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I. Statement of Purpose

The James Earl Carter Library's Collection Development Policy supports the University's Mission and the Library's Mission. In keeping with the Library's mission, the Library seeks to provide convenient and effective access to quality library collections and information in a variety of formats.

II. General Collection Management and Development Policies

The Library's collection policies and selection criteria seek to create a flexible framework within which the University community's needs are met, either through ownership of materials, consortial agreement, or electronic access. The Library's policy shall be to acquire ownership of materials in all formats whenever possible, but to consider access rights over ownership when the former would be more economical, or when ownership is not feasible. Access and ownership will be supplemented by consortial agreements as necessary including but not limited to Interlibrary Loan, Universal Borrowing, and the terms of regional, state, and national cooperative agreements.

Selection Priorities

  1. Support the curriculum at all levels: undergraduate programs; masters programs; and educational specialist program.
  2. Support faculty teaching needs.
  3. Support faculty and graduate research.

Selection Criteria

  1. Must support one or more of the selection priorities.
  2. Intellectual Content: the subject content and intellectual level of the material must be appropriate to the academic program and curriculum level.
  3. Textbooks: Books used as textbooks for specific courses are not usually purchased for the general collection.
  4. Timeliness: Particularly in those fields where currency is critical.
  5. Multiple Copies: Only one copy of a title will be purchased for the general collection. This does not preclude the purchase of different editions of a title. Occasional exceptions will be made when:
    • an item is placed on reserve;
    • an item receives consistently high usage;
    • a volume is received as a gift.
  6. Non-Print Materials: Materials will be purchased in all formats as needed to support the curricular needs of the University. All non-print materials will be subject to the same selection criteria as print materials.

III. Special Collections

The James Earl Carter Library has several special collections. These include the Dr. Harold Isaacs Global South Studies Collection, the Georgia Southwestern State University Historical Collection,  the POW Collection and the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and Lillian Carter Collections.

Rare Books: Through the years, the James Earl Carter Library has acquired a number of rare and unique items. These are maintained as a separate collection, housed in the Macy Bishop Gray Rare Books Room. While the Library encourages the donation of rare materials, their collection is not a high selection priority for this institution.

IV. Government Documents

The U.S. Government Printing Office designated the James Earl Carter Library a selective depository for U.S. government publications in 1966. The purpose of the depository is to collect, organize, and provide access to U.S. government publications, in all formats, in support of the current and anticipated instructional, research, and service programs of Georgia Southwestern State University as well as to serve the research needs of the citizens of the second Congressional District of Georgia.

Collection development for government publications must be in accordance with The Federal Depository Library manual and the Instructions to Depository Libraries. Collection development and maintenance is the responsibility of the Reference/User Services Librarian/Gov. Docs. Coordinator.

V. Gifts Policy

While the James Earl Carter Library encourages the donation of gift materials and funds designated for the enhancement of its collections, it reserves the right to refuse, discard, or weed materials which do not meet its collection priorities and selection criteria or whose poor physical condition prohibits their addition to the Library's collections.

Library staff are not permitted to offer an evaluation or appraisal of any gift. This is the responsibility of the donor. The Library will provide the donor with a list of items received.

VI. Copyright

The James Earl Carter Library complies with all regulations of relevant sections of the Copyright Law of the United States of America. Copyright infringement is a violation of the University System of Georgia's copyright policy. Useful guides to copyright and the fair use doctrine may be found here.

VII. Intellectual Freedom

The James Earl Carter Library supports the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. The Library attempts to select materials representing different points of view and without partisan or doctrinal bias.

VIII. Collection Selection and Evaluation

The ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Library's collections resides in the Dean of the Library. However, the responsibility for the selection and evaluation of the collections is shared between the Library staff and the University faculty. The Collection Development Librarian coordinates these activities and is responsible for insuring that all selections meet the standards set forth in the Library's Collection Development Policy.

  1. Selection Responsibilities
    • Library Dean
      • The Dean communicates with all schools and colleges each semester seeking recommendations for purchase of print and electronic materials.
      • The Dean plans and coordinates all collection development activities.
      • Has the final authority in decisions relating to controversial selections.
      • Has the final authority on the acceptance and disposition of gifts.
      • Has sole fiscal and budgetary authority and responsibility for the Library's budget and gift funds.
    • University Faculty
      • Faculty have access to online "Choice" reviews and can forward requests directly to the Dean. They are also encouraged to use other selection resources such as professional journals. The Library accepts written, e-mailed, and faxed submissions.
  2. Collection Analysis
    • Print and Serial Analysis
      As time permits, the Dean designates specific subject areas of the print and serial collections for an in-depth analysis to ascertain whether the collection currently meets selection criteria. This analysis is conducted with the assistance and participation of the relevant Dean and Department Chair. The purpose of this analysis is to upgrade and enhance the collections, to the extent Library resources permit to ensure they meet current curriculum and program needs, to weed out materials no longer relevant and to preserve those which do.
      1. Collection Enhancement It is the responsibility of the Deans and Department Chairs to prioritize requests within their allocations to meet the specific needs of their curriculum and programs, and to work with the Dean to seek any additional funding needed to enhance the collection.
      2. Deselection Materials which no longer meet the selection criteria become candidates for deselection. Individual items and gifts are normally deselected by the Collection Development Librarian. Deselections involving larger areas of the collection are done in consultation with the Department Chair and faculty in the field. The disposition of deselected materials is done in accordance with relevant sections of Federal Law (primarily relating to our depository collection) and Georgia State Law (see Code of GA, Annotated, Bk. 13, 1998 Revision, 45-13-85, GCA & 40-606a).
      3. Storage The Library has a small on-site storage area where little used but still useful or historically relevant materials are kept. They are accessible by request. 

Policy updated May 2019

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