Collection Development Policy

Table of Contents

     A. Responsibility for Selection
     B. Criteria for Selection
         1. Criteria for new subscriptions
         2. Criteria for adding free books to the catalog

     C. Scope
     D. Depth of Coverage
     E. Material types and formats not purchased
     F. Formats for inclusion
     G. E-readers



This collection development policy covers UST collections housed at O'Shaughnessy-Frey and Keffer libraries. Collection policies have been developed for specialized collections: Media Resources Collection, Music Resource Center, Professional Education Resource Center (Curriculum/Children's literature), Special Collections, Archbishop Ireland Memorial, and the Schoenecker Law Library; contact those units individually for more information.

This policy exists in order to design and direct the growth, scope, level, size, and location of the Libraries' collections. These collections reflect the nature of the institution as a Doctoral/Research University - Intensive as described by the Carnegie classification.*  As such, they support undergraduate and graduate instruction, sustained independent study within the context of the established curriculum and a diversity of viewpoints.

*Doctoral/Research Universities - Intensive: These institutions typically offer a wide range of baccalaureate programs, and they are committed to graduate education through the doctorate. During the period studied, they awarded at least ten doctoral degrees per year across three or more disciplines, or at least 20 doctoral degrees per year overall.

The collections include a wide range of basic resources, both print and electronic, including but not limited to: monographs, a selection of representative journals, reference tools and fundamental bibliographic resources pertaining to a subject. These are materials not only located within the confines of the University but includes materials accessible through electronic information retrieval systems.  Our mission statement and collection development goals emphasize our desire to provide the materials that support the curriculum and the intellectual development of St. Thomas students, faculty and staff.

II. A.     Responsibility for Selection

The responsibility for the coordination and implementation of collection development rests with the library staff. All members of the St. Thomas community are encouraged to recommend materials for purchase or access in their fields of expertise.

II. B.    Criteria for Selection

Within the goals stated above, the following factors will be considered as appropriate when making selection decisions:

  • accuracy, organization of information
  • intended audience and do we serve them
  • authors' credentials: qualified in this area; what else have they written; recognized expert
  • availability in other locations or formats
  • completeness
  • currency of information (as appropriate)
  • English is preferred except in specific disciplines like modern languages
  • format
  • depth of indexing and abstracting 
  • licensing restrictions, patency of the connections; method of access; updating schedule, archiving, tutorials and documentation
  • price and availability
  • publisher's reputation
  • quality of binding, reproductions, graphs, readability, paper quality
  • relationship to other items in the collections
  • reviews
  • scholarship - table of contents, indexed; thoroughly referenced, peer-reviewed
  • space and ongoing expenses, including maintenance and equipment
  • thoroughness of research in preparation of the resource
  • potential and apparent use
  • ease of use (including quality of the search engine)

II. B. 1.     Criteria for new subscriptions


  • Requests for new subscriptions in any format can start in any form (by phone, email, webform) and may go to liaisons or Head of Serials, and can be sent by any kind of requestor (student, faculty, staff, and non-UST)
  • When they start with the Head of Serials, she gathers the basics:
  • Who is requesting (how are they connected to UST)
  • What do they want
  • A bit of why they want it
  • Research is conducted and information is passed forward to the roundtable/liaison (price, format options, whether owned already in any format, and any background info should we decide to purchase)

Criteria to consider:

  • Any subscription, whether free or paid, should have at least a 3 year commitment (or it's not worth the work nor fair to patrons)
  • Courses/programs supported
  • Full-text/online/print availability
  • Holdings of other libraries (CLIC, U of M)
  • Indexing: is it indexed, or is it a new title?  Where is it indexed?
  • Price
  • Requestor.  If faculty: full-time, or adjunct?

Requestors should be judicious in requesting "free" e-journals to be listed in the A - Z List and mindful of follow-up necessary to keep them up to date.

II. B. 2 Criteria for adding free books to the catalog

  • We don’t own them in any format
  • Full bibliographic information is available
  • E-reproduction is in PDF
  • Within our scope
  • Nothing is free, so pretend you were going to be buying the item, would you?
  • Stable provider
  • Based on demand, may have to limit the requests over time, new items will have priority

II. C.     The scope refers to the range of subject fields of interest to UST

The subject areas collected are those that support the curriculum. The majority of materials are organized by the Library of Congress Classification system. In addition the libraries set aside a small portion of the materials budget to supplement the curricular subjects in order to build a well rounded collection and for cultural literacy.

II. D.     Coverage refers to the depth or intensity of collecting efforts within a subject field

Collection development intensity levels are assigned to subjects to reflect programmatic and accreditation needs.  Interlibrary loan is utilized to augment the collections. The Schoenecker Law Library will be the primary purchaser of items dealing with law.

Out of scope - The libraries do not collect in this area

Minimal collection - few selections are made beyond classic or very basic works.   

Basic collection -  supports lower-division undergraduate research; includes the core of the discipline or sub-discipline  as it relates to the UST curriculum. This level describes a highly selective collection that serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the variety of information available elsewhere, such as:

  • selected databases
  • fundamental materials
  • historical surveys
  • editions of important works
  • introductory works
  • representative journals
  • standard reference works

Extensive collection - supports upper division, graduate course work, or sustained independent study which are adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required at less than research intensity. It  includes the content of the Basic Collection and:

  • a wide range of primary and critical resources
  • critical bibliographical resources
  • complete collections of the works of important writers
  • specialized databases
  • pertinent journals
  • reference resources

Research collection -  supports ongoing or likely future research leading to a doctorate, independent study or faculty research. It includes resources supporting the framework for the methodology and implementation of original doctoral research. As with the other collecting levels, interlibrary loan is expected to augment UST faculty research.


II.    E. What the libraries will not typically acquire (See Special Collections' development policies for exception:   

  • abridged editions
  • back runs of journals without a continuing commitment.
  • catalogs of commercial firms
  • consumables including laboratory manuals, examination review books, programmed texts and workbooks
  • loose-leaf and updating services will be collected very selectively. Preference will be given to electronic versions
  • multiple copies
  • non-local newspapers except for those defined as "national" newspapers
  • popular works which are outside leisure reading policy
  • spiral bound books
  • telephone directories
  • textbooks
  • Documents printed from the web will not be included in the regular collections.

II.    F. Formats for inclusion

Generally, the library will not acquire formats if we do not own the equipment to support them.

  • Monographs:  Includes treatises, music scores, exhaustive treatments of subjects, encyclopedic works, dictionaries and other reference tools.
  • Serials: Includes journals (periodicals), annuals, standing orders (continuations), reports, newspapers, yearbooks, memoirs, transactions and proceedings.
  • Audiovisual materials: Preferred formats for addition to the collections are audio CDs, CD-ROM,  DVD.   Supplementary materials in AV formats will be included with the item.
  • Government publications: Generally, we will provide access to the electronic resource through the catalog rather than acquire in print, if available.
  • Dissertations, terminal projects: Every effort will be made to include two copies of these projects prepared by students in the completion of their degrees at the University of St. Thomas. One copy with be held in the appropriate circulating collection and one in the archives.
  • Archival materials.
  • Early monographs and rare books.
  • Electronic resources: the libraries will acquire, lease or purchase access to books, serials and government documents in electronic format. Electronic content will be preferred for serial and database purchases. Web based products are preferable to CD based content.
  • Digital Assets: Access to digital resources, e.g. ArtStore or locally produced resources.
  • Streaming video/audio.

II.  G.  E-readers   

E-Reader content generally will abide by the Collection Development Policy for the University of St. Thomas. Literary fiction and popular non-fiction are appropriate for the E-Reader. While we typically will not duplicate extant print materials, we might duplicate items on the E-Reader for the general collection. While the leisure reading collection is in place, light fiction and popular non-fiction can be chosen for that collection.

E-Reader content is ‘permanently’ part of the collection. E-Reader content is chosen to enhance the devices’ circulation and therefore is likely to have popular fiction: however, it should be quality fiction.


Monetary gifts are appreciated. Prospective donors should consult with the Director of Libraries and with the University Development Office.

Donations of materials have become increasingly expensive to manage and less than 10% are added to the collections.

The materials should be related to the curricula and meet the Criteria for Selection from the libraries’ Collection Development Policy or be fiction.

  • St. Thomas faculty, staff, students and alumnae:The libraries will gratefully accept materials in good physical condition from current and past students, faculty and staff with provisos listed below. Donors who wish to have acknowledgement for tax purposes, must contact the appropriate person listed below prior to arrival in the library.
  • Unaffiliated donors: Materials from potential donors who are not associated with the University of St. Thomas are handled on a case by case basis.  

Donors with items destined for the book sale and without acknowledgement for tax purposes may bring their materials to the circulation desk.

There are significant handling, cataloging and processing costs associated with items added to the Libraries' collections.  Donations of large gift collections require unexpected out-of-budget expenses for the Libraries.  Arrangements for the funding to cover these expenses may be made prior to the acceptance of large gift collections.

Donated materials are evaluated by library staff members who will make the final determination as to which items the libraries will add to the collections. These will be handled during the fiscal year in which they are received. Those not added to the collections may be sold through the book sale or other venues or donated to worthy causes.

Donations are acknowledged in writing; however, the donor is responsible for the appraisal of the materials. Due to the 1986 Tax laws, the recipient of gifts is not allowed to appraise the value of the gift. The following are provided for some guidance. (Listing them here does not imply approval.)

  • Your Old Books. Association of Research Libraries, American Library Association. "This guide covers some frequently asked questions about rare books and book values."
  • The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America, publishes an annual membership directory. It includes subject and geographical indices to help you contact the booksellers who might be of assistance. 

Other sources for your materials (please see their websites to determine acceptance policies):


Collection maintenance is an ongoing process by which materials in the libraries are evaluated so that decisions can be made concerning the repair, replacement, relocation or withdrawal of items. The criteria for the evaluation of materials are the same as the criteria for selection. Faculty collaboration in the evaluation process is welcomed but final decisions regarding retention of particular items are made by library staff.


Library materials are selected according to the collection development goals, general criteria, and discipline-specific guidelines. The University of St. Thomas subscribes to the principles expressed in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement, copies of which are appended to and made an integral part of this policy (Appendices A and B). In addition, this policy is written in accordance with the University's Statement Regarding the Addressing of Controversial Issues in which a commitment is made to "valuing the diverse viewpoints reflective of a larger society."

Because the Libraries strive to provide collections that represent a diversity of viewpoints, library users may occasionally find materials owned by the Libraries to be controversial or objectionable. Written complaints will be considered within the guidelines outlined in this policy. In considering such complaints, the following statement from the Library Bill of Rights shall remain paramount: "Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. . . . Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval."


The libraries of the University of St. Thomas request to be informed at an early stage when new programs or new courses are being proposed in an academic department. This helps ensure that adequate funding both for start-up costs and ongoing expenses will be available for the acquisition of materials and provision of library services needed to support the program or course. In order to estimate the funding, materials, and services required, the libraries request that academic departments consult with their liaison librarian at an early stage of the proposal process.

   APPENDIX A:  Library Bill of Rights

   APPENDIX B:  Freedom to Read Statement

   APPENDIX C:  University Statement Regarding the Addressing of Controversial Issues

Policy dated October 1997; revised September 2012
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