Collection Development Policies
This plan applies to the library’s general collections. Because this policy is a general guide, nothing in it shall be construed as requiring or prohibiting the purchase or acceptance as a donation any particular item or items. The Genesee Historical Collections Center has its own collection development policy.
There are several institutions of higher learning or career training in the Flint area, including Kettering University, Charles Stewart Mott Community College, Baker College of Flint, and the University of Michigan-Flint. Two public libraries (Flint Public Library and the Genesee District Library system), and several institutions in Flint’s Cultural Center (the Sloan Museum, the DeWaters Art Center, the Flint Institute of Music, and the Longway Planetarium) add to the information resources available to Genesee County residents.
The primary users of the Thompson Library are the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Michigan-Flint. It is also used by members of the larger University of Michigan community, and by people in the greater Flint area, as well as from farther outstate, who are not affiliated with the University. Finally, the Thompson Library cooperates with other libraries, in the area and nationwide, in sharing resources through reciprocal borrowing privileges, interlibrary loan, the compilation of union lists, and other activities and programs.
The holdings of the collections (except government documents) are searchable through Mirlyn, which also provides access to numerous other electronic indexes, databases, and college catalogs. Several other databases are available through standalone or networked CD-ROM products. The government documents collection will eventually be added to Mirlyn.
- To support the instructional, research, and administrative needs of UM-Flint students, faculty, and staff;
- To provide a collection of high quality reflecting a diversity of contemporary and historical interests and points of view in a variety of disciplines;
- To provide access to a limited amount of cultural and recreational materials not specifically related to the University’s current academic programs.
The library strives to build a solid collection of high-quality materials. The selection of an item does not indicate endorsement or approval by the Thompson Library, its faculty or staff, or of the University of Michigan-Flint.
This principle is also borne out in particular aspects of the policy:
- In basing acquisitions decisions on the academic merits of material and not on whether it advances or hinders a particular ideological agenda.
- In diffused responsibility for collection development. Responsibility for ordering materials for the library collection is shared by the library faculty and the departmental faculty. Each academic department has a library budget allocation for ordering books and other materials. Librarians also have individual budgets for ordering materials. Such a decentralized system of acquisitions, with potentially hundreds of selectors, prevents the collection from being unduly biased toward any one person's viewpoint or ideology.
- In the policy of noninterference in the acquisitions choices of the academic departmental faculty.
Within the library, there are the following acquisition funds:
- Contingency (general periodicals)
- Individual librarians
Books and other individual materials. Because departmental faculty members are expert in their respective disciplines, responsibility for ordering materials for the library collection is shared by the library faculty and the departmental faculty. Each academic department has a library budget allocation each fiscal year for ordering books and other materials. Librarians also have individual budgets for ordering materials. The librarians reserve the right to question order requests, but rarely exercise this prerogative to avoid infringing on the expert judgment and academic rights and responsibilities of departmental faculty. Moreover, the Thompson Library orders several thousand books per year; systematic review of selections is therefore impossible. The Thompson Library will not attempt to maintain a textbook collection; it is the responsibility of students to acquire their own textbooks.
Orders must be processed and paid before the end of The University's fiscal year (currently June 30). Departments must submit all orders before an announced deadline prior to the end of the fiscal year. After the established deadline for orders by departments, acquisitions funds not expended by departments may by used by the library to acquire materials.
Special collections. The Thompson Library's collections are generally organized according to the format and circulation status of their contents (e.g., circulating books in the Main Collection). Because a proliferation of discrete, over-specialized collections tends to complicate both use and maintenance of library resources, the Thompson Library will generally not maintain or house special collections that serve only narrow purposes (e.g., a shelf of materials intended only for one course or program). Most materials appropriate for the library should be integrated into one of its existing collections, such as Reference or the Main Collection.
Some items, because of time-sensitivity or other reasons, are less suited for permanent inclusion in the library's collections. Faculty and staff who wish to make such materials available on campus are encouraged to put them on reserve.
Electronic resources and services acquired with any portion of the Thompson Library's acquisitions funds must be accessible through the library's retrieval systems. Physical materials so acquired must be housed in the library or a facility maintained by the library. Separate facilities maintained by the library will be created or retained only with the consent of the library faculty. UM-Flint departments creating separate collections of books, journals, electronic products or services or media may not pay for them with funds designated for library acquisitions.
Periodical Subscriptions. Periodical subscriptions involve open-ended commitments of money, labor, and space; therefore, periodical selections receive closer scrutiny than do book purchases. Suggestions from departmental faculty are reviewed by the librarians, who then recommend titles to the Faculty Library Committee; the committee makes the final decision. The library bears the cost of some general interest, reference, and book trade journals.
The cost of some periodicals is shared equally by the library and the appropriate academic departments, taken from their library acquisitions budgets. Other periodicals, usually of a general nature, are paid for entirely out of library funds.
Liaisons. The library director or assistant director assigns to each academic department a liaison librarian. The liaisons assist the departments with materials selection or address their library-related concerns.Print sources. Print sources make up, and will continue to make up for the foreseeable future, the bulk of the collection. Even as the Internet and the World Wide Web grow at astounding rates, various factors -- including the capacity of existing telephone lines, copyright issues, and quality control -- guarantee that books and other print sources will remain a primary if not the primary medium of information for the time being.
- Books. Books make up the single largest part of the collection. Aside for the usual criteria that relate to content, they are selected according to factors such as durability (e.g. bound adequately and printed on acid-free paper), price, anticipated use, and the likelihood of continued currency of the information.
Periodicals. Subscriptions to periodicals are decided upon by the library faculty based upon the recommendations of the library Resources Committee. Decision factors for a periodical include cost, likelihood of use, importance in the discipline, and whether the item is indexed in databases available at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Newspapers. The library subscribes to several Michigan newspapers and out-of-state newspapers with a national focus. Back issues of the most heavily used newspapers will be kept on microfilm, CD-ROM, or other media. Because of limited usefulness and the ready availability of out-of-state newspapers at other area libraries and bookstores, the Thompson Library does not subscribe to newspapers from outside Michigan unless they are newspapers of record.
Textbooks. Textbooks duplicate information available elsewhere and are quickly outdated. Moreover, it is the responsibility of students to purchase their own textbooks. Accordingly, the Thompson Library does not ordinarily purchase textbooks or accept them as donations.
Reprints. Reprints of books are collected on the same basis as other books. Reprints of articles are not generally collected. Faculty who wish to make articles available to their students are advised to put the articles on reserve.
Theses and dissertations. Copies of master’s theses completed by University of Michigan-Flint students are supplied to the library. Theses and dissertations by students unaffiliated with UM-Flint are not generally collected.
Paperbacks. To the greatest extent possible, the library collects materials that are physically durable. Paperback copies of books, while usually less durable than hardcovers, are ordered when their cost, balanced against their projected circulation and continued currency, makes them a better buy.
Microforms. The library collects a) microfilm copies of certain periodical subscriptions; b) microfilm versions of select books, papers, manuscripts, and archival materials; c) microfiche copies of ERIC documents; d) microfiche copies of select documents, e.g. corporate annual reports.
Maps. The Thompson Library maintains a modest collection of atlases. Topographic and geological maps of Michigan and local aerial photographs are collected. Road maps are collected very selectively.
Pamphlets. No effort is made to collect pamphlets systematically. Any pamphlets that are acquired through donations or other means are put in the Faculty Selected Pamphlets collection.
Art works. Works of art are not generally purchased, but donations are accepted selectively. Works that are accepted are displayed at the discretion of the library faculty.
Posters. Posters are not collected; donations may be accepted on a selective basis.
Musical scores. Scores are collected selectively.
Audio and visual materials. All such media fall under the collection policy of the Media Collection.
Computer software. Most such media fall under the collection policy of the Media Collection. The library acquires some software, usually that which accompanies or supports print resources.
Tests. Tests are neither collected nor accepted as donations. Faculty wishing to make tests available to their students are advised to place them on reserve.
Indexes and abstracts (print). Continuing subscriptions to print indexes and abstracts is based upon: a) Their usefulness to scholarship at the University of Michigan-Flint, and b) whether the subject matter is adequately indexed in an electronic product to which the library subscribes.
Electronic formats. Electronic formats are increasingly important in the pursuit of knowledge. In many cases they are superior in quality to, and a better value than, the print media that they supplement or replace. The Thompson Library will acquire, organize, preserve, and make accessible, irrespective of format, knowledge and information essential to the intellectual endeavors of the University community no matter where they are located, and to non-University users of the library. It works from the principle that knowledge and information in electronic format should be as accessible as that in printed forms. The library provides unauthenticated access at the network level to resources it chooses to offer in electronic format. Any authentication required by contract, for security, or for other reasons, is at the resource, not the network, level.
Nevertheless, the availability of electronic media does not eliminate the problem of scarce financial resources. Many if not most written works (e.g. books still under copyright) will not be available for the foreseeable future in electronic form, and will probably not be available for free in any form for decades. Those that are published in electronic format are often accessible only for a fee, or are works already in the public domain. Many factors must be weighed in deciding whether to acquire a particular electronic work.
- The Website. The Thompson Library maintains a website with links to free and subscription-based resources as well as locally produced documents. The website is maintained by one or more librarians or staff, and selections for hyperlinks to it are made by the librarians. External links are considered parts of the library's collection.
- Perceived need or the likelihood of use
- Ease of use
- The library’s holdings of periodicals indexed in that database
Indexes and abstracts (electronic). The Thompson Library leases several CD-ROM databases and subscribes to several electronic databases through Mirlyn and other sources. The following factors are weighed in deciding whether to subscribe to a particular database:
A long-term goal is to provide departmental faculty with unmediated electronic access to the key abstracting or indexing services in their respective disciplines.
Electronic journals. Electronic journals are a fast-growing area of the information industry and of the Thompson Library's collection. The library seeks to expand its collection of electronic journals. Because of the difficulty of maintaining and making accessible individual online journals, the library will, whenever possible, give preference to packages of electronic journals over single titles. It also strongly prefers electronic resources that are accessible off campus through EZProxy or some other relatively transparent user authorization process. Resources that are inaccessible off campus or are remotely accessible only with a generic username and password will be licensed extremely selectively, if at all.
For current and new subscriptions to journals and other periodical publications, the policy of the Thompson Library is to avoid duplication between print (i.e., hard copy) and online (i.e., digital) formats, where that duplication entails additional cost. Our default position is to prefer the online version to the print version.
A consequence of this policy is that the Thompson Library will cancel an existing print subscription if our users have reliable access to the full-text content of the same title through one of the online databases* available through the library’s website. Before canceling, the library will consult with the academic department that shares the cost of the journal subscription.
This policy does not apply to titles to which, by contract, the Thompson Library must subscribe in order to be eligible for access to their digital versions. Other exceptions to this policy depend on significant differences between the online and print versions that render the print version pedagogically useful in ways that the online version is not (e.g., color illustrations in the print version not viewable in the online version); where accreditation standards require subscription to the print version; or for other classroom-instruction-related reasons.
After due consultation between the librarians and the affected academic department, should a disagreement arise about cancellation of a particular print title, the final cancellation decision will be made by the person who is responsible for managing the library’s general fund acquisitions budget: the director of the Thompson Library, who will act in consultation with the faculty-elected Library Resources Committee.
* E.g, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, LexisNexis, Wiley InterScience, etc.
Rationale: With its general fund acquisitions budget steadily eroding in purchasing power and the cost of print journal subscriptions rising for the past decade at annual rates of 9-12%, the Thompson Library must establish this non-duplication policy in order to protect the ability of academic departments to buy even a limited number of new books. Several departments already spend essentially their entire library acquisitions budget on print periodicals. As a consequence of this policy, academic departments will be able to order a greater number of important new books. Most UM-Flint students and most of the faculty, moreover, are comfortable with using academic materials in an online format, and often prefer to do so, owing to their ready accessibility from home and office computers.
Community of users: The primary users of the Thompson Library media collection are the students, faculty, and staff of the University of Michigan-Flint. It is also used by members of the larger University of Michigan community.
Selection of material: Most of the audio visual materials in the Thompson Library were purchased by faculty members with library funds. For requests for unusual audio visual materials a minimum of 2 of the following selection criteria are used:
- Curricular relevance – this is given highest priority
- Anticipated frequency of use – who will be using this material?
- Favorable reviews or awards
- Appropriateness of format – legacy, outdated, formats will not be purchased unless faculty can justify the particular format
- Relative cost – the replacement cost for the item in question is not exorbitant.
- Inclusion of social, political or economic themes or viewpoints not presented elsewhere
Responsibility of collection: The collection is the collective responsibility of the reference librarians at the Thompson Library.
Interlibrary Loan: The media collection at the Thompson Library is not available for interlibrary loan.
Gifts: Gifts in non-supported formats will not be accepted.
Weeding: Weeding the collection is a necessary on-going process in order to maintain quality, currency, and usefulness of the collection. Weeding criteria include: worn or damaged formats, titles superseded by other formats or versions, and titles which have not been used in the past decade or more. Weeding is done every three years.
Criteria for accepting gifts. The library does not accept every item offered as a gift. Although gift books and other materials are "free," they entail substantial cost in cataloging and in maintenance over the years. Any gift added to the collections should meet the criteria applied to materials that are purchased. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- The author's reputation
- Subject matter (whether it fits the needs of this library's users)
- Critical response as measured by reviews or inclusion in standard or recommended bibliographies
- Timeliness vs. datedness
- Physical considerations, including binding, format, etc.
- Language of the publication
- Sources in which the publication is indexed, if a periodical
- Any other unusual considerations which would affect specific donations
Acceptance of materials donated with stipulations is at the discretion of the library director.
For internal reasons, the library ordinarily accepts as gifts only materials that will be retained. Occasional exceptions occur. In any case, gifts are accepted with the understanding that they become the property of the University of Michigan-Flint upon receipt, and that the Thompson Library may make all necessary decisions as to their retention, location, cataloging treatment, and other considerations relating to their use and disposition. Materials which prove not to be needed in the library may be exchanged with other libraries, or otherwise used for the University's benefit and goodwill, in accordance with established procedures. Donors may request that materials not needed be returned to them.
To facilitate the necessary review of offered gifts, prospective donors should submit a list enumerating materials offered for donation. If the donor cannot provide such a list, library faculty can usually examine the potential gift in person at the donor's office, home, etc., and prepare a list for subsequent evaluation. For books, the list should include:
- Author's name
- Book title
- Publication date
- Paperback or cloth binding
- Notes if advisable, on content or other details.
- Donor's home address (including Zip code) and phone number.
For periodicals, the list should include:
- Title of periodical
- Inclusive volumes and/or dates
- Information on missing volumes or issues.
- Other notes, as seem advisable.
- Donor's home address (with ZIP code) and phone number.
If the donor is a UM-Flint staff or faculty member, it should also include his or her department address.
The gifts librarian, as a rule, will review such lists and let the donor know what we can use. Depending on the circumstances, the donor may then either bring the material to the library, or a library faculty member will pick it up in person.
Items not accepted as gifts. The Thompson Library is unable to accept donations of the following types of materials:
- Books marked with such designations as "complimentary copy," "review copy," "desk copy," or other books clearly intended as marketing tools (e.g. "instructors' editions" with promotional copy bound in with the book).
- Textbooks generally, owing to their habit of being superseded so quickly by subsequent editions, and because of their ordinarily repetitious content. Textbooks that have been superseded by later editions are particularly undesirable.
- Items already owned by the library (with some exceptions, e.g., a second copy of an important novel).
- Books or other materials that are out-of-date. (e.g. "state of the art" studies on environmental science published in 1975.)
- Periodicals in limited runs that do not augment either current or previous library subscriptions to those same titles.
- Periodicals in runs with numerous missing or incomplete volumes.
- Periodicals whose dated nature renders them unlikely to be useful in the Thompson Library.
Donors are discouraged from dropping off materials that have not been cleared for acceptance through the procedures outlined above. If they do leave them, they should understand that they may need to retrieve them should we not add them to the collections.
Appraisals. Donors are responsible in all cases for arranging and paying for appraisals of any gifts to the Thompson Library. Appraisals must be made before delivery to the library of donated materials. Neither librarians nor other University of Michigan staff may furnish appraisals to donors for items donated to the Thompson Library.
- To give the Thompson Library's administrators and librarians reliable information for assessing strengths and weaknesses in the collection. This in turn allows for more systematic and informed development of the collection over the next several years.
- To provide information to respond intelligently and effectively to shifting budget priorities.
- To gain data for objective comparison with the collections of other libraries as a measure of collection strength.
- To aid in cooperative collection development with other libraries, when appropriate.
The results of such evaluations shall be made publicly available.
Patrons who complain about materials will be asked to fill out the complaint form in Appendix B, which will be reviewed by the director and other librarians. If the complaint is deemed legitimate, there will be a presumption in favor of adding rather than removing materials in order to attain balance.
1986 Revised 11/1992 Revised 11/1999 Revised 9/2005
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, by the ALA Council.This form may be downloaded or printed. If your workstation does not support Microsoft Word, or you otherwise cannot download or print this document, inquire at the Thompson Library reference desk for a hard copy.
Sec. 5. (1) Except as otherwise provided by statute or by a regulation adopted by the governing body of the library, the selection of library materials for inclusion in a library's collection shall be determined only by an employee of the library.
(2) Except as otherwise provided by law or by a regulation adopted by the governing body of the library, the use of library materials shall be determined only by an employee of the library.