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Addendum to Rules Governing Collection Development

July 29, 2021

Approved by EPC August 5, 2021

Collection development includes selecting research resources in a wide variety of formats and languages, providing instructional and reference assistance in the use of these materials, evaluating the current collections, planning for future growth, and preserving library resources. In the case of a global pandemic and the resulting financial shortfalls, we are required to make temporary alterations to existing rules that can support these changes.

Until the pandemic is over and budgets are restored, we will:


  • Suspend acquisition of new electronic databases and collections unless another resource is specifically cancelled to acquire a new resource.
  • Review existing subscriptions with the purpose of identifying possible non-renewals.
  • Review, reduce, and/or suspend print approval programs.
  • Purchase physical materials that support research, teaching, and learning. Reasonable materials requests from Faculty will be considered where funds permit.
  • Prioritize eBook purchases over print when the goal is to give students in a course access to a library provided copy of a book.


Seton Hall University Libraries

March 18, 2015 (title updated 2/20/2020)

Approved by LFA

Dean’s Proposed Revisions back to the LFA, 9-11-15 and 10-27-15

Table of Contents




The Rules governing Collection Development ("RCD") reinforces the mission of the Seton Hall University Libraries: to “support excellence in academic and individual work, enable inquiry, foster intellectual and ethical integrity and respect for diverse points of view through user-focused services and robust collections as the intellectual and cultural heart of the University,” specifically as articulated in Goal 2: “build up and preserve print, digital, and other materials using selection criteria that reflect the academic priorities of the University, current collection strengths and significant research in all areas of study pursued at the University.” See

The RCD encompasses all materials that fall within the jurisdiction of the Library and is subject to regular scrutiny and revision in order to keep pace with changing and expanding University programs. The role of collection development activities is, therefore, to build, shape, and maintain the best possible set of resources that support the research and academic needs of the University within budgetary and space limitations. Since the Library exists to support the University’s curriculum and research needs, the library collection should parallel the development of the University itself.

Levels of Collection Development

The Seton Hall University Libraries will collect materials in all appropriate formats that support the curriculum and research interests of its community within budgetary and space limitations. The library faculty will collect materials based on: academic program, relevance to mission, the highest degree offered by a given program, the level of student use in that program, enrollments/student credit hours generated, scholarly activity, allocated funds, funded research, centers of excellence, endowments, grants, and monetary gifts. The following descriptions provide a guideline to three collection levels: Basic, Study, and Research that are currently relevant. A higher level of collecting subsumes those categories that precede it; that is, a Research level collection will already contain the resources of a Basic and Study levels of resources.

 Basic level

A highly selective collection which serves to introduce and define the subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes major reference works, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, and a few major periodicals in the field.

Study level

A collection which supports undergraduate or beginning-level graduate course work, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.

a. Advanced study level

A collection which is adequate to support the course work of advanced undergraduate and master's degree programs, or sustained independent study; that is, which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.

b. Initial study level

A collection which is adequate to support undergraduate courses. It includes a judicious selection from currently published basic monographs supported by seminal retrospective monographs; a broad selection of works of more important writers; a selection of the most significant works of secondary writers; a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.

Research level

A collection which includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It also includes all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as an extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstract services in the field.

The level of collecting is a goal for each type of degree program. These are adapted from the WLN Conspectus and they represent a goal that will be pursued to the extent that funding and space permit.  Broadly, Library of Congress subject classes are taken to represent the relevant curriculum: that is, “E” is American history, “E666 - E670” covers the era of Reconstruction and the Presidency of Andrew Johnson, “QD” is Chemistry, “QD71 – QD142” covers Analytical Chemistry, and so on:

The following maps the relationship between academic programs and the appropriate level of collection:

Undergraduate, certificate or concentration:

-  Basic level

Undergraduate, major or minor:

-  Initial study level

Master's degree:

-    Advanced study level

-   Beginning Research level

Doctoral degree:

-    Research level


Core Selection Criteria and Guidelines

Priority will be given to materials that meet the scholarly requirements of the curriculum, as well as the research needs of our community. The availability of electronic resources, coupled with new forms of delivering programs, has compelled the library to re-examine the scope and the formats in our collection. The RCD seeks to meet the needs of the Seton Hall community, including on-campus, hybrid, and online programs. The essential factors that should be considered for addition to the collection are: 

  1. Support of one or more collection development priorities at the appropriate level, regardless of format. 
  2. Value – content, format, physical condition, and cost effectiveness. 
  3. Collection level – appropriateness of the subject content and intellectual level of material to the stated subject collection development level.  
  4. Publication by a reputable publisher, firm, university, or research center. 
  5. Currency of information. 
  6. Access – rapid availability from an external source through interlibrary loan, document delivery, or other electronic access.
  7. Media that aid instruction.
  8. Out-of-print materials, if they are recommended by teaching faculty and/or meet teaching and research needs.  
  9. Materials in all foreign languages that support the curriculum.



The academic fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30th. The Dean of University Libraries, in cooperation with the Library faculty Head of Collection Development and relevant library administration, is responsible for allocating the library budget for purchase of materials. The materials budget includes allocations for serials, books, electronic resources, approval plans, binding, document delivery and supplies. Gift and endowed funds significantly supplement the materials budget for purchasing subject materials as specified by the grant guidelines; these funds are not part of the allocated funds and purchases may need to be made in line with the specifications of the donation. Any item costing more than $400 will need the Dean’s approval.        



  1. Hardbound/Paperback: Hardbound books are preferred to paperbacks, but both types will be considered for purchase. Less expensive paperbacks are preferred for ephemeral titles.
  2. eBooks may be purchased if requested. The default license for purchased eBooks will be single-user. Multiple-user license may be purchased (if available) for high-use items at the subject liaison librarians’ discretion. 
  3. Dissertations/Theses: The Library collects an electronic copy and produces a bound copy of all doctoral dissertations and master’s theses completed by Seton Hall students. Requests for dissertations from other universities will be filled through interlibrary loan.
  4. One copy only of Faculty publications may be purchased for the collection.


  1. The Library will move steadily to acquire journals in electronic format wherever possible in lieu of hard copy, maintaining its journal collection in print and microform only as needed.

Electronic Resources

  1. The Library will acquire full-text electronic resources where applicable and appropriate:  it will not purchase e-copies of specific resources for such personal devices as Kindle or iPad, not owned by the Library.
  2. The Library Database Committee oversights the collections per the 5-13-14 Charge to the Committee (on the Libraries’ Intranet

Materials No Longer Collected

  1. The Library no longer maintains a Vertical File.
  2. The Library is no longer a government document repository. (Seton Hall University Libraries still acts as the Northeast Region of New Jersey depository for the United Nations documents.)
  3. The Library does not maintain a textbook collection, although exceptions may be made on a case to case basis.


Selector Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the Library Faculty to maintain the collections in their assigned subject liaison areas and to work collaboratively with teaching faculty to develop a balanced collection that will best meet the curricular and research needs of the University community. Selectors have the responsibility to work with the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development and relevant library administrators within the parameters of these rules. Limited funds and space mean the Library will not acquire duplicate copies. Exceptions will be made only when heavy use is indicated.

Approval Plans

The Library sometimes utilizes approval plans to supply books for collections with an appropriate level of financial support.  Approval plans provide new materials based on a profile and it is the responsibility of selector library faculty to review approval plan performance.                

Reference Collections

The library has shifted from physical reference collections to electronic in recent years. Therefore, the library faculty must provide an overriding reason to include print materials in the physical reference collection. The library faculty selectors (subject liaison librarians) are responsible for their subject areas: promoting, selecting, and reviewing reference resources (electronic and print). When a title is available in multiple formats, preference will be given to the electronic version: the materials must be authoritative, current, and available for quick consultation.


Reserves provide access to materials specified by faculty for multiple student use. The rules related to Libraries Reserves may be found at

Curriculum Collection

The RCD and guidelines for the Curriculum Collection involve the collaboration of the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) with the library faculty selectors for the College to ensure that the most effective resources are available to support CEHS  faculty and those students enrolled in the teacher-education program at Seton Hall. The CEHS curriculum includes those courses that are required for teacher certification. Selection of materials for the Curriculum Collection follows state guidelines, accrediting specifications, and education standards. The Curriculum Collection (located in the library's 2nd floor Information Commons) contains extensive holdings in children’s literature for preschooler through young adults. Special emphasis is placed on acquiring Caldecott, Newbery and Coretta Scott King award-winning and honored books.

Gift Materials and Archives & Special Collections

Seton Hall University Libraries has 2 separate rules for Gifts; one set for Walsh Library, and one set for Archives & Special Collections Center. 


Donors may indicate on the Gift Form if a bookplate is requested and provide the exact wording that is requested. 

Replacement of Damaged, Lost and/or Paid Materials

  1. Items that are 45 days overdue are considered lost, and the patron will receive a bill for the replacement and processing costs (average about $100.00 per item). Monies received for missing or lost items shall be credited back to the library budget. See also the Library’s borrow, renew and return guidelines page at
  2. Missing, lost or severely damaged library items may be considered for replacement.
  3. On recommendation of a subject librarian, individual titles will be replaced with the latest editions. 
  4. Replacement copies will be ordered in hardcover edition where available.
  5. Decisions to replace very expensive library items should be made in consultation with the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development or the Dean.

Collection Review and Weeding

Weeding is an important aspect of collection development and should be implemented conscientiously on a continuous basis.  The following are some principles guiding decisions withdrawing library materials of all formats:

  1. One copy per unique title is the general guideline, and no more than two copies of a needed title for each collection shall be retained unless for exceptional circumstances.
  2. Items in poor physical condition and without historical value shall be evaluated for necessary replacement and/or considered for withdrawal.
  3. Non-classic superseded editions of items including both print books and eBooks shall be considered for withdrawal, especially in areas of the curriculum that must be kept current.
  4. Obsolete items that have little or no value to a subject shall be considered for withdrawal.
  5. Weeding from the Archives and Special Collections Center shall follow the Center’s internal collection development rules, found at

Library Bill of Rights and Intellectual Freedom

Seton Hall University Libraries support the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and Intellectual Freedom, fully in conjunction with the Faculty Guide, found at

Resource Sharing

Seton Hall University Libraries' interlibrary loan and resource sharing rules may be found at


Seton Hall University Libraries follows Seton Hall University's Copyright Policy, which may be found at

Discarded Books from the Collections

From: John Buschman
Sent: Monday, January 5, 2015 2:52 PM
To: Michael S Zavada <>

[Dean Zavada,]

…  I’m not entirely sure what information you’re after, but I can give you the following background:

  1. We do have Weeding guidelines duly passed by our EPC and voted on by our faculty as a whole as per Faculty Guide 11.2.2.  My copy is not clearly dated, but is a circa 2000 revision of a 1983 policy.  It states:  “Weeding is an important aspect of collection development and should be implemented conscientiously on a continuous basis.”  It then goes on to enumerate some guiding principles:  no more than 2 copies (meaning a presumption of 1 copy per title), poor physical condition is a consideration along with non-classic superseded editions, and obsolete items of little or no value are to be considered.
  2. As for process, I have communicated that “my  goal is … not necessarily to shrink valuable content” (e-mail from me 6-18-13).  This is the default position I charged the relevant Library faculty committee with:  items go to the Main Collections unless the material was very questionable.  We in fact have transferred quite a bit of material up to the stacks.  Other schools (Stillman and Nursing for instance) have been happy to have outdated information reviewed and trimmed by their Library faculty liaisons.

Going forward:

  1. We can develop the capacity to “shoot” the barcodes of books and generate lists easily now with our new system….  I’m willing to generate such lists and circulate to relevant faculty, with a time-certain turnaround for review.  [Any] demand to review all areas of the curriculum is, I’m afraid, unsupportable, and can easily have adverse effects on other areas of the curriculum….
  2. We are about to go through and de-duplicate volumes in the collections (removing 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. copies of exact editions).  I have already offered to let [departments] review duplicate titles from their Library of Congress areas.  That hasn’t changed.
  3. Again, … I simply must manage space:  in the stacks areas we are at the effective warehousing capacity.  85%-86% capacity is effectively full given the ebb & flow of materials in and out of the collections.  We have been spending more money in salary (not including benefits) to manage our shelving under these circumstances than I have spent (allocated monies only – not including endowed funds) on books.  That is not sustainable.
  4. Once we have the collections de-duplicated, yes, we will go through to review outdated/unused monographs.  We’ll be able to post lists and let interested faculty take a look (the process we’re working on now).

Note: The URLs listed in this set of rules may be subject to change. 


Statement on Accessibility and Acquisitions of EIT

Seton Hall University Libraries is committed to providing equal opportunity to persons with disabilities, including equal access to participate in and benefit from University programs, services, and activities provided through electronic and information technology (EIT). It is important that accessibility is in the forefront as we design, build, acquire or use new EIT.  Therefore, this policy establishes minimum standards and expectations regarding the design, acquisition or use of EIT to achieve the University’s legal, moral, and ethical commitments in the digital environment.

The Seton Hall University Libraries shall prioritize the selection of products and online resources that strive for compliance with relevant Section 508 standards and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Seton Hall University Libraries continuously works towards the establishment of an online information infrastructure that is accessible and usable for all, including people with disabilities. Decision-making pertaining to the development or procurement of online resources will, if applicable, involve the following:

  • Gaining familiarity with, and implementing, state-of-the art accessible design practices for the product in question.  
  • Taking into account the accessibility of products or services under consideration.  
  • Requiring vendors to provide documentation pertaining to their products' accessibility (conformance to Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0).
  • Inquiring about their products' usability for users of assistive technology (outcomes of usability testing).  
  • Consulting the literature about the accessibility of the considered resources.  
  • Discussing more accessible alternatives.  
  • Documenting the reasons for selecting an inaccessible resource in the Library's Collection Development Committee minutes.  
  • Including accessibility as a desired resource quality in RFPs (Requests for Proposals).

If you notice an accessibility issue, please Contact Us.