Collection Development Policy

Mary and Jeff Bell Library
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Revised August 2019


This Collection Development Policy is intended to guide the selection of materials to be added to the collections of the Mary and Jeff Bell Library. This policy applies to all materials considered for addition, whether they are to be selected explicitly for purchase, received through blanket orders or approval plans, or are presented to the Library as gifts. As a statement of library policy, it is used in the allocation of funds and in the effort to obtain additional funding from endowments, gifts, grants or other opportunities. By identifying those areas of lesser collecting interest, it assists in decision-making concerning resource sharing and cooperative collection development arrangements with other libraries. It is a source of information for those both within and outside the TAMU-CC community on the strengths of our collections.

Back to Top


The primary purposes of collection development in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library are to provide the information resources in print and other formats necessary to carry out the University's teaching commitments and to support the research of its students and faculty. The collections also seek to support the work of staff engaged in University business, and the general cultural and intellectual development of students, faculty, and staff. The Library also accepts responsibility for building and maintaining specialized collections in certain limited areas where it is traditionally strong, in order to serve as a regional or national resource for scholars.

The Library, in carrying out its collection development activities, adheres to the principles expressed in the following statements from the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights: "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. 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."

Back to Top

Methods and Funding

Acquisitions are financed chiefly by an appropriation of Texas Higher Education Fund (HEF) funds from the University to the Library and by income from Library endowments, supplemented by gifts and grants. Selection of materials for the collections is carried out by the subject liaison librarians assigned to the various subject areas, in collaboration with faculty members. The subject liaison librarians have responsibility for coordinating collection development in each subject area. Expenditure of the funds for purchases is monitored by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and the Library Business Coordinator.

The Library purchases materials for its collections through a variety of acquisition models, including an approval plan, title-by-title selection, standing orders and subscriptions, and demand-driven acquisition. Most books are purchased through an approval plan, whereby books which match the selection criteria established by the Library are sent for review and either added to the collection or returned to the vendor. A portion of the materials budget is allocated for title-by-title selection of books. In addition, income from endowment funds restricted to particular subjects by the donor is available, and is used especially to purchase items for Special Collections and Archives.

The Library also maintains a demand-driven acquisition (DDA) program for e-books and, more recently, for streaming video. Through DDA, a large number of titles are made available but no cost is incurred until a patron views the item. The Library has also begun an evidence-based acquisition (EBA) program for purchasing certain databases. As new acquisition models are developed, the Library willingly explores these as potential opportunities to expand access in an affordable way.

Subscriptions and standing orders are also funded through the Library's materials allocation, subject to guidelines reviewed by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery in collaboration with the Dean of Libraries, the Library Business Coordinator, and subject liaison librarians as appropriate. In all cases provisions must be made to ensure that the cost of continuing commitments is covered. Requests for new subscriptions are channeled through the subject liaison librarians and are reviewed by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and the Dean of Libraries. In most cases, the cost of new subscriptions must be covered by transfer of funds from an appropriate section of the materials budget or through cancellation of existing subscriptions. The Director of Resource Management & Discovery, the Dean of Libraries, and the Library Business Coordinator annually review the funding of new subscriptions, and the method of handling these may change from year to year.

The Resource Management & Discovery Department (RM&D) is responsible for processing orders submitted through the subject liaison librarians or directly by members of the faculty. RM&D is also responsible for tracking expenditures, including by department/subject fund. Orders, payments, and receipt of serial issues are entered into the library’s online management system, which subject liaison librarians may access to monitor the funds they are responsible for.

Back to Top

Types and Formats of Materials Collected

General policy

The Mary and Jeff Bell Library collects a variety of information resources in the format(s) best able to support the educational and research needs of TAMU-CC students and faculty in all academic fields relevant to University programs.

Policies governing specific types and formats of materials

  1. Books/monographs in the Library are primarily collected in electronic format, with print versions acquired only when specifically requested by University faculty or when the eBook version is not available or has unfavorable license terms. Electronic books offer many advantages over print books in terms of convenience, discoverability, cost, accessibility, and sustainability. Format preferences for books may also vary according to the needs of some subject areas. Electronic format is highly preferred for disciplines in which the University maintains a distance education program.  
    Textbooks, workbooks, study guides, theses and dissertations written at other universities, translations of English titles into foreign languages, or of foreign titles translated into non-English languages are collected only by exception. Books of a very popular nature and self-help books may be leased or purchased for the Library’s Popular Reading collection, but these books are generally not added to the Library’s main collection unless justified by some educational consideration.
  2. Serials (journals/periodicals/annuals) are normally acquired only through subscription. Individual issues or reprints of articles are rarely purchased. The preferred format for academic journals is online via the publisher’s website or other reliable online source, provided there is a reasonable guarantee of perpetual access (for example, through a license agreement or the journal’s inclusion in a trusted online repository). In addition to collecting journals that support the teaching and research programs of the University, the Mary and Jeff Bell Library will acquire periodicals of more general interest to the academic community. Among the factors that are weighed in the selection of general interest periodicals are:
    • the substantial nature of articles in the periodical and their intellectual content;
    • the degree to which the periodical reflects thoughtful assessment of contemporary trends in society;
    • inclusion of the periodical in indexing and abstracting services;
    • strength of demand combined with lack of ready availability elsewhere;
    • cost.
  3. Monographic series may be acquired as individual titles, or by establishing a standing order. The need to purchase all volumes in the series is the primary requirement for establishing a standing order. Further justification in the form of cost savings or difficulty of learning about the release of new volumes may be required. Normally, standing orders are established for desired works published in parts.
  4. Newspaper subscriptions will be carried by the Library in order to support teaching and research, to provide current and historical sources of national and international news, and general intellectual and cultural awareness for faculty, students, and staff. The Library welcomes donations of subscriptions to home town newspapers. Non-United States newspapers may be collected in direct support of teaching and research, and to provide some limited coverage of major regions of the world by outstanding newspapers. Newspapers of a cultural, business, political, organized labor, or social orientation will be considered on a title-by-title basis. When considering such non-U.S. or special interest newspapers, the Library also takes into account whether the specific title is included in any of the Library’s database subscriptions. A few newspapers of permanent research value will be collected in storage-saving alternative formats; paper copies of others will be acquired only for current awareness purposes, and are retained only for a limited period.
  5. Electronic databases of many types are acquired by the Library to support the teaching and research mission of the University. Through participation in the statewide library consortium TexShare, TAMU-CC receives access to over 70 databases, including full-text periodical aggregator databases, e-book collections, and various others. The Bell Library subscribes to many additional databases, increasing the number of journals, books, and other materials available to the University community. The Library subscribes to full-text aggregator databases of journals, newspapers, and books; primary-source databases; abstracting/indexing databases; streaming media; business information resources; and other online resources that support the University’s mission. Due to the nature of available acquisition models and availability of funds, most electronic databases are acquired via subscription. When possible, the Library seeks to purchase perpetual-access licenses for online content. Open-access databases that contain scholarly content may also be added to the Library’s A-Z database list.
  6. Microforms have been acquired by the Library in the past, but new microform purchases are now rare. Microforms may be acquired when the desired material is available only in microform, or when it is significantly less expensive and sufficiently usable in that format. Microform is also acquired for the preservation of certain titles when binding and/or storage is not feasible and a perpetual-access online version is unavailable. Some large collections of primary-source material have previously been acquired in microform, but online is now the preferred format for such collections. Before new microform purchases are made, attention should be given to providing appropriate housing and equipment; adequate bibliographic access should also be examined, with collections having vendor-supplied catalog records being favored. Microform subscriptions in lieu of binding may be placed for those serials which are unavailable online and which: a) are difficult to bind because of format or heavy usage; b) typically have many missing issues; or c) are subject to regular mutilation. If microform copies cannot be acquired from an existing source, the Library may arrange to have the serial microfilmed or digitized, with appropriate copyright permissions. Silver halide is generally preferred for microfiche purchases; 35 mm is preferred when microfilm is acquired. The Director of Resource Management & Discovery countersigns all order requests for microforms, so that equipment needs and particular formats can be monitored.
  7. Audio materials, including both music and spoken word recordings, are collected. The preferred format for music recordings is streaming music databases; however, recordings on physical media are purchased if specifically requested by University faculty and/or if desired for perpetual access. Physical media are housed with the Media Collection at the Library Circulation Desk. Recordings requested by faculty members in support of teaching and research and recognized classic recordings are given preference for acquisition. For audio recordings on physical media, compact disc is the preferred format. Because playback equipment is no longer available for LP and reel-to-reel tapes, these formats are no longer purchased. Cassettes are rarely purchased, and only if compact disc is not available.
  8. Many videos are available in streaming video databases to which the Library subscribes. Video materials that are expected to be of significant long-term value in support of teaching or research are collected. The Library prefers to purchase videos in streaming format, but will acquire the DVD (Digital Video Disc) when streaming is not available or when the streaming license terms are unfavorable. Because playback equipment is no longer available in the library for older video formats, DVD and Blu-Ray are the only physical formats currently collected for the Library’s General Media collection, with preference given to DVD.  Format exceptions may be made for Special Collections and Archives.
  9. Software necessary to provide access to materials owned by the Library is collected. Software that supports academic coursework is also acquired and installed on select library computers for use by the university community.
  10. The library acquires materials for children and young adults to support the curriculum of the College of Education and Human Development. These materials are acquired in print only (no e-books) and are shelved in the Juvenile Collection. Types of materials acquired include picture books, chapter books, reference books, fiction, and nonfiction books and graphic novels.

Back to Top

General Policies on the Use of Acquisitions Funds


The purchase of library materials is primarily funded through the Texas Higher Education Fund (HEF). The University administration determines the amount of funding received by the Library from the total HEF pool each year. From the allocation of HEF funds, priority is given to fulfilling current and continuing obligations such as periodicals subscriptions, standing orders, electronic database subscriptions, and funding for collections in support of new academic programs. Additional amounts are allocated to maintaining the approval plan and demand-driven acquisition. A portion of the remaining library materials budget is allocated to specific units for reference materials, special collections materials, binding, general print and general media materials. Remaining funds are allocated for purchasing books and other materials specifically requested by University faculty.

Approval Plans

The Library maintains an approval plan for both print and electronic books. The Library works with a book vendor to establish and maintain a profile of selection criteria based on academic subjects represented in the University’s curriculum. Currently published books which meet those criteria are automatically shipped to the Library (in the case of print books) or added to an online review shelf (in the case of e-books). These books are then made available for review by the appropriate subject liaison librarians and by faculty members from the respective departments. Books deemed inappropriate for the Library’s collection are not purchased, but are returned to the vendor or removed from the e-book virtual review shelf. The Director of Resource Management & Discovery works together with the book vendor representative and the respective subject liaison librarians to periodically review reports of returned materials, as well as changes to the University curriculum, and adjust the approval profile criteria accordingly.

Department Allocations

Some funds from the University appropriation are allocated for title-by-title selection and purchase of books and other materials that are not received as part of the approval plan. An amount is allocated for each academic department and certain other units, and purchases are made based principally upon faculty recommendations and requests. The Resource Management & Discovery Department tracks expenditure of these department allocations. Allocation amounts are reviewed annually by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and the Dean of Libraries.

Demand-Driven Acquisition (DDA)

The Library maintains an active demand-driven acquisition (DDA) program, whereby a large number of e-books are made available to Library users, but no cost is incurred unless/until a patron actually reads the book. This DDA program greatly extends the Library’s capacity to provide access to content at a manageable cost. More recently, the Library has begun a DDA program for streaming video, thus increasing the availability of high-quality videos to the University community. DDA expenses come from the Library’s general materials budget and are monitored by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and the Library Business Coordinator.


The Library currently allocates a large portion of the library materials budget for subscriptions to print and electronic serials. Periodic comprehensive serials reviews may result in redistribution of serials allocations based on academic program needs. No changes in allocations normally occur between comprehensive reviews. Print subscriptions are largely managed by a subscription management vendor. Titles purchased through the vendor are reviewed yearly and changes are made based on the following circumstances:

  1. Suggestions from faculty and staff to add or cancel titles to better serve the curriculum and the growing research components of University life. Suggestions are reviewed by faculty in the subject area, the subject liaison librarian, and the Director of Resource Management & Discovery before action is taken. Due to budgetary constraints, additions must usually be balanced by the cancellation of a title of equal monetary value.
  2. Forced replacement of titles due to publication discontinuation.
  3. Significant increase in a publication’s subscription price, especially if usage of the publication has been low (after consultation with the subject liaison librarian and faculty in the affected subject area).
  4. Decreases in budget, necessitating cancellations or replacement of costly titles with more economical ones.
  5. Increases in budget, allowing for the addition of new subscriptions (after review of requests).

Gift periodicals are accepted for addition to the collection on a limited basis, as long as they are necessary to the collection and in good condition. The Library will generally add donated print periodicals to its collections only if the donated items meet all the following conditions:  (1) the library already has other volumes of that title, or they fit the subject’s selection criteria; (2) the gift contains complete volume(s) of the periodical, or completes a volume already in the library’s collection; and (3) the library has determined that there is adequate space for older print volumes of that title.

Electronic Databases

The Library recognizes the importance of electronic resources in support of education and research at the university. Online databases include but are not limited to online indexes and abstracts, full-text and full-image databases, full-text and full-image journal collections, electronic monographs and serials, and electronic government statistical resources. Resources may be interdisciplinary or subject specific in nature. As a rule, the Library chooses electronic resources that are web-based and that can be made available to the user population from any internet connection.

Because of the often substantial cost and the interdisciplinary and serial nature of online databases, funds are allocated from the Library's general materials budget and not from regular departmental allocations. Subject liaison librarians may make recommendations for new databases in support of programs within the scope of their responsibilities. Recommendations for interdisciplinary electronic resources may be made by any librarian. All requests are reviewed by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and the Dean of Libraries, and new subscriptions are added based on available funds, University curriculum, and Library collection needs. When possible, trial subscriptions to electronic resources under consideration are provided and faculty members in relevant disciplines are included in the review process. All database subscriptions are reviewed annually as a part of the regular renewal process and the decision to continue or discontinue subscriptions is made based on usage statistics, relevance to curricular and research needs, and projected funding availability.


The Library recognizes that preserving our collections for continued use is an important part of its mission and responsibility to the university community, and requires the allocation of sums for regular binding of serials, for repair and rebinding of monographs, and for preservation quality microfilming as well as other preservation methods when indicated. A binding machine is available in the Access Services Department and is used to make minor repairs to damaged volumes. Items that suffer more extensive binding damage are sent to an external bindery for repair. Items that are damaged beyond repair are removed from the collection. If these items are determined to be necessary to the teaching or research missions of the university, efforts are made to purchase replacement volumes.

The Library employs preventative preservation techniques to ensure the long-term health of paper bound volumes. Reinforced covers are placed on all paper bound volumes and pages are reinforced at the time of acquisition.

Serials preservation is undertaken in the form of binding, or by replacing print issues with microfilm. Decisions regarding what journals to have bound are made by the Continuing Resources Coordinator in consultation with the Director of Resource Management & Discovery and with faculty and subject liaison librarians. Non-print formats are purchased when possible and feasible, as a preservation and space-saving solution.

Special Purchase Requests

Individual faculty members and faculty/program committees may submit special purchase requests to subject liaison librarians or the Dean of Libraries. Funds unencumbered at the end of the fiscal year may be used to support these one-time purchases.

Back to Top

Special Considerations


Because of the limited funding available, library materials normally are not duplicated or acquired in multiple copies. Exceptions are made in the following circumstances.

  1. Demand, present or anticipated, is sufficiently heavy to justify duplication. A faculty member may request that one additional copy of a title be purchased if the title will receive heavy use by students in one or more of his/her courses.
  2. The currently published title focuses on Texas and Mexico. Duplicate copies may be purchased, with one copy residing in the circulating collection and one copy residing in Special Collections.
  3. The title is a basic reference or bibliographic item that is essential in more than one location. Examples of this type of material include dictionaries, thesauri, and style manuals.
  4. Duplication in a second format. Serials may be purchased in both print and non-print formats to ensure preservation and future access. Current print issues are sometimes replaced with a microfilm copy or online access via perpetual license. Full text databases may duplicate items currently held in print. Monographs may be purchased in electronic formats through shared collections. Items within shared collections may duplicate print resources.

Recommendations for duplication are the responsibility of subject liaison librarians. Duplication of serial subscriptions is rarely done and must be approved by the Director of Resource Management & Discovery.


The Mary and Jeff Bell Library gladly considers donations of the following materials:

  • The Library welcome gifts of books written by TAMU-CC faculty and staff. These items can be sent to the library’s Acquisitions Specialist.
  • The Library will also accept unique items in good condition that are of critical research interest to the University, which are not currently held in our general collection, and which are not commercially available. The appropriate subject specialist coordinates receiving donations of these materials.
  • Current editions of course-adopted textbooks are accepted for the Library’s Course Reserve program. These books will be discarded when they become out of date or are no longer in use in courses at the University. Donated textbooks will not be added to the library’s permanent collection.
  • Special Collections & Archives reviews donations of unique or rare books, manuscripts, personal papers, TAMU-CC related materials, and other archival materials that are of critical research interest to the University and enhance our special collections. Such donations are coordinated by the Director of Special Collections & Archives.

Apart from the exceptions above, the Library no longer accepts donations of books and other materials. The high costs associated with evaluating and processing donated materials, as well as space constraints and limited staff resources, are key factors in this decision. Potential donors may consider other alternatives such as their local public library, used books stores, Goodwill, The Salvation Army, or other charitable organizations.

The Library does not provide appraisals or estimates of value for donated materials.


Material that has been lost or damaged is replaced on the advice of the subject liaison librarian. These requests may be generated by patron search requests or inventory results. Deteriorated volumes found by the Access Services Department during the course of its regular duties will also be considered for replacement. The following criteria are considered in the decision to replace a volume.

  1. Continued value of the material.
  2. Demand for the material, as demonstrated by its circulation history or other evidence.
  3. Extent of coverage of the subject in the existing collection.
  4. Availability of newer or better material in the field.
  5. Cost and appropriateness of replacement rather than rebinding.

Reserve Materials

The Library purchases no items exclusively for its reserve collections. Faculty members may request that items from the circulating collections be placed on reserve for one semester. Faculty members may also place personal copies of monographs in the reserve collection.

Back to Top


Reference Collection

The Bell Library regularly removes outdated materials from its Reference collection according to a schedule established by the Head of Research & Learning. Indexes and abstracts available both in print and online may be weeded from the print collection as electronic archives are made available.

Government Documents

Superseded and outdated government documents are weeded from collections as deemed necessary by the Documents Librarian and as permitted by depository regulations.

Serial Collection

Withdrawal of holdings of serial volumes is considered under one or more of the following conditions:

  1. They are duplicate copies.
  2. The holdings are non-current and represent less than three years.
  3. The holdings are scattered, represent less than half of a total back-run of a title, and the Library determines that missing issues cannot or should not be acquired.
  4. The title is not covered by indexing and/or abstracting services.

Current popular periodicals are withdrawn on a regular schedule. For most popular periodicals only the most recent one to two years are retained. Most print newspapers are retained for no longer than three months.

Print periodicals, including newspapers, for which cumulative microfilm volumes are received are withdrawn upon the receipt of the microfilm volume. Print periodical volumes that are included in an archival database, such as JSTOR, are withdrawn when those volumes become available in the database.

Main Collections

Withdrawal projects are designed to focus collection maintenance attention on specific areas of the collection. Weeding practices for individual subject areas of the collection are determined by subject liaison librarians in order to maintain collections that most effectively serve the research and scholarly needs of the University community. Factors considered when evaluating a title for withdrawal include

  1. Currency and relevance of the title to the University's teaching and research programs
  2. Availability of the title through resource sharing and interlibrary loan agreements or within electronic monograph collections
  3. Updated/revised editions
  4. Current and historical circulation statistics for the title
  5. Physical condition of the volume
  6. Other criteria specific to the discipline

Because of the University's and the Library's developing research mission, the Library preserves even infrequently used materials in areas in which we have an identifiable collection responsibility. Materials that are damaged beyond repair and/or present a danger to the surrounding collection are withdrawn from the collections. Such items may be considered for replacement, according to the replacement criteria above.

Back to Top

Rare Books and Archival Materials

There is an annual allocation for books, microforms, and other print and non-print items collected by Special Collections and Archives. Materials are purchased for the Kilgore Collection, one of the core holdings of rare and out of print items, through the annual interest from the Daniel E. and Carol Isensee Kilgore Endowment for Texana. Other items for Special Collections and Archives may be purchased through special funding or supplemental library allocations, or acquired through donations. Oral history interviews are collected through cooperative efforts with faculty, students, and other interested researchers, and added to the oral history collection within Special Collections and Archives. The specific collecting guidelines of Special Collections and Archives are described in its separate collecting policy.

Back to Top

Policy Review and Revision

Amendments or alterations to the Collection Development Policy will be presented to the librarians of the Bell Library whenever any significant changes in policy or practice occur. The University Libraries' Collection Development Policy will be reviewed regularly in order to assure that its provisions continue to reflect the current requirements of academic programs, the state of collections, and the allocation of resources. The subject liaison librarian responsible for each subject area will initiate the review of any policies specific to the subject area and submit needed revisions to the librarians for approval.

Back to Top


We invite questions and/or comments and look forward to hearing from you. Contact Derrik Hiatt at