The Collection Development Policy is a living document, reviewed every three to five years by library faculty and the dean. It was last revised in March 2023.

Note: To request the purchase of new materials, please use our form for books / media, journals, or databases. For questions or concerns related to collection development, please contact the Collection Development Librarian, Madeline Veitch.

Request items for the collection:


  1.  Introduction
  2.  Purpose of the collection
  3.  Responsibility for selection
  4.  Selection Guidelines
  5.  Selection Criteria
  6.  Accessibility 
  7. Serials
  8.  Material Types and Considerations
  9.  Special Collections
  10.  Duplicate copies
  11.  Editions and translations
  12.  Gifts
  13.  Grants
  14.  Withdrawal Policy


1. Introduction

This policy statement supports the development and maintenance of the library’s collections. In developing its collections, the library affirms the “Library Bill of Rights” and the Freedom to Read statement, created by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, including the following policies:

  1.  Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all the people in 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 responsibilities to provide information and enlightenment.


2. Purpose of the collection

The collection of the Sojourner Truth Library is primarily designed to serve students, faculty, and staff of the State University of New York at New Paltz. The collection should provide materials in a variety of formats for students’ course work, independent study, and general information needs, and for faculty in their class preparation and scholarly research.

Although borrowing privileges extend to non-affiliated patrons, materials are not purchased specifically for this group.

The Mission Statement of the State University of New York at New Paltz states that, “We offer undergraduate and graduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, health care, business, and engineering.” Library collections should support both the traditional core of disciplines and the professional programs. The library also promotes the campus-wide goal of providing “library and information technology resources which support the curriculum, independent study, research, and information literacy.”


3. Responsibility for Selection

Primary responsibility for building the collection rests with:

  1.  The Collection Development Librarian: Selects print and ebooks, streaming film licenses, and other media, with input from faculty and library liaison.
  2.  The Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian: Selects print and electronic journals, and databases, with input from faculty, the Library Dean, and library liaisons.
  3.  The Special Collections Librarian: Selects materials in dialogue with library liaisons, the Dean’s office, and the Collection Development Librarian.
  4.  Library Liaisons: Each liaison recommends materials in all formats for assigned disciplines, with input from departmental faculty and assistance from other members of the library faculty.
  5.  The Coordinator for Reference Services collaborates with the Collection Development Librarian in selecting reference materials.
  6.  Faculty members are encouraged to recommend resources in their disciplines and to notify their library liaison of materials required for their courses. Library iaisons regularly consult with teaching faculty to solicit recommendation and advice. Students are also encouraged to recommend materials for the collection.
  7.  Access to recommended open access resources available online is the responsibility of the Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian and the Collection Development Librarian, in consultation with librarians.
  8.  All purchases made with library acquisitions funds are ordered through the Collection Development Office. Decisions on purchases over $500 are the responsibility of the Library Dean.


4. Selection Guidelines

In accordance with the above general statement about the purpose of the collection, some particular guidelines for selection include the following:

  1.  Support all courses taught on this campus that have been approved by the College Curriculum Committee and Graduate Council.
  2.  Provide a basic collection reflecting a diversity of viewpoints in all disciplines included in the curriculum. Emphasis should be placed upon sources of outstanding quality and permanent value. Quickly outdated textbooks, anthologies, general surveys, etc. should be avoided unless essential for some specific reason.
  3.  Support faculty research. The degree of support will be determined by such considerations as (1) the degree of relationship between the research and course work of the college; (2) the necessity for a faculty member’s frequent re-use of the material, or use for extended periods of time; (3) the nature of the material itself; whether it is important “classical” material of permanent value to the collection or material which, however important for an immediate research purpose, may be of relatively temporary value; (4) the availability of the requested material in area libraries and within the SUNY system.
  4.  Provide materials for independent reading, study, and leisure.
  5.  Collect materials of regional significance, or significance to the history of the College.
  6.  Collect materials relating to the life, mission, and legacy of our namesake, Sojourner Truth.


5. Selection Criteria

The following criteria guide the selection of materials (criteria are not listed in order of priority):

  1.  Reviews in reputable sources.
  2.  Recommendation by faculty, staff member or student.
  3.  Reputation and authority of author, publisher or editor.
  4.  Strength of materials held by the library in the discipline in relation to level of courses, number of majors, number of students enrolled.
  5.  Currency of the treatment of the subject.
  6.  Availability of related materials in libraries within the region and the SUNY system.
  7.  Potential of the item to increase representation of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, members of the disability community, and other historically underrepresented authors in the collection.
  8.  Format / physical characteristics and how these characteristics meet the needs of our users.
  9.  Cost of item.
  10.  Potential use of item.

Additional Selection Criteria for Electronic Formats:

  1.  Licensing for subscription materials provides access for all campus community members.
  2.  Functionality of the interface.
  3.  Technical specifications.
  4.  Availability of usage statistics.
  5.  Compliance with the university and SUNY policies for Electronic Information Technology Accessibility Standards.


6. Accessibility Statement

The Sojourner Truth Library is committed to selecting and acquiring materials that are accessible to all library users. The library strives to comply with the SUNY New Paltz Accessibility Plan and SUNY policies regarding Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) which prioritizes the purchase of accessible products that meet Level AA criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. Library staff request and review vendor accessibility documentation before purchasing products, including Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs). For questions or concerns related to accessibility, please contact the Accessibility Liaison for the Library.


7. Serials

Serials are publications that appear regularly. Serials include journals, magazines, database subscriptions, etc. Serial subscriptions differ from monograph purchases in that a serial subscription is an ongoing financial commitment with an annual inflation rate. The library pursues innovative ways to manage rising subscription costs, including participation in various consortium relationships.

  1.  Selection of serial titles is based on the same criteria as monographs and electronic formats (see section 5). However, there is an e-preferred policy for journals, and magazines. The library may purchase periodicals in print format when electronic versions are not available. Additionally, when there is a compelling reason, such as for graphical content.
  2.  The library provides direct access to selected freely available, open-access e-journals, e-books, OERs, and websites.
  3.  The library will no longer adds microforms to the collection and in general will not be initiating new standing orders. Standing orders are requests for a vendor to supply successive issues of publication on a recurring basis. These orders represent long-term financial obligations and may require extensive storage space. For deselection criteria for serials, see section 14(3) of this document.


8. Material Types and Considerations

  1. Materials in Languages Other Than English
    1.  Materials in languages other than English will be acquired if they support a major or are primary sources and if it is essential to have the original text as well as the English translation.
    2.  Outstanding secondary sources may be acquired if unavailable in translation.
  2. Textbooks
    1.  Textbooks used for courses are rarely purchased due to their typical high price and short currency. They may be purchased in situations where cost is comparable to other books purchased in general collection building, or when the cost relative to student benefit brings these factors into balance. Faculty requesting textbooks must be able to confirm the currency of the material in their courses for at least three academic years from date of purchase.
    2.  Textbooks may be selected from gift books.
  3.  Films and Audio Recordings
    1.  Physical formats including DVDs and CDs are selected only when streaming options are unavailable or cost prohibitive.
  4.  Open Access Materials
    1.  The library provides direct access to selected freely available, open access e-journals, e-books, OERs, and websites.
  5.  Softcover Books
    1.  Softcover editions are purchased if they are original titles, if the hardcover edition is not available, or if the softcover edition is significantly less expensive than the hardcover edition and heavy use is not anticipated.
  6.  Out-of-Print Items
    1.  Out-of-print materials are purchased based on known or anticipated use or to complete or enrich a subject area.
  7.  Maps
    1.  Maps are purchased according to the criteria in Section 5 stated above.
  8.  Music Scores
    1.  The library acquires scores of standard musical works, but the collection does not aim at comprehensiveness.
  9.  Non-Library Purchases
    1.  On rare occasions, grants intended to support scholarship on campus may be used to purchase materials for the library. In these cases, the library will make the purchases and receive a transfer of funds from the grant-holder. The library will make these materials available to the researcher via a regular library loan. Once their research is concluded, materials will be available to the campus community.
  10.  Government Documents
    1.  The library is a part of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and is a selective depository for government documents. The library offers free and public access to these materials as part of the program.
    2.  Since 2019, the library has not received print or tangible materials and instead has focused on providing online access to government documents. The library maintains access to a collection intended to meet the needs of the college and the residents of its geographic area.
  11.  Reference Collection  –  The Reference Collection selection policy follows the general selection guidelines and criteria with emphasis on providing authoritative resources that assist in the research process. The collection includes but is not limited to:
    1.  Resources to be consulted for general background information and standard knowledge, such as general and subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and biographical dictionaries.
    2.  Resources consulted for quick reliable data and answers to standard questions, such as almanacs, directories, handbooks, maps and atlases.
    3.  Resources that aid in the discovery and identification of specific content, such as current research guides, electronic books and databases.
  12.  Children’s and Young Adult Collection
    1.  This collection aims to serve the needs of the education program, including student teachers in the field, students, faculty, and staff raising children, and those whose research involves children’s literature.


9. Special Collections

  1.  New Paltz Collection   –  The New Paltz Collection contains materials concerning the college and the region. First priority is given to publications by and about the college. For example:
    1.  Publications of the college, the administration, the faculty, and student groups intended for public distribution.
    2.  Publications about the college.
    3.  Works authored by college faculty and staff are purchased for the New Paltz Collection. Edited volumes and anthologies containing a faculty authored book chapter may be added to the Circulating Collection.
    4.  All graduate student theses completed as a requirement for graduation will be retained by the library. Theses submitted in 2017 and later will are archived digitally and made accessible to the public with author permission. Some theses produced prior to 2017 are also archived digitally, while those retained in print are held in Special Collections.
    5.  Materials are collected about the village and town of New Paltz, Ulster County, and other towns in Ulster County, including regional history, and official publications of the Village and Town of New Paltz and Ulster County.
  2. Rare   –  The Rare Book Collection contains materials that are separated from the general collection because of some combination of their rarity, fragility, or intrinsic, monetary or research value. This includes any book deemed rare by a member of the faculty or a librarian.


10. Duplicate Copies

For the general collection, duplicate copies (normally not more than two) are purchased of those titles which are, or are expected to be, heavily and continuously used, or are on reserve. Second copies of Special Collections materials will be acquired where appropriate to provide a circulating copy, such as in the case of faculty authored monographs or volumed edited by a faculty member.


11. Editions and Translations

When several editions of a work are available, selection decisions are made based on format, editor, and date. New editions, including translations, are purchased when they substantially update or improve on the previous edition.


12. Gifts

Gifts are books and other print and non-print materials donated to the library. Gifts are accepted on the condition that the library be permitted to dispose of them or add them to the collection at its sole discretion. The library may add gift books to the collection that might not otherwise have qualified for purchase. The Library does not accept donated print periodicals.


13. Grants

Acquisitions of materials funded by grants administered by the Library are subject to this selection policy. These funds are rarely used for subscriptions. Acquisitions of materials funded by grants administered outside the library will be treated as gifts (see section 12).


 14. Withdrawal Policy    

In keeping with the Association for College and Research Libraries Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (2018) the library seeks to provide “collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the research and teaching missions of the institution.” Materials whose content is no longer relevant to current and anticipated curricula and research may be removed from the collection with caution

  1.  Missing Items
    1.  If an item is missing for an extended period or long overdue, it may be withdrawn from the catalog, or a replacement copy purchased if it is an item with continued usage and demand.
  2.  Books, Serials, and Physical Media
    1.  These may be submitted to the Collection Development Librarian and the Coordinator of Reference Services for withdrawal by any staff member for the following reasons:
      1.  Beyond reasonable repair.
      2.  Obsolete, superseded or both.
      3.  Lack of use.
      4.  Replaced by another format.
      5.  More than one copy.
      6.  Single issue of unanalyzed serial.
      7.  Duplicate of separate issue of serial.
    2.  Withdrawal decisions will be made after consulting one or more of the following sources as appropriate:
      1.  Usage statistics.
      2.  Teaching faculty and librarians.
      3.  STL catalog for holdings on the subject.
      4.  OCLC for other libraries’ holdings.
      5.  In the case of government documents, the library will follow the instructions set forth in the FDLP’s Weeding a Depository Collection.
  3.  Serials   –  Generally, print journals for which we have perpetual access to an electronic copy are discarded. Serial titles are reviewed every year and withdrawal is based on the same withdrawal criteria as monographs. Additional deselection criteria for electronic serials include:
    1.  The title is no longer relevant to current curricular, or research needs.
    2.  Prohibitive cost and/or excessive price increases.
    3.  Usage statistics.
    4.  Availability of alternative resources- such as availability of the journal in full-text format in aggregator databases or free access.
    5.  Accessibility and ease of use.
  4.  Final decision to withdraw is assigned to librarians as follows:
    1.  Collection Development Librarian: Non-reference materials.
    2.  Serials & Electronic Resources Librarian: Serials and databases.
    3.  Coordinator for Reference Services: Reference materials.
  5.  Disposal of withdrawn items   –  Items which have been withdrawn from the collection may not be given to library faculty or staff. They may be disposed of in the following ways, at the discretion of the librarian making the withdrawal decision:
    1.  Items may be donated to other campus offices, including academic department collections.
    2.  Items with some useful life remaining may be donated to other institutions.
    3.  Materials not suitable for either of the above courses of action shall be recycled as efficiently as possible. Holdings records of withdrawn items must be removed from OCLC and the Alma database.
    4.  Records of such disposal shall be kept in accordance with methods established by State Offices.



Modified 2023-07-19