Collection Development Policy


This collection development policy is intended to communicate the library's collection goals practices. The policy establishes guidelines for the selection, evaluation and weeding of the library's collection.

The library's mission is an integral part of the mission of the College. The college catalog describes Stonehill as a "student - centered climate which promotes academic challenge and rigorous inquiry, physical well-being and emotional growth, personal responsibility, cooperative learning and authentic community. A Stonehill education encourages students to develop a lifelong desire for self-discovery and commitment to service that will lead to truly purposeful and rewarding lives." To support these goals, the Library’s mission is “Transformation via Discovery.”

The library's collection development policy supports the library's mission. Our goal is to build a collection to enhance the instructional programs of the College. The library acquires and makes available materials appropriate to particular courses, majors and programs offered by Stonehill, and also materials that support the curriculum more generally. In addition, the library acquires materials for general information in subject areas not included in the curriculum of the College. These are materials necessary to meet the informational needs of the College community, and to support the intellectual and cultural development of that community.

The college community includes the students of the Day and Part-Time Studies Divisions, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni and members of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Students and faculty are the primary users of the library, and the library collection exists to fulfill their informational needs, particularly as those needs are expressed in the curriculum. The informational needs of other members of the college community are met to the extent possible after the library fulfills its obligation to serve students and faculty.

The library upholds the principles set forth in the Intellectual Freedom Statement espoused by the American Library Association. These principles directly affect the development of the library collection. The library recognizes an obligation to provide materials from a variety of points of view, regardless of partisan or doctrinal objections.

The Head of Collections, Assessment, and User Engagement reviews this policy regularly, revises it when necessary, and is responsible for its implementation. Working with the Library Director and other librarians, the Head of Collections, Assessment, and User Engagement plans and carries out the activities outlined below. Because faculty members play a role in many of these activities, Library Liaisons also work with Stonehill faculty regarding collection development.

Criteria for selection

  1. Level
    Materials ordered for the library should be appropriate to an undergraduate collection. Priority is given to materials supporting the courses and the programs offered by the college. While materials need not be intended for use in particular courses, they should be evaluated in terms of their usefulness to students studying in a discipline. Key works published in the various disciplines are acquired. The library also purchases general works that are needed to serve the informational needs of the College community. Faculty research is supported by our bibliographic search service and interlibrary loan.
  2. Lasting Value
    Materials added to the collection should be of long-term value, likely to be used frequently or for many years to come. Short-term needs, such as faculty research needs,  are best served by interlibrary loan. Only in a rare instance does the library purchase materials, such as textbooks, that become quickly outdated.
  3. Critical Reviews
    Selection of materials should be based on critical reviews in recognized sources, such as ChoiceLibrary JournalThe New York Times Book ReviewThe New York Review of BooksThe Times Literary Supplement and scholarly journals. Standard lists, such as Books for College Libraries and Magazines for Libraries, may be consulted. Indexes to book reviews are available in the library, including Book Review Index as an electronic resource. The quality of materials may also be judged by the reputation of the publisher or of the author; works from vanity presses are not purchased.
  4. Collection Strength
    Another factor in selection is the strength of the existing collection in the particular subject. Priority is given to titles selected in subject areas in which the collection does not adequately support the curriculum. The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement evaluates the collection for strengths and weaknesses on a periodic basis.
  5. Languages
    The library purchases primarily English-language materials, except when the materials are for use in foreign language and literature courses.

Types of material

  1. Hardcover vs. paperback 
    The library reserves the right to choose between hardcover and paperback when both are available; however, our preference is to purchase hardcover whenever feasible. If the cost of the hardcover edition is significantly higher, we may purchase the paperback instead, depending on the demand for and collection level of the title.
  2. In-Print vs. Out-of-Print 
    To maintain the currency of the collection, selection of materials should focus on materials that are still in print. Out-of-print dealers may be used for works that are deemed essential for the library collection. The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement notifies the requestor when a title is reported out-of-print, and together they decide whether or not to pursue the search through an out-of-print dealer. Large purchases of out-of-print materials may also be made when evaluations indicate weaknesses in the collection.
  3. Editions 
    The latest edition of any item is purchased unless an earlier one is specifically requested. When the library purchases a new edition of a work already in the collection, the Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement decides whether or not to discard the old edition.
  4. Sets 
    In general, the library purchases complete sets, not individual volumes that are parts of sets. Exceptions are made if the individual volumes of a set have unique titles and subject matter; in such cases, individual volumes can be used effectively without the benefit of the rest of the set.
  5. Textbooks 
    The library does not purchase books intended for use as basic college textbooks.
  6. Standing Orders 
    Standing order subscriptions represent a long-standing and often costly commitment on the part of the library. For the most part, this category is comprised of annual directories and statistical sources. The Head of Collections, Assessment, and User Engagement evaluates requests to establish standing orders for monograph series or serial publications.
  7. Periodicals 
    The library subscribes to periodicals that meet the criteria set forth in this policy. For more information, contact the Periodicals Librarian.
  8. Microforms 
    The library purchases materials on microfilm and microfiche. Certain materials, such as document collections or current runs and backfiles of periodicals, are particularly appropriate for acquisition in these formats. The library reserves the right to choose between microform and paper when both are available.
  9. Electronic Resources 
    The library subscribes to digital resources that are housed locally and on the Internet. The library does not collect general-purpose software such as database managers, spreadsheets, and word processing software.


Maintaining the Collection


Faculty and librarians share responsibility for the selection of library materials. Members of the Stonehill faculty should recommend titles based on their knowledge of their disciplines and the requirements of their courses. They are also invited to periodically review the relevant subject areas of the collection with particular concern for currency and to identify outdated titles that may be discarded.

Orders are charged against the allocation made to the faculty member's department. Given the size of the library's materials budget, it is not possible to purchase everything that is requested. Faculty members should indicate if some requests are higher priority than others. Requests are usually deferred to the next fiscal year if their costs exceed the amount available in the appropriate budget allocation.

The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement; Reference Librarians; and Periodicals Librarians will evaluate how well the collection meets the needs of the college and correct deficiencies whenever possible. The evaluation of specific subject areas will normally be done through comparisons with standard bibliographies (such as Books for College Libraries and Magazines for Libraries), comparisons with other library collections and the analysis of data such as book circulation studies or the average age of the collection. Individual titles will normally be selected on the basis of reviews in scholarly literature or other widely recognized sources such as Choice and other the publications previously mentioned. The size and quality of the collection in the different subject areas depend on the varying needs of the college's academic departments and programs. It is not necessary to build a strong collection in every subject area; in some areas a more selective collection is adequate for the college's purposes. There is no single standard. As stated in the American Library Association Standards for College Libraries: "The mission and goals [of the library] should be compatible and consistent with those developed by the college. Assessment of the quality and effectiveness of the library should be linked closely with the specific mission and goals of the college."



Weeding, like evaluation, ensures that the collection fulfills its mission to support the college curriculum. There are a number of reasons why materials may no longer be useful. Materials whose content is outdated are replaced by newer materials. Duplicate copies of titles are discarded when there is no current or anticipated demand for them on Reserve or for courses. Materials in poor physical condition are weeded and, if necessary, replaced. The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement weeds the collection in conjunction with the faculty. The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement creates lists of titles that meet criteria for weeding. Those lists are then sent to appropriate faculty for their approval. Once that approval is obtained, the books are weeded.