Collection development

At Metropolitan State University Library our primary collection development goal is to provide access to the information resources that our students, faculty, and the broader community need. Our collection exists to support the mission of the University and to support the curriculum and campus activities. The material in our library collection takes a variety of forms including electronic, print, and audiovisual. It may be physically located in the Library on-campus or available electronically to remote locations.

Metropolitan State Library and Information Services acknowledges the fast-paced, ever-changing nature of information production and distribution in the modern era. We remain alert to new methods of information dissemination and incorporate these methods into the development of our information resources as appropriate.

Selection Criteria

What we do:

  • Select materials that support the university's overall curriculum and that meet disciplinary standards for scholarship

  • Endeavor to make the selected material easily accessible to both on campus and to remote users, and to users requiring adaptive technology

  • Purchase items that support student classroom learning and general academic inquiry. We will also support faculty research within fiscal restraints.

  • Develop and maintain depth in research areas as appropriate to the degree level offered in a subject

  • Maintain selected special collections

  • Provide some recreational and practical materials to support students in their daily lives

  • Withdraw items from the collection that are deemed to be inaccurate, outdated, worn, little used or unusable

  • Seek to purchase material published by small presses, minority presses, and material that is focused on or written by members of underrepresented populations

  • Select serials for the Library with consideration given to format and ongoing cost

  • Integrate open access material into our collection when appropriate

Additional criteria for the Reference Collection:

  • The Reference Collection will emphasize currency, as appropriate
  • The collection will include, but not be limited to, encyclopedias, almanacs, dictionaries, style guides, test preparation materials, maps, atlases, directories, biographies, and other materials that are less suitable for the general collection
  • Strong consideration will be given to collecting reference sources electronically, when possible and appropriate

What we do not do:

  • Acquire and retain materials with the goal of developing an overall, comprehensive research collection
  • Purchase items for individual, offsite use. All items purchased with Library funds must be housed in the Library (or, in the case of electronic resources, accessible via the Library) and available to the entire university
  • Purchase more than one copy of an item, except in special circumstances as approved by a librarian
  • Purchase textbooks
  • Acquire the rights to stream widely available major motion pictures.
  • Acquire works which were not legally obtained in accordance with copyright law or publisher agreement.

Responsibility for Collection Development

The responsibility for the selection and maintenance of the Library's collections and information resources at Metropolitan State University ultimately rests with the Library and Information Services faculty, staff, and dean; therefore, the Library exercises day-to-day control of its materials budget.

The Library also relies upon faculty outside of the Library for purchase recommendations. It is expected that faculty in all departments will monitor their professional literature, select appropriate materials for Library acquisitions, and inform librarians of material most useful for course requirements and for student research needs. Student, staff, and community member requests for the acquisition of materials are also welcomed and encouraged, and are reviewed by the same standards as are requests from all other sources.

Additionally, the Library's selection of materials is informed by interlibrary loan request data and patron demand. The Library purchases some of its titles using a patron-driven acquisitions process.

Format of Material

The Library collects materials in any viable format and reserves the right to withdraw formats when they are no longer viable, e.g., VHS. For books, electronic or paperback format is preferred. For reference books and periodicals, electronic format is preferred when available. For audiovisual material, DVDs or streaming media content is preferred, especially that which is available via the Library's subscriptions to streaming media collections. All other audiovisual materials will be handled on a case-by-case basis. The Library purchases accessibly formatted materials whenever possible, such as closed-captioned films.

Serials Retention

Given space constraints and the accessibility and availability of electronic access, print serials are not kept indefinitely, but are instead generally retained for the following lengths of time:

  • Peer reviewed journals: No longer than ten years

  • Popular magazines/trade journals: No longer than three years, with some exceptions

  • Newspapers: No longer than one month

A complete serials review will take place every three years or more often if needed. Subject liaisons will review serials on a title-by-title basis, taking into consideration full-text online availability, the university's curriculum, illustrations (art work, graphics, etc.), and other libraries' holdings.

Intellectual Freedom and Challenged Material

The Library strongly endorses and follows the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read and View statements, the Code of Ethics, and Core Values of Librarianship. Challenged materials that meet the Library's selection criteria therefore will not be removed as a result of pressure. The Library Bill of Rights states in Article I that "Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation," and, in Article II, that "Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."

Library patrons do have a right to critique and comment on Library material. When a Library user deems material to be objectionable, they may register a complaint by completing the "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials Form." The material will remain in circulation and the form and description of the material will be forwarded to the Library Dean, who will be responsible for reviewing the material in accordance with present selection criteria and collection development objectives. The Dean may consult reviews and outside advice prior to making a decision. The person who has placed the complaint will receive a formal written response from the Dean indicating the Library's position and any action planned or taken.


The Library recognizes the importance of archiving university-related documents and the potential value of these materials for the university's curriculum, public relations, and institutional history. The Library intends to have a central role in such archiving. However, the Library does not have the resources at this time to actively collect and maintain these materials, and looks forward to the time when these resources are made available.


This policy will be reviewed annually or as needed.

Originally published: October 2010

Last date of review: February 2014

Appendix 1 (Reference Collection weeding guidelines):

Limited space and an emphasis on currency makes weeding a crucial piece of the reference collection development process. While in most instances currency is a key criterion for evaluation, some authoritative or essential reference sources are retained because of the quality and reputation of the source. Most materials are weeded from the Reference Collection because they are in an old edition or no longer current and relevant and are consequently discarded.

While each subject requires different treatment with respect to historical or current sources, geographical importance, and other criteria, the Library follows these general guidelines for weeding the collection:

  • Significance: If a publication is of significant value in supporting the curriculum of the university and the research needs of library users, it may be retained permanently.

  • Usage: While it is difficult to capture precise usage statistics, items that have low browse counts are strong candidates for weeding.

  • Age and currency: Materials five years or older are evaluated as to the usefulness of the information for patrons. If a significant portion of information is outdated, the item will be removed from the collection.

  • Availability of later editions: Earlier editions will be removed from the Reference Collection and discarded. Items are moved from the reference collection to the general collection only under extraordinary circumstances.

  • Physical condition: Books that are in poor condition, incomplete, or damaged are generally removed from the collection.

  • Availability in digital format: Many reference sources are now available online either as stand-alone titles or bundled into collections. If online electronic editions are available to patrons, weeding of items in print format that are duplicated by online resources is considered on a title-by-title basis.

Appendix 2