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Collection Development Policy

The West Virginia University Libraries Collection Advisory Committee was commissioned to manage projects related to collection development, including but not limited to creating collection development policy, make recommendations for major purchases based on new requests and/or evidence-based models, and recommend cancelations based on usage data and funding.

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Mission
  3. Principles and Professional Standards for Academic Libraries
  4. Objectives of Collection Development
  5. Scope of Collections
  6. Resource Sharing and Consortial Memberships
  7. Collection Strengths and Priorities
  8. Materials Budget
  9. Collection Development: Downtown Campus and Evansdale Libraries
  10. Leisure Reading Collections
  11. Media
  12. Requests
  13. Donations/Gifts
  14. Duplication
  15. Continuing Resources
  16. Trial Policy
  17. Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) & Problem Reports
  18. Open Access
  19. Research Repository Policies
  20. Print Collection Maintenance
  21. Repair Policy
  22. Weeding & Discarding
  23. Additional Collection Development Policies


The West Virginia University Libraries (WVUL) Collection Development Policy documents our mission, background, fund allocations, and guiding principles for library collection development and management, including materials selection, donations, requests, and assessment.

The WVU Libraries encompass nine libraries statewide. Facilities in Morgantown include the Downtown Campus Library, Evansdale Library, Health Sciences Library, Law Library, Depository, and West Virginia & Regional History Center. Onsite collections include nearly 1.8 million print books, more than 700,000 eBooks, and more than 120,000 online journals. Regional facilities include WVU Charleston Health Sciences Library, Mary F. Shipper Library at Potomac State College of WVU, and the WVU Tech Library at the Institute of Technology.


Mission Statement of West Virginia University

As a land-grant institution, the faculty, staff and students at West Virginia University commit to creating a diverse and inclusive culture that advances education, healthcare and prosperity for all by providing access and opportunity; by advancing high-impact research; and by leading transformation in West Virginia and the world through local, state and global engagement.

Mission Statement of the WVU Libraries

The mission of the WVU Libraries is to collect, preserve, and provide access to information that enables learning and the advancement of knowledge and to participate actively as a partner in WVU’s high‐quality education.

The WVU Libraries are intellectual, cultural, and social centers that support the University’s goal to attain national research prominence; the Libraries also serve as an essential information resource for the people of West Virginia.

Principles and Professional Standards for Academic Libraries

The WVU Libraries recognize that free access to ideas and full freedom of expression are fundamental to the educational process. Accordingly, the Libraries purchase materials that represent a wide variety of viewpoints. To this end, the Libraries subscribe to and comply with American Library Association (ALA) guidelines, interpretations, and statements including Professional Ethics, the Library Bill of Rights, the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries, Labeling and Rating Systems, and Privacy. Further useful documentation includes ALA Collection Development Tools and Association for Library Collections and Technical Services Resources for Library Collections .

Objectives of Collection Development

The WVU Libraries aim to build collections that support the informational needs of the campus academic community and reinforce the mission of the University and the Libraries. To achieve this goal, we seek to identify, evaluate, and develop collections in a variety of formats that meet our users’ needs. The collection development policies below are dynamic and may be revised to reflect not only new user needs but also changing best practices for collection development. Flexible guidelines accommodate traditional and developing information services and resources, changing demands in teaching and research, and priorities in WVU’s academic programs. With their different funding sources and user groups as well as a dynamic fiscal environment, our many libraries demand a versatile strategy.

WVU Libraries collection development focuses on a Just-in-Time approach to support the University’s educational and research missions. Just-in-Time collection development entails acquiring materials as requested and is a responsive approach to building the collection. Liaisons curate the collection, drawing on their engagement with departments plus other tools to make informed choices regarding spending. Purchases are demand-driven, and in most cases approval plans and auto-ship plans are not utilized. In many instances, resource sharing provides a sustainable means of meeting user need for material the Libraries do not hold.

Scope of Collections

The WVU Libraries' Collections include the following:

Resource Sharing and Consortial Memberships

Resource sharing and consortial memberships are important components of the WVU Libraries' Just-in-Time approach to supporting the University’s educational and research missions. Materials may be requested from any location in the world. The Libraries also support the needs of students and faculty and build the collection with selective priority purchasing of current books requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Collection Strengths and Priorities

The WVU Libraries are committed to preserving information resources that document the heritage of our state and region. The West Virginia & Regional History Center acquires and preserves original and archival resources to document the history of West Virginia and strives to build a comprehensive collection in this subject area. Likewise, maintaining and building the Appalachian Collection by acquiring comprehensively the published materials on all facets of the Appalachian region is a priority.

An additional priority is the collection and preservation of scholarship from WVU faculty and students. Faculty open access scholarship is curated and preserved in the institutional repository, The Research Repository @ WVU. WVU student dissertations, theses, problem reports, and project reports are collected and made accessible in the institutional repository as well. In addition, dissertations are stored in microfilm as a local archival copy.

The WVU Libraries aim to build collections that support the informational needs of the campus academic community and reinforce the mission of the University and the Libraries. The just-in-time collection development strategy directs that materials in research and teaching areas are prioritized to meet needs as they arise.

Materials Budget

Downtown Campus, Evansdale, and Health Sciences Libraries

George R. Farmer Jr. Law Library

Divisional Libraries

Collection Development: Downtown Campus and Evansdale Libraries

Selection Guidelines

The Libraries develop collections that support the curricular and research programs of the University. Because the Libraries do not have sufficient resources to acquire everything published in areas pertinent to the University's programs, library selectors consider scope, depth of existing collections, and quality of the resource including currency, timeliness, and price when evaluating titles to be added or removed from the collections. Particular criteria assume greater or lesser importance depending on the type of material under consideration, the resources available, the stated acquisition’s commitment level as detailed elsewhere in this policy statement, and the subject matter covered. Generally, a single copy of each title is acquired unless factors such as patron accessibility or course use substantiate the acquisition of multiple copies. Discoverability is another important consideration. The contents of periodicals, particularly, require bibliographic indexing and abstracting (I/A) tools to ensure sufficient user access. Inclusion or exclusion from the major I/A tools is weighed when considering subscriptions to periodicals. WVU Libraries collect primarily in English.

Subject Policy Descriptions


Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design


Appalachian Studies

Art and Design


Business and Economics

Chemical and Biomedical Engineering


Children’s Literature

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Communication Studies

Computer Sciences and Electrical Engineering



Education and Human Services

English and Literature

Film Studies

Forensic Science

Gender and Sexuality

General Engineering



Government Documents

Health Sciences


Industrial Management Engineering

Interdisciplinary Culture and Film Studies

Journalism and Strategic Communications

Latin American Studies


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Military Sciences

Mining Engineering

Multidisciplinary Studies


Native American Studies

Patent and Trademark

Petroleum and Natural Gas


Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Political Science


Public Administration

Public Relations and Advertising

Rare Books

Religious Studies

Social Work




World Languages, Literature, and Linguistics

Leisure Reading Collections

A. Purpose and Program Description

The Libraries seek to build a well-rounded collection that includes materials for leisure-time reading for students, staff, and faculty. These collections support the campus need for entertainment, for a broad understanding of culture, and for enlightenment on topics such as current affairs and popular science. Print collections are held in the Evansdale Library Leisure Reading Collection and the Downtown Campus Library Eliza’s Collection. E-book and audio-book collections are offered through the Overdrive platform.

B. General Selection Guidelines

Overall, the Libraries’ existing collection and its collecting goal for leisure reading is highly selective, with a limited number of books chosen from current best-seller lists to meet the interests of a diverse academic community. WVU Libraries’ leisure reading collections provide fiction and non-fiction from genres of particular interest to college students and faculty, but do not attempt to duplicate public library collections.

C. Specific Delimitations

  1. Formats collected: Books are collected in print, e-book, and audio-book format. Budget limitations generally do not allow for duplication of formats.
  2. Chronological Focus: Selection is generally limited to new/current books. Retrospective selections are chosen only when there is significant public interest in an older title, such as the release of a film based on the book. Otherwise, budget limitations do not allow for retrospective collection building.
  3. Languages Collected: Based on campus demographics and library budget limitations, only English-language books are selected.


The Liaison Librarians are responsible for recommending materials in the field of their particular expertise to support the curriculum and research mission of the university while considering disciplinary needs, vendor reliability, and quality of product available.

Wherever possible, WVU Libraries collects media in the most current and dependable formats. Preference is given to multiple-user networked digital form, either through licensing to provide content online or through subscription with authorized content vendors. However, physical copies of media may be the only format available. Current policy states that WVU Libraries normally acquires a single title copy of physical media. Exceptions may be made to support academic use, including distance learning, which cannot be served by a single physical copy.

The decision to purchase digital rights to materials will be made on the basis of: cost; technical and contractual restrictions; nature of the material and course requirements; frequency with which it will be offered; and the number of users involved. Some providers/distributors do not offer digital rights to their materials or are placing such restrictions on their use that purchase of digital rights is not practical.


Requests are a key element of Just-in-Time collection development. Requests for one-time purchases up to $500.00 are typically fulfilled at the discretion of the appropriate subject liaison, except for course reserves, which may be ordered directly at the request of the instructor.


Due to the high cost of the gift process, the WVU Libraries vet donations and gifts for condition and relevance to the Libraries’ mission before sending them to subject liaisons to be evaluated for inclusion. Generally, gifts of materials that are more than 20 years old will not be added to the collection unless fewer than 20 libraries nationally own the title.

Read More About Gifts


Generally, a single copy of each title is acquired unless factors such as patron accessibility or course use substantiate the acquisition of multiple copies.

Continuing Resources

Continuing resources, which come in many formats, make up a predominant percentage of our materials spending and are integral instruction and research tools. It is therefore essential that collection development of continuing resources reflects academic priorities already established at the campus level and in these collection development guidelines. The Libraries are committed to providing all electronic resources essential to instruction and research, to the extent the budget allows.

General Selection Criteria

  1. Continuing resources considered for acquisition should conform to current collecting guidelines.
  2. Continuing resources should be relevant and appropriate to a significant segment of the Libraries' user community and should reflect current academic needs and the University's mission.
  3. If a continuing resource proposed for addition duplicates another resource already available in the Libraries, the former should offer some value-added enhancement, for example, wider access or greater flexibility in searching. If a product changes format, it should be reevaluated and a selection/retention decision made accordingly.
  4. In addition to product cost, hidden expenses such as licensing fees, hardware, software, staff training and continuing education, cataloging, updates, and maintenance should be considered.
  5. The final decision on the product will be determined after a discussion between the subject liaison and the Collection Advisory Committee and reflect the fiscal needs of the Libraries.


Continuing resources will be evaluated periodically for retention by subject liaisons or the Collections Advisory Committee as indicated by the funding source. Primary evaluation metrics include cost per use and continued relevance. The renewal period, often annual, is the appropriate time to consider new resources to replace less relevant resources. Because these resources are contractual, decisions must factor in the contract period and are subject to the Libraries’ fiscal needs.

Trial Policy

Trials of continuing resources may be requested by University faculty, staff, or the Collections Advisory Committee. Students may request a trial upon attaining support from a University faculty member.

Request a Trial

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) & Problem Reports

Preservation of student scholarly research at the WVU Libraries is a priority. Dissertations, undergraduate and graduate theses, and problem and project reports are held in print, microfilm, and digital formats. All post-2000 works are stored in a digital format in The Research Repository @ WVU; dissertations are also stored in microfilm as a local archival copy. The WVU Libraries also contract with external vendors to digitize and produce a dark archive microfilm copy of all post-2000 dissertations and theses. Under current collection guidelines, scholarly works may be embargoed for limited terms and MFA Creative Writing theses permanently embargoed.

Open Access

Open Access (OA) refers to free, immediate, permanent online access to digital full-text scientific and scholarly material, primarily research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. There are limited copyright and licensing restrictions on open-access articles, meaning that anyone with Internet access may read, download, copy, and/or distribute them.

The WVU Libraries are committed to supporting WVU authors who wish to publish in fully open access journals. To this end, the Libraries have used a portion of their materials budget to purchase memberships with certain publishers that provide WVU authors with free or discounted article processing charges (APCs).

To provide an additional means to highlight and make WVU authors’ works in OA publications available to a broader audience, the WVU Libraries archive copies of their OA works in the University’s institutional repository, The Research Repository @ WVU, upon request.

For further information about open access initiatives at WVU, see

Research Repository Policies

Print Collection Maintenance

Physical materials may periodically be removed from the general stacks based on circulation and/or space needs and with the approval of the subject liaison. When items are identified for removal from the library stacks, they may be either transferred to the Depository or removed from the collection entirely. Except in cases of rare books or books that are held by fewer than 20 libraries nationally, no more than two copies of a title will be held at the Depository. If materials are readily available through resource sharing and/or are no longer meeting a need of the library, they may be removed from the collection entirely.

Collection repair and binding are outsourced as needed.

Repair Policy

The WVU Libraries do not have staff trained to make in-depth book repairs. The only book repair handled in-house is tipping in loose pages. Materials requiring more involved repair will be evaluated and handled on the following basis:

  1. Older, valuable, and/or materials owned by fewer than 20 libraries: No repair. Access Services staff will place in archival box and transfer to Depository.
  2. Paperbacks, items that need repair beyond rebinding, and/or items owned by more than 20 libraries: Access Services staff will record circulation statistics and refer to Subject Bibliographer for replacement/removal decision.
  3. Non-paperback materials that are not brittle and have a margin of more than 1” in the gutter of the spine for rebinding: Send to Bindery to be rebound (Knowledge Access & Resource Management (KARM) staff).
  4. DVD/CD and other AV materials: After testing, KARM staff will remove badly damaged items and refer to Subject Bibliographer about replacing.

Weeding & Discarding

Like decisions to acquire new titles, decisions to discard specific items are made within the context of the overall collection guidelines. Removal of unneeded materials enhances the integrity of the collection. Materials identified for discard in one library are first made available to WVU’s divisional libraries. If the divisional libraries decline the material, it may be sent to an external book resale operation or donated to other libraries as appropriate. When materials are so unfit for use that disposal through any of the above channels is impractical, those materials may simply be discarded.

Additional Collection Development Policies

Mary F. Shipper Library - Potomac State College of WVU

Health Sciences Library

Rare Books

Approved, June 2019