Collection Development: Preamble


Collection Development is defined in the Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements prepared by the American Library Association in 1989 as:
“The process of planning, building, and maintaining a library’s information resources in a cost efficient and user-relevant manner. Principal activities include the identification, selection, and sometimes procurement of locally appropriate materials; the allocation of the resources budget among different subjects and formats; collection management analysis and evaluation; liaison with library users; planning and implementation of resource sharing and related programs; and the determination and coordination of policies and procedures governing these functions.”

Policy Objectives:

Collection development at Mount Saint Vincent University has the following objectives:

  • to relate the goals of the library to the instructional and research goals of the University
  • to define the boundaries of the collection
  • to provide a rational basis for selection and withdrawal decisions, and to facilitate long-range planning
  • to enable all faculty and library staff involved in the process to work consistently toward developing the collections, and using funds wisely
  • to assign responsibility for making selection decisions
  • to set criteria and standards for selection and withdrawal
  • to inform library staff, faculty, administrators, and the University governance of the scope and nature of existing collections, and the plans for continuing development
  • to provide a basis for cooperative acquisitions, collection development, and collection management among the members of the Novanet consortium, and among libraries in the Atlantic region
  • to encourage the regular review of users’ information needs

Adapted from: Margaret Gibson Smith “Collection Development: Why Write A Policy?” in Achieving Excellence: Proceedings of the Fourth Asia Pacific Special and Law Librarians Conference … Canberra:ALIA, 1991,p.212.

The Context:

The intended audiences for the Collection Policy Manual are:

Librarians and those members of the teaching faculty involved in the evaluation of the collection and the selection of materials

Administrators and the members of bodies responsible for the funding of library acquisitions, and for advocacy on behalf of collection development at Mount Saint Vincent University

Novanet library staff involved in coordinating collections development among member institutions.



The Collection Policy will be implemented by the Collections & Archives Librarian with advice from the liaison librarians at Mount Saint Vincent University.


The Collection Policy is subject to periodic, formal review. Continuing revision will be necessary to accommodate the changes anticipated in the acquisition, storage, and distribution of electronic resources, the changing content of programs offered by the University, and the increased awareness of the need to co-operate among members of the Novanet and CAUL consortia.