Collection Development Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Budget
  3. Selection Responsibility
  4. Overview & Scope of Collections
  5. Collection Development Guidelines
  6. Special Collections
  7. Collection Maintenance
  8. Resource Sharing
  9. Appendices

I. Introduction


The collection development policy is framed within the context of Liberty University’s mission: to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world. The Library supports this mission by strongly undergirding the curriculum of the University. The Library serves residential and online students in comparable ways.


The collection development policy is designed to accomplish three distinct purposes. First of all, it is a tool designed to assist Library and University administrators in the allocation of funds for Library materials. Secondly, it is to serve as a management tool for providing a greater degree of consistency and continuity in the selections policies and practices of the Library. Thirdly, it is to serve as a communications tool for informing the University community of the Library’s guidelines for selecting materials to be added to the collection, as well as the criteria for withdrawing materials from the collection.

Intellectual Freedom

As an institution of Christian higher learning and insofar as it does not conflict with the doctrinal statements established and endorsed by the University, the Library supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.

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II. Budget

The Library’s fiscal year begins July 1st and ends on June 30th. As soon as the amount allocated to each academic department is established, ordering may commence. This occurs near the beginning of the Fall semester. The Library encourages departments to submit their requests as soon as possible so that the ordering process can be completed within the constraints of the fiscal year. As a general guideline 50% of a department’s allocation should be spent and/or encumbered by November 1st.  In order to assure that the budget is completely spent, all unencumbered funds return to the Library on March 1st. The Library has the discretion, at this point, to reallocate the funds to various departments or use the funds in any manner deemed appropriate.

Monies can be spent on books and media; however, special permission from the Dean is needed to spend funds on databases.

The Library does not purchase items for designated faculty or department offices.

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III. Selection Responsibility

The Dean of the Library is ultimately responsible for the nature and quality of the holdings contained in the Library's various collections. She is assisted in this task by the Head, Collection Management and others in the Collection Management Department, along with the librarians according to their areas of expertise and assigned liaison responsibilities.

The Library also seeks the assistance of the University's residential and online faculty. As authorities in their respective fields, their involvement in the selection of materials is essential. Therefore, all faculties are encouraged to submit requests for materials that support their specific curricular and research needs. This can be accomplished in one of three ways: (1) all requests are filtered through the Dean of the College or School, or Chair of the Department; (2) each College, School or Department may choose to form a Library Committee; (3) all faculty may submit orders. The responsibly as to which option is chosen is made by the Dean of the College or School.

Other members of the University community, including administrators, staff and students are also invited to participate in the selection of materials. They may request specific items based on their curricular, research or recreational needs.

All requests for materials must conform to the selection guidelines established by the Library. In addition, it should be understood that the selection of materials will be based largely on the availability of funding and the appropriateness of the materials for the Library's collections. The final decision for all materials selected will rest with the University Library.

Each department has a designated librarian who will serve as its library liaison. This person should have a strong interest in the literature relevant to the department and should be prepared to: supply their department with relevant bibliographic information such as reviews, catalogs, and other aids; channel requests for purchases from their department to the Head, Collection Management; ensure that the diverse library needs of all members of the department are adequately catered for; and be the point person of contact for communication between the Library and their department. In addition to the above, the liaison should keep the department informed as to the status of their budget. Within this total process the Head, Collection Management assists in all the above duties.

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IV. Overview & Scope of Collections

Liberty University offers a great amount of diversity within the instructional programs of the institution. The Library reflects this diversity by collecting materials at varying levels of intensity, depending on the subject matter of the material and the prominence which this subject has in the instructional programs of the University. Therefore, a collection intensity level has been assigned to each appropriate segment of the Library of Congress Classification system. These levels describe the degree to which the Library seeks to collect materials for that specific subject area. The following is a summary of the numerical designations for each intensity level used by the Library, with a brief description of that particular level.

  1. Basic Level. A collection area in which general materials are selected based on their appropriateness for introducing and defining the subject area. These works may also serve to indicate sources and varieties of information available elsewhere.
  2. Survey Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for directly supporting the instructional programs for this subject area at the lower undergraduate level.
  3. Advanced Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for directly supporting the instructional programs for this subject area at the advanced undergraduate level.
  4. Research Level. A collection area in which materials are chosen based on their appropriateness for supporting the graduate curriculum and/or faculty level research in this subject area.

Please note that the most intensive level of collecting is the Comprehensive Level, in which a Library seeks to amass an exhaustive collection of all significant works of recorded knowledge in a defined field of study. The Library does not attempt to collect at this level.

Statement of Collection Levels by Subject

The following table represents the intensity levels at which the Library seeks to collect materials:

A General Works 1
B-BD Philosophy/Logic 3
BF Psychology 4
BH-BJ Aesthetics/Ethics 3
BL Religion - General 3
BM Judaism 2
BP-BQ Islam, Buddhism 2
BR Christianity 4
BS Bible 4
BT Doctrinal Theology 4
BV Practical Theology 4
BX Denominations and Sects 3
C Auxiliary Sciences of History 1
D-DR General & Old World History 3
DS-DT Asian/African History 2
E-F American History 3
G Geography/ Anthropology 2
H-HJ Economics/Industry/Finance 4
HM-HX Sociology 3
J-K Political Science and Law 3
L Education 4
M-N Music and Art 4
P Philology and Linguistics 2
PC-PE Romance, Germanic, English Languages 3
PN Literature: General and Collections 2
PR English Literature 3
PS American Literature 3
PZ Juvenile Literature 2
Q Science and Math 2
R Medicine 3
RT Nursing 4
S Agriculture 1
T Technology 2
Z Bibliography, Library Science 2

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V. Collection Development Guidelines (listed alphabetically)

Assessment of the Collection

Evaluation is an important, ongoing element of collection development. Continual examination of the collection is necessary to affirm relevance to curriculum, and sufficiency is variety and number. Evaluation is accomplished through both direct and indirect means. Usage statistics are analyzed every year to determine the extent to which the collection meets customers’ needs. Interlibrary loan requests and reserve requests are used as feedback. Holdings are compared to standard lists. “Best of” lists are regularly used to build up needed areas of the collection. Faculty expertise is sought after.

Audio Visual Materials

Audio visual materials, such as DVDs and CDs, are supported by the materials budget and selectors are encouraged to include such materials in their requests. Preference is given to the most up-to-date format.


Because of indicated demand, monographs will continue to be selected and acquired in print format with selection based upon the criteria established throughout this policy.

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources (e-books, e-journals, research databases) are an ever-increasing component of the collections to support the teaching and learning mission of the University.  Similar selection criteria apply; however, special considerations must be given to these resources, including:

  • Cost, including any hidden costs, the possibility of consortial arrangements, and whether the cost is for a one-time purchase (which may include annual access fees), or a subscription.
  • Technical considerations:
    • Access by IP recognition, including remote access
    • No requirements for additional or special hardware or software, other than what is freely available and widely used;
  • Compatibility with open URL link resolvers, discovery services and other management tools used by the Libraries.
  • Full-text availability
  • Should be user-friendly and provide assistance to the user by prompts and menus, context or function specific help screens, or tutorials.
  • Updated on a regular basis, if currency is a factor.
  • Vendor reliability as to content, business practices, customer and technical support, documentation and training, and notification of content and format changes.
  • Should include printing, downloading and email capabilities.
  • Availability of the most current release of Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) compliant usage data.
  • Acceptable license terms.

Faculty Publications

According to the Faculty Handbook, faculty authors should donate a copy of each published work for inclusion in the archives. The copy purchased from Library funds should be housed in whatever collection makes most sense for its use (Main Stacks, Reference, Audio-Visual, etc.)


Recreational reading will be focused on Christian fiction and will be evaluated on a book-by-book basis.

Gifts and Donations

Books and other physical materials are gratefully accepted by the Library with the following stipulations: there must be no conditions attached to their disposition; and only those materials which prove to be in good physical condition and which conform to the collection goals, guidelines, and policies are actually added to the collection. The Collection Management Librarian acknowledges all gifts. However, the appraisal of gifts for tax purposes is the responsibility of the donor. A listing of gift books, etc., will be provided upon request. In general the Library conforms to the “Statement on Appraisal of Gifts” developed by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Honors and Graduate Theses

Students who author honors and graduate theses are required to cooperate with library personnel to post an electronic copy to the Digital Commons.

Juvenile Materials

See “Curriculum Library” under VI. Special Collections below.


The primary language of materials will be English except for materials which support the curriculum in modern languages and biblical languages.

Magazine, Newspapers, Periodicals

The Library will maintain print holdings of select magazines, newspapers and periodicals deemed as core to supporting the curriculum; however the majority of serial holdings will be made available in electronic format. In addition, a limited number of popular magazines for recreational reading will be purchased. 


Although materials disseminated in micro formats are not aggressively purchased, the Library will continue to support the use of materials already held in the collection in micro format.

Multiple Copies

Only one copy of a title will be purchased, unless anticipated demand warrants the purchase of additional copies. If there are requests for purchase of more than one copy of a particular title, it will require supporting justification. Given the current make-up of the University’s student body, print/electronic duplication will be permitted.

Objectionable Materials

Any member of the University community who finds the content of an item objectionable may request that it be reconsidered for inclusion in the collection. The process for submitting such a request follows.

The customer should obtain, complete and submit an “Evaluation Form for Objectionable Item” (see Appendix A). This form may be secured from and returned to the Customer Service Center along with the item in question. 

The form and a copy of the item are received by the Head, Collection Management.

Within 10 business days, a review committee will convene to review the customer’s concern and to examine the objectionable item. The committee will submit its decision in an “Objectionable Item Review Report” to the ILRC Administration.

If contact information was provided, the customer will be notified of the decision which will include the committee’s rationale for its decision.  The reports from the committee will be kept on file by the Collection Management Department.

Out-of-Print Titles

Titles recommended for inclusion in the collection that are no longer in print will be acquired with the same effort and criteria used for other materials.

Reprints/Superseded editions

Reprints are not added if a copy of the work already exists in the collection.  Superseded editions will be included if requested by a selector.


Scores are included in the selection activity of the Library and are currently housed in the Curriculum Library.

Selection Guidance

To assist selectors in determining the appropriateness of works to be added to the collection, the following criteria should be considered for each title:

  • Relevance of the title to the University’s curriculum
  • Reviews in standard review sources (CHOICE, LJ, Booklist, etc.)
  • Appearance in standard bibliographies
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Reputation/authority/importance of the author
  • Potential for use or known need
  • Accuracy of content
  • Currency of content
  • Lasting value of the work
  • Place in overall in the collection with respect to breadth and diversity


Because of various legal and practical implications associated with software purchases, installation, use and maintenance, software will not generally be purchased for the collection.  Alternative material should be sought in research databases.


Textbooks, especially textbooks used by Liberty University, are not, as a rule, purchased unless supporting justification is given.  In addition, supporting materials, such as workbooks and other “consumable” materials will not be acquired.

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VI. Special Collections


The Liberty University Archives preserves the history of Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Jerry Falwell ministries and Baptist Fundamentalism in general.  This is done by gathering records of enduring value, organizing and preserving these research materials by employing appropriate and adequate methods and technologies, and making them available to scholars and other interested parties via either traditional or electronic access options as the material formats allow.

The Archive will acquire material from and about the following entities: Liberty University, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Jerry Falwell Ministries, the Moral Majority and the Old-Time Gospel Hour. The Archive will acquire unpublished documents and records, books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, maps, posters, photographs, audiotapes, video tapes, film, other media, digital materials, memorabilia, and other printed materials.

The Archive will collect additional materials with the following foci:

  • Organizations and individuals who had close connections with any of the above mentioned entities.
  • Leading figures who played an important or prominent role in the above mentioned entities.
  • Histories, themes and impacts of Baptist Fundamentalism in the United States.

Materials may be added by gift, bequest, purchase or any other transaction by which title passes to the Archives. Final decisions about which materials will be added to the collections are to be made by the Archivist in accordance with standard archival appraising guidelines. It is the responsibility of the donors to ensure that the Archive has their current contact information in case of withdrawals or researcher requests for exceptions to restrictions.

In order to maintain and improve on the quality of the collection, materials may be deaccessioned at any time due to irrelevance, lack of space, duplication, irreparable condition, or transfer to another archival institution. Any deaccessioning of materials must be approved by the Archivist. If materials are deaccessioned the Archives will first attempt to contact the original donors and return the materials to them before the materials are disposed of in other ways unless the owners have indicated that they do not want the materials back.

Curriculum Library

The Curriculum Library supports the School of Education at Liberty University by providing access to a variety of instructional resources. Offerings include textbooks and teaching materials for pre-school through grade twelve as well as standardized tests. Educational games, manipulatives, and models enhance the collection.

An extensive selection of juvenile titles provides reinforcement for classes in Children’s Literature and Adolescent Literature in addition to classes in curriculum development. Materials related to educational theory and research can be found on the shelves of the main collection of the Jerry Falwell Library.

Professional Collection

The purpose of the professional collection is to preserve library material that is valuable, rare, vulnerable to damage or theft, or in fragile condition. The library is not primarily interested in the monetary value of these materials but in the preservation of their content.  These materials are housed in the Archive.

Reference Collection

Reference works are housed within the circulating collection; however, because of their nature do not circulate.  These materials are clearly marked as non-circulating. 


The Library will maintain a limited access collection of materials at the request of faculty in order to ensure availability of course-related materials for students.  Restrictions and guidelines are available on the Library’s website.

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VII. Collection Maintenance


One of the concerns of the University Library is to develop a plan to assist in the preservation of Library resources in the event of a disaster or other major calamity.  This would include damage caused by fire, water, or structural calamity. Such disasters may be natural, such as a flood or tornado, or man-made, such as a fire.

A survey of the Library facility indicates that the greatest damage to the collection would probably be:

  1. the result of fire (including smoke and water damage),
  2. flooding, in the case of substantial water working its way through the roof, or in the instance of a partial or total roof collapse due to some sort of calamity.

As most of the collection is housed in a large open space, it is conceivable that once fire begins in the collection, there is very little in terms of the actual Library structure that would hinder that spread of the flames. Sprinkler systems are in place to be activated in the event of a fire, and fire extinguishers are available at appropriate intervals throughout the facility. However, In any case it is likely that substantial fire, smoke and water damage will occur in the event of a fire.

In the event of a roof leak or partial collapse, the greatest threat to Library materials would probably be posed by potential water damage.  It is likely that such damage would most likely be confined to a specific area, that being the area where materials came in direct with the water as it sought ground level.

In the event that any of the aforementioned disasters should occur, it is important that the following procedures be followed:

  1. The primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of all persons in the facility. In the event of a fire, roof collapse, or any substantial flooding which could compromise the structural integrity of the facility, it is imperative that the Library be evacuated.  Appropriate campus personnel (LUPD) should be notified once everyone is clear of the building and only emergency personnel should enter the building until appropriate personnel have declared the facility safe to re-enter. Staff should notify the Dean of the Library or the Associate Dean, in a timely manner.
  2. Once the immediate danger is past, and the facility has been declared safe to enter, the task of material preservation shall begin. The first step shall be to determine what needs to be done to prevent the spread of further damage. This may mean moving materials, which have received little or no damage to a location that would prevent any additional damage from occurring.

The next step is to begin to assess remaining materials to determine those that are beyond saving, those that will need significant repair, and those, which require little attention. Book and paper materials that have suffered significant fire, smoke, or water damage will be declared unsalvageable. This is due primarily to the fact that current methods of drying and restoring such materials are cost-prohibitive. Representatives of the University's insurance company may need to be consulted at this point to determine their desire.

Computer resources should be evaluated to determine the extent of damage. Unless they have been exposed to severe heat or significant water, they may be salvageable. Microform materials should then be evaluated. They should also have a strong potential for surviving many disasters, and may only need drying off and cleaning.

All materials, which have been determined to be salvageable, should be relocated to a safe location. The Dean of the Library will work closely with other University administrators and insurance personnel to determine what further salvage attempts should be attend. 


Replacements for materials that are missing, lost, or damaged are not automated. The merit of the book or other materials must be evaluated by the Collection Management Librarian with input from the subject area liaison and an appropriate faculty member. If it is decided to replace the lost item the most suitable format is chosen and acquired.


Materials are withdrawn from the Library in order to maintain a current, active, and useful collection, which reflects the goals of the Library. Consultation with the faculty is an essential part of this process as a safeguard against the withdrawal of materials with special qualities or significance.

A unique set of withdrawal criteria (see below) is used for each type of Library material. The Collection Management Librarian, in conjunction with the Head, Collection Management, establishes these criteria in consultation with other librarians and with the teaching faculty when deemed appropriate. For non-serial or series materials these criteria are based on a combination of the following characteristics:

  1. Obsolescence
  2. Language in which material is written
  3. Appropriateness of subject matter to the collection
  4. Quantity and recent past use
  5. Number of copies in the collection

Characteristics to be used to develop criteria for the cancelation of serial or series subscriptions or standing orders are:

  1. Existence and availability of indexes
  2. Language in which material is written
  3. Appropriateness of subject matter to the collection
  4. Past use
  5. Cost of continuing subscription
  6. Overlap of content in other sources

Withdrawn materials may be sold, offered to faculty and students, or discarded.

Criteria for the Withdrawal of Materials

General Collection:

  1. All superseded editions become candidates for withdrawal. Decisions to withdraw will be made by the Collection Management Librarian on a title-by-title basis.
  2. All damaged, lost, or long-overdue materials become candidates for withdrawal. Decisions to withdraw will be made by the Collection Management Librarian on a title-by-title basis.
  3. All titles which have not circulated during the previous ten-year period, and which are not listed in a standard bibliography become candidates for withdrawal.  A list of such candidates, arranged by call number, will be sent to respective Deans for circulation among their faculty. Faculty members are invited to respond to this list by selecting titles, which they feel, should be returned to the collection.

Reference Collection

  1. All superseded editions are candidates for withdrawal.
  2. All revised editions are candidates for withdrawal or placement in the general collection.

All decisions to withdraw are made on a title-by-title basis by the Collection Management Librarian in consultation with librarians in Research Assistance.

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VIII. Resource Sharing


The Library will participate in consortia and other relevant partnerships and associations that result in benefits to the Library and its constituency.  Current memberships include the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), the Christian Library Consortium (CLC), Lyrasis, Westchester Academic Library Directors Organization (WALDO), Lynchburg Area Library Cooperative (LALC).


The Library participates in regional, statewide and national resource sharing programs in order to obtain materials for customers that are not available from its own collections.  For more information, see the ILL web page.

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Evaluation form for Objectionable Item

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This policy is subject to change at any time.