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Penfield Library Collection Management Policy

Purpose of Collection Management

The purpose of the Collection Management Policy is to communicate Penfield Library priorities and principles for building its collections to the SUNY Oswego community, and to provide guidance to those responsible for supporting the collections.

The Penfield Library Collection Management Policy augments the University’s mission of academic excellence by creating and maintaining collections that support the current and future needs for learning, teaching, and research for the community of undergraduate, graduate students, faculty and staff.

These policies define the principles underlying the collection development program of Penfield Library and describe the scope and depth of collections by subject area.

Scope of Policy

The community served by the Penfield Library is first and foremost the SUNY Oswego students and employees, and all materials acquired by the library will reflect the needs of this population. We support the resources surrounding and supporting classes to help SUNY Oswego students be successful. Due to space and financial limitations, the library cannot duplicate the collections and services of local public libraries.

Responsibility for Collection Management

While responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the library faculty, collaboration with teaching faculty is essential to build collections that support the academic programs of the University. Purchase recommendations from all teaching faculty and instructors members are strongly encouraged.

The library faculty work cooperatively in recommending and selecting materials for purchase. Final responsibility for selection lies with the collection management librarian/director of the Library; however, the director delegates to the library faculty the authority to interpret and apply the Policy in making day-to-day selections. In order to do this, Collection Management Librarian with assistance from the Librarians monitors collection use by analyzing circulation statistics, by studying interlibrary loan requests of materials from other libraries to determine areas needing strengthening and by regular and systematic communication with faculty.

Collection development falls under the purview of the Collection Management Librarian who will enlist the help of the designated Subject Liaisons, who use their expertise to select materials. Librarians collaborate with the faculty, consider students’ learning needs, and strive to be responsive to individual and constituent groups. Faculty and students are encouraged to submit recommendations for additions to the collection. Librarians evaluate recommendations to ensure that they meet the University’s teaching, research, and student success goals, as well as the guidelines in this policy.

Library faculty assigned as subject liaisons are responsible for coordinating recommendations and developing a balanced and integrated collection. Librarians work with academic departments to ensure communication and coordination with regard to library acquisitions, including:

  • conveying information about fund allocations and deadlines for purchase recommendations;
  • discussing collection development issues, policies, and procedures;
  • assisting with identifying appropriate materials for selection, including sources and reviews.

Sustainable Collection Practices

In addition to selection criteria for materials added to collections, in both physical and online format, Penfield Library seeks to create a sustainable collection that considers issues of energy use, stability of materials, ability to recycle, and endeavors to pursue vendors who uphold these values.  The library will pursue a balanced approach that considers sustainable practices for collection purchasing, maintenance, and disposal of materials.  

Selection Criteria

Criteria for selection of materials:

  • Are intellectually appropriate for and related to current undergraduate and graduate programs at SUNY Oswego;
  • Support the co-curricular initiatives of the SUNY Oswego campus community;
  • Contribute to richer, more diverse and inclusive library collections.
  • Additionally, purchase considerations will reflect the goals of the SUNY-wide coordinated collection development efforts when practicable.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Our Collections

Penfield Library is committed to developing a collection which represents the University’s diverse community, academic programs, and research needs. Librarians accomplish this by building collections that promote a variety of ideas and viewpoints. To that end, resources that represent a diversity of culture, class, race, sex, gender, ability, and national origin are sought. Librarians strive to collect materials written by authors from traditionally underrepresented populations and highlight perspectives outside of traditional hegemonic social structures. This includes, but is not limited to, collecting materials from authors who are queer, female, disabled, transnational, Indigenous, or racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse. Subject liaisons (librarians) also consider works from other countries in support of a curriculum that prepares students to be globally engaged citizens. The Library supports the ACRL Statement on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and the Print Collecting Imperative.

The Library aims to provide equitable access to our collections in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Librarians prioritize formats that are accessible remotely and readable with assistive technology. Where certain formats are inaccessible, library staff will work with patrons to provide reasonable accommodation and utilize the Office of Accessibility Resources when appropriate.

General Criteria for Selection of Materials

General factors to be considered in adding specific materials to the library collection will include the composition of the present collection and collection management objectives. Additionally, the following factors may be considered, as appropriate to the type of material:

  • Relevance to the curriculum and appropriateness to the user
  • Availability of material in cooperative libraries
  • Comprehensiveness or depth of information for the intended audience
  • Accuracy of information
  • Inclusion of title in special bibliographies or indices
  • Diversity of viewpoint
  • Timeliness and lasting value of material
  • Reputation of the author, issuing body, and/or publisher
  • Presentation: style, clarity, reading level
  • Aesthetic considerations: literary, artistic, or social value; appeal to the imagination, senses, or intellect
  • Special features: detailed, logical, accurate index, bibliography, footnotes, pictorial representations
  • Physical and technical quality: paper, typography, and design; physical size; binding; durability
  • Ease of access or user-friendliness
  • Suitability of the physical format for library use
  • Depth of current holdings in the same or similar subject
  • Demand, including frequency of interlibrary loan requests to borrow similar materials from other libraries
  • Cost of material relative to the budget and other available material
  • Availability in alternate physical or online formats

No materials will be excluded from consideration because of the race, nationality, religion, gender, sexual orientation, political or social view of the material, the author, or the intended audience. Individual items, which may be controversial or offensive to some patrons, may appropriately be selected if their inclusion will contribute to the range of viewpoints and effectiveness of the library collection as a whole.

Note: All materials purchased with library funds will be cataloged and available for all library users.

Types and Formats of Materials Collected

The library collection supports the research needs of the SUNY Oswego curriculum.

  1. Books/Monographs

    When there is an option of paper or hardcover binding, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of the content, and cost differential. Paper editions are generally selected over hardcover editions when both editions are available and of good quality. The cost of trade paper editions plus our having to strengthen them is often significantly less than the hardcover, and these editions hold up well compared to hardcovers.

  2. Textbooks/Study Guides

    Some textbooks / study guides may be purchased for high enrolled general education courses. Donated textbooks may be added to the collection at the librarians’ discretion. Instructors may place physical copies on Reserve without permanently adding them to the library collection, provided that all copyright concerns are considered.

  3. Course Reserves

    Consist of physical materials placed in the library by Faculty and Instructors to provide greater access to course materials during the term a course is taught. It is the responsibility of the faculty member to obtain copies and copyright permission before placing materials on Reserve. Copies of textbooks / course materials owned by the library will be placed on reserve automatically each semester. Faculty and Instructors wishing to order materials for reserve should send requests to their subject liaison. Materials ordered for reserve should conform to selection criteria.

  4. Popular Fiction

    Items having short-term interest among readers will not generally be purchased. A limited number of reviewed titles from current best-seller lists are available to maintain a minimal collection for leisure reading.

  5. Reference Materials

    Supports the research needs of SUNY Oswego students, faculty, and staff. The reference collection contains, but is not limited to, encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, directories, indexes, statistical compilations, and handbooks. Items may be purchased in print or electronic format though electronic is preferred. Though items selected for this collection primarily support the academic programs offered at SUNY Oswego, core academic reference works published in other subject areas are also selected when they provide an introductory overview of an academic discipline. Items in the reference collection do not circulate. The reference collection is reviewed by the librarians continually to ensure currency and accuracy.

  6. Serials/Periodicals/Journals/Newspapers

    Acquired via subscription. Penfield Library journal collections are primarily designed to provide access to online and print content relevant to and actively used in teaching and learning in undergraduate and graduate programs. Serials are publications issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials are issued in print and electronic formats. All formats will be considered in the Library’s purchase and/or access decisions, though we will discontinue print subscriptions in favor of electronic access. Individual issues or reprints will not be purchased.

    Serials collections are reviewed annually by the library faculty. Titles are selected and deselected based on how well they support the continuing information needs of the University. Factors to be considered:

    • Support of academic programs, including program accreditation requirements
    • Cost, including rate of price increases, cost of storage, and/or access costs
    • Uniqueness of subject coverage, content, curricular relevance, and scholarly reputation
    • Intended audience
    • Availability and quality of indexing for content
    • Quality of online interface and access
    • Title availability and currency in currently subscribed aggregated collections
    • Ease of linkage to online content
    • Remote online access via proxy to our users
    • Usage or projected usage
    • Demand for and/or use of online and print versions currently available
    • Demand for title in interlibrary loan based on document delivery requests and availability through interlibrary loan
    • Need to retain hard-copy archival content, and cost of long-term archiving

    Penfield Library will support new publishing models when those models will help us maintain access to high-quality, peer-reviewed research at a manageable cost.

  7. Media Materials

    Purchased by the library on a limited basis as funds permit, primarily at the request of the faculty to support specific coursework. Except in rare circumstances, the library does not purchase media materials with public performance rights. All media materials are intended to support the curriculum and most may be borrowed from the library. The Library acquires media in the most widely adopted and/or durable format but will consider acquisition of older or newer formats if the University can support playback and use.

  8. Electronic Resources

    Prioritized, particularly when they provide the most current and/or cost-effective resources. Electronic resources are available through the Library’s website, both from within the library and through remote access. In addition to adherence to general selection criteria, the following criteria will be used for selecting internet resources:

    • The cost of purchase or maintenance of the resource is considered relative to the number of potential users.
    • Access and design considerations include:
      • Can the resource be accessed remotely via proxy?
      • Does it meet accessibility requirements?
      • How user friendly is it?
      • Is the resource stable, or do features frequently disappear or move between visits?
      • Size of files; how long do the pages take to load?
      • Is the resource open to our users or does access to most of content require membership and/or fees?
      • Must the user download software to navigate the site?
      • Is the purpose of the site clearly stated?
      • Are author and title information clearly identified?
  9. Foreign-Language Materials

    English-language materials will be selected, with the exception of foreign language materials supporting the Modern Languages and Literatures department.

  10. Duplicate Materials

    Added only when warranted by heavy usage of a copy already held by the library. The library participates in several resource sharing cooperatives, and may decide not to purchase duplicate materials that are available from participating libraries.

  11. Out-of-Print Materials

    Rarely purchased. The library recognizes the need for some out-of-print purchases, primarily for replacement of heavily used items which are lost or withdrawn due to poor physical condition. However, in view of the difficulty and expense in obtaining rare, out-of-print, and reprinted material, it is most important to spend funds for current publications.

  12. Faculty and Professional Staff Authors

    Works authored by University faculty and staff have been collected informally through donated gifts and purchases since the school’s inception. In 1989 a “Display to Archives” program was formalized at the request of President Weber. Display to Archives is Penfield Library's ongoing effort to collect, recognize, exhibit, and promote access to the creative and scholarly work of SUNY Oswego's faculty and professional staff.

    Faculty and professional staff donate copies of their recently published professional work, or the programs or reviews related to their recitals, exhibitions, theatre productions, or other creative activities. Donated materials are added to the University Archives, where they are available for student and researcher use.

  13. Faculty Research Needs

    Research needs of faculty pursuing advanced degrees are not directly supported. The University Impact Collections Grant is available to support faculty research. Interlibrary loan is provided in a timely manner to meet faculty, student, and administrative research requirements.

  14. Gifts

    The library may occasionally put out a call for donations of current textbooks. Unfortunately, we are otherwise unable to accept donations of books, media, ephemera, or other items unless they are:

    • directly related to local or SUNY Oswego History, or
    • authored by past or current faculty members.

    The library reserves the right to decline donations and to determine the retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations related to the use or disposition of all gifts. All donated items become the property of the library and will not be returned to the donor if they are not added to (or are later removed from) the collection.

  15. Government Documents

    Penfield Library is a Selective Depository for U.S. Government Publications.

Electronic Resource Licensing Policy

When entering into agreements with vendors for electronic resources, Penfield Library will comply with the Purchasing Department procedure which states that all database license agreements are forwarded to the Purchasing Department for signature and approval. These database license agreements will be reviewed by the Collection Management Librarian and/or the Acquisitions Associate to ensure correct pricing, access, resource sharing language, and other library information is correct.

Preservation and Replacement of Materials

Library staff have training in the proper care and handling of library materials. Decisions are made regarding the replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out materials, based on the following criteria:

  • Does the material being replaced meet the general library collection guidelines?
  • Does the frequency of use justify replacement?
  • Is the item used for class reserve reading or is it on a faculty recommended reading list?
  • Is the item listed in a recommended book list?
  • Can the item be fixed in house and maintain its usefulness and demand?

Resource Sharing, Consortia, and Cooperative Collection Development

The Library is an active participant in resource sharing and consortia to expand resource access to our communities. At the state level, the Library makes use of resources available from NOVELNY, which provides state-wide access to specific databases. The Library is a member of the Northern New York Library Network (NNYLN) which provides resources. We participate in shared SUNY-wide initiatives facilitated by the SUNY Office of Library and Information Systems. The Library continually explores new resource sharing and consortia partnerships.

Open Access

The Library promotes and supports open access (OA) as a path to affordability, sustainability, and equity. Current information on Open Educational Resources (OER) and the SUNY Open Access Repository (SOAR) provides details on SUNY Oswego programs in these areas.


The collection budget is primarily funded by an allocation within the University’s budget. The collection budget is also supplemented endowments and special funds. The Libraries endeavor to support instruction and research needs. However, while the University has made additional allocations for library materials when pursuing major new programs (ex. electrical and computer engineering) overall the library budget has not increased for inflation and therefore the Libraries’ purchasing power has diminished due to cost escalations for library materials that have far exceeded increases in the Libraries’ budget.

To create and maintain a diverse and balanced collection, the Library Director and the Collection Management Librarian use professional judgment to balance allocations, taking into consideration a broad range of factors including disciplinary reliance on periodical materials or monographic materials, resources provided by consortia and State initiatives.

In addition, the library receives formula based state aid via Coordinated Collection Development Aid (CCDA) program to enhance academic library collections thereby strengthening regional collections that are available via resource sharing.

Deselection (Discarding Materials)

Deselection of library material (the process of removing items from the collection) is essential for the maintenance of a current, academically useful library collection. Deselection provides quality control for the collection by elimination of outdated, inaccurate, no longer needed, and worn-out materials. Librarians are responsible for conducting an ongoing deselection effort. As part of the liaison program, faculty may be consulted when items are identified for deselection.

As with selection, the depth and breadth of each subject area should be considered in deselection. Materials that no longer meet selection criteria should be removed from the collection.

Upon removal from the collection, materials may be offered to other libraries or discarded by recycling when practicable.

  1. Print and Media Resources Deselection

    The MUSTIE criteria will be applied during the deselection process:

    • M = misleading and/or factually inaccurate
    • U = ugly, worn beyond and/or unworthy of mending (moldy, poor binding, torn)
    • S = superseded by a truly new edition, duplicates, or a better book on the subject
    • T = trivial, of no discernible literary or scientific merit
    • I = irrelevant to the needs and interests of patrons (no longer supports curriculum)
    • E = easy to obtain the material elsewhere (through interlibrary loan or reciprocal borrowing)

    The following are additional deselection policies for print and media resources:

    • Superseded editions are routinely deselected from the collection.
    • Materials which cannot be repaired or rebound or for which the cost of preservation exceeds the usefulness of the information contained are deselected.
    • If a title has not circulated at least three times in the last fifteen years, it will be deselected. The exception to this would be items considered classic works in their field that have long-term value and will be kept in the collection despite lack of use.
  2. Electronic Resources Deselection

    Ongoing deselection of electronic resources is a necessity because of the dynamic nature of such resources. The following guidelines are used:

    • An electronic resource is no longer available or maintained
    • The currency or reliability of the resource’s information has lost its value
    • Another site or resource offers more comprehensive coverage
    • The cost of purchase or maintenance of the resource is prohibitive relative to the number of users (cost per use)
  3. Serials Deselection
    • Serials that no longer support the curriculum will be discarded in most cases.
    • Print copies of titles available in electronic resources such as JSTOR or other databases will be discarded.
    • Incomplete and short runs of a title may be discarded, particularly when the title is not received currently.
    • Titles which contain information that is not useful long-term, such as newsletters and trade magazines, usually have automatic discard patterns established such as “Library retains one year only”.
    • Annuals, Biennials, and regularly updated editions of guidebooks, handbooks, almanacs, and directories have a deselection pattern established depending on the value of the information contained in earlier editions. Some current editions located in reference also have an earlier edition is placed in circulation.

Collection Maintenance

To keep the collection relevant and useful, and to make the most of limited space, Librarians periodically evaluate the collection. Low-use items, duplicate copies, damaged materials, and material no longer relevant to SUNY Oswego’s programs may be withdrawn from the collection. The library reserves the right to have the final say in all decisions regarding the selection and deselection of materials. Upon removal from the collection, materials may be offered to other libraries or discarded by recycling when practicable.


The Library complies fully with all the provisions of the U. S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The library supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) which permits and protects citizens’ rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.

Intellectual Freedom

The library at SUNY Oswego supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. The library acquires materials that represent differing opinions and without censorship in regard to controversial issues.

Adapted from the Collection Management Policy from Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. Library, SUNY Corning Community College