Collection Development

Collections are the heart of any library. At the SU Libraries, a strong connection between librarians and teaching faculty is essential to the cultivation of dynamic, working collections.

Library collection development is the process of meeting the information needs of the people (a service population) in a timely and economical manner using information resources locally held, as well as from other organizations. The SU Libraries collect materials in various formats to match the instructional and research needs of our users, taking into consideration the current fiscal environment and resource sharing opportunities (i.e., direct borrowing from University System of Maryland Affiliated Institutions (USMAI), and InterLibrary Loan).

Collections are developed by librarians through the planned purchase, or otherwise acquisition, of materials over a period of time. Materials are selected based on assessment of the information needs of the Libraries’ users, as well as the currency, relevancy, and quality of the materials. In addition to ongoing materials acquisition, collection development includes:

  • the creation of policies (each for a specific subject area) to guide material selection;
  • replacement of worn or lost materials;
  • removal (aka de-selection) of materials no longer relevant, needed, or appropriate to the collection;
  • planning for new collections or collection areas through the completion of Library Resource Analyses for unit Curriculum Committees; and
  • cooperative decision-making with other librarians or within the USMAI consortia

Teaching Faculty’s Role in Collection Development

Librarians and teaching faculty work together to identify and order titles, as faculty recommendations and requests play an essential role in the collection development process. Teaching faculty know when they want to take a class in a new direction, when they are going to focus on a new seminal title, start teaching the works of a new author, etc. It is for this reason that faculty input, recommendations, and requests are so valuable in the collection development process. 

Faculty should direct resource recommendations to their departmental or library liaison.