I. Definition and Guidelines

An acquisition/collection development policy is a planning document which sets down the general principles and guidelines for collection development. It may state the budgetary implications of policy implementation. The usefulness of such a policy statement is not limited to being an internal document; rather, it is an imperative in the overall planning of the total resource allocation of the institution.

This policy is a general guide to the building of the collections at Midwestern State University. It will serve as a guide in our attempt to achieve excellence in the choice of materials based on the curriculum of the university and the existing strengths and weaknesses of the library collection. No such policy can be definitive for all time, since the library is not a static institution. The nature and contents of the library are constantly evolving as the needs of the university change.

The primary responsibility for collection development rests with the university library. Faculty and students advise, and suggestions are indeed welcome and to be encouraged. The departmental liaison is in contact with the Collection Development Librarian to ensure that the library and its academic community are aware of each other’s needs and problems. Senior staff of the library welcome the opportunity to play a very active role within the university, particularly in the areas of teaching, research, and curriculum. Their contributions can enrich the university as a whole by helping to provide a heightened awareness of the central role that library services and collections play in the overall educational mission of the university.

II. Philosophy

The policy for the selection of library material is in accord with the purposes and goals of the university as stated in the MSU Undergraduate and Graduate catalogs: 

  1. As a member of the state system of colleges and universities in Texas, MSU exists to provide the opportunity for higher education to the people of the state and to serve the intellectual and cultural needs of the area in which it is located. It is charged to provide a program of instruction “suitable to a university of higher learning teaching the liberals arts and sciences of the first class.” To satisfy its responsibilities, the university provides a variety of programs of undergraduate and graduate studies together with a number of associate degree programs developed specifically to meet local needs.
  1. The university is committed to the principle that its most significant role is to develop the skills, the mental capacity, and the intellectual curiosity of its students so that their intellectual development will continue beyond their years of formal education. The basis for that development is the program of general education that provides the buttress for the student’s specialized studies as well as the groundwork for a lifetime of intellectual growth. The university completed a two-year study in 1979 of its general education curriculum. The result is a curriculum that provides the breadth and depth of intellectual experience necessary for that growth. It is based on the Western tradition that the liberal arts free the individual from limitations imposed by ignorance.
  1. To be effective, the curriculum must respond to new as well as traditional needs. It must prepare the student for the future while preserving the knowledge and values of the past. The general education curriculum incorporates training in basic skills of writing and mathematics with studies in humanities, fine arts and the physical sciences along with courses in computer technology and the evolving social sciences. Through it the university seeks to realize its stated objectives of encouraging “intellectual development through access to the accumulated record of human experience, unrestricted questioning of old ideas, and responsible inquiry into the validity and significance of new ideas.” In addition to the emphasis on the intellectual development of the student, the curriculum is concerned with physical fitness and development. It provides a range of courses in health and physical activities that is complemented by a strong program of intramural athletics. The opportunity for physical development is extended on a competitive level by the university’s program of men’s and women‘s intercollegiate athletics.
  1. Midwestern State has the responsibility of providing a range of specialized studies to prepare the student to engage in meaningful work. The university provides undergraduate and graduate majors in the traditional arts and sciences. It provides pre-professional programs in law, manufacturing engineering, dentistry, and medicine. MSU makes available professional training in accounting, business administration, computer science, criminal justice, elementary and secondary education, nursing, and social work, radiologic sciences, and respiratory care. Within the past ten years the university has developed a range of professional courses in the applied arts and sciences and in the health sciences.

III. Objectives

The library exists to support the total program of the university. Therefore, the development of its collections should reflect if not parallel the development of the university itself. Library materials will be acquired in accordance with the following priorities subject to reasonable limitations.

The collections should provide:

  1. The resources to serve the needs of the students, not only the basic materials but specialized resources for the graduate and certification programs as well.
  1. The resources necessary for keeping faculty members abreast of current developments in their fields and aid them in making such original contributions to their disciplines as are in keeping with the purposes of the university.
  1. Standard works in attractive formats and scholarly editions representing the heritage of world civilizations.
  1. A wide variety of the better books being currently published in all fields of knowledge to the end that students will have the opportunity to gain a well-rounded reading experience.
  1. The standard reference works and bibliographies in all major fields of knowledge.
  1. Materials related to the historical development of the university and area in which it is located.
  1. A leisure reading collection for recreational reading by the university community as the budget allows.

IV. Levels of Collection

It is recognized that the requirements for library materials vary in the different subject areas. In many scientific and technical fields the primary need is met by scientific journals. In the social sciences and humanities books are still of primary importance. Current and projected degree and research programs have been used to indicate the degree of acquisitions intensity which the library will attempt to follow in meeting the needs of the academic departments.

Level IV – A collection of materials (irrespective of format) in English, and occasionally in other Western European languages covering works of scholarship for use by upper level undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members. In addition to current materials, the library will attempt to obtain retrospective works on a selected basis including serials, reference sets and bibliographies.

Level III – A collection of materials (irrespective of format) to meet all instructional needs at the undergraduate level, It includes basic materials, complete sets of works by important writers and critical works about them, selections of works by secondary writers, a wide range of basic serials, reference works and bibliographies. 

Level II – A selective collection that serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and representative serials in the field. 

Level I – A collection that is not covered in the curriculum and in which minimum selections are made beyond very basic reference tools. 

V. Multiple copies and replacements 

Generally only one copy of an item shall be purchased, and the use of the departments’ budgets to supply textbooks is discouraged. Multiple copies may be purchased when the need for such copies can be demonstrated subject to the approval of the Collection Development Librarian. An exception may be made in material that is added to Special Collections.  The library allocates a portion of the general book budget for replacement of lost/missing or damaged materials. 

VI. Gifts

Acceptance of gifts will be governed by the criteria below. 

  1. The library solicits and encourages gifts and donations of useful materials, or money to purchase them, provided they fit into the acquisitions policies and provided that there are no restrictions attached. Gifts provide many valuable additions to the collection.
  1. The library will not accept gifts with restrictions as to their disposition or location except by express permission of the library director.                      
  1. The library is free to dispose of any unneeded material regardless of how it is acquired.
The library cannot legally appraise gifts for tax or inheritance purposes. The library may, however, assist the donor in obtaining, if available, prices located in book auction records or in catalogs of secondhand dealers. If a substantial collection is involved the library may help the donor to procure a professional appraiser.

Last revised by Collection Development Librarian - April 2022