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Library Collection Development and Access Policy

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Section 1 - Introduction

(1) The Library supports the learning, teaching and research functions of the University through provision of a relevant, contemporary, well-balanced collection and high quality, equitable access to resources. This Policy outlines the principles of effective collection development which ensure provision of information to users through a sensitive balance of acquisition for the collection and access to resources not owned by the University.

(2) This Policy must be read in conjunction with the Library Collection Selection Guidelines, Library Collection Management Guidelines and Library Collection Access Guidelines which support this Policy.

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Section 2 - Policy Scope

(3) This Policy provides background on issues affecting collection development principles and general policies which guide those entrusted with this role, and provides detailed statements of collection intention for faculties, academic and research staff, and students initiating requests to the Library.

(4) This document applies to all scholarly information resources selected for inclusion in the University Library collections, regardless of format or location.

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Section 3 - Policy Intent

(5) The intent of this Policy is to identify and communicate the collection development goals and principles of the University Library, reflecting alignment with, and support for the strategic goals of the University.

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Section 4 - Policy Principles

(6) The following guiding principles for collection development shall apply:

  1. The Library upholds principles of Intellectual Freedom, espoused by the Australian Library and Information Association, collecting and providing access to a wide range of viewpoints across religious, ethical, and social issues. Resources are not censored or removed based on disapproval of the author’s political, social, moral or other opinions or behaviour;
  2. Complaints concerning material in the collection should be addressed in writing to the University Librarian for resolution;
  3. The Library's collection will be current, inclusive and well balanced, in support of the vision, purpose, values and priorities of the University;
  4. Materials and resources will be selected and acquired to support the learning, teaching, cultural and research needs of the University community, informed by the University’s Strategic Plan;
  5. The Library aims for a comprehensive coverage of scholarly material by the University's authors, including Conjoint and/or honorary appointees;
  6. Selection of materials and resources will be based on professional expertise, evaluative review methods, and information actively sought from the academic community in determining efficient and cost effective solutions to accessing resources;
  7. Cost effective solutions to accessing materials and resources may involve direct purchase, subscription, indexing/abstracting services, document delivery, or other appropriate means including resource sharing arrangements and consortia;
  8. Where available, preference will be given to the purchase/subscription of electronic versions of scholarly information resources, provided that information, budgetary, licensing and technological needs are met, thereby maximising equity of access, availability and flexibility of delivery;
  9. Consideration of requests for new e-resources (e.g. databases) should be preceded by a trial and supported by justification that provides feedback from the trial in terms of functionality, overall collection fit and benefit to users;
  10. Purchases for Cultural collections and the General Collections will be made as funds allow, building on existing collection strengths and to support the University's current and emerging research activity.
  11. The Library seeks to support the embedding of Indigenous knowledge into University teaching and research through the provision of culturally appropriate and sensitive scholarly resources relating to Indigenous Australians (including Torres Strait Islanders);
  12. The Library  is responsible for the state and content of its collections, and will actively engage with faculties and schools to ensure that changing needs in learning, teaching and research are addressed;
  13. The Library regularly undertakes collection management procedures to ensure the relevance, currency and steady state of print collections (see Library Collection Management Guidelines);
  14. The Library actively supports sustainability and minimises duplication of materials and resources in order to provide the depth and breadth of content required by the University community;
  15. Students are expected to purchase personal copies of required texts/materials;
  16. Some materials and resources held by the Library may incorporate access restrictions. The purchase of such resources will be considered within the context of need and availability;
  17. The Library is not able to meet every need from its own collection, but endeavours to provide optimal access to materials via shared resources, inter-library lending and document delivery services;
  18. The Library supports resource sharing and collaboration in finding sustainable and cost-efficient solutions to rising acquisition costs;
  19. The Library does not purchase single-use items, such as forms for psychological tests, resources that require specialised software and/or special readers or items installed on a single workstation or other device for single/individual one time use, unless involving exceptional circumstances and/or at the discretion of the University Librarian;
  20. The Library  will not pay for author article-processing charges for University authors publishing in scholarly journals. However the Library may consider a membership subscription to a resource or publisher which includes or enables discounts on these charges;
  21. The Library will supply resources, via allocated funding, to affiliated teaching hospital libraries, to support the learning needs of students off campus;
  22. The Library will consider the needs of people with disabilities when selecting and acquiring materials and resources;
  23. The Library will endeavour to respect the cultural sensitivities of Indigenous people in providing access to Indigenous resources, in particular alerting Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders to the presence of any images of deceased people;
  24. Accountability for the disbursement of funds for the purchase of scholarly information resources lies with the University Librarian;
  25. The Library  will ensure compliance with copyright legislation and vendor/publisher licensing agreements.

Scholarly Information Resources Allocation of Funds

(7) The Scholarly Information Resource Allocation is part of the Divisional Overheads of the Academic Division and is managed by the University Librarian for the purposes of developing library collections;

(8) The Library operates a funding allocation model which is not based upon a fixed formula. Instead, purchases are made according to the expressed need of faculties, schools and research centres. Funds for electronic resources are not allocated against individual faculties or schools, but are seen as University-wide resources;

(9) The Library bases the distribution of the Scholarly Information Resources Allocation on the Guiding Principles as outlined in Clause 6, and covering the following principles:

  1. The University's current strategic plan will inform decisions made about the provision of scholarly information resources;
  2. Scholarly information resources will be purchased in electronic format where available, to maximise availability and flexibility of delivery;
  3. Information on scholarly information resource needs will be gathered from the academic community, within the context of the University's strategic directions, so that library and information resource professionals can determine the most efficient and cost effective way to meet the needs.

Valuation of the Collection

(10) The Library's General Collections and Cultural collections(rare books, special, archive, and manuscript collections) are valued by a University appointed valuer, on a three yearly basis, to comply with insurance and risk management strategies and policies of the University;

(11) In consultation with the University community, the Library prioritises collections to be replaced; ensuring continued scholarly value is maintained;

(12) Final reports are provided to the Risk Manager and the University Librarian by the appointed valuer.

Collection Selection Principles

(13) The Library's priorities in collection building are to acquire materials in the appropriate format to support:-

  1. The learning and teaching of coursework programs, including reference materials, limited copies of set texts and recommended reading material;
  2. The research needs of the University community.

(14) Selection of materials and resources is based on professional knowledge of librarians, evaluative review methods, and information actively sought from the academic community, in determining efficient and cost effective solutions to accessing resources.


(15) The Library may accept donations of appropriate material that enhance the quality of the collection; however due to costs associated with processing and on-going storage, prior consideration will be given to requirements for housing, preservation and usage. Donations must conform to the selection criteria as detailed in the Library Collection Selection Guidelines.

(16) Donated items will not be accepted with conditions attached, e.g. to be housed as a discrete collection; or with stipulated requirements for access, unless they bear particular historic, cultural or tangible significance. In such cases, items, collections, and other implications will be evaluated individually, at the discretion of the University Librarian;

(17) Donations accepted into the collection become the property of the University, and may not be claimed at a later date.

(18) The Library will determine what is kept, what is discarded and where items will be located.

(19) Written acknowledgments are generally not provided, and only in the case of very substantial gifts may items bear identification as to the donor.

Access to Resources and Collections

(20) The Library provides services to the following:

  1. All staff and students of the University of Newcastle (including Conjoints);
  2. staff and students from institutions with which the University of Newcastle has reciprocal arrangements;
  3. Members of the general public (see Library Use Policy for detail);
  4. Other libraries, through inter-library lending services.

(21) Collection Access Considerations:

  1. The Library will manage its physical collection as a single entity, across a range of locations. However the Library does not support or establish collections within schools or faculties;
  2. Where subjects are taught at multiple campuses and/or in distance or external modes, where and as appropriate and available, resources will be purchased in electronic format, to ensure optimal access;
  3. When electronic format is not available or appropriate, the Library aims to locate printed resources at the site where they are most likely to be needed, regardless of the origin of the order request. If a course  is taught at multiple locations, the prescribed printed texts for that course will be available at each location.
  4. The Library's physical collection is mostly available on the open shelves, and can be accessed at, or requested from, any library location. Valuable or seldom-used items may be stored in closed stacks;
  5. Access to electronic resources is available online through the Library website. Access is governed by licensing agreements and generally restricted to current staff and students of the University but some licence agreements do provide for alumni or “walk-in-use”;
  6. Some other materials may have restricted access due to embargoes, copyright, other legal restrictions or the nature/value of the items;
  7. All material purchased by Library funds, and intended for use by the University community is held in the Library (including affiliate libraries) and not at any other location.

Collection Management

(22) The Library reviews the collection on an annual basis to ensure a steady state collection and the resources reflect the University's current learning, teaching, and research needs and strategies.

(23) The Library utilises a continuous program of deselection, including relegation of low use, superseded, and back runs of material, and disposal of damaged or ephemeral materials to ensure:

  1. Availability of prime space for effective and diverse learning and teaching activities, and for the accommodation of the most relevant and current information resources;
  2. Maintenance of quality, currency, and viability of collections.
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Section 5 - Roles and Responsibilities

(24) Ultimate responsibility for the collection rests with the University Librarian.

(25) Accountability for the disbursement of funds for the purchase of scholarly information resources lies with the University Librarian.

(26) The Senior Librarian, Collection Management Services is responsible for continuous monitoring of expenditure from the Scholarly Information Resources Allocation.

(27) Responsibility for the collection valuation process lies with the Manager, Risk and Assurance Services, the University Librarian, and the Senior Librarian, Collection Management Services.

(28) The Collection Development Group (comprising the University Librarian; Associate Librarian Research and Information Services; the Senior Librarian, Collection Management Services; Faculty Librarians and senior library staff) provides overall direction for collection development and management. The Group functions in an advisory capacity within the Library.

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Section 6 - Relevant Definitions

(29) Collection means the scholarly information resources of the University of Newcastle, in all formats and in all modes of access.