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Collection Development Policies for the USA University Libraries: USA University Libraries/Marx Library/MCOB


The policies and procedures in this guide, in general, govern collection activity in the Marx Library, the Charles M. Baugh Biomedical Library, the Mitchell Learning Resource Center, and the Doy Leale McCall Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Where policies differ or need more clarification, separate sections for those libraries and departments are included.


The mission of the University of South Alabama Libraries is "to support the present and anticipated teaching, research and service goals of the University of South Alabama." The Collection Development department and its policies seek to identify long and short range needs of the Marx Library and to establish priorities and goals in collection acquisition.

In times of severe budgetary limitations, the collection development policies should assist the Libraries in providing maximum possible support in all disciplines and formats. The policies created for collection development should also serve as a guide for planning support for academic programs to be introduced or expanded.

Contact Information

Collection Management Department

Phone: (251) 460-7033

Assistant University Librarian for Collections

Muriel Nero
Phone: (251) 460-1754

Suggestions for Purchase

Any person may make a suggestion for materials to be added to the Library collection. Purchase of materials is not guaranteed. See Materials Purchase Request.

General Information

The Collection Management Department at the University of South Alabama Libraries has three distinct responsibilities: acquisition, review, and management. These responsibilities are handled in the following ways:


Selection: Liaison librarians make selection recommendations in accordance with the Library's collection development policy. These librarians, working closely with the academic faculty, select materials to meet the needs of students, staff, faculty and others and to fulfill the Library's mission. When selecting material to add to the Libraries' collection, librarians consider the following criteria:

  1. Requests from faculty and students.
  2. Whether the material supports the present or anticipated curriculum, research needs, or interests of the university community.
  3. Whether the material has potential for receiving high use.
  4. The currency of the material. Is the content within the last five years, especially within the sciences and technology fields?
  5. The historical value of the material, especially local or state historical material not owned by area libraries.
  6. Whether the item is a textbook being used in USA classes. Because the USA Libraries cannot purchase enough textbooks for all of our students, librarians do not generally purchase textbooks. 

Because of the important relationship to the Libraries' users, the Executive Director of the University Libraries facilitates the selection of library materials in all formats by the liaisons. The Assistant University Librarian for Collections works closely with the Executive Director, the Director of the Marx Library, the Interim Director of the Biomedical Library, the Director of the Mitchell College of Business Library, the Collection Development Committee, and the University faculty to meet the overall collection development goals of the Marx Library.


Collection Development Committee: Collection assessment has become an important responsibility of the Libraries regarding database selection, serials review, curriculum proposals, accreditation reports, grant applications, and related acquisitions decisions. The Assistant University Librarian for Collections and the subject librarian or a group of librarians may be named by the Executive Director of University Libraries to facilitate assessment activities required in obtaining statistical reports from Voyager, completing required assessment or accreditation reports, and working with liaison librarians and academic department chairs or faculty as appropriate to the particular assessment.


Administration and Management: The Assistant University Librarian for Collections has the primary responsibility for administrative operations once selection recommendations have been forwarded by the liaison librarians. The Assistant University Librarian for Collections shall ordinarily make final decisions relative to the acquisition, cataloging and processing of monographs, media materials, and serials and will work closely with liaisons. The AUL for Collections also works closely with the University Libraries administration, individual librarians, the Director of the Marx Library, the Interim Director of the Biomedical Library, the Director of the Mitchell College of Business Library, Libraries systems staff, the Head of Cataloging, and academic faculty.


Generally, the USA Libraries purchases items in all of the following formats

  1. Print
  2. Ebooks
  3. Electronic journals
  4. Streaming video and audio
  5. DVD (if streaming options are not available)

For books we generally purchase the format requested by the faculty. For reference and video titles, we have an e-preferred policy, but will buy the format that is of the most use to our students and faculty.

When considering what format in which to purchase a particular title, Marx Library librarians consider the following issues:

  1. Cost
  2. Distance learning programs and the location of the faculty and students
  3. Needs of the program
  4. Faculty/student format preferences
  5. Reserve use

USA Libraries Intellectual Freedom Statement

The University of South Alabama Libraries underwrite the educational and research endeavors of the University of South Alabama. Teaching, learning, and research require free and unrestricted access to information which embraces a wide spectrum of viewpoints and theories.

Therefore, the staff and administration of the University of South Alabama Libraries support the principles of intellectual freedom. The Libraries endorse unrestricted First Amendment freedoms for all patrons. The Libraries impose no restrictions on patron access to constitutionally protected information. University students, faculty, and staff are guaranteed open access to information with full assurance of privacy of inquiry and without fear of censure or scrutiny by others.

In addition, the University of South Alabama Libraries uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources. We respect, within the limits of the law, each library user's right to privacy and confidentiality with regard to information sought or received and resources consulted, acquired, or transmitted.

The University of South Alabama Libraries endorses the policy statements on intellectual freedom, privacy of inquiry, and confidentiality of library records as promulgated by the American Library Association and set forth in the following documents:

    The ALA Library Bill of Rights
The ACRL’s Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries
The ALA Freedom to Read Statement
The ALA Freedom to View Statement
The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom