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This policy states the principles and guidelines for selecting and acquiring materials for the Library. The policy has been developed to support the mission and educational programs of Cosumnes River College, and follows guidelines established by the Association of College and Research Libraries (American Library Association). Viable and effective collections depend on the expertise of librarians, continuous input by and support from faculty, opportunity for input by students and staff, and consistent fiscal support by the institution.

Collection Development Policy Sections

Purpose of the Collection

The Library works to select, acquire, organize and provide managed access to information resources in a variety of formats to directly support and improve student learning and student success. Effective collection development:

  • Supports and complements classroom instruction and the curricular goals of the college;
  • Provides basic and significant works, suitable to a lower division college level, in all major fields of human behavior and knowledge;
  • Supports the culturally diverse population of the college by providing materials representing a variety of global cultural and social viewpoints;
  • Provides diverse resources to support varied learning styles and anticipates and serves special needs;
  • Covers topics of special interest to the college;
  • Provides information on current matters of public interest and controversy;
  • Supports and encourages independent learning and intellectual growth;
  • Promotes social awareness and responsibility;
  • Supports the continual maintenance and evaluation of the Library collection to ensure its currency, completeness, appropriateness, and quality;
  • Supports and upholds the principles of intellectual freedom embodied in the American Library Association Bill of Rights (please see Appendix A below).

Intellectual Freedom

The Library collections provide for the free exchange of ideas in accordance with the Library Bill of Rights as adopted by the American Library Association.  No materials will be excluded on the basis of the author's use of language or manner of dealing with racial, religious, political, sexual, social, economic, scientific, or moral issues, or because of the author's race, religion, or sexual orientation.  Items that may be controversial to some patrons may be selected if their content fits into the collection parameters and contributes to the range of viewpoints and effectiveness of the collection as a whole.

Objectives of the Policy

This policy is intended to guide the development of Library collections in support of our Library mission, goals, and vision and the mission of the College. Because of changes taking place in information dissemination, networking, and Library resource sharing, collection development is no longer limited to physical collections and must also include access to information in all formats. Collection development must also evolve to meet changes in the programs and information needs of the College.

This policy is designed to meet the following objectives: 

  • To help librarians provide current, diverse, balanced collections of materials in a range of levels and formats appropriate to the support of the instructional, institutional, and individual needs of a diverse student, faculty, and staff clientele;
  • To guide and ensure faculty participation in collection development;
  • To provide faculty, staff, and students integrated and organized access to collections of materials in paper, electronic, and audiovisual formats in a cost-effective manner;
  • To assist with short and long-range fiscal planning.

Responsibility for Selection of Materials

Librarians have primary responsibility for collection development, under the supervision of the Dean of Library and Technology Services. Librarians actively solicit input from instructors in all disciplines, encouraging them to make purchase suggestions. This is done through email correspondence with liaisons, visits to department meetings, flex activities, and a variety of other ways. Faculty are encouraged to use the Employee Online Purchase Request Form to help librarians track communication and request fulfillment. Librarians also encourage students, staff, and administrators to make recommendations. A range of opportunities for making suggestions is available, including an online Student Purchase Request Form, suggestion box, email, and informal communication.

Librarians are charged with maintaining the strength of the collection, including correcting weaknesses, ensuring the collection aligns with curricular needs, and seeking balance between subjects and formats. Librarians review program and course curriculum to ensure that adequate library resources are available in support of new programs. Librarians are assigned responsibility for areas of the collection based on their background, education, and expertise. Each librarian is responsible for selecting and weeding materials in assigned areas and for soliciting recommendations from faculty in those areas.  Librarians review recommendations in their areas and make final decisions about the appropriateness of titles.

Criteria for Selection of Materials

Librarians analyze circulation data, study interlibrary loan requests, and record student and faculty needs and interests to determine areas of the collection that need strengthening. Librarians use a variety of bibliographic tools, including reviewing journals, subject area periodicals, booklists, bibliographies, and online resources to identify appropriate materials. In making final selections, librarians are guided by the composition of the present collection and by the following standard criteria, as appropriate to the type of material under review:

  • Relevance to the CRC curriculum in one or more courses;
  • Relevance to a perceived demand, including current events, campus life and staff development topics, and subjects requested on interlibrary loan;
  • A style and reading level appropriate for a general, undergraduate, occupational or selected remedial audience;
  • Positive reviews or other indicators of quality content, including author's reputation, accuracy of content, and publisher reputation;
  • Cultural appropriateness of the work;
  • Availability and currency of existing holdings in the same or similar subject area;
  • Relative need for subject coverage and balance in the collection as a whole;
  • Permanence or timely merit;
  • Currency and availability for acquisition;
  • Appropriate size, physical format and design;
  • Cost, relative to available funds;
  • Access to selected materials for interlibrary loan from cooperating libraries;
  • Ease of access or user-friendliness of electronic resources.

The Library is not responsible for purchasing materials that are required for classes (textbooks, software, and other supplemental items). Items supporting specific classes may be purchased if they are deemed to benefit the greater college population.

Librarians may select outstanding items in fields of knowledge outside the curriculum if they contribute to the range of viewpoints and effectiveness of the Library collection as a whole. Librarians may also select materials for the professional growth of faculty and staff, with the understanding that materials for individual faculty, staff or advanced student research will generally be provided through interlibrary loan. The Library does not seek to build a comprehensive research collection in any individual subject area.

Materials purchased by the Library must be acquired with the intent that they are housed in the Library.

Faculty Requests

Requests for purchase can be made by filling out the CRC Library Purchase Request form. The Library's primary goal in collection development is to support the needs of students. For this reason, faculty requests receive the highest priority since student utilization of Library resources is driven by course assignments. In many cases, the Library is able to fulfill all faculty requests. However, due to budget constraints, all faculty will be asked to rank their requests based on the following need level:

  1. Critical - Vital to teaching my current classes and will definitely be used by my students.
  1. Collection Enhancement - Fills gaps in the Library collection and may be used occasionally by my students.
  1. Wish List - Item is relevant to the subject areas I teach and would be nice to have in the Library collection.

Faculty requesting material will be asked to rank their requests and to indicate whether any requested items will be put on reserve. 

Faculty should be made aware that when making media requests, the Library is no longer ordering preview copies of videos. This is due to the increasing charges and labor intensive paperwork involved in obtaining preview copies. In addition, an increasing number of video publishers are no longer offering a full preview as an option. 

Many vendors now offer short preview clips as well as detailed written information on their websites. These tools will be utilized to help faculty make more informed buying decisions. The librarian liaison for each particular subject area will provide assistance in accessing this preview material.

Types and Formats of Materials

Books are normally purchased in hardback unless the paper version is a significant cost savings or if the book is only available in paperback. Books that require frequent updates, such as computer applications, medical or nursing, test preparation, and selected reference books are usually purchased in paperback.

Electronic books, including reference databases, are selected for their relevance to the curriculum and student interests, appropriate style and reading level, reviews or other indicators of quality, and cost. Ebook selection also involves consideration of shared access with cooperating libraries; special features, such as hypertext links or graphics; and ease of access or user-friendliness. Ebooks may be selected to duplicate print resources when consortial purchase precludes the selection of individual titles, there is a cost benefit for purchasing multiple formats, or different formats meet the needs of off-site, disabled and other user groups. Librarians pursue cooperative acquisition of electronic books with other LRCCD Libraries using guidelines outlined in the LRCCD Electronic Collection Development policy.

Reference materials are primarily selected to support the academic programs at CRC. Additional reference materials in other subject areas are also selected when they provide an introductory overview or key concepts of academic disciplines of potential interest to CRC students, faculty, or staff.  Librarians monitor serially published reference titles for continued relevance to college needs, price increases, shelf space, duplication or replacement of content by newer print or electronic resources, shared access, changes in audience, and, for indexes and abstracts, the availability of referenced works. Electronic reference materials may be selected when they are more cost-efficient than print, when they are only available electronically, or when duplication of print provides necessary access. Librarians pursue cooperative acquisition of electronic reference materials with the other LRCCD libraries using guidelines outlined in the LRCCD Electronic Collection Development Policy.

Course reserves are a collection of textbooks and course materials in support of student success. Library staff solicits donations of textbooks and course materials from faculty each semester. It is the responsibility of faculty to fill out the Reserves Donation Form (PDF) and to obtain any necessary copyright clearance before placing materials on Reserve. In addition to donations from faculty, the Library may purchase select textbooks and other materials to add to the Course Reserves Collection. Selection and purchase will be based on the following criteria.

  • Anticipated Demand of Materials: Librarians will review past semester usage statistics, number of courses using the same textbook or item, and number of students enrolled in courses to determine whether there is a high demand for materials.
  • Core and Basic Skills Level Courses: Textbooks used in general education and other items for core transfer and basic skills level courses will be given priority for purchase.
  • Shelf Life: Librarians will consider the anticipated shelf life of materials and will give priority to materials which have potential for multi-year use.
  • Cost: Librarians will consider the cost of textbooks and other items, relative to available funds, when selecting Course Reserve materials for purchase.

Textbooks are selected for the general circulating collection when they are recommended by faculty or recognized by librarians as exceptional resources, when they are classics in their field, or when they are the only or best source of information on a topic.

Fiction titles are included in the circulating collection on a limited basis. Preference in selecting fiction is given to established literary works, prizewinners, and new works that receive literary acclaim. A limited number of popular fiction works will be purchased, as funds allow, if they relate to the CRC curriculum or are likely to interest the CRC population. Works of popular fiction will be selected and added to the Popular Fiction Collection according to the criteria listed below.

Popular fiction is located in its own designated area. The purpose of the Popular Fiction Collection is to encourage recreational reading as a means of personal development and cultural discovery among the students, faculty, and staff of CRC. Books in this collection will be selected in a variety of genres, topics, and reading levels to meet the needs of the CRC campus population.

New titles for the Popular Fiction Collection will be purchased on a limited basis as funding allows. This collection is not intended to be a comprehensive collection but, rather, a small selection of popular works. Students, faculty, and staff will be referred to the Public Library for a larger selection of popular fiction. The types of works in this collection include genres such as best-sellers, mysteries, Westerns, crime fiction, romances and science fiction.

Works selected for the Popular Fiction Collection should meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Works of a consistently popular author;
    • A consistently popular author is defined as an author whose work is not generally afforded literary acclaim or considered noteworthy, but whose work is enjoyed by a large population of the general public.
    • New works of a popular author may be selected for purchase for the Popular Fiction Collection. New works are books published within the last 2-3 years.
    • Old works of a popular author currently in the circulating collection may be moved to the Popular Fiction Collection.
  • New fiction titles that have been well-reviewed;
  • Works that provide a variety of social and cultural perspectives;
  • Award-winning young adult fiction titles.

Children's books are located in their own designated area. The Library maintains a small collection of children's literature including items such as picture books, chapter books, folktales and juvenile literature. The Children's Collection was developed and is maintained in support of CRC's Early Childhood Education program and other programs including Art, Reading, and ESL. New titles for the Children's Collection will be purchased on a limited basis as funding allows. This collection is not intended to be a comprehensive collection but, rather, a small selection of children's books. Students, faculty, and staff will be referred to the public Library for a larger selection of children's books and juvenile literature.

Duplicate titles are purchased only when warranted by heavy use of copies already held. 

Out-of-print titles are rarely purchased because of the difficulty and expense in obtaining them. The Library will attempt to provide these materials through interlibrary loan.

Periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers) are purchased by subscription, in a variety of formats, including print, and electronic. Individual issues or reprints are rarely purchased, although selected gift copies may be used to fill gaps in the collection.

Print subscriptions are intended to continue indefinitely and are thus evaluated annually by librarians using the same criteria applied to books. Evaluators might also consider maintenance demands, equipment and storage costs of periodical titles before renewing or adding new subscriptions to the collection. Librarians also search the Library's electronic periodical databases for requested titles or subject content. The escalating cost of periodicals may make it necessary to discontinue one print subscription in order to add another. Consideration is given to titles in new curriculum areas.

Electronic periodical databases provide access to a broader array of periodical titles than could be acquired in print and are more cost-efficient than print. This method of delivery will be preferred when available, economical, and reasonable for archival needs. Librarians pursue cooperative acquisition of databases with the other LRCCD Libraries using guidelines established in the LRCCD Electronic Collection Development policy.

Media includes DVDs, compact discs, CD-ROMs, and course-specific computer software. These materials are purchased at the request of librarians and other faculty, as funds permit, primarily to support coursework. The Library is no longer actively purchasing VHS or analog audiotape formats for the media collection. As the current collection in these formats becomes unplayable, librarians will evaluate items to determine whether there is a need to replace with the same title in an updated format (DVD or CD) or to purchase a newer title that better meets the needs of students and faculty. Selected media circulates, with certain limitations, to faculty, staff and students. Media is intended to be used by individuals in accordance with copyright law.

Please, see "Appendix B: American Library Association Freedom to View Statement" section below for more information.

Online and Internet-based content will be considered for addition to the collection when it provides the most current and/or cost-effective content for CRC's needs. Online resources are part of the LRCCD Libraries shared catalog. Selection of these types of resources is guided by the LRCCD Electronic Collection Development Policy.

Materials Budget Allocation Process

The Library receives dedicated funding as part of the college's Annual Operating Budget. Funding for the collection can be impacted by the financial status of Cosumnes River College and the entire Los Rios Community College District. For this reason, allocation of these funds is designed to support CRCs curriculum and is primarily determined by student need. Each department is represented by a faculty librarian liaison that focuses on maintaining and enhancing the collection in their assigned disciplines. Liaisons also collaborate with discipline faculty to purchase items that support curriculum and fulfill student needs. Faculty interested in making a request for purchase should follow the guidelines laid out in the Faculty Requests section of this policy.

Library Gift Acceptance Policy

Gifts to the library must be routed through the Office of Philanthropy. This includes both monetary gifts, and gifts of books or materials. Please contact the Office of Philanthropy either through the Give Online Now form, or through Michele K. Steiner, Director of Donor Relations at (916) 691-7491 or

In general, the library will receive donations of books and other materials that will enrich the collection. The library reserves the right to accept or reject gift items and to then catalog, display, or dispose of these items, as decided by librarians responsible for selection. Gifts which are not added to the library collections may be given to CRC departments or to other libraries or agencies, sold, or discarded.

The library follows these criteria in accepting gifts of materials:

  1. Materials will be evaluated for appropriateness and added to the collection if they meet the same selection standards as materials the library would purchase.
  2. Criteria include quality of content, relevance to the curriculum, condition, anticipated use, author's reputation, comprehension level, favorable reviews, permanence or timeliness, language, and publisher. Librarians will seek content area faculty evaluation where appropriate.
  3. Materials which are not generally added include: duplicate copies, except when heavy use indicates a need for a second or replacement copy; older editions of titles already owned by the library; outdated titles; marked or worn materials; broken runs of periodicals, unless they would complete an existing run; ephemeral materials; pamphlets; and materials outside the range of CRC curriculum.
  4. Gifts will not be accepted when the donor requires that they be kept together and not integrated into the whole library collection.
  5. With the exception of materials pertaining to the history of CRC, the library staff cannot accept gifts of old or rare materials requiring protected status.
  6. Gifts generally require more time to process than new materials. If space and time are not available when a gift is offered, library staff may find it necessary to refuse the gift solely on these grounds. Donors must deliver gift materials to the library.
  7. Monetary gifts designated for the purchase of certain materials will be accepted provided that the materials meet the library selection criteria and are appropriate for use in the library. Gifts will generally be acknowledged by letter. The library will not, however, provide donors with monetary evaluations of gifts.

Gifts will generally be acknowledged by letter. The library will not, however, provide donors with monetary evaluations of gifts.

Collection Maintenance, Inventory and Weeding

The condition of the library collection is maintained by library staff members who annually perform a physical inventory and evaluation of the library collection to identify books and other items in need of repair and maintenance. Items passing through the circulation desk that appear to be worn or damaged are targeted for repair or maintenance upon return. If an item is deemed unrepairable, the item is permanently removed from the collection and an exact title or similar replacement copy is purchased, especially if the title or topic shows heavy circulation activity.

Weeding ensures that the collections are current and relevant to the goals of the Library and the College. Librarians are responsible for coordinating the weeding of the collection and seeking faculty input when appropriate. The criteria used for selecting materials will also apply to their removal from the collection. In addition, librarians will consider relevance to the collection, physical condition, duplicate copies, coverage by other materials, age or obsolescence, and use. Weeded materials are officially withdrawn from the collection and disposed of by sale, donation, discard or other appropriate means. Back issues of periodicals may be weeded when the value of current content has expired.

The Popular Fiction collection will be weeded annually. Librarians will review the collection and remove items which are no longer appropriate for the collection based on factors such as popularity of the item, physical condition, and relevance to CRC students, faculty and staff. Materials may be moved to the regular circulating collection if they support the long-term curricular needs and/or interests of the CRC community.

Challenged Material

Library staff asks that individuals or groups who object to materials in the Library to submit their concerns in writing. These concerns along with the challenged material will be given to the subject librarian who will consult with the Dean of Library and Technology Services to determine the appropriate action. The Dean will respond to the patron explaining the Library's position and the action that will be taken. Repeated criticisms from the same parties will be referred to the College President. While recognizing the rights of individuals and groups to disagree with points of view expressed in Library materials, the Library staff resists efforts to limit access to information.

Provisions for Review

This policy will be reviewed periodically to coordinate its provisions with changes in the programs and information needs of the college and to align it with the LRCT Division and Library department unit planning process.

Appendix A

American Library Association
Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other Library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the Library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a Library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948.

Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996, by the ALA Council.

Appendix B

American Library Association
Freedom to View Statement

The freedom to view, along with the freedom to speak, to hear, and to read, is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In a free society, there is no place for censorship of any medium of expression. Therefore these principles are affirmed:

  1. To provide the broadest access to film, video, and other audiovisual materials because they are a means for the communication of ideas. Liberty of circulation is essential to insure the constitutional guarantees of freedom of expression. 
  2. To protect the confidentiality of all individuals and institutions using film, video, and other audiovisual materials. 
  3. To provide film, video, and other audiovisual materials which represent a diversity of views and expression. Selection of a work does not constitute or imply agreement with or approval of the content. 
  4. To provide a diversity of viewpoints without the constraint of labeling or prejudging film, video, or other audiovisual materials on the basis of the moral, religious, or political beliefs of the producer or filmmaker or on the basis of controversial content. 
  5. To contest vigorously, by all lawful means, every encroachment upon the public's freedom to view.

This statement was originally drafted by the Freedom to View Committee of the American Film and Video Association (formerly the Educational Film Library Association) and was adopted by the AFVA Board of Directors in February 1979. This statement was updated and approved by the AFVA Board of Directors in 1989.

Endorsed by the ALA Council January 10, 1990

CRC acknowledges the help of Mary Ann Robinson of the SCC Library in producing this policy.