Skip to Main Content

Collection Development Handbook: Home

What is collection development?

Collection Development is defined as the planned purchase of materials in various formats to match the instructional and research needs of the campus within the current fiscal environment and resource sharing opportunities. The heart of a library is its collections: The building houses them; the library personnel acquire and manage them and teach users how best to access and use them.  adapted from

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.

Collections are developed by librarians and library staff by buying or otherwise acquiring materials over a period, based on assessment of the information needs of the library's users. In addition to ongoing materials acquisition, library collection development includes:

  • the creation of policies to guide material selection
  • replacement of worn or lost materials
  • removal (de-selection,weeding) of materials no longer needed in the collection
  • planning for new collections or collection areas
  • cooperative decision-making with other librarians or within library consortia 

adapted from

Whose job is it, anyway?

Faculty recommendations and requests play an essential role in the collection development process.  However, faculty cannot be expected to do all of the selection. The librarian liaison must take responsibility for:

  • identifying and ordering significant new works in the subject area
  • letting faculty know about new publications in their field and asking if they are interested in having it in the library
  • making sure that new courses and programs have adequate resources
  • identifying weak areas of the collection and selecting books needed to fill the gap
  • acquiring materials based on user needs
  • replacing important works that have become worn, deteriorated, or lost
  • de-selecting materials that are outdated, no longer needed, or otherwise inappropriate

Liaison duties in collection development

  • Work with faculty and collection development specialist to develop a comprehensive collection development policy for each liaison subject area.
  • Respond to faculty requests for Resource Analyses as quickly as possible.
  • Make collection policy changes as indicated by Resource Analyses and other information about new courses, programs, or concentrations.
  • Work with Collection Development Specialist and departmental faculty to insure that collection development policies are reviewed on a regular basis and revised as needed.
  • In collaboration with departmental faculty and other liaison librarians, conduct regularly scheduled ongoing weeding of the stacks.
  • Submit orders for faculty book requests in a timely manner.
  • Select new materials based on collection development policies, faculty requests, and review sources.
  • Check book reviews in Choice, GOBI and other sources to identify important works that should be added to the collection.
  • Pass along reviews and other book information to other liaison librarians who may be interested.
  • Communicate with other liaisons about books selected that are also relevant to their subject areas.
  • Recommend trials for electronic resources; collect feedback from trial; submit recommendation forms for resources that should be considered for purchase.
  • In collaboration with departmental faculty, conduct scheduled reviews and assessments of collection sections, insuring that the entire subject area is assessed a minimum of every ten years.
  • Participate in Collection Development Day workshops and other professional development opportunities related to collection development

from Liaison Duties, Library document, 5/2013