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The official policies of the SUNY Potsdam College Libraries

Collection Development Policy

Approved by Coordinating Council February 24, 2011


This policy shall serve as a guide for the SUNY Potsdam community. It shall provide a framework for planned collection building in the College Libraries and for information access facilitated by the College Libraries in support of the College Libraries Mission, Vision, and Values Statements.

Responsibility for Collection Development

While responsibility for the selection of library materials rests with the library faculty, collaboration with other teaching faculty is essential to build collections that support the academic programs of the college.

  • Purchase recommendations from every teaching faculty member are strongly encouraged. College Libraries faculty will facilitate informed and appropriate materials recommendations by campus colleagues.
  • Library faculty are responsible for coordinating recommendations and developing a balanced and integrated collection. A departmental liaison from each academic department will work with a Libraries liaison to ensure communication and coordination with regard to library acquisitions.
  • Library faculty are responsible for ensuring cooperation with SUNY initiatives and other library and higher education agencies to improve access to information resources. This includes participation in projects such as SUNY Connect and consortial initiatives provided by diverse outside agencies.

Collection Development Priorities

As emphasized in the College Libraries Vision Statement: Quality Resources, indicating our commitment to providing resources that meet the learning needs of the college community, the College Libraries will prioritize acquisition of materials as follows:

  1. Materials are intellectually appropriate for and related to undergraduate and graduate programs at Potsdam;
  2. Contribute to the scholarly and intellectual diversity of the collection, including materials not specifically related to the current curriculum;
  3. Contribute to richer, more diverse library collections among SUNY University Colleges.

College Libraries will support materials needed mainly for faculty scholarly activity through interlibrary lending and delivery.

Selection Criteria

General criteria to consider for selection of library materials include:

  • The College Libraries prioritize materials that are personally known to the selector, are recommended by a strong reviewing process, have high scholarly merit merit, are produced by a well-regarded publisher, author, or editor.
  • The College Libraries value materials whose acquisition serves a clear pedagogical purpose, meets a need for timely subject matter, and/or contains treatment of contemporary issues.
  • The College Libraries assign a higher priority to recently published materials in order to maintain the currency of the collection. Older works of recognized value will be acquired to support new programs, remedy collection gaps, enhance existing collections, and support disciplines in which currency is a lower priority than topical relevance.
  • The College Libraries will not acquire multiple copies of a work unless clear evidence of high and ongoing demand is presented.
  • Variant editions may be acquired when a new edition contains significant new information.
  • The College Libraries generally will not duplicate content solely to provide a variant form of access to library materials.
  • Unusually high-priced items or rare materials may require special purchase or use considerations.
  • Although the libraries may hold materials that are required as texts for particular courses, materials will not be acquired to serve as classroom materials.
  • Generally, Faculty publications will only be purchased when they meet the criteria of the collection development policy.
  • Publications in non-English languages generally will not be collected, except in support of the Modern Languages curriculum.
  • When selecting materials for the College Libraries collections, selectors may consider holdings at other institutions, including SUNY University Colleges, SUNY University Centers, the Associated Colleges, and other institutions. Purchase considerations will reflect the goals and agreements of the SUNY Comprehensive Colleges Coordinated Collection Development efforts.
  • As an alternative to physical acquisition, the College Libraries may purchase online content or rely on other access methods, as appropriate.
  • The College Libraries does not purchase videos or other materials solely for classroom use, however, videos and other materials purchased for student research may be used in the classroom for instruction purposes.
  • Copyright provisions, licensing agreements and other legal restrictions will be upheld.
  • When materials are ordered for Special Collections, a circulating copy will be purchased as appropriate.

Additional Specific Criteria for Selection of Library Materials

Printed Monographs

  • While hardcover books may be purchased in order to ensure timely acquisition of new publications, well-made paperbacks are preferred.
  • The College Libraries generally will not purchase "consumable" publications such as lab manuals, workbooks, and study guides.
  • When available, books that rapidly obsolesce will be purchased in online format rather than in print, unless special circumstances dictate a need for print access.

Audio-Visual Materials

  • While spoken recordings will be purchased to support study of rhetoric, drama, and poetry, the College Libraries will not purchase other spoken materials.
  • The College Libraries acquire audio-visual materials in the most widely-adopted and/or durable format, but will consider acquisition of older and newer formats if the College is able to support playback and use of the material.
  • The same title will generally not be acquired in multiple audio-visual formats.
  • Selection criteria for audio-visual material housed in the Crane Library are addressed in Appendix 1 Crane Library.

Standing Orders

  • Contingent upon vendor ability to provide a standing order service, the College Libraries will consider initiating a standing order if there is evidence of need for automatic purchase based on the value of the entire series or the collected works, or the need to update information on a periodic basis.
  • All standing orders will be reviewed by librarians for relevance, content, cost, and acquisition frequency at least every 3 years.

Online Resources

  • When entering into agreements with vendors for online resources, the College Libraries will comply with the College Libraries Licensing Policy.
  • The College Libraries require online resources to use commonly available hardware and software components.
  • Due to the multi-platform nature of SUNY Potsdam campus computing, online resources should have cross-platform capability whenever possible.
  • The College Libraries will select new online resources when appropriate in order to advance emerging scholarly communication models.
  • The College Libraries will consider vendor-side details such as presentation of resources, availability of statistics, and usability of interface when selecting and evaluating online resources.
  • When different vendor interfaces are available for the same content, price and usability will both be primary considerations for selection.
  • The College Libraries will seek to use online resources to help fulfill the needs of disciplines for which currency of publication is paramount.
  • The College Libraries will consider issues of archiving, backfile access, and permanence of access when selecting online resources.
  • The College Libraries seek to fulfill many of the needs of distance learning and off site services through the use of online resources.
  • Online resource selection decisions are sometimes controlled by external sources (such as statewide SUNY initiatives, consortial agreements, etc.). The College Libraries will seek to complement and balance online resource access across collections and disciplines.


Microforms are an undesirable format in the current information environment, and as such will only be purchased when no other options are available or appropriate for the College Libraries.

Other Non-Book Formats

  • The College Libraries will consider collecting other non-book formats that meet the Libraries' general selection criteria if the College can support the storage and use of the material.
  • Selection criteria for maps collected by the College Libraries are addressed in Appendix 4.

Periodical Subscriptions

  • The College Libraries journal collections are designed to provide access to online and print content relevant to and actively used in teaching and learning in undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • When considering periodicals for addition, renewal, or discontinuation, the College Libraries will choose between available options (including cancellation, print-only subscription, print and online subscription, or online-only access) based upon the following criteria:
    • The College Libraries are committed to supporting a general interest periodicals collection that assists library users in being educated and aware citizens of the world. In addition to fostering an understanding of current events and world issues, this collection also serves to document current times and events, and represent a spectrum of perspectives and views.
    • With appropriate exceptions, the importance of online access to the College Libraries users takes precedence over retention of print subscriptions. Print subscriptions to periodicals are preferred only when graphical content or journal browsability to further students' understanding of scholarly and professional communication within disciplines are of high value.
    • Other specific considerations include:
      • Content, coverage, curricular relevance, and scholarly reputation.
      • Title availability and currency in currently subscribed aggregated collections.
      • Direct and indirect costs of various access options.
      • Availability and quality of indexing for content
      • Demand for and/or use of online and print versions currently available. Need to retain hard-copy archival content, and cost of long-term archiving

Gift Policy

We welcome monetary donations through the college's donation portal.  Please select the "Fund for Libraries" as your designation choice.

Donations of books and other types of materials are considered to be "gifts in kind." Gifts in kind are welcomed by the College Libraries under the following conditions:

  • Donors must make arrangements in advance for large gifts (more than 20 items) to ensure there is adequate space and staff time available to manage the gift.
  • Disposition of the items is at the sole discretion of library staff
    • We add to the collections only titles that meet the criteria established in our collection development policy.
    • Since our space is limited and we are not a research library, condition and currency as well as subject matter are factors in evaluating gifts.
  • Gifts may be:
    • Added to the collection
    • Sold to a used book dealer or to individuals with the money coming back to the book replacement fund
    • Donated to a not-for-profit book distributor
    • Recycled if condition of the item renders it valueless
  • All gifts will be acknowledged with a letter of receipt.
    • We cannot provide a dollar valuation of gifts
    • Quantity of the gift is specified either in number of titles if the donation is small or in number of boxes if it is large; e.g. 20 books or 10 boxes.
  • We do not create special collections for gifts. When added, they become part of the regular collection and are subject to future re-evaluation.
  • Gifts are received at the College Libraries; generally, library resources are not available for transportation of gift materials.
  • Donors wishing to make a gift in kind to the College Libraries can inquire at all Libraries service desks, where they will be asked to sign the College Libraries gift form, and assisted by the appropriate library staff member.
  • The College Libraries assumes that gifts in kind received directly from publishers are in de facto acceptance of this policy.
  • Exceptions to this policy can be made at the discretion of the Director of Libraries or by arrangement with the College Libraries' Collection Development Coordinator

Collection Management

Fund Allocation

  • The College Libraries allocate materials funds across the campus' major curricular subject areas into three main funding pools: periodical subscriptions, electronic resources, and monographs. All non-serial publications, complete in one volume or finite set, are considered to be monographs, including but not limited to books, music scores, audiovisual materials, microfilm sets, and software.
  • The disciplinary allocation for monographs, which includes standing orders, is based on a formula applied across disciplines. To create and maintain a diverse and balanced collection, the Director of Libraries and Collection Development Coordinator use professional judgment to balance allocations, taking into consideration a broad range of factors. For more information on this formula, see Appendix 8.

Preservation and Replacement

  • The College Libraries are committed to the appropriate preservation of aging or damaged materials in order to maintain a collection appropriate to curricular needs.
  • Preservation may include repair, rebinding, or replacement. The method of preservation is influenced by the availability of replacement options, electronic duplication of content, cost of replacement or repair, physical condition of the material, importance of the item to the College Libraries' collection, and other factors unique to each item.
  • The College Libraries will preserve periodicals primarily through retention of loose or bound issues as appropriate, as well as through reliable electronic archiving initiatives.
  • The Libraries will replace lost materials as appropriate. Lost items may be directly replaced, or the libraries may instead select like material or variant editions to replace the lost content.


  • Deselection of library materials (withdrawal of items from the Libraries' collections) is essential to maintaining a dynamic library collection; both information obsolescence and poor physical condition decrease the utility and value of library collections.
  • Library materials are deselected on an ongoing basis, and when specific deselection needs are identified.
  • Deselection criteria may include aging of information, poor physical condition, changes in curriculum which reduce the relevance of subject areas, SUNY-wide access to content, replacement of information in another format or area, use-patterns, etc.
  • Selectors will consider SUNY Cooperative Collection Development agreements regarding last copy in SUNY while deselecting materials.


  1. Crane Library
  2. Archives and Special Collections
  3. Government Documents
  4. Map Collection
  5. Reference Collection
  6. Curriculum Collection
  7. Juvenile Literature Collection
  8. Other College Libraries collections
  9. Allocation Formula
  10. College Libraries Licensing Policy
  11. Glossary


Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

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SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13676