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Welcome to the Limestone University Library

Library's Collection Development Policy

Limestone University Library

Collection Development and Management Policy[1]

Selection Procedures

Acquisitions Policy

The purpose of the Limestone University Library is to support the total program of the college.  The responsibility of collection development in the library is to provide information sources in print and other media necessary to carry out the University’s teaching programs and to support the research of its students and faculty.  Building the library’s collection is the product of cooperative work between the library and the faculty and staff.  Final responsibility for the development and maintenance of the library’s collections, and the appropriate expenditures, rests with the Director of the Library.  Faculty members are expected to contribute recommendations for library acquisitions to support course requirements, students’ research needs, as well as to identify any areas of the collection that may need strengthening.  A Student and staff requests for acquisition of library materials are also welcomed and are reviewed by the same standards as are requests from all other sources.

Library materials will be acquired in accordance with the following priorities:

  • Materials to support the current teaching program of the College, noting that it is largely an undergraduate institution.
  • General reference works as well as works in fields not directly related to college programs, but which are of such importance that they belong in any respectable scholarly library.
  • Materials to support the research needs of the faculty and to assist administrative personnel in the effective performance of their duties.
  • Materials to support cooperative programs with other libraries or academic institutions.
  • Materials to form a foundation collection in support of anticipated programs of the College and appropriate varieties of recreational materials, as funds permit

Library materials will be acquired according to the following specific criteria:

  • Lasting value of the content
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment
  • Strength of current holdings in same or similar subject areas
  • Demand, as determined by factors such as circulation data and interlibrary loan.
  • Requests for material on the same or similar subjects
  • Cost
  • Suitability of format to content
  • Authority of author
  • Reputation of publisher or source
  • Reviews in subject-specific and standard library reviewing sources.


When there is an option of purchasing either a paperback or hardback edition, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential. As a general rule, hardbacks or paperbacks with library bindings are preferred over consumer market paperbacks.  The library will usually acquire faculty publications according to collection policies already in place. 

Out of Print Items

When a requested item is found to be out of print, the order will be returned to the originator to determine if he or she wishes it searched.  The library will search any title when requested, but it cannot be anticipated that an out-of-print work will become available at a reasonable price. 

Periodicals (Serials)

A periodical is a publication issued in successive parts, each bearing numeric or chronological information identifying it with its series.  Journals, magazines, newspapers, annuals, and indexes are all periodicals or serials. Formats may vary and include paper, electronic, and audio. Because they are a costly and a recurring expense, special attention is paid to the unique requirements of developing and maintaining the Periodicals collection that is relevant to curriculum needs.  Electronic formats provide the superior access that library users enjoy, particularly those in distance education programs.  Faculty may make requests for new periodical titles, but the high cost of certain subscriptions requires that present and future use be considered before purchasing a new subscription.  All subscriptions are charged to the periodicals budget, a fund not divided among the divisions.  It is the responsibility of the library staff to see that the periodicals collection is evenly balanced among the subject areas.   

General Selection Criteria for Periodicals (Serials)

Periodicals are selected and deselected based on how well they support the continuing information needs of the college community. Factors to be considered are:

a. Support of academic programs

b. Uniqueness of subject coverage

c. Standing or reputation and reviews of the journal within the professional community.

d. Cost, including such data as rate of price increases.

e. Full-text availability and perpetual access for essential titles through electronic means

f. Usage or projected usage

g. Availability of indexing for the serial being considered.


Textbooks are not usually added to the general collection except by special request, or when a textbook is the best or only source of information on a particular topic.  Exceptions are state-adopted textbooks or other texts that are intended to serve as teaching resources in the teacher education program.

Non-Print Media

Requests for any type of materials in non-print format will be considered the same as for a book request.  Electronic resources may be purchased in addition to, or as alternatives to, standard print resources in order to save space and provide improved access.  The library will purchase physical (as opposed to online) video and audio recordings in any current standard format for which it has playback equipment.  The preference, however, is to purchase or subscribe to online streaming video so as to cater to all Limestone students, faculty and staff. For physical in-house video and audio recordings, the DVD and compact disc formats are preferred.


There is a change in emphasis from a print and local-based collection to a collection that emphasizes electronic resources and remote access.  The library is developing an integrated information environment that will offer this increasing access to information on the latest published research, information about primary data, gateways to remote databases, and, in many cases, provision for full-text information.  It is therefore anticipated that the print and electronic collections will increasingly supplement and complement one another so as to best serve the needs of the academic community.  Additionally, our membership in PASCAL (Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries) provides us with additional access to print books from other member libraries and over 250,000 PASCAL e-books.

Electronic Databases

As indicated in previous sections, electronic full-text access to resources is preferred wherever possible primarily due to ease of access and use particularly for distance students. Currently, the cost for the library’s subscription to electronic research databases is largely supported by membership in PASCAL (see above section under “Access”), and also with the help of the South Carolina State Library’s Virtual Library program, Discus.[2] However, if the library considers a subscription of an electronic resource not supported by PASCAL, Carolina Consortium or the SC State Library, purchase decisions will be based on database usage (and cost for each search for fee based databases), the number of requests from faculty, departmental needs, and resources that support the library’s mission, and goals. Selection of an electronic database that has high cost will not necessarily be rejected.  Deselection occurs when the database(s) no longer supports the curriculum or program closure. Deselection may also occur when there are changes in pricing for and renewal of electronic research databases funded by consortia and the SC State Library.

Electronic Books

Purchases and requests from faculty and staff for single electronic books or electronic book subject collections must be approved and deemed appropriate in terms of academic level, cost, and relevance to teaching or research in that subject area.  Deselection occurs when the electronic collection becomes obsolete or no longer supports the curriculum.


Gifts of books or media are encouraged with the understanding that the library may choose to add or dispose of gifts at its discretion. In kind gifts are evaluated using the same criteria for purchased materials.  Books that are accepted are integrated into the collection.  The library makes no special provision for special housing of gift collections.  In accordance with Internal Revenue Service rulings, Limestone University assumes no responsibility for the appraisal of gift items. If requested for tax purposes, the Institutional Advancement Office will provide an in-kind gift acknowledgement letter confirming the number of items given by the donor. Limestone University will not make a monetary evaluation of the donation.  Monetary gifts for the purchase of books or materials are greatly appreciated and are receipted by the Institutional Advancement Office.  In the case of restrictions, acceptance will be at the discretion of the Director of the Library and the Library Advisory Committee.


The selection of memorial books purchased with library funds and added to the library collection must meet the usual evaluation criteria.  A bookplate will be inserted into the front of the book, and family members will be notified of the gift after it has been properly cataloged. 


Lost library materials will be replaced, if available, through the current book trade if they are still considered appropriate for selection according to the guidelines stated above. 

Deselection (Refer to our Library Weeding Policy)

Deselecting (or weeding) library materials is the process of removing materials from the collection and is essential for the maintenance of a current, active collection that meets the needs of the academic community. Deselecting provides quality control through the elimination of inaccurate, outdated, and worn-out materials. Deselecting requires the same level of attention and faculty collaboration to collection development criteria as does the original selection process. The collection is continually monitored for outdated material, which is replaced, repaired, or withdrawn. Faculty members and others within the College community are essential participants in the deselecting recommendations.  Other materials, such as journal subscriptions, may also be evaluated regularly in order to assess the relevance to the curriculum.  Periodicals that are no longer relevant to current needs, are overpriced (relative to use), or are underused (regardless of price), are candidates for cancellation.  Periodicals may also be weeded if there are few volumes or issues, if publication has been discontinued, if the title is no longer indexed or if the title may be subscribed to electronically.

Some of the objectives of deselection are to make more effective use of shelf space, to make more effective use of acquisitions funds (e.g., cancelling unnecessary subscriptions or standing orders), to increase the relevance of the existing collection, and to maintain the collection in an acceptable physical condition.  However, the process of deselection should not discourage gifts of useful materials, threaten the good will of library donors, or diminish confidence in the library.  Any funds realized from the sale of any deselected materials may be used to acquire other titles for the library collection. 

Library materials may be deselected according to the following criteria:

  • Condition – broken spine, fragile/brittle paper, bent corners, torn or missing pages, defaced pages or covers, mold/mildew.  Removal depends on the willingness and ability to repair or rebind it.
  • Age – titles that contain obsolete or incorrect information; older editions that have been superseded.
  • Frequency of use – when did an item last circulate? 
  • Redundancy – multiple copies or editions of titles may be deselected in order to minimize redundancy of holdings. [3]
  • Titles outside the scope of the library – those irrelevant to current curriculum or research needs may be removed or cancelled.
  • Currency/accuracy – the key is relevance.  Older history books may still be quite relevant, but materials on computer science, law, science, technology, health, and travel must be fairly current to be useful.
  • Trivial – of no discernable literary or scientific merit

The Limestone University Archives: The Archives department reserves the right, once it has taken possession, to deselect or weed materials according to accepted professional practice. Please refer to for the Archive’s Collection Policy.

Evaluation: The following questions guide the reappraisal and possible subsequent weeding of materials in the department: 

1. Does the material fit within the collection development policies and mission of the Archives?

2. Would the collection strengths of the department suffer if the material were weeded?

3. Are there duplicates of the material in the collections?

4. Has the physical condition of the material deteriorated to the point that it can no longer be


5. Is the Archives capable of providing proper storage and care for the material? Does the material

    require continuous special treatment?

6. Is there a donor agreement or other legal stipulation that might impose restrictions on weeding?

7. Has the donor’s original desire for the collection been honored?

8. Has an item been found to be inauthentic (is the material forged or otherwise misrepresented)?

9. Do restrictions on use prevent the material from being effectively used for research and


10. Would weeding the material limit public access to the information presented in that material?

Disposal: Archival materials will be disposed in the following way, according to the appropriate circumstances:

1. Materials may be transferred to another institution.

2. Materials may be discarded in a proper and safe manner appropriate to the material.

3. Materials may be sold; all proceeds are to be disposed of according to college regulations.

4. Books or other published works may be offered to the library’s general circulating collections, if   


Evaluation of Resources and Faculty Requests

 We conduct an annual faculty survey in the Spring semester to determine faculty use and preferences of library resources and services. Faculty feedback is instrumental in the library's acquisition of resources. We also accommodate faculty requests for resources that support the university's curriculum throughout the year. Requests for print materials are directed to the Library Technical Services Librarian and requests for electronic resources are directed to the Assistant Director of the Library/Web Services Librarian. For data collection purposes, we document print requests quarterly and electronic resources requests annually.

Disclosure: The department will share upon request, according to its guidelines, information about the reasons behind the weeding of material to appropriate parties and how that material will be disposed of.


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


The Limestone University Library is firmly committed to a rationale-based collection development and management program which provides a framework for accountability and establishes the priorities necessary in governing day-to-day selection, acquisitions, and processing decisions. 


[1] [1]The policy is under continual review and changes to it may occur when and where appropriate.

[2] Discus provides free access to electronic resources

[3] Redundancy is viewed in relation to library holdings in PASCAL (Partnership of South Carolina Academic Libraries), of which Limestone is a member.  If there are more than 4 copies of an item available in PASCAL, this library will determine if said item will be deselected.


If you are experiencing problems with our guides and databases, please contact ProfessorJanet S. Ward,, Assistant Director of the Library and Web Services Librarian.