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Library Collection Development Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) The Library Collection Development Policy outlines the principles and practice for the selection, acquisition, management, and disposal of information resources in print, audio visual and electronic formats. It:

  1. articulates the criteria for selection of Library resources that advance the teaching, learning and research functions of the University;
  2. describes the basis of funding and budgetary allocation for acquiring collection resources; and
  3. provides detail about the ongoing management of the collection including the preservation, storage and deselection of collection material.


(2) This policy applies to all library, academic, and university staff or students engaged in the selection and management of library resources.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(3) Nil

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

Part A - Selection

Selection Principles

(4) Recommendations for selection can be made by any member of the University community. Subject to clause (6), the following criteria will be used by Library staff to evaluate and prioritise recommendations:

  1. electronic format is the default format for selection. Where a print and electronic format are both available only the electronic format will be selected. Where the cost of the electronic format is unreasonably expensive and/or the user license restriction on access is unduly prohibitive (for example, unreasonably expensive would be more than three times the cost of the print combined with restricted access for prescribed texts) the print format will be selected;
  2. multiple copies can be acquired (subject to clauses (8) and (9));
  3. material published more than 3 years prior to recommendation and not required as a prescribed text will not be selected;
  4. material freely available online or linked to open access repositories will not be selected;
  5. donations are generally not accepted unless the donation has significance for the University. No gifts are accepted with conditions concerning location or disposal. Unsolicited items received without prior notice will generally be discarded;
  6. material requiring ongoing maintenance such as binding will generally not be selected;
  7. workbooks, notebooks, material with substantial blank pages or without intellectual input will not be selected;
  8. ephemera, archives, original materials, and obsolete formats are not collected;
  9. recommendations for electronic resources, particularly of large datasets, must consider license obligations, equity of access particularly for distance students, and reliability and continuity of access;
  10. unless negotiated, all recommendations must be for English language resources;
  11. recommendations for resources over $350 require written endorsement from a Librarian;
  12. titles listed as prescribed readings in the UCMS will generally be acquired. Exceptions can occur where prescribed readings in the UCMS are more than 3 years old and a newer edition exists. In that case the requestor is consulted and the newer edition will generally be selected;
  13. subject-specific material suitable for selection for the undergraduate collection will correspond principally to undergraduate courses taught at the University;
  14. subject-specific material suitable for selection for the research collection is based on the University's current key areas of research, as determined by the Office of Research, and is subject to change;
  15. scholarly titles published by the University community will be acquired whenever possible; and
  16. Higher Degrees Research theses are collected in accordance with University rules, including Honours theses when submitted by the relevant Faculty or College;

(5) Scholarly Open Access and Open Education Resources will be added to the Library’s discovery and content systems based on the preceding selection principles, including relevance to teaching and research subject areas, accessibility, functionality, quality and currency. 

(6) Exceptions to the selection criteria require individual submission by a Librarian and endorsement by the Director, Library Services or the Manager, Technical Services.

(7) Requests for new subscriptions generally come from academic staff and are subject to availability of ongoing funds.  It may be necessary to cancel another subscription of similar value and from the same subject area to fund new subscriptions.

Multiple Textbook Selection Criteria

(8) The Library acquires textbooks and titles on prescribed reading lists as supplied to the University’s Unit Content Management System (UCMS). Students are expected to acquire their own copy of a prescribed text. The Library will not supply a copy of each prescribed text to every student.

(9) Acquisition of multiple copies of prescribed textbooks is based on student numbers in a unit and uses the following criteria:

  1. 50 students or less - 1 copy will be acquired;
  2. 51 - 100 students - 2 copies will be acquired; or
  3. More than 100 students - 3 copies will be acquired.

(10) As the Library operates as one entity with different campus locations or 'branches', prescribed texts are shared across campus libraries rather than necessarily provided for each campus where units are taught. The Library will endeavour to acquire electronic copies of prescribed texts to ensure equitable access across campuses and for distance students. Where an electronic prescribed text with a limited concurrent user limit is in high demand additional electronic copies will be acquired if the licence permits. Prescribed texts required for units taught concurrently at different campuses, and for which there is no electronic version available, will be acquired for each campus in accordance with clause (9).

(11) The Library promotes the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OERs) as the preferred option to prescribed textbooks to remove barriers that may prevent students from engaging in the unit, including the cost of learning resources and digital rights management restrictions.


(12) Journals are a core element of any library collection and Southern Cross University Library is committed to providing access to a broad range of journals that meet the learning, teaching and research needs of the University.  The Library gives preference to the purchase of journals in electronic format to maximise staff and student access both on and off campus.

Part B - Acquisition

Library Resources Budget

(13) The University provides an annual allocation of funds to the Library for the purposes of acquiring information resources that advance the teaching, study and research functions of the University. A single allocation is provided for physical resources (monographs and some digital media) and electronic resources (online journals and datasets).

(14) Appropriate arrangements are made to establish transparent and equitable expenditure of allocation between Faculties and Colleges. For the purposes of monitoring expenditure, the monograph component is allocated on an EFTSL per Faculty or College basis. Electronic resources are often multidisciplinary and cannot be so easily apportioned using EFTSL. The Library also takes into consideration new course establishment costs, accreditation requirements, and the fact that resources in some subject areas are more expensive than others.

Part C - Collection Management

Storage and Preservation

(15) Physical items in the collections are stored in appropriate library-specific shelving and care is taken not to overcrowd the shelves or cause damage to the materials. High value collections such as the Manning Clark collection are stored in secured cabinetry, accessible on request. Older material is stored either in an off-site storage location or in a compactus, both of which are located at Lismore campus. Print and/or digital Higher Degrees Research theses or Honour theses submitted by the relevant Faculty or College are archived in perpetuity. The Manager, Technical Services is responsible for approving storage facilities. 

(16) Higher Degrees Research theses are archived in the institutional repository.  Honors theses will be uploaded to the relevant collection only if approved and submitted by the relevant Associate Dean (Education).

(17) The Library undertakes continual maintenance of the collection to ensure it is both accessible and able to be used for its intended purposes of teaching, research and study. Trained library staff carry out repairs on minor damage to physical materials. Damaged electronic media such as DVDs or CDs are not repaired or preserved. Material in a format that has become obsolete is not preserved unless of archival value.

High value items

(18) The Library's main high value collection is the Manning Clark collection. This is a closed collection and cannot be added to.


(19) Damaged or missing items in high demand or listed as prescribed readings will be replaced. The Library will initially seek to replace physical items with an electronic copy where available. Where an electronic copy is unavailable a physical item will be acquired.

(20) Physical items from the general collection deemed lost or damaged, more than 5 years old, or in low demand, will not be replaced.

(21) Items loaned to clients and reported as lost or damaged will be replaced, subject to clauses (19) and (20), whenever a replacement copy can be sourced.


(22) The Library conducts an ongoing review of the Library collection. Factors warranting rationalisation of the library collection include limited shelf space being available for new materials, overcrowded shelves with low use material hindering access to potentially high use material, and maintaining large numbers of out-of-date books when new editions are available. Items may therefore be deselected in accordance with clauses (23) to (25).


(23) Items may be discarded under the supervision of the Manager, Technical Services if all the following conditions are met:

  1. the material has had very low or no usage in the last five years;
  2. the material is not likely to be of a significant value (monetary or otherwise);
  3. there is no evidence or anticipation of demand for the material at that campus or other campuses; and
  4. there is consultation with the relevant Librarian and academic staff regarding valuable works.


(24) Print journals for which the print subscription has been cancelled, but which the Library now receives in electronic form may be discarded. Short runs of journals of marginal teaching or research value may be disposed of.

Other Formats

(25) Resources in obsolete formats may be disposed of if the information can no longer be accessed and the teaching or research value does not justify transcription to another format or if copyright restrictions prohibit this.