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Acquisitions News at Frazar Memorial Library: Collection Development Policies

Wondering what books and other materials are new at Frazar Memorial Library? This is the place to find out.


Last updated: May 24, 2018

This policy outlines the principles and guidelines developed by Frazar Memorial Library in the selection, acquisition, evaluation, and maintenance of library materials in all formats.  It is intended to provide consistency for librarians in developing and maintaining the collection and in communicating library policies and services to students, faculty, staff, and community users.  This policy is in accordance with the mission of Frazar Memorial Library and of McNeese State University.  It is understood that as the university’s programs and information needs change, this policy may be amended to meet those needs.

Collection Development Policies

Frazar Memorial Library may be referred to throughout this policy as simply the library.

Unless specified otherwise, the word books is used interchangeably to indicate not only books but also nonbook materials, including but not limited to periodicals, newspapers, electronic resources (databases, ebooks), video and sound recordings, and microforms.

Because federal and state depository programs have their own requirements regarding what types of materials can be selected and retained, government documents are beyond the scope of this policy, with the exception of those that are integrated into the regular collection.

Policy exceptions for Archival and Special Collections materials are noted throughout.

Collection development is the process of building and maintaining the library’s collections in both print and nonprint formats.  As such, collection development is one of the primary purposes of a library.  The collection development process includes the formulation of policies and procedures, budget allocation, needs assessment, selection and deselection, collection maintenance and evaluation, and resource sharing.

The primary goal of Frazar Memorial Library’s collection development efforts is to build collections that support the informational needs of the instructional, research, and programmatic missions of the university.  This collection development policy strives to reinforce the university’s missions.

Frazar Memorial Library strives to meet or exceed the criteria for libraries defined by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Standards for Libraries in Higher Education ( and by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and other accrediting agencies to which McNeese’s degree-granting programs are subject.

Frazar Memorial Library recognizes that free access to ideas and freedom of expression are fundamental to the educational process.  Therefore, the library purchases or otherwise adds materials that represent a wide range of viewpoints.  The library subscribes to and complies with the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights ( and its accompanying statements of interpretation.  These statements include:

The library does not withdraw, at the request of any individual or group, material that has been chosen or excluded on the basis of stated selection criteria outlined in this policy.  An individual or group questioning the appropriateness of material held in the collection will be referred to the Library Director, who will appoint an ad hoc committee to examine the material and determine its appropriateness for the collection.  The judgment of the Library Director will be final.

Frazar Memorial Library complies with the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments.  The library strongly supports the “Fair Use” section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) that permits and protects the rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.

Several factors may contribute to librarians’ preference for selecting electronic (web-based) content over print or vice versa.  Financial considerations can be expected to remain an ongoing primary factor.  Whenever there are large price differences between print and electronic versions of the same materials, budgetary limitations must be considered.

Factors influencing the decision to purchase electronic over print titles include:

  • Around-the-clock (24/7) access
  • Off- as well as on-campus access
  • Multiple concurrent user access (ebooks excepted unless specifically purchased for multiple concurrent users)
  • Searchable text
  • Ability to search across a wide array of content (i.e., federated searching)
  • Immediacy of access following publication
  • Value-added content unavailable in print version
  • Unavailable as print version
  • Space savings

On the other hand, some materials may simply not be available electronically.  In such cases, print versions are the only viable alternative.

As a general rule, the library will not purchase the same title in both print and electronic formats; however, as funds permit, exceptions may be made for high-demand titles.

Frazar Memorial Library librarians, exercising their role as subject specialists and departmental library liaisons, will exercise judgment as to which format is most appropriate for the subject at hand.

The following criteria may be taken into consideration in the selection of materials:

  • Relevance to the curriculum and appropriateness to the user
  • Timeliness and lasting value of the material
  • Reputation of the author, issuing body, and/or publisher
  • Presentation (style and clarity)
  • Aesthetic considerations:
    • Literary, artistic, social value
    • Appeal to the imagination, senses, intellect
  • Special features:
    • Detailed, logical, accurate indexing
    • Bibliography
    • Footnotes
    • Pictorial representations
  • Physical and technical quality:
    • Paper, typography, design
    • Physical size
    • Binding
    • Durability
  • Suitability of content to form
  • Strength of present holdings in the same or similar subject
  • Need to increase holdings in subjects where current titles are deemed inadequate
  • Demand and frequency of interlibrary loan requests for materials on the same or similar subject
  • Price/relative cost of material in relation to the budget and other available material
  • For electronic materials, additional considerations include (see also “Electronic vs. Print Resources”):
    • One-time purchase vs. ongoing subscription required
    • Depth and breadth of holdings
    • Single- vs. multiple-user access
    • Availability of off-campus access
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Policies for Specific Types of Materials

Duplicate materials will be added to the collection when warranted by heavy usage of copies already held or when heavy usage is anticipated.  Otherwise duplicates are not normally purchased or added.

The library attempts to select literary works and new works of promise in the literary field, especially works that support literature and creative writing courses.  Such works should be evaluated in terms of the author’s earlier writings and current reader interest.

The library rents popular fiction as part of its book leasing program.  The library does not normally purchase fiction of short-term interest such as bestsellers.  However, such works may be accepted as gifts.

Except for dictionaries and other materials required to support the university’s foreign language courses, Frazar Memorial Library collects primarily English language materials.

Reference works are intended for quick retrieval of information and not for cover-to-cover reading.  They are often but not always updated regularly.  Examples of reference materials include but are not limited to:

  • Almanacs
  • Encyclopedias
  • Annual reports
  • Handbooks
  • Atlases
  • Indexes and abstracts
  • Bibliographies
  • Plot summaries
  • Catalogs
  • Statistical summaries
  • Concordances
  • Style manuals
  • Dictionaries
  • Telephone books
  • Directories
  • Yearbooks

In recent years, the electronic versions of many of these types of materials have largely supplanted the print versions.  Nevertheless, a “ready reference” collection depends on maintaining up-to-date print versions of basic reference works.  Therefore, the library will continue to maintain a balanced collection of print and electronic reference works.

In general, the same criteria used to select other materials also apply to the selection of reference works (see “Criteria Used for Selecting Materials”).

Although anyone may suggest possible reference purchases, Public Services Department staff has the primary responsibility for selecting reference materials.

Gifts to Frazar Memorial Library are encouraged but will be added to the collection only after the items have been evaluated to determine if they meet collection development requirements.  Generally, the library accepts only books, DVDs, and journals as gifts.  Short runs of journals that are not indexed will not be added to the collection.

Donors should contact the Technical Services Librarian if they have material they wish to donate or have questions about the appropriateness of their gifts.  The library will acknowledge the number of items donated but cannot legally provide an appraisal or estimate of their value.  Gifts that are not added to the collection may be given away, donated to other libraries, or discarded, as deemed most appropriate.

Frazar Memorial Library does not purchase individual titles or collections of books directly from McNeese faculty members.  The library purchases books from commercial vendors or directly from the publisher.  The library may purchase used and new books that are no longer in print from out-of-print vendors.  Faculty members may submit requests for books for the library to purchase from commercial vendors.

Many faculty authors and editors receive free copies of their own books or review copies from their publishers.  To avoid an obvious conflict of interest, the library cannot purchase these titles.  Similarly, the library will not purchase books or collections of books from McNeese faculty members.  Faculty members are encouraged to donate to the library individual titles or collections of books provided they are appropriate for the collection.

In certain exceptional circumstances, the library may purchase a copy of a rare book or manuscript from a faculty member for placement in the Archives.

Because of funding limitations and the difficulties involved, hard-to-find, out-of-print, reprint, and print-on-demand titles are typically not purchased except at the request of faculty or librarians who can demonstrate an overriding need for such material.

To increase the purchasing power of the materials budget, paperback monographs will be preferred if there is a significant price difference between the hardcover and paperback editions.  When making a choice between paperback and hardcover, the long-term value and expected use of the title should be considered.  Titles expected to receive higher-than-normal circulation or use should be purchased in hardcover.

The library makes an effort to collect current materials about Lake Charles and the surrounding southwest Louisiana area.

Frazar Memorial Library normally does not purchase materials of this kind.  Exceptions may be made for those titles that have earned a reputation as “classics” in their field or are the only or best sources of information on a particular topic.  Such titles will be evaluated and added to the collection based on the guidelines for selecting materials outlined elsewhere in this document.

The library does not purchase textbooks currently used for classes but may accept them as donations.

Advance reading copies—also called uncorrected or galley proofs—are books given to reviewers from which to write reviews before the book is published.  They often lack indexes or pagination and may otherwise differ significantly from the edition that is ultimately published, even to the extent of having a different title or subtitle.  For these reasons, Frazar Memorial Library does not collect advance reading copies.

Normally Frazar Memorial Library will not add materials in obsolete formats to the collection.  Any addition of such materials will be at the discretion of the Technical Services Librarian in consultation with the appropriate subject specialists.  The primary criteria for consideration will be the availability of equipment for use of the material and the availability of storage or shelving space.

The decision to withdraw such material will be based on the obsolescence of the format and the physical condition of the necessary equipment.  If funds are available and the contents warrant preservation, materials may be transferred to another format instead of being withdrawn as permitted by copyright laws.

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Selection and Evaluation Tools, Serials, Collection Maintenance and Evaluation

Librarians should consult subject-specific and standard library reviewing sources when making selection decisions.  Appropriate reviewing sources include but are not limited to:

  • Booklist
  • Choice
  • Library Journal
  • The New York Times Book Review
  • Resources for College Libraries (RCLweb)
  • Reviews appearing in professional journals in disciplines taught by the university

In addition, departmental liaisons are encouraged to use faculty expertise as a resource for selection and evaluation of the collection.

Serials are publications issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations intended to be continued indefinitely.  They may be issued in print, nonprint (microform), and electronic formats.  The Frazar Memorial Library serials collection supports the research needs of the McNeese community.  In selecting new subscriptions, preference will be given to online, web-based serials for their convenience and the ease with which they support both on- and off-campus coursework.  However, circumstances may call for the acquisition of other formats in certain cases.

The selection of serials implies a continuing commitment to the base cost of the title, including maintenance, equipment, and (for print titles) storage space.  Escalating costs for serials demand that care be taken in reviewing serial titles before they are purchased for the collection and that an ongoing evaluation of current subscriptions be conducted.  The serials collection is reviewed and title decisions made by the Technical Services Librarian in consultation with departmental liaisons after obtaining faculty input.

Because of budget limitations, selection and weeding decisions for serials must be made with care.  Curriculum support for students, undergraduate and graduate research, and faculty research are factors considered in the selection and weeding process.  Serials are selected and weeded based primarily on their relevance to current information needs of the McNeese community.  Factors to be considered include:

  • Support of academic programs
  • Cost, including such data as rate of price increases, cost of storage, document delivery services, and delivery time
  • Uniqueness of subject coverage for Frazar Memorial Library
  • Interdisciplinary vs. narrow scope, as appropriate for the subject
  • Accessibility within resource sharing agencies and/or through document delivery services
  • Full-text availability through electronic means
  • Professional reputation
  • Usage or projected usage
  • Indexing and abstracting in sources accessible to library users

Information resources purchased with library funds or gifts become part of the permanent collection.  Location of these resources is determined by Frazar Memorial Library staff.  Access to electronic information will be in compliance with licensing agreements.

Weeding (also called deselection) is the process of removing items from the collection.  Occasional weeding is essential for the maintenance of an active, academically useful collection.  Weeding provides quality control for the collection by eliminating outdated, inaccurate, and worn-out materials.  Weeding also involves the removal of lost or long-missing titles from the catalog and indexing sources.  The Technical Services Librarian is ultimately responsible for weeding decisions in consultation with librarians acting in their liaison capacity.

In general the following print materials may be weeded:

  • Superseded editions.
  • Duplicates, except in cases of continued high demand (particularly when there are no newer editions available) or when the library holds rare copies.  Duplicate issues of periodicals and journals are discarded when a volume has been bound unless heavy usage indicates a need for duplicates.
  • Materials in poor physical condition that cannot be repaired or rebound or for which the cost of preservation exceeds the usefulness of the information contained therein.
  • Outdated materials in subject areas where currency of information is extremely important; example subjects include but are not limited to health sciences and technology.  Exceptions may be made to keep materials for historical purposes.
  • Materials that have not been used for a predetermined length of time based on circulation and in-house use statistics, unless such materials are identifiable as classics in their field or otherwise have long-term value.
  • Incomplete or short runs of serials, particularly those that are not indexed.
  • Serial titles that contain information of very limited long-term value, such as newsletters and trade magazines.  Such materials often have automatic discard patterns established such as “retain current year only.”
  • Annuals, biennials, and regularly updated editions of guidebooks, handbooks, almanacs, and directories, depending on the value of the information contained in earlier editions.  Such material may be retained if it contains information of local interest.

Departmental liaisons make recommendations to the Technical Services Librarian regarding the replacement of lost, damaged, missing, or worn-out monographs and serials.  The Technical Services Librarian will determine whether to replace or repair such materials.  Decisions to replace or repair will be made according to the policies and guidelines set forth elsewhere in this document.

In addition, the following print serial types will not be replaced:

  • Newspapers and newsletters, unless a special need exists or can be demonstrated (e.g., required by certain disciplines for accreditation purposes)
  • Titles that are not held permanently
  • Titles that are not indexed
  • Titles routinely replaced by microforms (i.e., the library discards the print version when the microform version is received)
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McNeese State University Frazar Memorial Library | Box 91445 | Lake Charles, LA 70609 | 337-475-5725 |

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