Collection Development Policy


The Northern Vermont University Libraries collection development policy is a guide for setting collection goals and priorities and for conveying the development policies of the library to its constituents.

The intended uses of this policy are to ensure development of a balanced collection and to provide objective criteria for selection and development. This document also should be used as a basis for all collection development decisions. It should be revised on a regular basis to take into account changes in policy, technology, and library, and information philosophy.

General Library Objectives

To provide an organized and accessible collection of materials meeting the needs of the Northern Vermont University Libraries community. An “organized and accessible collection” means:

  • Excellent information resources
  • Useful reference materials
  • Periodicals and media materials supporting the curriculum
  • All Library materials properly cataloged and accessible
  • To make available print, media, and electronic resources meeting college requirements and filling curricular demands
  • To provide excellent public services supporting library and college missions
  • To teach users how to find and use Library information sources and materials
  • To work with faculty in the development of instructional systems

The Northern Vermont University Libraries community

  • Students currently registered for classes at Northern Vermont University 
  • Northern Vermont University administrators, staff, and faculty
  • The local community. The Library does not extend all services and privileges such as Interlibrary Loan and unlimited access to all materials and equipment to guest borrowers.

Responsibility for collection development

  • Collection development is the responsibility of the Library Director under the general direction of the academic dean. The Director may delegate some of that authority to professional library staff. NVU faculty, administrators and staff may recommend materials for purchase, but all purchases must be approved by the Director.
  • The Director’s responsibilities for collection development include judging the completeness of library holdings; considering material recommendations; judging relative importance of materials.
  • Professional library staff, other than the Director, are responsible for recommending materials in subject areas. Professional library staff should work collaboratively with faculty in developing subject collections.
  • Faculty department chairs are responsible for assessing the “adequacy of library support and recommend acquisitions relative to department programs and offerings.” (“Department Chairperson Position Description,” Appendix G, Point 10 (p. 136) — Agreement Between Vermont State Colleges and Vermont State Colleges Faculty Federation UPV, AFT, Local 3180, AFL-CIO)
  • Students and staff are encouraged to suggest materials for purchase.

Selection Criteria/Guidelines for Selection of Materials and Equipment

General selection criteria — applies to all library materials:

  • Curriculum/instructional support
  • Quality of content, literary merit and format
  • Demand
  • Timeliness
  • Favorable reviews
  • Permanence/lasting value
  • Authority: author and publisher
  • Scope
  • Coverage in indexes
  • Physical quality
  • Frequency of Interlibrary Loan requests for similar subject materials
  • Whether material is owned by other VSC libraries
  • Strength of holdings of materials on similar subjects
  • Cost
  • Balance in the collection
  • Format: print, microform, CD-ROM, online, etc.

Collection-specific criteria:

Periodicals: Selection of periodicals is particularly important because they are not one-time purchases and due to space and maintenance considerations. Criteria:

  • Indexed in standard indexes accessible by the Library
  • Format: print, microform, electronic
  • VSC shared subscriptions (collaborative collection development) pending Library Council approval


  • Video recordings
  • VHS
  • DVD
  • Audio recordings
  • Compact disk
  • Computer software
  • CD-ROM
  • Platform compatibility
  • PC
  • Mac
  • Network compatibility

Reference materials:

The Library will maintain a current, authoritative, and broad-scoped reference collection to provide users with background information, statistics, directories, guides, etc. Reference material will be selected by reference librarians based on daily contact with library users and knowledge of the collection. All selections will be approved by the Director.

  • Formats
  • Print
  • Electronic
  • Online/Internet
  • Regular subscription

Vermont Collection

  • General standards apply
  • The Library will make a special effort to acquire materials about Vermont and/or written by Vermont authors. These materials include books, periodicals, Vermont State documents, maps and atlases, statistical compilations, and pamphlets.
  • The Library will acquire second copies of selected Vermont materials to be added to the circulating collection.
  • Vermont materials are housed in a separate collection.

College Archives

  • The Library will make a special effort to acquire NVU publications and materials about both NVU-Lyndon and NVU-Johnson. The materials could include books, periodicals, documents, and statistical compilations, as well as VSC materials.
  • College Archives are kept in a separate collection.

Curriculum materials

  • General standards apply
  • Curriculum materials are housed in the Library Instructional Materials Center (Samuel Read Hall Library).

Juvenile materials

  • General standards apply
  • Juvenile and children’s materials are housed in the Juvenile Collection Room.

Instructional materials

  • General standards apply.

Rare materials

  • The Library maintains a small collection of rare books, but is not actively developing this collection.

Replacement copies

  • Lost, stolen, or damaged materials will be considered for replacement taking into consideration that there may be more current and better material on the subject.
  • Patrons who lost or damaged materials are responsible for the costs. Charges are determined by the current price plus a service charge.

Collection maintenance and evaluation

  • The Director and library subject liaisons are responsible for regularly evaluating the collection and the deselection of outdated and unused materials.

LSC Library textbook policy

For the purposes of this policy statement, a textbook is defined as a book designed to be used to support specific courses.

  • Library funds are limited, and the purchase of textbooks may preclude the purchase of other important materials. Typically, textbooks add little to a discipline’s literature other than simplification and summarization. Their high cost and frequent revision make them a poor investment.
  • Orders for textbook titles are approved only in unusual circumstances. These include:
    • classics in the field or significant contributions to the topic
    • the only or best source covering  an area of interest for which there is little or no general material available.
    • written by a member of the NVU community
    • The Library Director will examine these purchases on a case-by-case basis.
  • Textbooks, learning guides, practice materials, or workbooks that provide spaces for readers to record their answers or responses are not acquired.
  • Instructors may place their own textbook copies on reserve for students’ use, if they wish. Because of copyright considerations, these cannot be review copies provided by the publisher.

Library allocation formula

The Library allocates 60 percent of its budget using a formula based on ranking such as number of courses offered, student credit hours, FTE faculty, majors, concentrations and degrees, etc. to distribute funds fairly and equitably to all NVU academic departments.

Policy approved 2018