MSJC Libraries: Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy


The purpose of this policy is to provide general guidance in the selection of library materials. Providing access to appropriate and relevant material to support the curricula and the mission of Mt. San Jacinto College are of primary importance. The library must also be responsive to student interests and strive to create a collection of materials that supports the academic, cultural, and personal information needs of the MSJC community.

Responsibility for Selection

The Library relies on its own faculty and staff, the teaching faculty, and students for purchase recommendations. It is a professional responsibility of teaching faculty to make recommendations in their respective disciplines and to incorporate library materials into course development. Since the librarian can best judge the balance of the total collection, the final decision concerning acquisitions rests with him/her.

All library users, regardless of status, are invited to make purchase recommendations to the Librarian.


The Library maintains day-to-day control of its book budget, and does not assign allocations to subject areas or academic departments or divisions.

Intellectual Freedom

The Library Bill of Rights applies without exception to all purchases of library materials. In the pursuit of knowledge and learning it is essential to include a variety of viewpoints, subjects that may be considered controversial, and to provide uncensored access to all library materials to all users. It is the responsibility of the Librarian to ensure that all points of view are represented in the collection and that the collection supports the college programs and diverse backgrounds, needs, and interests of library users. The Library endorses the American Library Association Bill of Rights, Intellectual Freedom Statement, Freedom to Read Statement, Statement on Challenged Materials, and the Freedom to View Statement adopted by the Association for Educational Communication and Technology. The principles of these documents are an integral part of this policy statement.

Challenged Materials

Every effort is made to purchase materials representing different points of view on controversial issues, and to include topics and materials that reflect the diverse society in which we live. It is not the intent of the Library to offend any individual or group, but to provide unrestricted access to all ideas whether popular or not. The Library does not withdraw material based upon objections to content or ideas presented. If an individual or group objects to any material in the collection the individual or group will be required to complete a formal Request for Review of Library Materials form.

The Request for Review of Library Materials form should be referred to the Library Department Chair, who will discuss the challenged material with the complainant(s). If the request for review is not settled through discussions between the Library Chair and the requestor, the written specific objections shall be submitted to the Dean of Libraries who will assemble an ad hoc committee composed of library and teaching faculty to review the request. After reading, viewing, or listening to the complete work, the committee will make a decision regarding the material and inform the Dean of Libraries. The Dean of Libraries will inform the complainant(s) in writing of the decision.

Acquisitions Priorities

The first priority of the Library is to provide materials to students in support of curriculum requirements. Since a community college focuses on the first two years of an undergraduate curriculum with some junior level offerings, materials recommended for undergraduates will receive first priority for purchase. Second, the Library serves faculty research needs by purchasing more advanced materials when funds are available, or obtaining them on interlibrary loan. General reference, cultural, recreational and other materials are also acquired to meet the needs of MJSC community members and are purchased as funds permit. The collections of the library should be reflective of the diverse society in which we live and should therefore represent a variety of perspectives. The Library serves as a repository for major college documents.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria are used when evaluating materials for inclusion in the collection:

  • Value of the content
  • Level of treatment
  • Present holding in the subject area
  • Price
  • Availability of funds
  • Reputation of the publisher or author
  • Indexing (periodicals)
  • Selection Procedures

Professional journals, reviewing publications, standard bibliographies, and publisher information may be used to select appropriate material.

Policies by Format of Material

  • Hardbound versus Paperbound Books: Hardbound editions are generally the preferred format due to their greater durability. However, paperbound books may be purchased for topics which change rapidly, if a hardcover is not available, if the title requires frequent replacement, or if the paperbound appears to be a better value. The Library may decide to bind paperbound books.
  • Textbooks: Textbooks are not normally purchased unless they are "classics" in the field or are otherwise the only or best source of information on a topic. The Library does not purchase specific editions of textbooks used in college courses. However, instructors may place copies on Reserve. Workbooks and study guides are not purchased.
  • Periodicals: The Library gives priority to relevant titles that are indexed in services to which the Library subscribes. The availability of titles in electronic format, the financial resources of the Library, and the availability of resources elsewhere in the geographic area are additional considerations.
  • Microforms: While the Library has an existing microform collection of magazine holdings, it no longer purchases materials in a microform format.
  • Government Publications: The Library is not a depository for federal or California state government publications. International, federal, state and local government publications are selected according to the same criteria as other library materials and are placed in an appropriate location in the collection.
  • Foreign Language Materials: Items written in languages other than English are purchased when they support the language curricula of the college.
  • Literary Fiction: Items in this category are purchased according to the same criteria as other library materials.
  • Popular Works: Popular fiction is generally not purchased, as the local public library covers this area. Popular non-fiction is evaluated according to the same criteria as for other library materials. However, established literary works and new works receiving critical acclaim in the literary field are considered, especially those that support literature course offerings.
  • Computer Disks and Software: In general, the Library does not purchase computer disks or software, except where the same are included with hard copy books.
  • CD-ROMs: CD-ROMs will only be purchased if there is a clear advantage over other formats, e.g. permanent storage of archival materials. There is considerable opinion that CDs will be phased out over time by vendors, and more material will be published online.
  • Electronic Databases: The Library subscribes to a number of electronic indexing and abstracting databases that contain citations to primarily journal articles and newspapers. In addition to the same general selection criteria for other formats, other criteria that should be applied include:
  • Some value-added enhancement must be offered to make it preferable over, or a significant addition to a print equivalent, e.g. more timely availability, more frequent updating, more extensive content, greater flexibility in searching, or greater functionality (such as the ability to invoke linkages to local or related sources)
  • Access is permitted via IP addresses rather than individual passwords
  • Compatibility with existing library technology
  • Offers greater access for users than other formats, and may be accessed from off-campus
  • Substantial added-value such as full text should be offered
  • Electronic Books: Electronic books are considered for purchase when they provide the most current and/or most cost effective format, or to support distance education programs.
  • Media Materials: The Library selects media materials in support of classroom instruction, cultural, and recreational interests.
  • Out of Print Materials: Out of print materials are rarely purchased, as most selections are current publications. However, the Library recognizes the need for some out of print purchases to replace heavily-used items that are lost or withdrawn due to poor physical condition, or seminal works the Library does not hold when building up weak subject areas.
  • Duplicate Copies: The Library does not normally purchase duplicate or multiple copies, except in cases where exceptionally heavy demand is anticipated.
  • Archival Materials: The Library collects administrative and historic documents relating to Mt. San Jacinto College such as college catalogs, newspaper clippings, accreditation reports, Board minutes, etc.


The Library welcomes gifts or donations and accepts them with the understanding that the materials will be evaluated according to the same standards as items purchased by the Library. Gifts that are not suited to the library collection because of age, format, topic, physical condition, or other factors will be disposed of according to College policies for surplus items. All gifts are acknowledged by the Library. However, no monetary evaluation can be done, pursuant to Internal Revenue Service regulations. The Library reserves the right to refuse a donation if the donor specifies special conditions, including retrieval from the donor's home or special shelving requirements.

Collection Maintenance/Weeding

Evaluation of the Library collection is undertaken as time and other duties permit. Faculty members are encouraged to survey their subject areas and recommend additions to and withdrawals from the collection. Outdated, seldom-used and damaged materials are withdrawn from the collection: these items and lost books are replaced at the discretion of the Librarian.

Privacy of Library Records

In accordance with all applicable state laws and college policies, library patron records are confidential.