Skip to Main Content

Madison College Libraries Policies: Collection Development

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy – 2023 Amended

Purpose & Introduction

Central to the core mission of the library is the quality of its' collection. The American Library Association "affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas" through the Library Bill of Rights and that our collections and services should provide for this. The primary function for collection development activities at the Madison College Libraries is to build and maintain a library collection in formats that support the curriculum and the mission of the college across the district. The libraries also strive to support the needs of faculty and staff in their work and research. 

This collection development policy is a statement of principles, guidelines, and criteria used by the Madison College Libraries staff in their selection, acquisition, evaluation, maintenance, and deselection of library materials. The policy aims to assist librarians in providing current, diverse, and balanced collections of materials to support the instructional, institutional, and individual needs of students, faculty, and staff. Madison College Libraries takes measurable efforts to build a diverse collection that reflects the student body and community we serve. A diverse collection includes works by diverse authors and/or discusses the subject matter of diverse communities and issues affecting them as identified by librarians. Our policy aligns with the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights statement regarding diverse collections.

Collection Budget

The libraries receive funding from the college to purchase and provide access to new materials in a variety of formats. The collection development budget is determined by the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services. The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for tracking the budget monthly and providing this information to all librarians. The libraries will report annually on its collections budget. Separate budgets are maintained for the print serial collection and electronic resources.

Shared Responsibilities for Collection Development

Although the Collection Development Librarian oversees all collection development activities, building and maintaining a high-quality library collection is the responsibility of all librarians. Librarian selectors contribute to the selection process by taking responsibility for selection and maintenance of a specific subject area based on programs offered at the college (or, in the case of the south Madison and regional campuses, a campus-wide library collection), Selectors consult circulation statistics and make suggestions to other selectors. The Collection Development Librarian is responsible for assigning subject areas to librarians.

Librarian selectors are responsible for maintaining an active relationship with faculty in their subject area to solicit material recommendations, support the curriculum, supplement textbooks, and to encourage faculty to incorporate library materials in their coursework. Because the library administrator has the responsibility of assuring a current and comprehensive collection of resources, has knowledge of the library budget, and can best judge the total collection, the final acquisition decisions will be the responsibility of the librarians.


Selection Goals

The goal of the libraries’ collections is quality, and not quantity. As professional librarians we strive to provide materials that will:

  • Support the mission and goals of the college and library including the College’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Plan.
  • Enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interests, abilities and maturity levels of the students served, and written at a level of sophistication appropriate to users.
  • Collaborate with college departments undergoing accreditation reviews, giving priority to these areas.
  • Represent various points of view on popular or controversial topics, enabling students to develop the practice of critical reading and thinking.
  • Provide the perspective and cultural beliefs of ethnic populations, minority groups in the United States, and of cultures worldwide that reflect the student body and community that we serve.
  • Encourage individual growth in factual knowledge, citizenship, literary appreciation, cultural and aesthetic values, and ethical standards.

Selection Guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to give direction and focus to the library staff in their selection responsibilities. Following is a list of criteria and priorities to consider regarding selection decisions. They are considered flexible and not all-inclusive. Support of the college’s curriculum is of paramount importance.


Quality:  The focus of selection will be on resources that have authority, accuracy, and reading levels appropriate for our users.

Currency:  Publication dates will be considered with each item purchased. Items that are over five years old should only be added to the collection if they are timeless and have lasting value.

Completeness:  Our collection emphasis should be on supporting college programs rather than the collection of all knowledge for the sake of completeness. Gaps that exist in our collection, such as highly specialized topics or academic pursuits not offered at our college are of interest to a limited number of users and should be borrowed through our interlibrary loan department.

Duplication:  Purchasing an item already owned means foregoing the purchase of other new materials. We will purchase single copies of works with the exceptions for high demand titles and reference items for regional libraries that do not circulate.

Diversity: The library sets a target range of 20-25% of monthly purchases to reflect diversity and inclusion to include related works on the social and political, diverse authors, global perspectives, cultural, languages, etc. Works that meet this criterion are identified by librarians and tracked by the collection development librarian.


Materials that support existing college programs and are consistent with the mission of the library will be acquired based on the following priorities:

  • Supplemental reserve items requested by faculty (excludes textbooks).
  • Reference and research materials related to college programs.
  • Items that support faculty and staff in their work and research.
  • Materials focusing on career goals, exploring employment opportunities, or self-improvement within the framework of the college.
  • Resources necessary to support upcoming departmental accreditation reviews and the addition of new academic programs and courses.
  • Extracurricular materials aimed at improving the mind, broadening one's horizons, or providing reading, listening, and viewing entertainment. We will attempt to acquire as many of these as possible through donations.
  • We aim to collect quality items written by Wisconsin authors to support class projects.

Policies by Format

Audiovisual:  As with print resources, librarians select audiovisual (AV) materials according to annual subject and budget allocations. The same basic guidelines apply to AV as monographs with some additional criteria. In addition to the general selection guidelines for other formats, consideration should also be given the format’s compatibility with equipment owned by school, the lifespan of the technology, the suitability and accessibility of the format, a title’s production quality, and faculty recommendation. Recreational AV materials may be purchased when the budget allows, and the Collection Development Librarian sees fit. All non-fiction audiovisual materials are cataloged and integrated with the library collection. It is possible that a College Dean can contact the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services for interdepartmental cooperation regarding purchasing and housing high-cost AV items that are not of any benefit to students of other programs.

eBooks:  The library will purchase eBooks on a title-by-title basis to support curriculum. Preference will be given to titles that can support online and distance learners. These will be purchased from the GOBI platform from either EBSCO or Credo Vendors. Number of users options will be determined based on need, cost, duplication of physical copies, and access. Selection will be based on the same criteria as outlined above, with further considerations given to technological issues, accessibility, vendor support, and other criteria unique to the format. Final decisions are made by the Collection Development Librarian and the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services.

Electronic Journals/Databases:  Licensed online resources are a significant part of the library’s collection. Due to considerable ongoing cost, selection of these resources is carefully considered. A separate Electronic Resources (ER) Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) team exists to guide the selection and deselection of electronic resources. The ER CQI team has developed its own mission and selection criteria, which are subsumed under the overall collection development policy. Selection is based on the criteria outlined above, with further consideration given to technological issues, accessibility, vendor support, and other criteria unique to the format. Final decisions regarding electronic resources are made by the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services with input from the ER CQI Team.

Maps:  Maps are a small part of the library collection. They will be purchased as needed to provide support for instruction.

Print Periodicals:  Selection of periodical titles will be determined by the general criteria used in the selection of all materials. In addition, full-text availability in one of the library’s subscription databases will be a factor in the selection of print subscriptions. Selectors are responsible for recommending print periodicals that support the curriculum in their subject area. The Periodicals Librarian is responsible for managing the selection and deselection of print periodicals throughout the Madison College Library System. Serial subscriptions will be evaluated for renewal annually, considering circulation statistics and cost-per-use. The budget for print serials is managed separately from the print acquisitions budget with a percentage set aside for popular titles.

Textbooks:  Due to prohibitive cost and frequent revision, the library prefers not purchase textbooks. Allocation funds are available, and exceptions can be made for textbooks that are the only source of information on a topic or recommended by faculty as an exceptional resource. Faculty may place their own textbook copies on reserve for student use or donate textbooks to the general collection. At the discretion of the selector, textbooks may be added to the general collection when removed from the reserve collection. Workbooks without accompanying texts will not be added to the collection unless specifically requested by the instructor. 


The library accepts gift materials/donations with the understanding that the library, at its discretion, will only add items to the collection that meet its needs. Gifts will be judged by the same selection guidelines as purchased material.

Additional criteria for accepting gifts include specific age restrictions and condition of the item. Nonfiction books must be less than five years old; technology books must be less than two years old. There is no age restriction for fiction. All donated Items must be in good condition with no sign of mildew, insects, or excess wear and tear. Items that do not meet these guidelines will be disposed of as the library sees fit.

On request, a donation form will be given to the donor to acknowledge receipt of the gift. The library cannot provide a statement of the value of gifts for income tax purposes.

Weeding and Deselection

Weeding the collection by discarding materials is as important in maintaining a useful collection as is the careful selection of new materials. The Collection Development Librarian will direct the ongoing weeding process, which is conducted by librarians responsible for the subject area or location in question. The Madison College Libraries collection is intended to be a useful, working resource, not an archival collection. Obsolete (or no longer relevant) materials occupy expensive storage space and may in fact provide students with information which is no longer accurate. Materials that are outdated, little used and/or in poor condition will be discarded. Materials that have received no circulation for at least 10 years should be reviewed for relocation to storage or transfer to regional campus libraries. Unless the work is considered timeless or classic. Materials with no circulation for at least 15 years should be reviewed for withdrawal from the collection. The library strives to offer materials from the widest variety of viewpoints regardless of the popularity of subject, author, or opinion. Consider gaps in information that would be created by the removal of items (little information on the topic, no newer information available, etc.).

Faculty members are welcome to identify materials which should be discarded for the above reasons. Where a book plate has been added to the inside cover of a book (as a part of a special collection) the Collection Development Librarian will make the final weeding decision. Items that are not fit for Madison College collections will be sold at our book sale, donated to Better World Books, or recycled.

Questioned or Challenged Materials

An academic library must be a forum for free exchange of ideas in the student's pursuit of knowledge. The library will make available to its users, materials offering the widest variety of viewpoints regardless of the popularity of subject or author. Patrons objecting to material in the library collection should submit their concerns to the Collection Development Librarian and the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services with the Materials Reconsideration Form.  They will review the request based on the collection development goals and guidelines outlined in this policy. Until the issue is decided the material will remain in the collection. The final decision will be communicated to the concerned patron. For more information, see our Materials Reconsideration Policy.

Policy Review

The Madison College Libraries Collection Development Policy will be reviewed and updated on a biennial basis or as necessary by the Collection Development Librarian. The Collection Development Librarian will work with the Dean of Libraries and Academic Support Services to ensure staff input and policy dissemination. The purpose of the review is to consider whether existing collection goals are being met and to examine any changes in defined goals and user needs. Changes will be made to the policy when appropriate.