Collection Development Policy


General Policy

Lane Library's primary collection development goal is to provide students and faculty with access to print, non-print, and electronic information resources in support of the educational mission of Armstrong State University. As a secondary goal, Lane Library strives to maintain collections that support the college-level study of the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This policy establishes guidelines for selecting, acquiring, and de-selecting information resources in the library. Separate guidelines describe policy details for the Reference Collection, University Archives, and Library Special Collections.

The majority of the Library's acquisitions are made in response to faculty requests approved by the appropriate department head or designated departmental library liaison. Material costs are charged to each department's library allocation budget. Librarians assist with selection by bringing new publications to the attention of individual faculty members. In addition, librarians choose materials for the collection based on reviews and on lists of academic publications recommended for university libraries. These purchases are supported with funds allocated for librarians to spend on collection development. The University Librarian welcomes suggestions from faculty for enhancing the quality of the collection.


Faculty requests for book purchases are channeled through the department head or departmental library liaison and submitted to the library via an online form. Faculty members can obtain ordering information and prices for materials from the Head of Technical Services. Reviews of academic books along with prices and ISBNs are available in the online version of Choice at Requestors can specify priority level for ordering and purchasing individual items. Low priority requests will be purchased near the end of the fiscal year if funds allow.

Requests for new periodical subscriptions require authorization from the department head. Requests may be sent to the University Librarian for consideration at any time during the year; however, orders for new subscriptions are generally entered in the Fall, so that service will begin with the start of the next calendar year. When applicable, the University Librarian will discuss the choice of print or electronic format with the department head and the requesting faculty member.

Requests for audiovisual materials (such as DVDs, music CDs, and electronic media) are made by each department in cooperation with the University Librarian. Preview may be required before purchasing any item priced over $200.


Departmental Budget Allocation Policy

The Library materials budget is allocated to the academic departments early in the fiscal year. These funds are provided to build the Library collections, to license electronic information sources, and to maintain periodical collections in support of academic programs and the educational mission of the University. They are not intended for items that will not be added to the Library inventory or otherwise made available to all library patrons. Association memberships will be purchased with these funds only when they include subscriptions to association publications.

Funds are allocated to departments based on a number of factors, including number of undergraduate hours generated, graduate program needs, obsolescence of library materials in the subject areas, relative cost of materials in the disciplines, usage statistics for materials in the disciplines, and the need to meet departmental accreditation standards. A library collection development and contingency fund, encumbered at the discretion of the University Librarian, is maintained to support needs that cannot be met with departmental allocations. Departmental allocations not spent by March 1st of each academic year will revert to the library fund.

At times budget restrictions may not allow library funds to be allocated to departments at the beginning of the fiscal year. At such times the University Librarian will endeavor to retain current periodical and database access at the expense of book and audiovisual acquisitions. If sufficient funds become available late in the fiscal year and if time allows, the University Librarian will solicit purchase requests from the departments, with priority given to earlier requests.


Reference Collection Policy

I. Purpose and Goals of the Reference Collection

The reference collection supports the research needs of Armstrong students, faculty and staff. It contains such materials as abstracts and indexes, encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, directories, bibliographies, statistical compilations, and handbooks. The reference collection primarily supports Armstrong academic programs. Reference works that provide basic bibliographic access to or an overview of other academic disciplines are also selected. All library users have open access to reference material in the designated Reference Collection area located on the first floor of the library.

II. Selection Criteria

  1. Relevance to the curriculum, usefulness to the Armstrong academic audience, and significance to the geographic area of Savannah, southeast Georgia, and the state of Georgia.
  2. Timeliness and lasting value of content and format
  3. Credentials of the author, issuing body, and/or publisher
  4. Presentation and usability (style, clarity, intuitiveness, and organization)
  5. Special features:
    1. accurate, usable index;
    2. bibliography;
    3. footnotes;
    4. pictorial representations
  6. Physical and technical quality:
    1. paper, typography, and binding;
    2. stability (electronic resources);
    3. compatibility with other library systems
    4. suitability of content to format
  7. Strength of existing holdings on the same or similar subject
  8. Price/relative cost of material in relation to the budget and other available or needed material

III. Types and Formats of Materials for the Reference Collection

  1. Basic language tools such as foreign language dictionaries and phrase books are collected for general reference needs. Foreign-language materials are selected to support the curriculum in literature and language studies.
  2. Electronic resources are the preferred format for many library resources. These products include databases, abstracts and indexes, data files, journals, reference sources, image collections, and e-books.
  3. Gifts are added to the collection based on the same selection criteria used for purchased materials.
  4. Textbooks and manuals are not purchased or added to the collection unless they have earned a reputation as classics in their fields or are the only or best sources of information on a particular topic.
  5. The library does not select materials in proprietary, nonstandard or obsolete formats.
  6. Duplicates are not selected unless warranted by heavy usage of copies already held by the library.

IV. Procedures for Reference Acquisitions

  1. All books, sets, or databases priced at $300 will qualify as reference purchases.
  2. All recommendations for reference materials are submitted to a reference librarian for consideration.
  3. Once a year, reference librarians will review all accumulated recommendations in the context of reviews and selection criteria, and assign each recommendation a priority rating of 1, 2, or 3.
  4. Materials ranked as priority 1 will be forwarded to Head of Technical Services for purchase.
  5. Materials with lower rankings will be purchased as funds allow.
  6. The University Librarin has final approval of all purchases.

V. Collection Maintenance

  1. Location of Materials
    1. Reference resources purchased with library funds and gifts to the library become part of the library collection and are shelved in the designated reference collection area
    2. Reference materials are available for in-library use only and do not circulate.
    3. Access to electronic reference resources is in compliance with licensing agreements.
  2. b. De-selection
    1. De-selection of library materials, the process of removing items from the collection, is essential for the maintenance of an active, academically useful library collection. De-selection provides quality control for the collection by elimination of outdated, inaccurate, and worn-out materials.
    2. Librarians are responsible for conducting an ongoing de-selection effort in consultation with faculty in their areas of collection responsibility and for maintaining the quality of the collection.
    3. The same guidelines used for selection of library materials provide the underlying principles for de-selection.

Special Collections Policies

Minis Room General Policy

The Florence Powell Minis Room Collection of Lane Library is designed to assist students, scholars, and the general public in researching Savannah and the surrounding area, including coastal Georgia, the Sea Islands, and the Golden Isles. The Collection is housed in the Minis Room and does not circulate.

Subject Scope

Works on history and literature form the bulk of the Collection, which includes a complete set of Conrad Aiken's publications. Current materials are added to the Collection as they are published, and appropriate out-of-print works are pursued as well. Materials are purchased from publishers, small presses, individuals, and rare book dealers. While the Library welcomes donations to the Minis Room Collection, materials clearly beyond the scope of the Collection will not be added.

The Minis Room may also house rare or expensive items and duplicates of works in the general collection. First editions or numbered and signed editions of literary works are preferred; foreign editions may also be collected. Papers of prominent Savannahians, journals, records, cassette tapes, recordings, videocassettes, microforms, pamphlets, pictures, maps, and vertical files materials may be added to the Minis Room Collection, although the emphasis remains on collecting books.

Armstrong Publications: The Minis Room houses key publications of Armstrong, including back issues of Armstrong's Bulletin / Catalog, The Inkwell, Calliope, and The Geechee. With the exception of the Savannah Biographies, a collection of biographical essays written by students from Armstrong's history department, other University records and manuscripts are housed in the Armstrong Archives (see Archives below).

Nonfiction: Most of the nonfiction books housed in the Minis Room Collection are works on the history of Savannah and the surrounding area. Histories of Georgia during the colonial period are also collected, as well as other histories of Georgia which feature Savannah. Other areas of collecting interest include: any nonfiction work which concerns Savannah, nonfiction of lasting interest by Savannah authors, works about Savannah authors, Savannah description and travel, and biographies of Savannahians. Savannah city directories are kept in the Minis Room due to their historical value.

Fiction: The Minis Room Collection contains literature by Savannah authors, including novels, poetry, plays, and literary criticism. Works of fiction set in Savannah are also included.

Due to the limits of available space and funds, the Minis Room Collection does not include materials on the following subjects:

  • » Histories of cities in Georgia other than Savannah
  • » Histories of South Carolina, Florida, and the South
  • » Histories of Georgia which do not include a significant amount of material on Savannah
  • » Publications intended solely for tourists
  • » Nonfiction by Savannah authors which is not of general interest, such as textbooks and technicalmaterial
  • » Fiction by authors who are from South Carolina, Florida, or cities in Georgia other than Savannah
  • » Cookbooks
  • » Biographies of Georgians who have no connection with Savannah.

For information about accessing the Minis Room, see the Florence Powell Minis Room web page.

Armstrong State University Archives: The purpose of the University Archives is to identify, collect, preserve and make available University records and manuscripts of enduring value. The purpose of collecting such records is to provide documentation of the development and growth of the University, its role in the state of Georgia and in the community at large, the activities of its student body and alumni, and the development of its physical plant and grounds.

Material will be acquired through internal transfer, donation, deposit and purchase. Donations of materials and funds are essential to maintaining and developing the Archives and Special Collection. Grant funding is also sought. The decision to select and preserve records of historical value is the responsibility of the designated Library staff. The University Archives and Reading Room are located on the second floor of the Lane Library.

At present the University Archives especially welcome donations of material relating to the first 50 years of the history of the University. The collection will focus primarily on the history of Armstrong State University. However, manuscripts significant to local and regional history will be collected.

The Archives and Special Collections will not serve as a records management and storage facility for routine records of the University's Registrar's Office or the Business Office. The Archives will not, generally, accept the following: materials relating to other geographical regions, or partial manuscripts and archival collections when major portions have already been deposited in another repository.

See the University Archives Policy Manual for more information.

Guidelines for Receipt of Gift Books

Lane Library welcomes and appreciates gift books from any donor, but only under the explicit condition that Lane Library is under no obligation to keep donated materials and may dispose of them at any time in any manner. Only those materials that are in good physical condition and that fall within the scope of the University's academic programs are considered for addition to the collection. Gifts are acknowledged by the University Foundation; however, appraisal of gifts for tax purposes is the donor's responsibility.

General Policies

The following types of materials are not accepted:

  • » Physically damaged books, including books printed on deteriorating or yellowed paper.
  • » Books that may adversely affect one's health (i.e., materials that are moldy, mildewed, or chemically damaged)
  • » Books that in the judgment of the University Librarian are otherwise unsuitable.


Selection policy is based on content, physical condition, and publication date. Lane Library does not add textboks to the collection if they are more than five years old.

Specific Categories

Pure & Applied Sciences (nursing, medicine, biology, mathematics, etc.):
The Library keeps only the latest editions and books published within the last 5 years.
Research / Historical:
The Library keeps books with distinctive historical value or research value, and books written by established authors
The Library keeps carefully selected business books that may support study in other disciplines.
Social Sciences (history, political science, economics, criminal justice, psychology):
Selection is based on age, value to the discipline and the curriculum.
Humanities (literature, fine arts, music, etc.):
Selection is based on value to the discipline and the curriculum. Cliff Notes and similar materials are not added to the collection.
Selected fiction titles will be added to the collection.


Withdrawals and Replacements

Books superseded by acquisition of a newer edition are withdrawn from the collection, unless the superseded edition has special historical or literary value. Superseded editions of reference books may be added to the circulating collection upon receipt of the newer edition. Worn and damaged books are repaired if possible or rebound. If not, these (as well as books lost in circulation) are replaced by new copies or newer editions, provided that they have circulated recently, are reasonably priced, and still in print.

Systematic deselection of materials, aka "weeding," will be undertaken when necessary to make space for new materials. Librarians will follow established guidelines when choosing materials for deselection, based on age, condition, use, and availability of similar items in the collection.

Objections to Materials in the Collection

Lane Library collection development activities are carried out in accord with the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association. The library collections are intended for use by adults and may contain materials that some find objectionable and/or inappropriate for use by minors. Parents are urged to monitor their children's activities when they use Lane Library.

Any user who has an objection to a particular item in the collection should bring the specific complaint to the University Librarian. Requests to remove one or more items from the collection based on content should be made in writing. The written request must include:

  • » Full contact information for the person(s) bringing the objection
  • » Identification of the item(s) by title, author, etc.
  • » A full description of the reason(s) for requesting that the item be removed from the collection, with reference to page numbers or other location information.

In response to a request meeting the above guidelines, the University Librarian will convene a meeting of an ad hoc committee consisting of a librarian, a representative from the Office of the Provost, a faculty member with disciplinary expertise appropriate for the subject matter of the challenged material, and other members at the discretion of the University Provost. The committee will consider whether the material in question fails to meet the standard of relevance to the institutional mission and then make a recommendation to the University Librarian. The University Librarian will then decide the issue and report back to the person submitting the objection and to the Provost. The person raising the objection(s) may submit a written appeal to the Office of the Provost.