Library Policies: Collection Development

Purpose of This Policy

This policy encompasses the goals and guidelines for collection development and maintenance of the collection to insure quality and relevance of materials that will best serve our patrons now and in the future. It is to serve as a guide for the Librarians in the selection, acquisition, accessibility, evaluation, deselection (weeding) and management of resource decisions. This policy will be revised in response to the changing information needs of the college and the evolution of information delivery and access models.

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Mission Statements

College Mission Statement

Trocaire College, a private career-oriented Catholic College, in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy, strives to empower students toward personal enrichment, dignity and self-worth through education in a variety of professions and in the Liberal Arts. Recognizing the individual needs of a diverse student body, Trocaire College provides life learning and development within a community-based environment. Trocaire College prepares students for service in the universal community.

Library Mission Statement

The mission of the Rachel R. Savarino Library at Trocaire College (herein called the Library) is to directly support the efforts of its learning community toward preparing for work in a variety of professions and the liberal arts, attaining personal enrichment, dignity and self-worth in the spirit of the Sisters of Mercy by:

    • Acting as a hub of learning and inquiry for students, staff and faculty
    • Providing the instruction and support required to create independent, information literate lifelong learners
    • Collecting, preserving and making available the scholarly information required to meet the educational requirements of Trocaire College programs

The Library and its services should be the first choice of Trocaire College students, faculty, staff and Sisters of Mercy to meet their information and research needs.

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Guidelines of Library Services

The Library affirms and acts on the principles and statements listed below. The Library is committed to intellectual freedom, academic integrity, open discoverability of information, and free selection of materials to create a balanced and comprehensive academic library collection.

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Purpose, Scope and Description of the Collection


The purpose of the Library’s collection is to support the curriculum and the research activities of both students and faculty.


As the college offers several health-related degrees and certificates which include multifaceted fields of study, the Library purchases and collects materials in subjects that support these fields. Subjects include: nursing, general medicine, life sciences, allied health, psychology, philosophy, and other related areas. The collection strives to be diverse, and to represent the various academic subjects taught here at the college. The Library seeks to purchase materials that reflect developing educational trends and new instructional methods.

Collection Description

The Library’s collections consist of books, eBooks, DVDs, and both print and electronic periodicals. The majority of the physical materials are housed in the Rachel R. Savarino Library on the main (Choate) campus, with a subset of materials being available at the Penfold Commons at the Transit campus. Access to eBooks, electronic journal articles and and other “virtual” materials are provided via numerous subscription databases that are available for Trocaire students, faculty, and staff. The Library also maintains a Reserve Collection that includes many textbooks and DVDs. The Library collection provides materials at all levels of difficulty, with diversity of appeal and presentation of different points of view.

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Roles of Librarians in Collection Development

Librarians are the primary selectors of materials for the Library collection. As such, they are responsible for developing a collection that is relevant, current, balanced, diverse, and of high academic quality. This requires both an objective attitude and a general nondiscriminatory policy toward the selection of library materials.

There are many steps involved in the successful development and maintenance of a robust academic library collection. Tasks related to collection development include:

  • Developing and maintaining a current, comprehensive library collection development policy
  • Developing and managing collections that support both the College curriculum and faculty and student research
  • Managing, allocating and spending designated library acquisition budgets
  • Analyzing existing library collections on a regular basis for currency and relevancy; this allows librarians to decide which areas need more development and which areas need to be weeded to remain relevant to library users
  • Soliciting and accepting recommendations from students, faculty and staff for items to be added to the Library collection

Supporting the above tasks include:

  • Communicating with students, faculty and staff, both to make them aware of Library services and materials and to develop a better understanding of user needs
  • Requesting the input of program directors, deans, and faculty in the materials selection process.  Because of their special expertise by discipline, faculty recommendations are essential to help maintain the currency and relevancy of the collection
  • Maintaining an awareness of departmental projects, programs, and initiatives that have implications for the Library’s collection and services
  • Maintaining subject knowledge in areas of specialization, including overview, history, current resources and trends
  • Being aware of new pedagogical trends, as well as new ideas, models and theories in librarianship
  • Consulting standard general and subject-specific review sources when making selection decisions
  • Exploring available consortial options to help further develop the collections
  • Exploring other available options for acquiring materials, including subscriptions and  PDA/DDA eBook purchases

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Selection and Acquisition of Library Materials

As stated above, Librarians are the primary selectors of materials for the Library collection. Librarians also partner with academic faculty in the selection process, to keep abreast of curricular changes and changes in the interests and needs of students. Librarians select both scholarly and more popular materials in various formats to best meet the research and curricular needs of Trocaire faculty and students.

The following considerations are taken into account in developing the various facets of the Library collection:

  • Educational needs of the college’s academic community, including program-specific requirements
  • Mission and goals of Trocaire College and the Library
  • Availability of resources for acquisition, in both print and electronic formats
  • Financial and physical space limitations of the Library

Selection Resources

Librarians use a wide variety of means in the resource selection process. In addition, every effort is made to accommodate reasonable requests from Library users that are in the scope of this collection development policy.

Librarians typically use the following professional tools in the process of selecting Library resources:

  • Core lists for the different disciplines
  • Publishers’ catalogs and announcements
  • Publishers’ websites
  • Vendors’ websites (e.g., ProQuest, Rittenhouse, Salem, EBSCO)
  • Reviews of newly-published materials in professional and peer-reviewed subject-specific journals
  • Reviews of newly-published materials from standard library review sources, including Library Journal, Choice, Booklist, etc.

In addition, librarians use many of the following methods:

  • Comparing collections of peer libraries in Western New York with similar programs
  • Soliciting recommendations for purchases from Trocaire faculty, staff and students
  • Perusing current Trocaire course descriptions and syllabi
  • Accessing professional organizations’ websites in the various academic programs offered at Trocaire
  • Analyzing the Library collection itself, for updates of older editions, gaps in holdings, newer volumes of existing series, etc.

Selection Criteria

Though many criteria are used when selecting for each academic subject area, final decisions are ultimately based on the value of the material to the library and its users, regardless of the personal tastes and/or biases of the selectors. The Library strives to collect resources that represent a wide range of content, insight and viewpoints.

The Library purchases and maintains access to physical, electronic and multimedia resources based on selection criteria including, but not limited to:

  • Current curricular needs
  • Accuracy and relevancy of materials
  • Authority and competence in the materials’ presentation
  • Availability of information elsewhere
  • Contemporary significance
  • Currency (for some departments this is a 5-year publication date window)
  • Format, access and convenience of use (including ADA concerns)
  • Language (primarily in English)
  • Permanent value
  • Popular demand
  • License issues with digital resources
  • Appropriateness for research
  • Price (includes maintenance fees and licensing agreements)
  • Publishers’ reputation in field
  • Format (e.g., book vs. eBook)
  • Recommendations or requirements of accredited agencies
  • Relation of work to existing collection (duplication of information and balance in the collection)
  • Scarcity of information in subject area
  • Readability
  • System compatibility with digital resources

These factors and criteria apply equally to materials purchased and those accepted as gifts.

Special Aspects of Selection

  • When possible, efforts will be made to participate in cooperative collection development activities with other area and regional libraries (e.g., CCDA purchases)
  • In addition to general and curricular-specific materials, the Library collection may include:
    • works of authentic genius, within the realm of his/her specific contribution
    • works of potential historical significance, regardless of political or social variance
    • key materials in fields that represent an aspect, belief or opinion which has not been completely authenticated
  • While librarians are tasked with identifying materials with misinformation or deliberate disinformation, a variety of opinion is represented whenever feasible
  • Replacement copies are ordered for materials that are central to the collection
  • Requests and Rush orders: When a resource is needed for a course or other immediate purpose, a faculty member may contact their Subject Librarian for their program who will then work to procure the resource as quickly as possible.
  • Textbooks: The Reserve Collection has many textbooks that have been donated. In some cases, the librarian may purchase a heavily requested reserve item if the funds are available and if there is merit to purchase. Textbooks are added to the Reserve Collection on a title-by-title basis. Textbooks are reviewed every semester for currency based on the school bookstore textbook list.
  • The Library primarily orders current, in-print materials. Out-of-print materials are ordered when there is demonstrated need, availability and sufficient funding
  • Rare books are not purchased
  • If materials cannot be purchased, every effort will be made to provide the same or similar materials through interlibrary loan
  • Multiple copies of items are only purchased if there is a high demand. In these situations an eBook version may also be purchased

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Formats of Library Materials

Books (Print)

  • Reference materials are purchased either in-print or in an online format, with preference to the online formats
  • High-circulation books may be purchased in both print and eBook formats
  • Textbooks are acquired selectively for the Reserve collection. Supplementary materials such as workbooks are not collected
  • Both fiction and non-fiction titles are collected

Periodicals (Print)

  • Inclusion in online databases may influence the decision to purchase print copies, as well as the cost of subscribing to the print journal


eBooks provide these benefits:

  • Support for e-learning and distance learning students
  • Cost savings, as there is no processing, shelving, damage or loss. eBook titles must still be cataloged in order to make them discoverable in our online library catalog
  • Collection analytics: eBook usage statistics are available and aids in collection management decisions
  • Ownership: eBooks may be owned in perpetuity or are accessible through a subscription model
  • Enhanced features: many eBook platforms support personal “virtual” bookshelves, notes, downloads, enhanced searching and other features
  • Accessibility: eBooks are available 24/7 with remote access

Types of eBook models:

  • Different models (subscription and patron driven/demand driven), vendors and consortia will be considered for eBook acquisitions to meet the needs of the library patrons. These models are evaluated by the librarians and then are either purchased or licensed
  • eBook subscriptions: A service to access the materials with a subscription. Evaluation criteria for subscriptions follow most of the same criteria for electronic databases
  • Patron-Driven Acquisition (PDA)/Demand-Driven Acquisition (DDA): In the case of PDA/DDA, library users are selecting library materials from academic collections selected by librarians. The librarians work with vendors or consortia to set up subject areas and research levels of books that would be received by the library. The benefit of this program is that the library is not charged for books until they reach a threshold (number of hits, pages viewed, number of downloads, number of print-outs, etc.). This enables the library to make more books available to library patrons than if the library had to purchase all up front whether or not they are used. Depending on the platform and the number of records, the Library may add the bibliographic records to Insignia or have them only be discoverable on the platform

Books that may be purchased as eBooks are:

  • Reference books, or quick reference-type use
  • Texts which have frequent revisions
  • Texts which may be quickly outdated/superseded
  • Titles of expected heavy circulation

Criteria: eBooks follow the general selection criteria mentioned above. Listed below are special considerations in acquiring eBooks.

  • eBooks are selected in subject areas where currency of information is vital
  • eBooks are selected in academic programs that are hybrids or on-line
  • Selection is a title-by-title basis. However, subscription or PDA/DDA models may sometimes be advantageous
  • The library may provide duplicate access to material in print. Librarians are responsible in determining this on a title-by-title basis
  • ADA compliant
  • More than “one-seat” is considered based on cost effectiveness and other consortia or services available to the library
  • eBooks often add significant value over the same content in print. Examples may include: additional content, easy navigation and search features, user-friendly (interface design), frequency of updates, ability to work with a discovery service, etc.
  • eBooks must be fully compatible with the technology available from the Office of Information Technology and browsers
  • eBooks must be able to be added to Insignia with full MARC records
  • eBooks must have the ability to retrieve usage statistics
  • Licenses should allow the Library the flexibility to develop its collections to match the library’s needs and without restricting the rights of fair use
  • Vendor reputation (reliability and responsiveness) and reviews
  • Available 24/7

Scholarly Research Databases

Types of research databases

  • Includes journal, eBook, reference and streaming video databases
  • Databases may be indexes, abstracts, full-text or a combination of these. Full-text, video and image databases are preferred over citation/abstract-only databases

Criteria: Scholarly Databases follow the general selection criteria mentioned above. Listed below are special considerations in acquiring Scholarly Databases.

  • The Library Director negotiates prices and license agreements with vendors
  • Licenses should allow the Library the flexibility to match the library’s needs
  • The cost of the database must be sustainable by the electronic resources budget for the foreseeable future
  • Current databases are evaluated closely for license, cost and use in determining the continuation of the subscription
  • Databases should be of high quality, authoritative and have value-added enhancements such as easy navigation and search features, user-friendly (interface design), frequency of updates, ability to work with a discovery service, comprehensive in scope, subject coverage, etc.
  • Databases must be fully compatible with the technology available from the Office of Information Technology. Must be fully compatible with systems and browsers. IP address recognition, no password required. No special additional software required
  • Databases should be able to be added to Insignia with full MARC records
  • Databases must have the ability to retrieve usage statistics
  • Vendor reputation (reliability and responsiveness) and reviews
  • Available 24/7
  • The Library may participate in a consortium purchase for particular database subscriptions when the agreement provides a significant price advantage over the cost as an individual institution

OERs (Open Educational Resources)

[this section needs revised-KM] Librarians are responsible for selection of public domain resources. These resources are cataloged in Insignia or are listed on the Library’s website. Librarians will consider a resource based on general and scholarly database criteria.

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Gifts & Donations

The Library is grateful for gifts and contributions. Financial contributions and book, journal, and media materials donated have enriched the Library’s collection.  Through donors, the Library has been able to acquire materials which otherwise could not have been purchased.  Upon request, the Library staff can supply a list of needed materials for consideration by the donor. All donors are thanked by written letter.

Donation of Library Materials

In accepting gifts, the Library accepts materials which are useful additions to the Library collection. Donors must understand that materials become the property of the Library once received. The Library reserves the right to determine retention, integration, circulation and future use of the material.

Gift materials are judged by the selection criteria and are accepted or rejected by these standards: to implement, enrich, and support the educational programs of Trocaire College or items for personal edification, enjoyment, enrichment or those of a spiritual nature. Some materials may be rejected due to:

  • A duplicate of an item which the Library already has a sufficient number
  • Outdated – interesting but not of sufficient present reference or circulating value to the Library
  • Poor condition – which would not justify the expense of processing it, i.e., cataloging and preparing it for circulation
  • Gifts and/or donations that require special preservation or have conditions placed upon them

Donors will receive an acknowledgment of the gift from the Library. Appraisal of the monetary value of the gift for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. Materials added to the collection will be identified with bookplates. If the donor insists on anonymity, the bookplate state such.

The Cataloger will note the donation in the “ONGOING gift list. (T: Donations_Gifts) received by the Library.

Before bringing a potential gift to the Library, a donor who wishes to provide a large number of titles should contact the Trocaire College Library at [email protected] or call (716) 827-2434 to discuss the gift with the Director of Library Services.

The Library also welcomes monetary contributions specifically for resource purchases to remember or honor a named individual.  Please ask for and fill out the “Deed of Gift” form (see Appendices section) so the Library can properly honor the donor’s generosity.

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Challenged Materials

(see Challenge form in Appendices section)

[this section needs updating-KM] Censorship of materials shall be contested in order to maintain the College’s responsibility to provide information and the means of enlightenment.  Challenges of library materials must be registered in writing before any action can take place.  The Review Form is available upon request at the Library.  Any challenge will be reviewed by a committee with representation from the community, college administration, faculty, students and librarians and in accordance with the Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom.

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Maintenance and Deselection (Weeding) of Library Materials

Continuous periodic evaluation of the Library holdings is an essential part of collection development.  This is to maintain an active, useful collection that reflects the overall mission of the Library. The same criteria are used in the “weeding” or discarding of materials from the collection as are used in their selection. The curriculum and research needs also guide the weeding process. Decisions regarding the weeding of print and electronic resources, as well as subscription renewal are reviewed by the Librarians. Librarians may consult faculty in some weeding decisions.

Why Weed?

In order to maintain a collection that is relevant to students, faculty and staff, it is important to review the collection for materials that are no longer appropriate.  Weeding has many benefits:

  • Yields a useful collection containing core titles
  • Maintains currency and accuracy
  • Keeps pace with patron needs

The Library is more concerned with the quality and credibility of materials than the quantity of items. It is especially important in an allied-health collection to keep resources current since incorrect information can be potentially harmful.

Criteria for Weeding

All criteria should be considered. The decision to weed should not be determined by having met only one of the criteria, but by many. Criteria may vary based on program.  Also, the Librarians need to assess the collection as a whole in relation to the titles that may be weeded.

  • Curriculum needs
  • Date of publication of more than 5 years for most allied-health related material
  • Obsolete information
  • Materials that contain biased terminology or views
  • Factual inaccuracies or false information
  • Physical condition (items are evaluated and if deemed to still be relevant to the collection a replacement copy, if available, is ordered)
  • Circulation (use statistics, when available)
  • Currency (when relevant, varies by discipline)
  • Superseded volumes and/or editions
  • Credibility of author
  • Duplicate copies
  • Incomplete series (either order the missing volume or delete the set).
  • Formats that are no longer supported
  • Is the title available nationally and is it accessible to patrons
  • If space is an issue, the Library determines if the material is available through ILL, in a scholarly databases or at local libraries that our students may borrow through the AcademicSHARE Program.
  • Other materials that are available in the collection on the same subject
  • Printed Serials: The Librarians determines the length the printed item remains on the shelf based on a serials list maintained by the cataloging department and the full-text availability in scholarly databases the Library subscribes. This is a yearly process.
  • Cancellation of Subscription Resources-Serials and Online Resources: The Library regularly reviews online resources to ensure the relevance and value to the collection. The following factors will be considered:
    • Online usage statistics
    • Cost per use
    • Uniqueness of content
    • Availability of other access
    • Terms of license and subscription
    • Input from faculty, staff and students

Weeding by Call Number

  • Reference (A-Z): Replace as needed
  • General Works (A) & Philosophy (B-BD, BH, BJ): Follow weeding criteria
  • Psychology (BF): Follow weeding criteria. Discard psychology material older than 10 years (not including Biography, History of Psychology, and Psychological Theory)
  • Religion (BL-BX), History (C, D, E, F), Geography (G-GR), Athletics (GV), Social Science (H-HA), Economics (HB-HJ): Follow weeding criteria
  • Sociology (HM-HX): Follow weeding criteria. Keep primary works by major sociologists
  • Political Science (J-JX), Law (K), Education (L), Music (M) & Art (N): Follow weeding criteria
  • Literature (P): Keep multiple editions of classic literary works
  • Science, Mathematics, Computer Science, Astronomy, Chemistry and Physics and Biological Sciences (Q-QR): Discard material older than 10 years except history or when there are new scientific discoveries, theories, and techniques. Keep classics, significant value and seminal titles.
  • Medicine (R): Constant monitoring of changes in disease diagnosis and treatment. Discard nursing, some health, medicine, nutrition and drug materials older than 7 years. Older titles in this LC classification are evaluated individually and determinations are made case-by-case.
  • Technology (T) & Applied Science: Discard material older than 5 years. Keep cookbooks.
  • Military (U-V) & Bibliography and Library Science (Z): Follow weeding criteria
  • Children’s Collection: Keep classic titles

Items Not Weeded

  • Faculty and staff authors
  • Classic titles in each program
  • Core materials in each program
  • Literary classics
  • Works of historical value

Disposal of Weeded Materials

Some weeded materials are offered for sale to students, faculty and staff. The remaining materials are either donated or recycled. Materials are processed/removed from Insignia and WorldCat/OCLC. Lists of discarded items are kept with library statistics for future reference.

Physical Inventory of the Collection

Every 5 years an inventory is performed at the Library. Inventory is performed by scanning each item. The generated inventory reports confirm if materials are on the shelf, checked out, or missing. Items that are not found are marked with the status of “missing” in the catalog. Once the missing item is identified, a librarian may decide to replace or purchase an updated copy of the item. Once the missing item is replaced the old record is deleted.


The library attempts to keep materials in good condition. When deterioration does occur, a Librarian will preserve the materials if it falls within the selection and weeding guidelines.

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Resource Sharing and Interlibrary Loan

The collection is varied and large for a small 2-year college, but cannot cover every potential needed resource. Therefore, the Library participates in a few programs to “supplement” the needs of the students and faculty.

  • AcademicSHARE Program: The Library participates in a program which allows Trocaire students to use their college IDs to borrow materials from local academic collections.
  • Interlibrary Loan: In partnership with the University at Buffalo, the students, staff and faculty have access to books and journal articles at no cost to them if an item is not owned by the Library. Journal articles are delivered electronically and books are delivered to the Library.

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  • Deed of Gift
  • Request for Review of Library Materials/Considerations

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Summer Library Hours
(May 27 – Jul 26)

Monday – Thursday – 9am – 5pm


Monday May 27


(Memorial Day)