Library > Collection Development > Library Collection Development Policy

Library Collection Development Policy

This policy provides a framework from which to make future collection development decisions. It provides a roadmap as to where the Library wants to go and an understanding of where it has been. It is a dynamic document that is continuously reviewed and edited to reflect current needs and resources.

I. Background, Mission, Vision, Policy


Selectivity and response to specific needs have become the hallmarks of collection building for the 21st century. The philosophy of collection development that centered on acquiring everything available on locally important subjects has given way to the realization that no academic library, no matter how well endowed, can obtain comprehensive coverage of multiple disciplines and specializations. Factors that have contributed to this change include the growing number of print and electronic publications, cost escalations that far exceed increases in appropriations for library materials, the broadening of academic program and degree offerings, and the demand for the increased research capability and convenience that electronic indexes and full text databases provide.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) is a co-educational, master's degree granting institution. It is located on a beautiful, technology-rich, 235-acre residential campus with more than 37 buildings in Kearney, Nebraska. Founded in 1905, UNK became a part of the Nebraska University System in 1991.

In 2010/11 the university served a student population of 6500. Of these, 5,104 are undergraduates and 1,439 are graduate students. There are 400 faculty members with a student/faculty ratio of 16/1.

The Calvin T. Ryan Library (Library) provides access to materials in a variety of formats that support the curriculum and also provides access for its undergraduate, graduate and faculty research needs.

Calvin T. Ryan Library Mission

The Calvin T. Ryan Library supports the University of Nebraska - Kearney mission by:

  • acquiring and organizing resources;
  • providing collaborative assistance and instruction;
  • meeting information needs;
  • and adhering to recognized standards of library practice.

Calvin T. Ryan Library Vision

The Calvin T. Ryan Library will achieve prominence as an innovative provider of user-focused resources and services.


The Collection Development Policy outlines the principles used for the acquisition and purchase of materials in all formats within the limits of the university's fiscal resources. The Library faculty and staff collaborate with other faculty members to utilize allocated funds in a manner consistent with departmental and programmatic priorities and this collection development policy. This policy provides guidelines that assure quality and relevance in the acquisition and retention of materials designed to support the mission of UNK.

With this in mind, continuous assessment of the collection enables selectors to have a firm grasp of what the Library provides in each classification or category. This knowledge and an understanding of the information needs of students and faculty provide a framework to build the collections that support the curriculum and research of the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

This collection development policy builds on the principles outlined in the Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association) (Appendix A), the Freedom to Read Statement (American Library Association and Association of American Publishers) (Appendix B), and the Freedom to View Statement (American Film and Video Association) (Appendix C).

II. Selection Parameters, Additional Guidelines

Selection of materials is completed in the following manner:

  • Library faculty members serve as liaisons to each department and program. In collaboration with departmental faculty, the liaison librarians build the collections based on curricular and research needs.
  • Final approval concerning acquisitions resides within the professional responsibilities of the liaison librarians.
  • The major factors that influence the acquisition of information resources are:
    • Relevance to the curriculum and research programs of UNK;
    • Balance of viewpoints in the collection;
    • Accuracy and objectivity;
    • Professional reviewing recommendations; and,
    • Reputation of the author, publisher, and/or producer

    These factors may not apply to some collections within the Library, such as the Curriculum or the Government Document collections.

    Selection also includes facilitating access to electronic and other resources and services that may or may not be physically located in, or owned by, the Library.

Additional Guidelines for Selecting Materials

Suggested resources for reviews

The following are the primary resources used by the librarians and other faculty for the selection of materials:
  • Choice magazine
  • Book reviews in pertinent journals
  • Publisher catalogs

Format of Material

Resources for scholarship and leisure are not limited by format. The Library collects material in a variety of formats that include books, periodicals, electronic resources, visual materials such as videos and DVDs, as well as educational materials in the form of kits, games and other unique formats.

Media materials are collected in current formats only.

Acquisition requests and gifts of audio and visual materials in dated or obsolete formats will be referred to the Collection Services Librarian and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Languages & translations

Material included in the Library's collection consists of those primarily in the English language. Materials in languages taught at UNK are included as well as languages spoken by students and faculty and staff.

Multiple copies and duplication of materials

Multiple copies are not routinely collected. However, the Library may collect two copies of materials when one is destined for the Archives or other special collections.

Most periodicals are collected in one format, either paper or online. A few titles may also be collected in multiple formats at the discretion of the librarians.

Lab manuals and textbooks

Manuals, laboratory books and most textbooks are not routinely collected by the Library. The exception to this is the collecting of PreK-12 textbooks as examples of materials used in the classroom.

At UNK students are expected to purchase their own materials for classroom use. Faculty members follow college and departmental guidelines for acquisitions.

Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery Services

The library provides access to materials not owned by the library through Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery (ILL/DD). ILL/DD obtains these materials from other libraries using the OCLC ILLiad system.

Books, and other returnables, are loaned for a period of time specified by the lending library. Journal articles are delivered electronically in the requestor's ILLiad account and are available for 30 days.

If a particular book or journal is frequently requested, the Library will determine whether to purchase the item in question.

Genealogical Materials

The library does not routinely acquire genealogical materials.

Collection evaluation, weeding, replacement and cancellations

Weeding and replacing materials are done on a regular basis. Weeding is a term used to describe evaluating and possibly removing material from the collection. Material is evaluated for removal for a variety of reasons including:

  • Outdated information
  • Physical condition
  • Change in the focus of the collection due to University curriculum needs


The Library welcomes gifts of materials for the Library's collections. Gifts supplement the Library's purchase of materials, providing items otherwise unavailable.

To help inform donors as to what is an appropriate gift and to insure that gifts are properly placed in the Library's collections, procedures have been adopted. Please see Appendix D.


Library users who object to items in the collection may share their concerns with the appropriate subject librarian and the Dean of the Library. Concerns will be evaluated in the context of the standards and principles of the American Library Association (including, but not limited to, the ALA Library Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and the ALA Code of Ethics) and this collection development policy. (See Appendix E for the detailed procedure.)

III. Collection Development Policies for Specialized Collections

Unique collection development policies have been developed for various collections within the Library to address their unique situation. However, these collections follow the main collection development policy, unless otherwise noted.


The Archives of the University of Nebraska at Kearney selects, evaluates, organizes, and makes available the noncurrent records of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and where appropriate of its faculty and staff, and where appropriate of the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. Records are chosen because of their continuing administrative, legal, historical, or research value as determined by the University Archivist. Records/materials signifies any medium which is employed to transmit information including paper, film, photographs (prints and negatives), paintings and drawings, audio and video or digital media, realia, etc.


The scope of the Archives is:

  • Records Management
    • Current collecting of records and documents from University of Nebraska at Kearney offices, colleges, schools, and departments is on a case by case basis, pending development and implementation of a records retention policy.
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney History and Culture
    • The University Archives is a repository for documents, publications, images, and media of permanent historical value relating to the history of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Materials are retained in the Archives if they are unique or if they document the history of the college or demonstrate the work and purpose of an office or organization.
    • Materials produced by professors, staff, and alumni are an important record of UNK activities and are actively collected.
  • History of Education
    • The Archives collects materials related to the history of education, with a particular focus on rural schoolhouses and Nebraska schools. Notable collections include the One Room Schoolhouse Oral History project materials.
  • Central and Western Nebraska
    • The Archives strives to preserve the heritage of Central and Western Nebraska by collecting materials that document local life, including materials produced by towns, businesses, community organizations, and individuals.

Special Collections

The Library's Special Collection is a collection of about 2,400 cataloged items, mostly books, concerning the history of Nebraska, the Plains, and the West. Some of the items are rare and many of them are irreplaceable. Items are cataloged and searchable via the library catalog.


The scope of the Special Collections is:

  • Significant works concerning Nebraska.
  • Works by notable University of Nebraska Kearney and Nebraska authors.
  • Materials documenting the history of education.
  • Materials that support the Archives scope.
  • Rare and valuable items.

Other items may be added at the discretion of the Dean of the Library, the Coordinator for Collection Services, or the University Archivist.

Curriculum Collections

Individual policies for the various materials collected in the Curriculum Collection are as follows:

Art Prints

The primary purpose of the Art Print collection is to provide UNK faculty, students and staff with access to reproductions of art, although not actively collected. Purchases are made in response to faculty requests. Appendix F1


The Cards collection contains flashcard-type studying and instruction materials, collected to facilitate preparation for the classroom experience of future educators. Appendix F2


Charts is a collection of large format images related to specific curriculum and instructional areas, collected to facilitate preparation for the classroom experience of future educators. Appendix F3

Curriculum & teaching support materials

Primarily practical instructional materials in book format, appropriate for early childhood, elementary and secondary education. Appendix F4


Microfiche format documents made available through the United State's Department of Education, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). Current documents are released in digital form and are freely available. Non-digitized documents released between 1966 and 2004 are available through the microfiche ERIC Collection. Appendix F5


Games appropriate for elementary and secondary education are the major focus of the collection. The materials for collected to facilitate preparation for the pre-K through 12th grade classroom. Appendix F6

Juvenile Literature

Literature written for children and young adult readers is the primary focus of the collection. The collection focuses on award winning titles, titles supporting typical pre-K-12th grade discipline areas (such as math and social sciences) and titles of particular interest to Nebraska and the Plains region. Attention is paid to adding titles with potential controversial content to aid research, as well as making the items available to regional patrons who might not otherwise have access to the resources. The collection is both contemporary and historical, striving to provide titles needed for the study of juvenile literature as a discipline. Young adult literature in this collection is frequently borrowed for pleasure reading by students, staff, and faculty members as well. International students find the high interest, low vocabulary materials written for a juvenile audience helpful as they acquire English language skills. Appendix F7

Juvenile Magazines

The Juvenile Magazines collection contains magazines written for a juvenile audience. Through the collection, resources for instruction and teacher preparation for the classroom are provided. Appendix F8


Kits appropriate for elementary and secondary education are the major focus of the collection. The following subject areas are represented: art, health, life sciences, literature, mathematics, physical sciences, reading, social sciences, United States History, and life skills. Appendix F9


This collection contains Math and Science manipulative objects. Appendix F10


The models consist of materials that are surrogates for real world objects, such as models of human brains. Appendix F11


Puppets used in instruction are the items that make up this collection. Appendix F12


Real world items used in instruction make up this collection. Appendix F13

Study Prints

The Study Prints collection contains images and text related to specific curriculum and instructional areas, collected to facilitate preparation for the classroom experience of future educators. Appendix F14


Tests related to the area of Speech and Language Acquisition are the primary focus of the collection. Purchases are made in response to requests from UNK faculty members. All tests are restricted in use. Appendix F15


Textbooks appropriate for elementary and secondary education are the major focus of the collection. Appendix F16

Historical Textbooks

A small Historical Textbook Collection is also part of the Curriculum area's collections. Appendix F17

Electronic Resources

In general, the electronic resources listed below will fall within the scope of this policy document. This policy addresses purchased and free electronic resources, such as:

  • Web-based databases that facilitate searching and retrieval of the following:
    • Bibliographic citations
    • Textual works
    • Images or sound files
    • Statistical data
  • Electronic books
    • monographs or continuing series
    • collections of titles
    • individual titles
  • Non-networked digital media limited to in-library use by technical or licensing constraints

A detailed list of criteria to consider when selecting new or reviewing existing electronic resources, although not all-inclusive, appears in Appendix G and Appendix H.

In General:

  • Interdisciplinary electronic resources will be considered as well as subject-specific resources
  • Electronic formats are preferred over fixed formats when the same content is available in both.
  • Electronic resources under consideration must be easily accessible to all licensed users and functional in terms of systems requirements.

Periodicals (Electronic & Print)

Only electronic format journal subscriptions will be maintained at the Library if the following criteria are met:

  • Usage statistics indicate that demand for non-electronic formats (e.g. print or microform) does not warrant continuing access, based on consultation with the affected liaison and department
  • Content, such as articles, book reviews and letters are available electronically in PDF format or another similar graphic format
  • The Library retains post-cancellation access rights to purchased journal content and they are easily accessible.

The Library subscribes to journals in multiple formats only when the purchase of an electronic format requires it (i.e., print and online) or the print subscription is preserved in a microform format.

Subscriptions to microform formats are maintained for those titles not available in an electronic format or not meeting the criteria for electronic format retention.

Subscriptions to the print format of journals will be maintained if the electronic format does not provide immediate access due to a publisher's embargo on current issues.

When subscriptions are canceled due to duplication of issues, the print or microform duplicates will be withdrawn in favor of the electronic access.

Some periodicals will be maintained in a print format to provide easy access for leisure reading.

Federal Government Publications

The purpose of Calvin T. Ryan Library's government documents collections, which include federal and Nebraska state government documents, is to serve the needs of the UNK undergraduate and graduate curriculum, its students, faculty, administrators, and staff, as articulated in the mission statement, above.

In accordance with requirements defined in the Federal Depository Library Handbook, Chapter 5, information needs of the residents of the Third Congressional District of Nebraska must also be considered.

Calvin T. Ryan Library was designated a federal depository in 1962 and is one of two federal government document depository libraries in the Third Congressional District of Nebraska. The depository library program is coordinated by the U. S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The Library was designated a depository for Nebraska state documents in 1978.

Calvin T. Ryan Library and the other smaller federal depository 300 miles west of Kearney are responsible for providing service to a geographical area covering approximately two-thirds of the state of Nebraska, comprising the Third Congressional District: 62,879 square miles (Nebraska: 76,877 square miles). The nearest depository to the east is 130 miles away in Lincoln and all other federal depositories in Nebraska are east of Lincoln. There are no depositories in Nebraska to the north or south of Kearney. Collection development parameters for C. T. Ryan Library, therefore, are different than would be the case if another federal government documents depository was nearby.

The Library currently selects 55% of the item numbers available to depository libraries. Selection is based on current and potential information needs of faculty and students, faculty research, information requested by community users, actual use of similar materials, and potential for use. As electronic access to government information continues to expand, the Documents Librarian will keep abreast of developments. The Library will provide access to electronic formats to the best of its ability. (See "Formats", "Access", and "Electronic Access" sections.) The Library purchased a subscription to Marcive's "Documents Without Shelves". This service provides access to all new electronic-format government documents. These items are located in the Library's online catalog. This addition of electronic-only publications will result in a large increase in the percent of item numbers selected by the Library.

Subject Areas of the Depository Collection

The Library selects what it wishes to receive in electronic-only series following guidelines used for tangible formats. Beginning in 2005, all new tangible government documents are cataloged and linked if also available online. Electronic-only titles are individually selected for addition to the catalog.

For complete details of the collection policy for government documents, please see Appendix I.

Nebraska Government Documents

As a Nebraska state documents depository, the Library received all documents sent to it under this program. There was no selectivity and documents were sent on microfiche only. Distribution of depository state documents on microfiche ceased in 2005 in favor of making full-text documents available electronically. Nebraska government agencies are increasing distribution of their publications in electronic formats. Periodic lists of new electronic titles from NLC are reviewed for titles to add and link in the online catalog.

The Documents Department also receives selected paper Nebraska documents that are ordered on a title-by-title basis or receives directly from various state agencies. Flyers, periodicals, and other sources are reviewed for additional titles to order for the collection.


Other than those maps contained in the federal government document collection, the Library does not collect maps. Atlases and globes are included in the book and curriculum policies.

Popular and leisure reading, browsing collection, paperbacks

The Library provides material to read in a variety of popular genres and formats. In addition the Library also has eBooks, audio books and DVDs for leisure activities. This material is mainly acquired through gift donations, unless covered by a course.

Reference Collection

Reference materials may be in the form of paper or online. Many reference titles have become available online and provide more current information and are more easily accessible. As a result the Reference collection in paper format will gradually be replaced by online versions of most titles and/or the paper version will be moved to the book collection.


All Master's theses written at the University of Nebraska at Kearney are collected. One copy is placed in the Library Archives and the other is in the book collection. In addition, theses and dissertations published in microform sets or purchased through ProQuest are cataloged and added to the collection.

Policy Review & Revision

This policy will be reviewed and revised by the library faculty as needed, but at least every five years, to reflect changes in the library environment.