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Collection Development Policy

Collection development refers to the process of building and maintaining the library’s entire collection in print, audiovisual and electronic formats. It includes the formulation of policy and procedures, coordination of activities, budget formulation and allocation, needs assessment, collection evaluation, selection, resource sharing and weeding.

Table of Contents

  1. Scope
  2. Library Patrons
  3. Responsibility for the Selection
  4. Selection Criteria
  5. Selection Tools
  6. Selection Process
  7. Maintenance and Weeding
  8. Restrictions

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1. Scope

The primary purpose of the library collection is to provide comprehensive and balanced coverage of subjects that support the College curriculum and full-time and continuing education instructional programs. The collection should support:

  • the students through provision of course-related and research material,
  • the faculty through the provision of materials for use in classroom instruction
  • the administrators through the provision of materials that will facilitate corporate decision making.

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2. Library Patrons

Students registered for courses or programs with the College as well as faculty, administrators and support staff of all the three campuses are the users of the Sheridan Libraries for whom the collections are developed. Understanding the information and research needs of these patrons is the basic premise in collection development. Each title selected should fill a current or foreseeable need for the library’s patrons.

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3. Responsibility for the Selection

Manager, Library Collections & Technical Services

The Manager is responsible for developing and providing access to library collections appropriate for Sheridan’s vision of becoming an undergraduate teaching university in the digital age and optimizes technology to deliver services and connect users to quality information.  The manager coordinates processes associated with the development of collections and for the ongoing management of licenses and subscriptions to support research, teaching and learning.  A Library Collection Committee meets occasionally throughout the year to review purchases and discuss potential future acquisitions.

Librarian - Collections Development:

Coordinates all print collection development activities including selection, evaluation and weeding. Collects, evaluates and compiles the recommendations from the librarians, faculty, and students to present them to various Program Coordinators and the Library Committee. Finds the gaps in the collection and recommends new material on regular basis to keep the collection current, comprehensive and evenly balanced. The Collection Development Librarian oversees collection maintenance and weeding activities.

Liaison Librarian’s Role

The Sheridan librarians/library technicians responsible for reference services are assigned to specific Faculties. They assist in selecting materials according to the established criteria and forward their suggestions for print materials to the Librarian – Collection Development and for e-resources to the Manager, Collection Development and Technical Services.

Faculty Participation

Development of the library resources at Sheridan requires the cooperative efforts of the librarians and faculty members. The faculty is encouraged to recommend the purchase of books, serials and electronic resources in their subject areas.

Students’ Role

Students as main users are encouraged to suggest new titles and point out the weaknesses in the holdings.

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4. Selection Criteria

The material should be current, relevant to course offerings; authored, published or produced by reputed authors, publishers or producers, respectively; and should be significant addition to the collection.

A common collection development policy and procedure govern the acquisitions at all the campuses.  The acquisition will be coordinated by the Manager, Collections and Technical Services.

In general, we should consider the following while selecting monographs, ebooks, journals, databases and audiovisuals items:

Monographs and Journals

  • Direct relation to a course offering
  • Relevance / Scope / Depth of coverage
  • Currency / Date of publication
  • Authoritativeness of author/creator
  • Accuracy of information and data
  • Appropriateness (To end-user, format)
  • Organization of the contents
  • Literary merit or artistic quality
  • Library potential (high demand / relation to collection development strategies)
  • Cost and Cost effectiveness
  • Authoritativeness of publisher and producer
  • Strength of current holdings in the college collection
  • Patterns and demands in information queries and circulation statistics

Electronic Monographs, Subscription Databases and Alternative Digital Formats

Same criteria will be applied as of print monographs with additional emphasis on:

  • Usability format like PDF, images, HTML etc.
  • Ability to download and print
  • Integration with learning management software (e.g., Desire2Learn)
  • Remote / off-campus access
  • Ownership versus subscription access to content
  • Number of simultaneous users
  • Terms of licensing agreement
  • Availability of usage statistics


Audiovisuals are evaluated using the same basic criteria as monographs. Also taken into consideration are:

  • Suitability of format
  • Technical and overall quality of the production
  • Provision of the needed equipment


  • Welcome gifts of materials that are consistent with the collection development policy and provided there are no restrictions attached as to their retention and disposition.
  • Evaluate the gifts by the same criteria as materials purchased.
  • Accept with the understanding that materials not added to the collection will be disposed of in ways most advantageous to the library.
  • Issue a letter of acknowledgement to the donor.

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5. Selection Tools

  • Requests and suggestions for purchase of materials from librarians, faculty, students and administrators
  • Recommended reading lists supplied in course outlines
  • Current publication alerts from the book vendor e.g. Coutt’s, YBP
  • Publisher’s catalogues and websites
  • Reviews from the journals
  • Current acquisitions by Ontario Colleges
  • Advertisers and distributors such as Amazon, Login Brothers, Blackwell’s

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6. Selection Process

Selection is done through the collective efforts of the faculty, students and the librarians from all the campuses. Collection Development Librarian along with the Liaison Librarians will evaluate available resources and curriculum needs, and will consult reputable and professionally prepared aids and other appropriate sources to select or recommend the library material.

Faculty Input

  • The Librarian, Collection Development contacts the faculty through Program Coordinators periodically and obtains their recommendations on regular basis. He reviews the recommended titles, evaluates for their currency and appropriateness and presents to the library committee or the Library Director for their approval.
  • Meets the coordinators of each program, appraise them of the library’s objectives and the importance of their cooperation for collection development and to add new material on regular basis
  • Approaches them directly through e-mails or phone and meets them in their departments
  • Attends the departmental meetings occasionally to inform them of the new developments taking place in the library
  • Offers them a prescribed form (print and online) and ask them return it with relevant bibliographic details and the reason of their selection.
  • Provides them the bibliographic details of the recent publications in their field and seeks their opinion about the suitability of these books or AVM for the library

Process to deal with faculty recommendations:

  1. Check the lists of the library material obtained from the faculty for duplication and currency.
  2. If duplicate, inform the faculty of its availability with its classmark and location.
  3. If not duplicate, check the currency of the book.
  4. If published in last three years and its next edition not due shortly within a year, consider it for purchase.
  5. If old, purchase its current new edition.
  6. If no current edition published, look for the recently published books by other authors on the same subject and send the list to the requesting faculty for selection advice. Recommended material is referred to library Director/Library Committee for their approval. .
  7. If the faculty is of the opinion that the old book requested by her, initially, was a classic and still used as a part of the curriculum, consider the old book for purchase.
  8. The requests from faculty will be given priority on other book requests.

Reading List:

  • Obtain the reading lists for various courses directly from the faculty, the program coordinator or AccessSheridan
  • Textbooks should be considered on a needs basis only subject to availability of funds. Seek feedback from the Manager, Collections and Technical Services.
  • Apply the same criteria of “duplication, currency and selection” as above to the non-textbooks in the reading list.

Monograph Vendors

  • Prepare the course specific lists of the current library material from online vendors on a timely basis and send them to the program coordinator his/her recommendations. She may consult her colleagues, if required.
  • Check the selected material for duplication in the catalogue as well as the list of current orders before sending them to the faculty.
  • The faculty/coordinators may recommend some titles from this list and add more on their own. Consider buying all the suggested material.

Publisher’s catalogue and websites

  • Librarians select the appropriate titles from these catalogues and websites and enter them in the monthly ordering list and send it the Librarian, Collection/Liaison who will send them to the relevant faculty or Coordinator for their selection advice
  • Check selected material for duplication in the catalogue as well as the list of current orders before sending them to the faculty.
  • The faculty/coordinator may pick some titles from this list and add more on their own. Consider buying all the suggested material.

Journal Book Reviews

  • Scan the recent issues of journals for book reviews regularly
  • Select the material with positive reviews.
  • Evaluate them for the suitability to our programs, and check the selected ones for duplication and currency.
  • Present all the non-duplicate and current titles to Library Committee for its approval.
  • Place an order for the titles approved by the Library Committee

Recommendations from the patrons

  • Encourage the students to make purchase recommendations.
  • Offer them a prescribed form and ask them return it with relevant bibliographic details and the reason of their selection.
  • Check these requests for currency, duplication and selection as described above under the heading “Faculty recommendations”.

Deficiency list

  • The library staff, particularly the librarians dealing with customers notes the library deficiencies on a prescribed form and informs the Collection Librarian on a weekly basis.
  • Search different selection tools to find appropriate books on these subjects
  • Send them to the faculty/coordinator for their input.
  • Present their suggestions to the Library Committee’s approval.

Vertical and Picture Files

  • Provide current, specific and accurate information that supports the curriculum requirements of College programs.
  • The vertical file is a collection of newspaper clippings, articles and pamphlets on selected topics. The Trafalgar Road Campus Library also has a picture file, primarily for students in the Arts.
  • Materials housed in filing cabinets and do not leave the Library.
  • Add and remove information on a regular basis in order to maintain its viability and currency.
  • Periodic evaluation of the vertical file collection ensures that outdated or irrelevant information is withdrawn.

Criteria for the selection of vertical file resources include:

  • Information is not available in the general or periodical collections.
  • Contains short-lived or hard to find information.
  • Supplements the general or periodical collections, particularly with high demand subjects.
  • Format of information lends itself more to the vertical file (i.e. pamphlets, broadsides).
  • Vertical file resources include pictures from magazines or newspapers, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, articles, flyers etc.

Reference material:

  • Provides an authoritative factual information used as a ready reference.
  • Buy general and subject dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories etc. as per the College curriculum requirement.
  • Update the present holdings bi-annually.
  • Buy one copy of highly used books as a reference.

Duplicate Copies:

  • Buy one copy of each title and make it circulating
  • Buy two copies, one reference and one circulating for high demand and high use material
  • Buy multiple copies, if a course is taught at all campuses.

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7. Maintenance and Weeding

Collection Development Librarian oversees maintenance and weeding activities

  • Weed material on regular basis to keep the collection current and active
  • Replace the lost material if still of educational value
  • Repair or replace the badly damaged material if still of educational value
  • Replace extremely outdated material by their new edition. If no new edition is published, replace it with the new publications on the same subject.
  • Assess and remove material that are obsolete, damaged beyond repair and out of scope of curriculum
  • Weed if the title is available in electronic format
  • Weed if the title is not circulated well (set a date of last use)
  • Withdraw Government documents published over 5 years, if not used.
  • Weed superseded editions
  • Withdraw materials no longer appropriate
  • Remove multiple copies of monographs which are no longer needed to support the curriculum. Consider keeping only one copy.
  • Prepare a list of intended weeding and send it to appropriate faculty to determine if items meet current curriculum or student enrichment needs.
  • Prepare a separate list for the titles recommended by the faculty for weeding and keep a record of the weeded titles
  • Delete their records from catalogue.

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8. Restrictions

  • No restrictions on acquiring any book or audiovisuals except imposed by the College administration for the benefit of the student.
  • The Library complies with all provisions of the Canadian Copyright Law and supports its Fair Dealing exception, which permits Canadians to reproduce works protected by copyright for the purposes of research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, or news reporting, providing the dealing is fair.
  • The Library believes in Canadian Bill of Rights that gives the Canadians rights to Free Expression, Freedom to Read, Free Access to Ideas and Freedom to View.
  • No library materials are excluded because of the race or nationality or the social, political, or religious views of the authors.
  • The library provides books and other materials presenting all points of view, and no library materials is proscribed or removed from the libraries because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • The use of the library is not denied or abridged to any individual because of her/his age, race, religion, national origins or social or political views.