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FGCU Library Services


Collection Development Policy

Policy #: 2014-01 [PDF Version pdf icon ]

Approved: 1/27/2014

Responsible Administrator: Dean Library Services

Responsible Office: Library Collections and Technical Services

Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the research and teaching mission of the institution. ACRL Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.  Approved by the ACRL Board of Directors, October 2011


The FGCU Library serves users at their point of need by collecting, conserving, and communicating information that supports the current and future teaching, research, study, and service needs of faculty, staff, and students and supports the University’s role in regional development of Southwest Florida.
The role of FGCU Library Services is to collect, provide access to, and preserve academic research materials, data, and information in various formats and in all disciplines offered by FGCU academic programs.  Our primary clientele are the faculty, students, and staff of FGCU; however, we also provide, to the extent possible, library services to the business, professional, and scholarly community of greater Southwest Florida.
Florida Gulf Coast University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission to award associate, baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees.  The University is classified as an Undergraduate and Graduate Instructional facility by the Carnegie Classification of Secondary Schools.
The Library employs the latest acquisition technologies, the expertise of academic faculty, and the education and experience of professional librarians to assure materials collected meet programming requirements.  Materials held in the physical Library Collections are locatable through our online catalog. Electronic resources are accessible through the Library web site and are available on an equal basis to all FGCU affiliates with currently active ID numbers.
All FGCU affiliates (FGCU faculty, staff and students) with currently active ID numbers have access to electronic resources through the use of on campus computing labs, the wireless campus network, remote access to library electronic resources and services, and access through mobile devices. We choose to purchase materials available electronically whenever practical and affordable.
The Library has resource sharing partnerships and cooperative acquisition initiatives with the other state university and college libraries.  We can borrow materials from any library willing to participate, in the nation and beyond. We welcome the opportunities presented by the prevalence of new information technology, which enhances access to library resources for our users.  It also allows us to support the demand of users, accommodate our off-campus users, and reduce the size of physical collections through the purchase of e-resources. .
Special Focus:  environmental sustainability, materials on subjects related to local and regional history, economic, and social conditions in Southwest Florida.


The purpose of this collection development statement of policy is to:

  • Provide information to users, staff, and administration
  • Describe the scope and nature of the collections
  • Inform budgeting requests and allocations
  • Define accountability for collection development
  • Provide a base for analyzing the impact of new academic programs
  • Assist in coordinating the selection process
  • Provide guidance, coordination, and consistency in collection building practices

The collection development process supports the curriculum, program offerings, service and research of the University. Acquisition decisions are made and materials added to the collections in compliance with the laws of the State of Florida governing universities and colleges; regulations of the FGCU Board of Trustees, and tenets of the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association.

Summary of current holdings as of June 30, 2013

  • 252,296 physical volumes (Including bound periodicals)
  • 30,122 individually selected e-books; more than 100,000 including those in e-book collections
  • 98,349 unique journal titles through individual subscriptions, packages such as Sage Journals Online.
  • 5,591 videos, as well as streaming video collections such as, Academic Video Online
  • More than 1 million mp3 tracks.
  • 843,275 total microform units, including government documents, and periodical titles.


The FGCU Library building offers 135,000 square feet of space for collections, work areas, study spaces, computer labs, seating areas, service desks, and staff offices. All library physical materials are made available to its clientele and housed in this building.
The library materials are divided into distinct collections to facilitate maintenance and provide efficient access for library users.

Scope of Collection
The Library extensively acquires and provides access to scholarly materials in subject areas offered in the academic programs at FGCU.  Both undergraduate and graduate level study materials are collected as well as materials supporting the research and scholarship needs of faculty. 
Supplementary materials in support of the primary clientele’s personal or cultural interests, career information, current events, leisure reading, and recreational activities are also acquired, as funds are available.


General Collection – Primary physical circulating collection of mostly books, on all subjects and disciplines.
Media Collection – Based strictly on format, content includes all disciplines.  Includes videos, DVD’s, cassette audio tapes.
Periodicals Collection – Print editions of journals covering all disciplines offered in the academic programs of FGCU.  Electronic journals are given priority purchase as funding allows.
Curriculum Collection – Sample textbooks and teaching aids for use of students in education academic programs of study.
Children’s Literature – Sample reading materials for children in pre-school – 6th grade for use of students in early childhood education academic programs of study.
Reference Collection – General and subject-specific reference materials covering all disciplines of study offered by FGCU.  Print editions of handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, indexes, maps, laws, and statutes are held in the non-circulating Reference Collection.
New Books Collection – a small collection of current titles in all disciplines, including general interest non-fiction, and award-winning popular fiction. 
Course Reserves - Supplemental reading materials from library collection, or personally owned materials of faculty.  Held for students in specific courses at the request of faculty teaching the course.
University Archives & Special Collections –Special Collections houses rare, fragile and unique materials including manuscripts, early printed books, photographs, sheet music, and ephemera. The University Archives houses the historical record of Florida Gulf Coast University. Strengths of the collections include Southwest Florida history, forensic anthology, ichthyology, mid-twentieth century photojournalism, and regional environmental studies. 
E-Resources - The Library purchases material supporting academic programs in electronic format whenever practicable and affordable.  These include e-books, e-journals, newspapers, article databases, and streaming videos. The advances in information technology, the changing nature of scholarly research, the increase in online course offerings, and the demands of our users have influenced the preference to acquire materials available in digital/electronic formats.

Types of Materials Collected
Monographs, journals, theses and dissertations, archival materials, microforms, government documents, maps, atlases, news sources, reference works, and media materials (video, CD, DVD).
The Library strives to provide the latest recorded information and knowledge for its students, faculty, resource partners, and Southwest Florida.  The Library collection includes print books and journals, current print and electronic journal subscriptions, audiovisual materials, digital reference sources, and microfilm collections.  The Library supports the research and informational needs of distance learners as well as students and faculty who travel to the campus.  Consequently, library resources that can be made accessible remotely via electronic means are of high priority. Beyond resources that enhance the University’s curriculum, materials related to local and regional history and the regional environment and sustainability are sought for inclusion in the collection.

Types of Materials Not Collected
Textbooks, review copies of books, genealogy materials, realia, audio books, slides, e-resources outside of curriculum needs. (Occasional exceptions are made if extraordinary circumstances exist.)

The library collection includes recorded knowledge, data, and information in a variety of formats. Materials necessary to support undergraduate and graduate curricula, as well as sustained independent study, will be acquired in any format for which the Library can reasonably provide housing, maintenance, security, and access.

  • Printed works: including books, reports, journals, newspapers, and maps.
  • Electronic resources: including e-books, e-journals, research databases, reference works, and indexes.
  • Audiovisual and multimedia resources : DVD’s,  Streaming Video, CD-ROM’s
  • Microform:  including microfilm, microfiche; when this is the only format available, or is needed to supplement other materials.
  • Sample textbooks, kits, games, and picture books. (Curriculum and Children’s Literature collections)

Primarily English language materials are acquired.  Acquisition of non-English language materials is limited to core texts with consultation of faculty in the discipline, and foreign language students.  German language materials on history and literature subjects were acquired through a major gift to the Library.

Chronological guidelines
Recent in-print materials are primarily acquired.  Older materials, including back files of journals and significant book titles, may be purchased to fill gaps in subject areas, or upon the request of faculty.  Often older titles are purchased to replace lost, damaged, or mutilated works.

Responsibility for Selection and Collection Development
Under the guidance of the Assistant Director for Collections Management, the primary responsibility for acquiring materials and implementing collection guidelines lies with the Subject Liaison Librarians with the assistance of the E-resources Librarian and designated staff.  Members of the teaching faculty are encouraged to initiate requests for library materials to meet teaching needs and to support student learning. University administrators, faculty, students, and staff may also submit recommendations for scholarly materials appropriate to the collection and to support administrative, professional, and academic pursuits. 
The Library faculty create subject-specific profiles to facilitate the electronic acquisition services of book vendors.  Publishers’ catalogs, e-mail advertisements, professional journals, booklists, and other publishing-related communications alert librarians and teaching faculty of new publications, updates, and revisions to significant works and electronic resources  in various subject areas.

Selection Criteria for Print Materials
The following factors are considered in the decision to purchase a library resource (Criteria may differ based on subject area).

  • Relevance to curriculum
  • Materials appropriate for a basic undergraduate core collection that are balanced, diverse, and comprehensive, and represent unabridged ideas
  • Materials that support the research needs of upper-division undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in advanced programs
  • Content reflects standards in the discipline based on critical review
  • Broad academic need and continuing applicability to the educational mission of the University
  • Academic or informative intent (beyond popular entertainment value)
  • Applicability to University community’s research needs and learning processes
  • Degree of specialization (whether the resource is likely to serve multiple interests or a more narrow range of users)
  • Reputation/credentials of author
  • Cost
  • Special features (e.g. value-added details; logical, accurate index; bibliography; cited references; graphical images, etc.)
  • Physical size and usability
  • Language
  • Format (Library’s ability to house, maintain, and provide access to the work)
  • Projected need based on use patterns of similar material already in the collection

Selection Criteria for Electronic Resources
In the purchase of electronic resources, the following factors are considered:

  • The resource must be available to the entire University community if the Library is funding the purchase.
  • Long-term archival access to purchased content must be provided, either by the vendor of the electronic version or through other means, when electronic journal subscriptions are acquired.
  • The licensing agreement must meet Library, University, and state legal requirements.

Additional considerations:

  • The resource provides added value over the print version (if applicable) in the form of greater searching capabilities, more frequent updates, multimedia data provided that is unavailable in print, etc.
  • There is little overlap with other electronic resources
  • Remote access is preferable to physical ownership in the form of CDs or other formats
  • Full-text content or reliable links to full-text are provided
  • Links are frequently checked and well maintained
  • No plug-ins or other extra software or hardware are required to use the resource
  • Use statistics are provided
  • Resource is compatible with a variety of web browsers
  • Navigation is easy and clearly explained
  • Effective tutorials or other forms of help are provided
  • Downloading and printing options are clearly explained and function reliably
  • Updates are regular and timely

Selection Criteria for Technology and Media Materials:

  • Content reflects standards in the discipline based on critical review
  • Effectiveness of communication
  • Purposes and use (e.g., acquisition of content-based information as opposed to productivity tools)
  • Convenience of use for both on and off-campus patrons
  • Equipment required for use
  • Durability
  • Technical quality
  • Timeliness
  • Free of distracting elements (commercial promotion, unusual search protocols, etc.)
  • Preservation of facts or ideas
  • Cost

COOPERATIVE COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT The Library participates in cooperative collection development programs among the state university and college libraries to provide broader access to a range of library materials at more reasonable costs for each program participant.  Through cooperative purchases of selected e-books, e-journal collections, and article databases, access is broadened to include the entire academic community of the state university and college system


No library can own everything that a given user may want or need.  The Library supports regional and local consortia for cooperative resource sharing of library materials.  Through resource sharing agreements with in-state university and college libraries, as well as national and international partnerships with multi-type libraries, users have efficient access to the collections of hundreds of libraries.
Through an electronic request management system, as well as a direct unmediated requesting system for in-state borrowing, the Library provides access to a broad array of scholarly works for routine and specialized research.
Effective electronic requesting and quick document delivery of journal articles is also available through a national network of cooperative institutions.  


Donated library materials are accepted when they are consistent with the Library’s mission and Collection Development Policy.  Materials are accepted based on the acknowledgement that the donor permanently relinquishes all rights to ownership and dispensation.    Materials donated to the library may or may not be added to the collections.  They are evaluated, processed, disseminated, sold, or discarded, as the Library deems appropriate.  
Materials offered for donation to the FGCU Library are given a preliminary evaluation by Collection Development department staff for initial acceptance or declination of the offer.  This initial review will serve to exclude materials clearly outside of the parameters of the Library Collection Development Policy, and/or duplicate materials.  Gifts are accepted and processed in compliance with the following guidelines:

  1. Gifts are final and the donor permanently relinquishes all rights to ownership and further disposition of the item(s).
  2. All items will be carefully evaluated by a subject liaison librarian in consideration of the Library’s Mission and Collection Development Policy. Teaching faculty, outside experts and the University Administration may be consulted when appropriate.
  3. All decisions on restriction of usage, processing, housing, dissemination, or discarding of the material are in the purview of the Library.  (Except upon written agreement between the donor and Dean of Library Services.)
  4. Neither the Library nor the University accepts responsibility for appraisal or valuation of gifts.
  5. The Library reserves the right to deselect donated materials for any reason, and adheres to State and University accountability requirements in the disposition of all such materials.
  6. The Library may refuse materials that require significant allocation of library resources for housing, binding, and maintenance, repair, or security measures.
  7. Items to be added to the collection are processed in a manner consistent with processing practices of the Technical Services unit. When practical, gift materials may receive a book plate affixed to the inside cover in recognition of either the donor or the person in whose memory the gift was made.
  8. The Library does not reserve special locations for gifts, nor place labels, signs, or plaques to physical facilities indicating the presence of donated materials.

Materials Not Accepted
The Library does not accept gifts of library materials subject to any of the conditions below, unless extraordinary circumstances exist.

  1. Materials with highlighting, underlining, or annotations (unless the annotations are of significant    scholarly value)
  2. Materials in poor condition, especially those with signs of mold or mildew
  3. Illegally copied or illegally obtained materials that may be stolen, or a violation of copyright laws (e.g., illegally copied audio or video recordings, printed materials, or art works)
  4. Popular magazines (e.g., Smithsonian, National Geographic, Architectural Digest)
  5. Mass market paperbacks
  6. Dated materials in subjects where currency is particularly important   (e.g., computer software, programs, or programming; engineering, etc.)


The continuous acquisition of new materials helps establish and maintain currency in the collection. 
Libraries have found that periodic collection review for withdrawal of titles that have outlived their usefulness facilitates circulation and maintenance of the collection. It also allows the library to increase space availability for current and future growth of resources in print formats; information technology equipment; and for individual and collaborative work areas.
The FGCU Library, through the efforts of the Subject Liaison Librarians, periodically undertakes reviews of collections in an effort to weed out unneeded items.  The review provides an opportunity to identify and withdraw resources that are no longer relevant to the Library and University’s programs, as defined in the Collection Development Policy.  Faculty and student comments will often be sought regarding items chosen for de-selection.   Generally, material targeted for withdrawal would include:

  • items that are redundant in the collection
  • items currently available in electronic format
  • Items that are unusable due to physical condition, obsolete equipment needed for use, or inaccessibility.

Before a de-selection process takes place, specified criteria are applied to each candidate for withdrawal.  The general criteria to be used when considering de-selection of library materials are:

  • Actual use, evidenced by circulation and interlibrary loan records, shelf-time counts, in-house use statistics, and subjective assessments by librarians, teaching faculty, or other experts.
  • Projected use, made by subject specialists knowledgeable about the University’s programs, current and developing.
  • Qualitative factors, such as: conformity to program needs; lack of reference, historical, or critical value; reduced significance due to form, age, or subject, etc.; out of scope due to obsolete information or theme; lack of relevance to patron interest.
  • Redundancy, notwithstanding, if not justified by use patterns to include duplicate or superseded editions and multiple formats.
  • Broad availability: Academic libraries are obligated to retain materials that provide research or historical value.  The goal of the FGCU Library is not necessarily to collect, but to provide convenient access to recorded knowledge and information.