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Gadsden State Community College


Acquisitions & Cataloging

Material Selection Policies

The GSCC Library System is committed to:

Order requests for all materials should be directed to the Head of Library Services

Skip to Criteria for Selecting Materials

Collection Development

The GSCC Libraries provide a variety of services to support and expand the instructional capabilities of the college. The libraries are an integral part of the College's on-going commitment to instructional improvement.

The primary purpose of The GSCC Libraries is to promote learning through the instructional program of the College. To this end, the Libraries provide essential library and media services. GSCC ensures that students and faculty have access to the primary and secondary materials needed to support the College's purposes and programs. With the needs of the users in mind, the GSCC Libraries are committed to acquiring, processing, producing, and maintaining a variety of media, print and non-print, and equipment for their use; to making these media and related equipment easily accessible; to providing the necessary assistance in the effective utilization of all media and equipment; and to evaluating its services regularly and systematically.

Responsibility for Selection

Faculty and librarians are natural partners in developing academic library collections. Faculty teaching a subject are most familiar with the resources available about the subject. They attend conferences, correspond with colleagues, receive publisher flyers, continue to study and train, and generally remain connected to their subject fields. Librarians have access to review sources, connections with vendors, and effective methods to purchase, process and store the instructional materials supporting classroom teaching and learning.

Librarians are responsible for selecting basic reference and general instructional materials, while faculty members are responsible for recommending materials needed to support the curriculum. Cooperative collection development is not only sensible, but mandated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools {SACS}: Librarians, teaching faculty, and researchers must share in the development of collections, and the institution must establish policies defining their involvement.

You can help the GSCC Libraries comply with this mandate in the following ways:

Because of limited funding, no fixed amount is set for expenditures for any given faculty member or department, but, as prices increase, the need for careful consideration of given items becomes more important. All faculty members are asked to assist in the annual evaluation of periodical subscriptions {March}. Book orders are generally placed October - March, but suggestions for new titles as well as deletions are welcome at any time.

Faculty requests are given first priority, but expensive materials must be planned for during the budget preparation period. Librarians are responsible for guarding against an imbalance by frequently surveying the collection and relating it to circulation and enrollment figures. Instructors are expected to monitor acquisitions in their fields. The Head of Library Services is responsible for all final selections. Working together, faculty and librarians can ensure that the library and learning resources programs meet the goals of the college.

Criteria for Selection

Books Magazines/Journals Audio-Visual Materials Gifts

Books and other reading matter selected are chosen for the values of interest, information, and enlightenment to all the users of the Meadows Library. No items are excluded because of the race, nationality, political views, or religious views of the writer. Every possible effort will be made to provide materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues of our times--international, national, and local. Books or other materials of sound factual authority are not to be proscribed or removed from the shelves because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.


  1. Materials shall support and be consistent with the general educational goals of the college and the objectives of specific courses.
  2. Materials shall meet high standards of quality in factual content and presentations.
  3. Materials shall be appropriate for the subject area and for the emotional development, ability level, and social development of the students for whom the materials are selected.
  4. Materials shall be chosen to foster respect for minority groups, women, and ethnic groups and shall realistically represent our pluralistic society, along with the roles and life styles open to both men and women in today's world.
  5. Biased or slanted materials may be provided to meet specific curriculum objectives.
  6. Physical format and appearance of materials shall be suitable for their intended use.

Procedures for Making Requests

Use these guidelines in making requests for materials to be ordered for the Library collection:

  1. Check the Library holdings through the on-line Public Access terminals in the library or on the web {} to determine if the material is already in the collection.
  2. Each request must be written or typed on an order card.These cards are available at the Circulation Desk of each library, through Hand Mail if requested by phone--256-549-8333, or on the Library Web Site .
  3. Each request should include as much as possible of the following data:
    • author's name
    • correct and complete title
    • copyright date
    • publisher
    • price
    • ISBN {International Standard Book Number}
    • your name and department
  4. If the order information is taken from a brochure or catalog, please send the original or make a copy of the page from the catalog.
  5. Send all requests to the Head of Library Services.
  6. The Library staff can respond to your requests much more efficiently if this information is provided.

Magazine and Journal Selection Policy

Individual periodical titles are selected on the basis of faculty advisement and student suggestions according to:

  • accuracy of content
  • accessibility of content through indexes
  • demand (students using the title)
  • representation of point of view
  • subject needed in the collection
  • cost of subscription in relation to potential or actual use

Retention of periodical back files will depend on use statistics and potential reference value of the individual title, as well as availability of storage space. Whenever possible, microform will be acquired to replace hard-copy backfiles and will be consistent in format, size, and reduction ratio to current microform holdings. New microform acquisitions must be compatible with the viewers and duplication equipment currently owned by the GSCC Libraries.

A limited number of newspapers are purchased to give local, metropolitan, national, and international coverage and to represent community or interest groups viewpoints. Web resources also supplement news coverage. Storage, as with other periodicals, is limited.

The criteria for requesting additions or deletions to the periodicals collection are as follows:

  1. It must meet the curriculum needs and be related to your area of teaching.
  2. It should be indexed in one of the periodical indexes taken by the Library.
  3. Students will be required to use this selection in completing class assignments.
  4. It will greatly enhance the overall periodical collection of the GSCC Libraries.

Audiovisual Materials Policy

In the acquisition of audiovisual materials, the GSCC Libraries attempt to maintain a balanced program. Audiovisual materials are selected for purchase on the basis of joint evaluation by instructors and librarians. In order to be considered for purchase, audiovisual materials must:

  1. be previewed and recommended by a faculty member of GSCC
  2. support the curriculum offerings of the College or provide enrichment
  3. have subject matter that assures usage not be readily available from local sources {local public library, etc.}
  4. be compatible for use with existing audiovisual equipment owned by the Library and the College

Selection Aids

Selection aids are available for faculty use in Meadows Library. These include materials selection journals such as Choice, professional journals in almost all areas of the curriculum, bibliographies, and Books in Print, and its Subject Guide. Audiovisual material reviews may be found in subject field journals, and publishers catalogs {available from the Head of Library Services}.


The GSCC Libraries solicit and encourage gifts and donations of useful materials or the funds to purchase them. However, all gifts of materials to the Libraries are accepted with the understanding that they are added to the collection only if they meet the same selection criteria as materials considered for purchase. The Libraries can not accept gifts with conditions as to their disposition or location. The GSCC Libraries retain the right to dispose of any unneeded materials regardless of how they were acquired.

Appropriate gift materials, although welcome, are not without cost. Processing costs, such as checking them against the Library's holdings, cataloging, classifying, and shelving, are comparable to materials purchased with library funds. Gifts of either library materials or funds to purchase them will be accepted provided they comply with the below stated policies and provided there are no restrictions attached to the gift. In respect to gift books, this policy shall be followed.

  1. The Head of Library Services can refuse to accept gift books which do not contribute to the mission and purposes of the GSCC Libraries.
  2. The donor should be aware that:
    • The Libraries will determine the classification, housing, and circulation policies of all gifts just as with purchased items.
    • The Libraries retain the right to dispose of duplicates and unneeded materials as necessary.
  3. Patrons wishing to give new library materials should see the Head of Library Services or the branch librarian at the other branches.
  4. Patrons may request a specific title or form of information, or they may suggest certain subjects or areas for selection by the Library staff. They may give funds at the time of inquiry or send funds in an amount they determine.
  5. If the gift is of substantial monetary value, the Head of Library Services may request that the donor execute a Universal Gift Form which is a legally recognized document effectively transferring title of the item{s} in question from the donor to the College.
  6. A letter of appreciation will be sent from the Head of Library Services to donors of gifts.
  7. A gift plate indicating the source of the gift will be placed inside each gift book if requested by the donor. Credit to donors of other types of gifts will be acknowledged on the gift if feasible.
  8. Other types of material will also be considered if they meet proper criteria.

The following materials are generally unsuitable as gifts, although the Head of Library Services reserves the right to make exceptions whenever circumstances dictate:

  1. Most textbooks except in those areas where the titles represent the main body of knowledge or best available source of information
  2. Most complimentary desk copies of publishers' samples
  3. Most paperbacks, particularly of the mass market variety, unless hardbound editions are not available
  4. Older editions of titles already owned by GSCC Libraries, unless the earlier edition contains different information or is deemed intrinsically valuable
  5. Marked-up, mutilated, or damaged copies
  6. Consumable materials including workbooks, laboratory manuals and standardized tests which generally fall into the category of instructional supplies
  7. Most ephemera {pamphlets, newsletters, and annual reports}
  8. Outdated titles containing erroneous or misleading information, particularly in the science social sciences, and business disciplines
  9. Broken and defective sets of periodicals, unless the acquisition would complete an existing run

Weeding {Removal of Materials}

Weeding, or the removal and discarding of obsolete materials, is an integral part of the total collection development process. Decisions about withdrawal are made in consultation with the faculty members of the academic areas most directly concerned with the possible future use of the resources.

The following categories of materials are systematically removed from the collection:

  1. Works containing information which has become obsolete or misleading
  2. Superseded editions {The next-to-last edition may be considered for retention, depending on subject matter, length of time between editions, circulation, extent of revision.}
  3. Surplus copies of standard works, or other duplicates, no longer in demand
  4. Worn out, extensively marked, or mutilated books which cannot be easily rebound or otherwise repaired
  5. Broken files of unindexed journals

Careful evaluation will be made of title which have not been used at least once during the previous ten {10} years. Such books will be retained if listed in at least one standard bibliography which covers the field represented by the book. Other unused titles may be retained if faculty members or other subject specialists indicate interest in their retention.

The process of weeding a collection is of equal importance to the original selection of materials. In fact, book selection and book discarding are both necessary for the maintenance of a vital, useful, well-kept collection. As in the selection process itself, the recommendation and assistance of faculty are essential and will be given full consideration. The final decision will rest with the Head of Library Services in case of disputed items.