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Collection Development Policies & Procedures


Collection development is the process of providing the library materials needed to support the institutional, instructional, and research programs of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) and the needs of library users. It also encompasses associated activities such as evaluation, location, deselection, and preservation. This policy aims to establish the principles by which the University Libraries (Library) will assess, procure, provide, and maintain collections. As reflected in the Library’s mission statement, it is the goal of the Library to fully support the instructional and research programs of the University by providing access to information through the teaching, acquisition, organization, and preservation of information resources in all formats to the University’s academic community, the region, and the state.

Intellectual Freedom

The Library adheres to the guidelines and principles of the American Library Association Bill of Rights and its accompanying statements of interpretation. Principles of intellectual freedom and access guide the Library’s policies; as such, the Library's collections contain a wide variety of opinions and viewpoints.

Collection Development Principles

UL Lafayette is designated as a Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education R1 university offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Described as a process to support the instructional and research programs of the University, the following criteria influence collection development decisions:

  • college curriculum
  • faculty research interests
  • library and university goals or strategic priorities
  • use of library materials
  • content value of library materials

Levels of collection development intensity are the product of these factors, either individually or in varying combinations. It is the Library's mission that the collections meet the following goals:

  • Provide materials in useful, accessible formats that support the instructional programs of the University and anticipate needs arising because of new courses and degree programs
  • Obtain materials through purchase, interlibrary loan, licenses, donation, transfer, or on-demand document delivery to fulfill the research requirements of faculty and graduate students
  • Provide materials and resources that foster the personal qualities encouraged by the University stated values

Resources and Access

The Library provides access to various materials, including, but not limited to monographs, periodicals, databases, eBooks, and audiovisual media. The Gift Materials Policy Statement also addresses the physical type of library materials and the scope of foreign language materials considered for library acquisitions. The Library's journal subscriptions are primarily available electronically, with a small selection of publications maintained in print. The Library strives to provide access to databases and other non-book or journal materials relevant and useful to faculty and students. These may include streaming content, databases, and online book collections. The same principles of selection and assessment apply to these materials as to all other library collection materials. Multiple copies, textbooks, and some non-book materials generally are not collected. Materials in languages other than English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Latin are collected selectively.

Access to online databases provided by the Library is limited to current students, faculty, and staff of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Users, both on and off-campus, will be required to log in with their ULID and password. Users must follow 'Fair Use' as outlined in U.S. Copyright Law and provisions of license agreements with database providers. Online database material obtained must be used for personal, non-commercial purposes. Improper use generally includes but is not limited to, excessive use, utilizing robots/auto crawlers, downloading entire journals, printing numerous copies of a single article, or publishing articles made available through the databases. Users visiting several databases or viewing or downloading a substantial amount of material from within databases in a short period of time may receive a browser warning, and, as a security precaution, their access will be suspended for two (2) hours. Unauthorized and improper use of online databases and other online resources provided by The Library can result in access revocation.  If any student, employee, or retiree needs access, they should contact the University IT Service Desk for assistance.


The Library actively seeks suggestions for additions to its collection from members of the University community, including students, faculty, and staff. Library faculty, in particular, help ensure that the Library’s collections closely support the instructional and research programs of the University within the level of funding available. Funds are allocated by type of material (book, periodical, microforms, electronic resource) and by academic subject area. Each academic department is allocated a portion of the Materials Budget to purchase library materials that will support classroom instruction and research.

As part of its ongoing efforts to procure the best resources, the Library evaluates new electronic resources on a trial basis before purchase. During such trials, the Library gathers feedback from faculty and students on the resource’s value and potential use to researchers. The Library considers this feedback part of the resource’s evaluation for purchase. The Library will not undertake a trial for a resource unless it intends to consider it for purchase. Responsibility for decisions of which trials to undertake will rest on the Head of E-Resources and Serials, approved by the E-Resources Committee and the Dean of the Libraries.

Coordination for acquisition and deselection decisions is the responsibility of the Heads of Collection Development and E-Resources and Serials, with approvals from the Library Collections Committee, the Deselection Working Group, and the Dean of the Libraries. The Library makes selection and deselection decisions based on curriculum and research needs, budgetary restrictions and maintenance costs, resource overlap, content value, accessibility and ease of use, and any other criteria deemed impactful to a resource’s usefulness.

UL Lafayette’s E-Resources and Serials comply with the University’s policies on Computing and Networks, including the limitations for access and restrictions for computer, network, and wireless use. More information is under the University IT Service Desk Policies.

Collection Development Guidelines

Collection Needs: The Library collects for both present and future needs.

Format: The Library collects monographs, serials, and nonprint media. Generally not collected for the circulating collection are films, slides, filmstrips, transparencies, pamphlet material, maps, or obsolete media formats. E-textbooks acquired from the LOUIS consortium and the Board of Regents are collected. Special Collections areas have different format guidelines, and other special locations may employ different criteria.

Language: The Library purchases materials in languages appropriate to University teaching and research needs, including English, French, and Spanish. Materials in other languages are less often acquired but may be purchased upon request by the faculty or accepted as gifts at the discretion of the Head of Collection Development.

Physical Condition: Materials must be able to endure regular usage in the library location where they will be kept. If the value of the content justifies the cost, repair or binding is acceptable. In case of any significant damage, such as the presence of mold, mildew, insect infestation, rodent excrement, or other damage, donated or gifted items will be declined immediately.

Serials: The Library strives to collect a broad spectrum of serial titles that support the curriculum and research needs of the faculty as well as titles indexed in the standard indexes. Since a serial subscription represents an ongoing financial commitment, new serials are added only at the discretion of the Head of E-Resources and Serials.

Electronic Resources: Online resources are reviewed by the E-Resources Committee according to their criteria.

Subject Matter: The University curriculum is the primary consideration for the subject matter of library materials added to the collection. Collection Development strives to build a collection that supports undergraduate instruction, graduate study, and advanced research. Louisiana materials, especially Acadiana-related materials, are collected exhaustively.

Gifts: Gifts are accepted at the discretion of the Head of Collection Development and are the subject of a separate gifts policy statement. For more information, view the Donations and Gifts section below.

Exclusions: Generally, the Library does not collect duplicate copies, new editions that lack substantial change from earlier editions already owned, or out-of-scope materials. Due to frequent changes or new editions, textbooks for coursework are typically not collected. Exceptions include if textbooks (physical or digital) are acquired through the LOUIS consortium or if the item has value beyond being a textbook (e.g., if the textbook is unique or a primary source). The Library generally accepts additional copies of materials that it already has, as long as they are shelved in a different location. Sometimes, popular authors, titles, or subjects may warrant the retention of multiple copies of an item. If there are multiple editions of a work, they may also be added. However, in the sciences, materials with imprint dates older than five years will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and only accepted if they are of historical value. Materials that are readily available on campus or at other local libraries or institutions may be declined. Nevertheless, the Library may accept materials even if they are only peripherally appropriate to the collections, as long as they are unavailable at other nearby locations.

Replacement: Books found to be beyond repair may be considered for replacement at the discretion of the Head of Collection Development. Replacement copies will reflect the original copyright date or be as up to date as editions allow.

Deselection: Deselection is the process of removing outdated or obsolete resources or materials that no longer support the curriculum and mission of the University from the library collection. Items are considered for deselection on an item-by-item basis following the Library’s deselection policy, the library collection development policy, and the overall mission and goals of the Library. This policy applies to the general circulating collection. Other specialized areas or library collections may develop policies. For more information, view the Deselection section below.

Donations and Gifts

The Library welcomes gifts of library materials which will increase the collection’s capability to support the University’s mission. The Library also welcomes monetary gifts, which are handled by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation. The Library will accept gifts of library materials with the understanding that they will become the property of the State of Louisiana. Decisions concerning retention, cataloging, and location will be made by Library personnel in accordance with the Collection Development policy statement. Departures from this policy may be made when appropriate at the discretion of the Dean of University Libraries.

The Office of Operational Review authorizes certain Library faculty to accept donations if they are directors of collections (e.g., Head of Collection Development, Head of Special Collections, Head/Archivist of Ernest J. Gaines Center). Authorized Library donation approvers are responsible for explaining and interpreting this policy to prospective donors. Any materials donated will be distributed as best suits the interests of the Library. The Library may offer gifts not appropriate for adding to the collection to other institutions as gifts or for exchange or discard them.

Each donor will be asked to complete a Deed of Gift form, which is routed by the Office of Operational Review via DocuSign for appropriate signatures. Once all signatures are collected, authorized Library donation approvers send a copy of the form to donors for their records. Copies of the form are available at the Circulation Desk and Special Collections. The Head of Collection Development handles donations of General Collection items, while Special Collections handles donation forms for archival materials.

Serials: The Library accepts serials to fill gaps in holdings. Titles not already owned or indexed within standard indices are generally not accepted. Serials of a substantial nature may be accepted, cataloged, and bound provided they are for titles the Library could justify purchasing should the gift subscription cease to be provided. Gift subscriptions to serials of an ephemeral nature (e.g., newsletters and directories) may be accepted, cataloged, and retained for a limited time and then discarded.

U.S. Government/State Documents: The Head of U.S. Government Information makes decisions on retention and generally accepts materials of historical value and those needed to fill gaps in collection holdings. The Reference Archivist/Louisiana Room Librarian retains Louisiana State Documents. Documents from other states and countries are only accepted if pertinent to the collection and of a format and condition to add to the circulating collection. For more information, view the Special Collections Policy.

Reference: The Head of Research and Access Services makes retention decisions. Materials must be current and useful for daily reference desk needs. The General Collection may add older editions of reference-type materials (e.g., almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias) for circulation or Library Use Only.

Louisiana Room: The Reference Archivist/Louisiana Room Librarian makes decisions on retention. Items may include monographs, serials, documents, ephemera, and maps. For more information, view the Special Collections Policy.

Rare Books: The Head of Special Collections makes retention decisions. Items include pre-1900 imprints, limited and first editions, autographed or inscribed works, or items otherwise intrinsically unique. For more information, view the Special Collections Policy.

Special Collections: The Head of Special Collections makes decisions on retention for the University Archives and Acadiana Manuscripts Collection. The Head/Archivist of the Ernest J. Gaines Center makes decisions on retention of collections in the Ernest J. Gaines Center. The Head of the Cajun and Creole Music Collection makes retention decisions on that collection. For more information, view the Special Collections Policy.

Instructional Materials Center: The Director of the Instructional Materials Center makes retention decisions. For more information view the Instructional Materials Center website.

Declining Gifts: The donor should be encouraged to provide a list of the materials available so that authorized Library donation approvers can identify items of potential value. The library may decline immediately unacceptable items and should make suggestions of other libraries or institutions (such as Lafayette Public Library, South Louisiana Community College, nursing homes, and penal institutions) where the proffered materials might be needed.

Appraisals/Estimates/Tax Considerations: By law, the Library cannot appraise gifts for income tax purposes. Donors who desire estimates and appraisals of donated materials should consult recognized appraisers, their attorneys, and their latest IRS regulations and rulings.

Acknowledgments: The Library sends notices of acknowledgment and appreciation to donors covering the amount and type of material received. In the case of honorary or memorial gifts, the Library will send an appropriate letter to the person, family, or organization involved. Additionally, the Library will prepare and send a bibliographic list of the items received to the donor for their records upon request.

Identifying Gifts: Upon request, a bookplate will be used listing the donor’s name. In the case of honorary or memorial gifts, a bookplate will always be used listing the name of the donor and/or name(s) of those they wish to honor or memorialize.


The deselecting, or weeding, of individual library materials is an essential process in managing library collections. Deselection is the process of removing outdated or obsolete resources or materials that no longer support the curriculum and mission of the University from the library collection. Items are considered for deselection on an item-by-item basis in accordance with the Library’s collection development policy and the overall mission and goals of the library. This policy applies to the general circulating collection. Other specialized areas or library collections (e.g., Special Collections) may develop their own deselecting policies.

The Deselection Working Group develops the deselection policies and consults with the Head of Collection Development on what materials or sections of materials should be removed. This working group is made up of the following:

  • Head of Collection Development (Chair)
  • Head of E-Resources and Serials
  • Head of Research and Access Services
  • Head of U.S. Government Information
  • Assistant Dean of Public Services
  • Assistant Dean of Technical Services

The Deselection Working Group will determine a schedule for deselection with approval by the Dean of University Libraries. The Working Group will consult academic faculty when appropriate. The following individuals may be involved in the deselection decision process:

  • The Deselection Working Group in consultation with the Head of Collection Development.
  • Academic faculty from a relevant subject area or discipline.
  • Library faculty with subject or special collections knowledge or expertise relevant to the materials under review.
  • The Head of Special Collections to review items with inscriptions by well-known authors, limited editions, other considerations of intrinsic value, and items printed before 1900.
  • The Reference Archivist/Louisiana Room Librarian in consultation with the Head of Special Collections and Head of Collection Development for books in the Louisiana Room collection.
  • The Head of U.S. Government Information/Depository Coordinator will be referred all U.S. Government Depository publications considered for deselection and will review for disposition in accordance with GPO Federal Depository Library Program requirements, the Plan for Federal Depository Libraries in Louisiana (Louisiana Federal Depository Library Council), and the library's U.S. Government Documents Discard Policy.
  • The Dean of University Libraries has final authority over items for deselection in the case of a dispute.

A combination of the following criteria is the basis for decisions to deselect specific works:

  • Age: An item containing outdated or obsolete data.
  • Condition: Items in a state of disrepair that are beyond reasonable preservation efforts.
  • Duplication: The library’s policy is to retain a single copy of any specific title or edition, although the popularity of an author, title or subject matter may also warrant the retention of duplicate or multiple copies of an item. Electronic or digital availability will be considered.
  • Format: Items in formats that do not adhere to the current Collection Development policy.
  • Relevance: Materials that no longer support the curriculum and mission of the University.
  • Use: Withdrawal consideration for items not used for a significant length of time.

Serials Deselection: Criteria for the deselection of print serials titles include the physical state of each item, the relevancy of the subject area to the University’s research and teaching needs, the scope and length of each subscription run, and the existence of a reliable replication of the title in another format (e.g., electronic access).

Discard: Items deselected will be removed from the shelf and the Library’s holdings. Items may be recycled when feasible.


Andrea Flockton | Master Instructor and Head of Collection Development
(337) 482-6677 |

[ Last Revised on November 16, 2023 ]