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Collection Development at Western Oregon University: Collection Development Policy


Collection Development Policy


The collections of the library support the educational programs of Western Oregon University. The purpose of this policy is to clearly state the principles, policies, and guidelines governing the selection, acquisition, processing, organization, preservation and eventual weeding of materials or information in library collections. It both ensures consistency among those who have responsibility for developing the collection, and communicates the collecting policies and goals of Library and Media Services to faculty, staff, students and other members of the university community.

The Collection Development Policy reflects the mission and goals of the library and Western Oregon University.

Clientele Served by the library

As an institution of higher learning, the university's primary purpose is to educate those persons directly associated with Western Oregon University. Therefore, the first priority of the library is to serve the students, faculty and staff of Western Oregon University.

The collection provides materials for students' use in course work and independent discovery and study, and materials for faculty class preparation and subject area research. 

Although borrowing privileges are extended to adult residents of the community, students, faculty and staff at Orbis CascadeAlliance, and to other selected groups, materials are not purchased specifically for the information needs of these clientele.

Legal and Ethical Responsibilities

The library abides by the American Library Association's Code of Ethics

Intellectual Freedom

In accordance with ALA's position governing censorship and intellectual freedom published in the Library Bill of Rights and in the Freedom to Read Statement, Library and Media Services' subject selectors are guided by these principles of intellectual freedom rather than political, religious, or personal biases in making selection decisions. The collections contain and will contain various opinions which apply to important, complicated, and controversial questions, including unpopular and unorthodox positions. Factual accuracy, effective expression, significance of subject, and responsibility of opinion are factors that are considered when materials are selected.

Challenges to the Collection

Individuals have the right to question materials in the collections. When a person using the library collections objects to the presence of material, the complaint will be given a fair hearing. All complainants will complete a "Statement of Concern About Library Materials" so that formal consideration can be made. The dean of the library will examine the item in question and will make the final decision as to whether or not to withdraw or restrict the material in question. The director will send a written response to the complainant within 30 days stating the outcome and reasons for the decision. The Provost will also be notified of this decision. Should the complainant disagree with the decision of the dean, an appeal must be made within 30 days to the Provost. Within 30 days, the Provost will appoint and convene an ad hoc review committee which will be comprised of:

  • the Deans of the two colleges
  • two Western Oregon University faculty members
  • two Western Oregon University students
  • the Provost (or their designee)

The committee will review the decision and forward a written statement to both the complainant and director within 30 days, affirming or denying the original decision. Both the complainant and director will be allowed to present their positions before the committee.

The circulation status of challenged materials will not be changed prior to a decision being made and the completion of procedures.

Confidentiality of Records

Circulation records, interlibrary loan requests, application files, search histories and other personally-identifiable uses of library materials are confidential, regardless of the source of inquiry. Such records shall not be made available to anyone, except under court order or other form of due process. Requests made under these conditions are to be submitted to the Dean of Library and Academic Innovation. These requests will be reviewed and, when US law permits, guidance from the university's legal counsel will be sought before records are disclosed.

Patron access of computers is recorded through the network login. The confidentiality of patron activity on these computers is governed by the university's Acceptable Use of Computing Resources policy. Name information for community patrons who use computers in Hamersly Library may be recorded as instructed by University Computing Services.


It is the intent of the library to adhere to the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code Sec. 101 et seq.). While there continues to be controversy regarding interpretation of copyright law, this policy represents a sincere effort on the part of the library to operate legally. Appropriate notices will be posted at sites taking interlibrary loan requests and on all copy machines reminding employees and students of the Copyright Law. Records will be kept for interlibrary loan copying and electronic and paper copies of reserve items. Copyright laws, handbooks and guidelines are available in Hamerlsy Library for anyone's use.

Library and Media Services disapproves of unauthorized duplication in any form. Employees and students of the university who willfully disregard the copyright policy do so at their own risk and assume all liability.

General Collection Description and Guidelines (Scope and Coverage)

The general collections are managed by the librarians. Because each discipline has different needs, the appropriate balance between formats is decided on a discipline by discipline basis, by librarians in consultation with the teaching faculty. General selection guidelines and general information about the collection are below:

Timeliness of Materials

The objective of the collection is to serve the needs of the undergraduates and masters level students with a focus on current materials. Retrospective materials to support research may be acquired selectively. Materials collected aim to cover all time periods. Works of major theorists and "classic" writers in fields related to the curriculum are represented.


Library materials will be purchased in the format that best balances the research needs of students and faculty with archival and budget considerations. In purchasing new material, formats which are anticipated to be more durable, both physically and technologically, without impacting usability will be given preference. Formats generally include printed text, online materials, microformats, musical scores, cartographic materials, audio and visual files in durable formats such as VHS, DVD, CD or in electronic format.


Books will be purchased primarily in the languages spoken by WOU students, faculty, and staff, except when titles in other languages are needed for language instruction and teaching, or for reference and other basic information needs. Recommendations for decisions on these purchases will be made by faculty members in consultation with appropriate library personnel.

Multiple Copies

The library will typically purchase only one copy of any item. Exceptions may be made for materials in the Juvenile Collection and when expected use will be heavy or when material is needed for reserve. Faculty requests for more than one copy of any item will be scrutinized very carefully and will be honored only when materials are to be used by a sufficiently large number of students. Duplicate materials received as gifts will be added to the collection if warranted by heavy usage of the copies already in the collection.

Out-of-Print Material

Back issues of serials no longer available from the publisher may often be purchased from other sources. At the discretion of librarians, replacement copies of missing issues can be made after an effort to locate it otherwise is unsuccessful.

Out-of-print monographs are purchased through book vendors when available.


College level textbooks may be purchased by the library when they are considered classics by experts in the field, when other kinds of monographic publications in a curricular area are sparse or when they treat important areas not otherwise represented in the collection.

Textbooks may be accepted as gifts to the collection when they are utilized by courses taught on campus. It is the responsibility of the course instructor to notify library staff if the books they are donating are texts for use by classes and to indicate if they desire that the item be placed on reserve.

K-12 textbooks are held as part of the state-adopted textbook collection for use by educators from around the state, the faculty and students of the College of Education and the general public. Duplicate copies or materials deselected from this collection may be added into the K-12 Curriculum Collection for use by the students and faculty of the College of Education.

Current Issues and Concerns

Librarians may also select materials that address general interests and are representative of current issues or concerns, even though they are not scholarly in nature, are not directly related to the curriculum, and may not have lasting impact.


The following materials are generally considered unsuitable for Library and Media Services' collections; however, the librarians, with input from the Collection Development Librarian, may make exceptions whenever circumstances dictate:

  1. fiction of a primarily popular nature (mysteries, romances, horror, etc.), with the exception of works of major authors, award winning titles, specific class needs, or materials purchased for the popular reading collection (a special collection);
  2. titles or subject areas with a narrow appeal, not suited to the missions of the library;
  3. materials not pertinent to WOU curriculum or research;
  4. pamphlets and ephemeral materials (under 32 pages, except for government documents, curriculum materials, and musical or other creative arts materials).
  5. Popular treatments of scholarly topics (typically those without indexes).

Requests for these kinds of materials can readily be filled through interlibrary loan.

Special Collections 

Several specialized collections are housed within Hamersly Library. Criteria for these collections are established separately from this policy.

Collaborative Collection Development/ Relationships with other libraries

The library is committed to coordinating development and management of collections—including acquisition, cataloging, access, storage, and preservation—with other libraries in Polk County and the Orbis Cascade Alliance consortium, when it is feasible and does not negatively impact the students, faculty and staff of Western Oregon University. Collaborative collection development and management are essential means for coping with shrinking acquisitions budgets and enhancing the library resources available to all of the communities that we are a part of. 

Selecting Materials

Collection development at Western Oregon University is a joint effort of the librarians and teaching faculty with the process managed through the library. Faculty members are encouraged to recommend and to request the acquisition of specific titles. 

Factors influencing selection:

  • authority of authors/contributors
  • timeliness and accuracy
  • quality and uniqueness of information
  • target audience
  • depth of coverage
  • price
  • license restrictions that would adversely impact the user
  • technology requirements
  • vendor/producer reputation

Requestors should work with the librarian who is liaison to their discipline in order to evaluate the appropriateness of an item for the collection.

Gifts to Library and Media Services' Collections

Please see:

Collection Maintenance

The usefulness, relevance, and physical condition of the collection should be assessed by library staff on a continuing basis. Books judged to be irrelevant, outdated, unused, in poor physical condition, or superseded by new editions will be removed from the collection. Criteria for the deselection of materials may vary among academic disciplines, and our efforts in this regard should be informed by the teaching faculty. Materials in bad physical condition, but still worth keeping, will be repaired if possible, or replaced with new copies if they are available.

Inventory and shelf reading should be done an ongoing basis. These activities assure that the catalog is kept up to date and accurately reflects the holdings of the library and that materials may be easily accessed once found via the catalog. 

Annual Budget

The materials budget supports the purchase of all formats designated in the collection development policy. The budget supports expenditures for the following:

  • firm and standing orders, subscriptions, databases;
  • rental fees, lending/borrowing costs, and copyright royalties for interlibrary loan and other document delivery;
  • OCLC cataloging, searching and access charges;
  • local and contracted bindery services and preservation.


Policy Review
This policy is under continual review and updated as necessary.