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Collection Development Policy

Library Mission Statement

The mission of the James M. Milne Library is to provide quality information resources, services, and expertise, both within and beyond the library’s walls, and to create an inviting and stimulating intellectual center for teaching, learning, and research at SUNY Oneonta.


The collections of the James M. Milne Library directly support the educational and scholarly programs of SUNY Oneonta through the selection and maintenance of library materials in a range of formats for students, faculty, and staff.  SUNY Oneonta is a public, liberal arts and sciences college with a pre-professional focus. The College enrolls approximately 6,500 students in a wide variety of bachelor’s degree programs and a number of graduate certificates and degrees. The library will be a force for change in ensuring that students acquire the skills necessary for lifelong learning. The library will continue to provide quality services and collections and to offer an inviting and comfortable space for intellectual exchange and cultural enrichment. 

Collection development at the James M. Milne Library is a collaborative effort between liaisons and departmental faculty. Liaisons are librarians with responsibilities for selecting materials for the collections. Liaisons work with representatives from each academic department on the Library Committee in guiding the development and growth of the library. Participation in resource development by academic department faculty is essential, because teaching faculty are subject specialists with the academic credentials and curricular expertise to inform collections decisions. Collaboration between librarians and faculty members is required if the library is to fulfill its role in support of the academic program curriculum. 

Collection Development Goals

The library maintains the following priorities regarding collections:  


Curricular Support 

Liaisons develop close ties with departments and programs and continually use information about the curriculum in order to provide for the current and changing needs of SUNY Oneonta.


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion 

Liaisons recognize the formidable market forces that perpetuate the marginalization of perspectives not traditionally well represented in higher education in North America and shall adopt a deliberate approach in collecting materials outside of mainstream publishing and distribution structures. 


Institutional Responsiveness 

The library anticipates and responds to collection needs through engagement with the campus community in serving the evolving institutional mission of SUNY Oneonta.  


Enrichment and Development 

The library endeavors to assemble a substantive collection that fosters the development of critical thinking skills, empowering individuals in the campus community to seek intellectual growth through self-directed and librarian-facilitated investigation.  

Selection Criteria

The Library collection level is based on guidelines developed by the Research Libraries Group.     


Instructional Support Level

The Library collects materials that support the undergraduate and graduate level curriculum, such as a wide range of primary and secondary works, creative works, selected representative journals, and general and specialized reference works.    

Liaisons use the selection criteria below when evaluating materials to be added to the print collections. These criteria do not apply in their entirety to every item but are used at the liaison’s discretion. 

  •  Germane to the curriculum  
  •  Under-represented areas of scholarship  
  •  Reputation, credentials, or authoritativeness of author, publisher, or editor  
  •  Quality of scholarship  
  •  Positive review in a professional review source  
  •  Listing in a reputable subject bibliography or other collection development source  
  •  Current or historical significance of the author or subject  
  •  Local significance of the author or subject  
  •  Faculty or Staff publications (monographs or edited collections)  
  •  Social significance of the author or subject  
  •  Timeliness and/or permanence  
  •  Relevance to the existing collection’s strengths and weaknesses  
  •  Uniqueness of content  
  •  Suitability of format to Library circulation and use  
  •  Physical quality  
  •  Date of publication  
  •  Geographic coverage  
  •  Cost in relation to projected use 

Language Considerations

Although the predominant language of the library’s collection is English, the library acquires material in any language appropriate to a given subject area. 

Formats and Duplicates

The library collects a broad spectrum of information resources in a range of formats. Formats include but are not limited to print, e-book, CDs, DVDs, microform, and streaming video. Format preferences and requests will be considered in selection decisions.

The library may provide duplicate physical titles if they support the curriculum and improve access. 

The library may provide both physical and electronic formats. If the item is already owned, the library may consider purchasing a duplicate in another format if it provides improved access; space, maintenance, cost, and processing benefits; and/or ease of use in comparison to the equivalent in the format already owned.

Related Collections

The Children’s Collection, the New York State Collection, the Reference Collection, Special Collections and Archives, and the Young Adult Collection augment the library’s general collection. Special Collections and Archives has a collection policy of its own.

Cooperative Resources and Consortia Agreements

SUNY Oneonta is part of the State University of New York, the largest comprehensive university system in the United States. The library is part of SUNYConnect, a joint initiative of the Office of Library and Information Services and the libraries of the 64 SUNY campuses to share collections and services. Between-campus borrowing, specifically monographs and serials, is enhanced through use of the library’s discovery system. The library also maintains cooperative agreements with the Information Delivery Services Project, Libraries Very Interested in Sharing, and the South-Central Regional Library Council, all of which enhance mutual access to resources. Borrowing privileges for SUNY Oneonta students, faculty, and staff at neighboring Hartwick College, a private, liberal arts institution of 1,200 students. Huntington Memorial Library, part of the Four County Public Library System, houses valuable resources related to New York state history.   

Selection Tools



The library provides access to a significant amount of review literature. Choice Reviews remains a comprehensive resource, although liaisons regularly consult standard sources for reviews in their respective disciplines.    


Interlibrary Loan Requests   

Liaisons receive annual reports that reflect the materials not owned by the library, but which students, faculty, and staff are requesting.   


Publisher Catalogs   

Liaisons request publisher catalogs for their respective disciplines. In addition to staying current on monograph publications, the catalogs routinely contain citations to full reviews.   



Liaisons consult current and relevant evaluative bibliographies in their respective academic disciplines. Bibliographies assess the value and usefulness of books and other materials covering a particular subject, theme, or individual, among other areas. 

Conservation and Replacement

Conservation recommendations are based on the number of holdings in WorldCat and in the Northeast. Books that are brittle or damaged will be evaluated by the appropriate liaison for repair, replacement, or withdrawal from the collection. Books that cannot be repaired will be considered for replacement based on their in-print status, cost, and the availability of a newer edition. Replacement titles may be acquired when materials become lost, heavily worn, have accessibility issues or exist in an outdated format.

Out-of-Print Titles

Requests for out-of-print titles will be evaluated by the library on a case-by-case basis. If originals are not available or are cost prohibitive, materials may be acquired in another suitable format. 

Faculty and Staff Publications

The library seeks to purchase two copies of faculty or staff publications: one copy will be shelved in the circulating collection; the second copy will be shelved in Special Collections. 


The library welcomes the donations of materials. In addition to books, other current formats, including DVDs and compact discs, are also accepted. Titles that are added to the library collection are placed in the appropriate collection unless prior arrangements have been made with the donor. A nameplate will be placed in donated books if the donor is known. The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing reserves the right to accept or decline any gift. Gift materials are accepted according to the following guidelines:   

  • Liaison shall evaluate gifts using the library’s selection criteria   
  • Materials must be in good condition   
  • Appraisals are the responsibility of the donor, and they must be completed prior to donation   
  • Once a gift is accepted, it becomes the sole property of the library   
  • The library reserves the right to determine the disposition of any gift   
  • Accepted items that are not incorporated into the collection may be given away, sent to another library, recycled, or forwarded to a book dealer in accordance with New York State guidelines   
  • Gift items may be withdrawn from the collection according to the library’s deselection criteria  

Government Documents

The library is part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and is a partial repository for government documents. As part of the program, the library offers free and public access to these materials. Physical and electronic titles will be retained in the library collection for 5 years. After 5 years, the physical and electronic titles will be deselected and withdrawn from the library collection in accordance with the FLDP.  As of 2019, the library primarily receives and provides access to government documents in digital format only.   


With the exception of faculty-authored textbooks, the Library does not collect textbooks for courses at SUNY Oneonta. A textbook is defined as a book that is a tertiary and standard work used by students for the study of a specific subject. Textbooks are frequently updated and, in some instances, include a code for online access for a single user.  To help students defray costs of textbooks for their courses, faculty are encouraged to place personal copies of textbooks on course reserve for their students’ use and to consider alternatives to high-cost textbooks such as Open Educational Resources (OER) or assigning library-owned or open access materials. The Library will work with any faculty member to identify relevant OER, open access content, or library materials for courses. 

Teaching Aid Units (TAUs)

TAUs include items such as activity stations, board games, and manipulatives. The library is no longer actively building a collection of TAUs, nor prioritizing purchase requests for single TAU items. TAUs like board games generally contain multiple small pieces that when lost are problematic to replace and render the item unusable. Because TAUs have a high risk of lost pieces, they do not meet the library's threshold for sustainable maintenance and preservation. 


The library's book collection will be reviewed on an as needed basis to ensure that it is meeting the current curriculum, educational, scholarship, and informational needs of students, faculty, and staff. Materials that no longer meet the needs of the college community may be withdrawn from the collection. The library’s deselection process ensures the professional and responsible removal of material from the collection. In addition, the deselection process is collaborative, transparent, sustainable, and inclusive. The library will consult with the campus community prior to the permanent removal of material from the collection. The following criteria should be considered when identifying material for deselection:   

  • Circulation history   
  • In-house use   
  • Acquisition date   
  • Last check in date    
  • Publication date   
  • Availability at other SUNY libraries   
  • Availability in digital format   
  • Citation counts   
  • Listed in core lists/subject bibliographies   
  • Listed in Choice as Outstanding Academic Title   
  • Local author   
  • Local subject matter   
  • Value to college curriculum/campus users   
  • Significance to the discipline   
  • Value as primary source    
  • Value representing diverse perspectives    
  • Physical condition   
  • Duplicate copies  


Reconsideration of Materials

The information resources provided by Milne Library are selected in accordance with the library’s collection development policy to support the educational and scholarly programs of SUNY Oneonta.  

The library purchases materials that represent a wide variety of viewpoints and adheres to the highest standards of the profession as stated in the Standards and Principles section of the Collection Development Policy.  

The library will not withdraw duly selected materials from the collections in response to a request from an individual or a group.   
The following procedures are used to handle requests for reconsideration of materials in the library’s collections: 

  • Requests for reconsideration of materials shall be submitted in writing to the Milne Library Collection Development Team using the Reconsideration of Material Form available at the circulation desk and the reference desk. 
  • The Reconsideration of Material Form must be completed in full.  
  • The Milne Library Collection Development Team will acknowledge the receipt of the form by email.  
  • The Milne Library Collection Development Team will review the request within three weeks of receipt of the completed form.  
  • The Milne Library Collection Development Team will make a final decision on an appropriate response to the request.  
  • The individual completing the Reconsideration of Material Form will be notified by email/in writing of the Milne Library Collection Development Team’s decision. The notification will be delivered within thirty days of receipt of the completed form.  
  • The material under reconsideration will remain in the collection during the review process. 
  • All requests for reconsideration will be reported to the American Library Association.   

The Collection Development Team will evaluate the material under reconsideration using the library’s Collection Development Policy and the policies and principles set out in the Library Bill of Rights, The Freedom to Read Statement, Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries, and Freedom to View Statement.  The Collection Development Team may consult with other experts in the subject field including faculty or others.   

Selection Policy for Electronic Resources

This policy guides the selection of electronic resources for the James M. Milne Library. Two fundamental principles form the basis of the policy: that the library will aim for the widest access available for any electronic resource and that the library will aim for perpetual ownership for any electronic resource. Access-only purchase agreements will be considered on a limited basis.   

The evaluation of electronic resources is a collaborative process. The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing solicits purchase requests for evaluation that includes but is not limited to the librarian liaisons and convenes the same group periodically to review current electronic resource subscriptions for deselection. The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing welcomes suggestions from academic departments.     

Electronic resources are distinct, sizable collections that directly support the educational and research programs of SUNY Oneonta. For the purposes of this policy, electronic resources include but are not limited to:   

  • Databases: These resources include indexing and abstracting databases and full-text databases.   
  • Online Periodicals: Individual, full-text periodicals that are obtained through subscription or that are freely accessible.   
  • E-books: Digitized versions of print books that are designed to be read on a computer or downloaded to an e-book reader. E-books may be individual titles or part of a larger subscription collection.   
  • Image Databases: Large, searchable, electronic files of images and image data.   
  • Streaming Videos: Searchable, compressed video recordings which can be viewed on-demand using computer software or web browsers.   
  • Open Access: The free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.   
  • Electronic Serials: A publication issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely.  

In selecting electronic resources, the library broadly promotes accessibility, including internet accessibility, assistive technologies, and reference and instruction services for users with disabilities. The library conducts accessibility testing as a standard part of the acquisitions process and commits to informing vendors of the ongoing need to develop resources that are accessible to all users.   

General criteria for the selection of electronic resources as well as deselection and licensing criteria are outlined below.   


General Criteria   

Coverage and Scope     

  • Does the resource support the curricular and scholarship needs of SUNY Oneonta students, faculty, and staff?   
  • Does this resource support the mission, values and vision of SUNY Oneonta and the James M. Milne Library?   
  • Does the resource support the equity, diversity, and inclusion endeavors of SUNY Oneonta?   
  • Does the resource provide coverage of high priority or under-represented areas?      
  • How many students and faculty are potentially served by the resource?   
  • Has the resource been reviewed? If so, what are the relevant strengths and weaknesses?  
  • Do we subscribe to other resources that adequately cover the same material?     
  • How much full-text information is available?   
  • Is there a content embargo?     

Stability of the Content and/or Vendor     

  • Is the resource provided by a reputable vendor?     
  • Is the resource available from more than one vendor?     
  • Is there a commitment from the vendor to maintain a back file?     
  • Is there a timely schedule of updates for the resource?   
  • Does the vendor provide perpetual access to purchased content?   
  • Is the vendor open to consortial agreements?  

User Interface     

  • Does the resource meet SUNY EIT accessibility standards?     
  • Do we have products from the same vendor that have similar interfaces?   
  • Are options to save content available? If so, are the instructions clear?    
  • Are options to print content available? If so, are the instructions clear? Are users provided with reformatting choices for printing?  
  • Are native tutorials/help screens available?   
  • What impact may be expected on demand for user assistance, such as the need for library instruction, and print/online guides?       

Relationship to the Print Collection    

  • Do we have similar information in print? If so, can the print be deselected?     
  • Is the online version archived?    
  • Will this resource replace an existing one?   


  • What has the percentage increase in price been over the past 5 years, if available?     
  • What is the projected impact on the library budget?     
  • What are the costs related to startup, updates, upgrades, or maintenance?   
  • What is the availability of packages or credits for cancelled print subscriptions?   
  • Is the publisher a non-profit?  

Technical Specifications   

  • What is the ease/difficulty of set-up and maintenance?    
  • What degree of technical support is required?   
  • Are the security features representative of current standards?   
  • Is the resource compatible with existing library systems?   
  • Are there any browser or software compatibility issues?     
  • What impact will it have on the college network?   


Deselection Criteria   

The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing periodically initiates a review of current electronic resource subscriptions for deselection. This process includes but is not limited to the librarian liaisons. The criteria for deselection are:    

  • Significant price increases   
  • Availability of alternative resources   
  • The currency and reliability of the resource’s content in relation to its cost  
  • The design and usability of the resource   
  • Changes in format and/or content deemed unfavorable   
  • Is not of national/statewide/regional/local significance    
  • No longer supports the curricular and/or scholarship needs of the SUNY Oneonta community   
  • Loss of the resource isn’t going to impact under-represented areas or marginalized communities   


Licensing Criteria   

The library adheres to licensing criteria adopted by both the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, found at the link below. In general, the library prefers licenses that include but are not limited to the following:    

  • Unlimited simultaneous users  
  • Electronic reserve  
  • Interlibrary loan  
  • Walk-in patrons as authorized users 

Guidelines for Special Projects & Interdepartmental/Interdisciplinary Proposals

These programs are intended to augment the library collection with materials in a variety of formats; however, the awards cannot be used for ongoing subscriptions. Applications may include requests for books (print & electronic) and audio-visual materials. The deadline will be determined each year. Please submit applications via the Special Projects & Interdepartmental Proposals Request web form. 

Each request should describe the special project or interdepartmental proposal and include specific titles, authors or publishers, prices, publication date, and any other helpful identifiers (e.g. ISBN). Requests should include a statement about why materials cannot be purchased within the regular departmental allocation. The statement should also include evidence to demonstrate how the project fits the criteria below. Please specify whether your request is a special project or interdepartmental project. Your department librarian liaison is available for consultation and/or discussion about your proposal.

The total amount available for Special Projects will be a percentage of the monograph budget. Awards will normally not exceed 10% of the total amount available. 

  • Special Projects: Special projects can be proposed by a department or individual faculty members. Appropriate uses for Special Projects applications in this category include, but are not limited to: 
    • Increased coverage of a subject area due to a change in curriculum or discipline, or new faculty perspective or expertise.
    • The augmentation of insufficient or retrospective holdings in a subject area.
    • Single items or special sets of items too expensive for normal departmental budgets
  • Interdepartmental or Interdisciplinary Proposals: Funding for proposals submitted by two or more individuals or departments that would build the collection in a specific interdepartmental area.

Any Special Projects/Interdepartmental/Interdisciplinary proposals monies not allocated will be used to purchase titles chosen by librarian liaisons to strengthen the library collection.

James M. Milne Library Statement on Objectionable Content

All materials in the James M. Milne Library collections have teaching, learning, and scholarly value, and reflect the society in which they were produced. They may contain language and imagery that are offensive because of content relating to: ability, gender, race, religion, sexuality/sexual orientation, and other categories. The library undertakes a regular, systematic review of our collections within the scope of their value for teaching, learning, and scholarship. After consultation with academic departments and other campus stakeholders, the library identifies titles for deselection. Some documents, images, publications, and other materials have been preserved in order to present the materials in their original state and context; these are important resources in the study of contemporary and past cultures. We take seriously our responsibilities in preserving and cataloging such material and in providing access for the purpose of teaching, learning and scholarship.  

The library provides collections and materials for the purposes of teaching, learning, and scholarship; the availability of such materials does not imply the library’s endorsement of the ideas expressed in those materials. The James M. Milne Library is committed to upholding the principle of intellectual freedom, and equal and free access to unaltered historical information.  

We are also strongly committed to building and highlighting collections where marginalized voices are included and represented and taking other actions to promote social and racial justice.  See our Statement of Action for Social and Racial Justice for more information. 

"Library Bill of Rights", American Library Association, June 30, 2006. (Accessed March 16, 2021) Document ID: 669fd6a3-8939-3e54-7577-996a0a3f8952 

Procedure for Electronic Resources Renewals and Cancellations 

The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing may request a meeting of the Collection Development Team to discuss e-resources renewals and cancellations.  

The Department of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing shall provide a list of e-resources that are under consideration ahead of meetings to discuss e-resources renewals and cancellations.  

The “Selection Policy for Electronic Resources” shall guide recommendations for renewal and cancellations.  

The Department of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing shall generate data on the e-resources under consideration and provide the data to the Collection Development Team.  The Collection Development Team shall make recommendations to the Librarian Liaisons and Evening Supervisor.

This data shall also guide recommendations for renewals and cancellations.  

The Evening Supervisor may collect feedback from the Library Support Assistants and forward it to the Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing. 

The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing shall collate and summarize the recommendations from the Collection Development Team for renewal and cancellations with justifications. 

The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing shall forward the summary of recommendations to the Librarian Liaisons and Evening Supervisor.  

The Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing shall forward the recommendations which shall also be forwarded to the Library Director.  

The Library Director shall consult with the Library Committee on the recommendations.  

The Library Director shall make final decisions regarding e-resources renewals and cancellations.   

Procedure for Faculty Requesting the Purchase of New Electronic Resources

Faculty requesting that the library purchase new electronic resources to be added to the collection may use the New Electronic Resource Request form or forward the request to their Librarian Liaison and the Head of Collection Development, Resource Management & Sharing. 

The faculty member provides a brief justification for purchasing the E-resource  including how it supports the curricular and scholarly needs of SUNY Oneonta.  The justification may also include how the resources covers departmental and/or programmatic priorities or under-represented areas and/or how other academic departments, student groups, or other constituencies may be served by the resource. 

The E-Resources and Acquisition Librarian obtains a price quote from the appropriate vendor. 

The Collection Development Team meets to discuss the request and makes a recommendation to the Librarian Liaisons to purchase or not to purchase the resource.  

The Librarian Liaison shall advise the requesting faculty of the decision.  

If the Library determines not to purchase the resource, the Librarian Liaison provides a brief reason to the requesting faculty member.   

Revision History

Last revised by Collection Development Team: May 15, 2023

Approved by Darren Chase, Library Director:  May 15, 2023