly Literate and Low-Literate Adults

The Library may purchase books in support of the Adult Basic Education, High School completion, GED, Bridge, and ESL programs.

Children's Books

The Library may purchase children's books to support the Early Childhood programs.


Maps are a very small part of the collection. Atlases are included in the reference collection.



To assure an effective current collection that best serves the educational mission of the college, the Library systematically removes obsolete, damaged and little-used materials from the collection. Deselection is the responsibility of the faculty librarians.

Guidelines for Deselecting Print Resources

The following criteria are considered when discarding materials:

  • Obsolescence.
  • Physical condition.
  • Significance.
  • Usage.
  • Faculty recommendation.
  • Duplication.
  • Program profiles.
  • Accreditation requirements.
  • Availability of newer materials.
  • Collection analysis and evaluation.

Guidelines for Deselecting Electronic Resources

Evaluation and deselection of electronic resources is an ongoing process using the following criteria:

  • Currency.
  • Reliability of the resource's information.
  • Another source offers more comprehensive coverage.
  • Cost.

Replacement of Materials

Decisions on the replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out items, are based on the following criteria:

  • Does the item being considered meet the Library collection development policy?
  • Does the frequency of use justify replacement?
  • Is the item used for class reserve reading or is it on a faculty recommended reading list?
  • Is the same item available in another format that would better meet the needs of users or is the content better covered by another title?
  • Is an electronic version available that would provide remote access for users?


Gifts are covered under our separate Gift Policy.

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