Collection Development Policy


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

The library is an integral part of the mission of the College. The library supports student transformation via discovery of resources as they explore, evaluate, and engage in intellectual pursuits and community building. 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. Via available technology, the library and archives acquires materials and provides improved access to current and future collections in ways that embrace diversity, culture, and physical limitations. The library and archives enhances the value of a Stonehill education through physical and electronic collections that encourage students, faculty, and staff to engage with information in transformative ways. 

The primary focus of our Collection Development program is to build a collection that enhances the instructional programs of the College. The library acquires and makes available materials appropriate to specific courses, majors and programs offered by Stonehill. In addition, the library acquires materials for general information in significant 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 students, 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. Our first priority is to meet students’ learning and research needs, to enable them to complete successful and meaningful work. To this end, we support the collection requirements of faculty, 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, Subject Liaisons, and other Library staff, the Head of Collections, Assessment, and User Engagement plans and carries out the activities outlined below. Due to our focus on supporting students and the curriculum, Librarians work closely with Stonehill faculty and view the faculty as key partners in our collection development program. Members of the faculty are encouraged to request titles appropriate for undergraduate research and learning; requests for titles related to faculty research will be referred to our Interlibrary Loan service. The library is committed to supporting faculty research through our ILL program and Librarians are available to assist faculty in locating access to print and electronic resources for their research.

Criteria for selection

The library has set four overall priorities for Collection Development:

  • Priority 1: Core texts in the various disciplines, including previously published core texts, new editions of significant materials, and newly published works considered essential to an undergraduate collection.
  • Priority 2: Materials intended for consistent use by students in particular courses. 
  • Priority 3: Materials not intended for use in a particular course, but deemed useful to students studying in a discipline.
  • Priority 4: The library also purchases general works that are needed to serve the informational needs of the College community. 

In following the above priorities, the library evaluates resources based on:

  1. Level: Materials ordered for the library should be appropriate to an undergraduate collection. Faculty research is supported by our bibliographic search services and interlibrary loan; where faculty research needs cannot be met by interlibrary loan, librarians are available to consult with faculty to determine alternative modes for accessing materials. 

  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 most individual thesis research and 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 are frequently based on critical reviews in recognized sources, such as Choice, Library Journal, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement and scholarly journals. Standard lists, such as Books for College Libraries and Magazines for Libraries, may be consulted. 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. Language: The library purchases primarily English-language materials, except when the materials are for use in foreign language and literature courses.

  6. Editions: The latest edition of any item is purchased unless an earlier one is specifically requested.  When new editions of a library holding become available, the library uses circulation information and critical reviews to determine whether to purchase the new edition to supersede an earlier edition. In most cases, the library does not retain the old edition; if a new edition becomes available and the library chooses not to purchase it because an older edition has not circulated, librarians may also decide to weed the unused, previous edition.

  7. Accessibility: The library seeks to purchase items that achieve high levels of accessibility. For video in all formats, the library is committed to acquiring materials with closed captioning and will work with Faculty members and information technology when closed captioning is not embedded in a video resource. 

Types of material

  1. Print vs. Ebook: The library prioritizes ebooks over print books when the licensing and availability of an ebook allows for multiple simultaneous users and/or enables us to include an ebook in our Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA) program. Patrons may request that a book be purchased in print; all format requests will be considered by the subject liaison and/or Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement.

  2. Hardcover vs. paperback: The library reserves the right to choose between hardcover and paperback when both are available.

  3. In-Print vs. Out-of-Print: To maintain the currency of the collection, selection of materials focuses on in-print titles. Out-of-print dealers may be used for works that are deemed essential for the library collection. Large purchases of out-of-print materials may also be made when evaluations indicate weaknesses in the collection.

  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, such that individual volumes can be used effectively.

  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. The Head of Collections, Assessment, and User Engagement evaluates all requests to establish standing orders for monograph series or serial publications.

  7. Periodicals & Serials: The library subscribes periodicals and serial publications that meet the criteria set forth in this policy. Preference is given to materials in electronic format. For more information, contact the Electronic Resources Librarian.

  8. Microforms: In most instances, the library does not purchase materials on microfilm and microfiche. Certain materials not available in another format may be considered. All request for microfilm and microfiche materials must be reviewed by the Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement.

  9. Electronic Resources: The library subscribes to digital resources that are housed locally and online. The library does not collect general-purpose software such as database managers, spreadsheets, and word processing software. For databases, the library gives preference to resources available to the entire campus by IP address, and those that allow for unlimited simultaneous users and off-campus access. The library establishes trials for new databases when interest and cost suggest that the resource may be acquired. Faculty must request database trials through the library, rather than direct contact with vendors; the library does not arrange trials for use in a single course offering or in individual research. For complete information regarding electronic resources, the Library is currently developing a separate Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy.

Maintaining the Collection


Individual titles are selected on the basis of reviews in scholarly literature or other widely recognized sources. The breadth and depth of the monograph collection by subject area is determined based on the varying needs of the college's academic departments and programs. Librarians also work to determine the appropriate balance between print, video, and electronic resources for each department and program. 

Librarians and Faculty share responsibility for the selection of library materials; each department has a Subject Liaison Librarian who is available to discuss specific titles with individual faculty members, meet with departments to discuss departmental needs, and to consult with faculty on available resources for new and existing courses. Members of the Stonehill faculty should recommend titles based on their knowledge of their disciplines and the requirements of their courses. Faculty are also invited to periodically review relevant subject areas of the collection; the Library welcomes all feedback regarding the collection’s currency and relevancy, as well as assistance in identifying outdated titles that may be discarded.

The library conducts annual assessments and uses data from the Registrar’s Office to ensure that funds are being allocated appropriately based on departmental need. Given the size of the library's budget, it is not possible to purchase all requests. Faculty members should indicate if some requests are higher priority than others, as well as which classes are likely to use requested materials. Requests for materials that are deemed relevant and appropriate, but whose cost exceeds the amount available in the appropriate budget allocation, are usually deferred to the next fiscal year.

The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement; Reference Librarians; and Electronic Resources Librarian will evaluate how well the collection meets the needs of the college and correct deficiencies whenever possible. 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." To achieve this goal, a librarian serves as an Ex-Officio member of the Curriculum Committee and informs the library staff regarding the development of new courses and programs.

Evaluations of specific subject areas will include:

  1. Analysis of circulation figures and the average age of the collection 

  2. Periodic surveys to faculty and students to assess patron satisfaction

  3. Periodic focus group or individual consultations to recruit information on specific collection needs

  4. Reference to standard bibliographies (such as Books for College Libraries and Choice’s Outstanding Academic Titles)

  5. Analysis of enrollment trends across departments

  6. Comparisons with other library collections. 


Deselection, like evaluation, ensures that the collection fulfills its mission to support the college curriculum. There are a number of reasons why materials may be withdrawn from the collection:

  1. Outdated content that has been replaced by newer materials

  2. Duplicate copies of titles for which there is no current or anticipated demand 

  3. Materials in poor physical condition

The Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement assesses the collection in conjunction with the faculty and Subject Liaisons. Periodically, the Head of Collections, Assessment and User Engagement creates lists of titles that meet criteria for deselection and these lists are sent to the appropriate faculty for their review.