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Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons

Collection Development Policy

Scope and Purpose

This policy provides a written statement of the collection development policy of Salem State University’s Berry Library. It serves to describe and clarify the emphases and scope of the library along with the purposes and procedures of collection development. This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed by the research and instruction librarians as well as the Library Program Area with approval by the library dean.

Berry Library’s Mission, Vision, and Values

Vision Statement

The Frederick E. Berry Library is the hub of intellectual exploration, knowledge creation, and community engagement at Salem State. The Library provides high quality, nimble, and innovative services in a welcoming, comfortable, and vibrant physical environment that encourages diversity, excellence, and continued growth. 


Mission Statement

Berry Library advances academic excellence and empowers student success at Salem State University by providing informed expertise and teaching the effective use and critical evaluation of information and archival resources. Through a commitment to developing a broad range of collections and partnerships, we facilitate access to information and preserving local and regional history that promotes lifelong learning for students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve.


Core Values
  • Collaboration
  • Openness & Access
  • Diversity & Equity
  • Information Literacy & Critical Thinking
  • Life-Long Learning
  • Student Centered

Collection Development Goals

The goal of collection development is to provide a relevant and vital collection in all disciplines related to the curriculum and to the university’s information needs in print, electronic, and other media as needed.

Emphasis is given to providing the day-to-day information and research needs of the university community. These needs are identified through regular, continued exchanges between librarians, students, and faculty. The librarians, through an ongoing process of evaluation, develop a collection of needed items in each discipline. 

In addition, the Library serves and advocates for the entire Salem State University community and is committed to developing collections that are inclusive of the needs of the entire community.  In recognition of the prevalence of works by those of privilege, the Library makes special efforts to include works by and about under-represented populations.

Guiding Principles

The Berry Library ascribes to the professional principles described in the following documents of the American Library Association.

Library Bill of Rights

Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries

Freedom to Read Statement

Consortia and Cooperative Agreements

The Berry Library recognizes the value of working cooperatively within the library community to enhance access to collections for all consortia members, and lessen costs through cooperative purchasing.  To this end the Library participates in of local and statewide, and national library consortia including the following:

  • NOBLE (North of Boston Library Exchange)

  • FLO (Fenway Library Organization)

  • NECCUM (Northeast Consortium of Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts)

  • MCCLPHI (Massachusetts Consortium of College Libraries in Public Higher Education Institutions)

  • MLS (Massachusetts Library System)

  • WALDO (Westchester Academic Library Directors Association)

  • OCLC (Online Computer Library Center)

  • MBLC (Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners)

  • Digital Commonwealth

  • NERL (Northeast Research Libraries)


Our local NOBLE system also provides our online library catalog, some electronic databases, and cataloging services, among other supports.  The Commonwealth Catalog, sponsored by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners provides interlibrary loan services on the state level, as does OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) on a national level.

Through our association in MCCLPHI, MBLC, and other consortia partners, we receive many of our library databases for free or at reduced prices.

Budget and Budget Process

The Dean of the Library determines the total amount of the Library budget to be devoted to collections after receiving the budget from the Provost and Budget Office at the beginning of the fiscal year.  At this time, the Dean also decides how the collections budget will be allocated among electronic resources, serials, books and media, and e-services.  These decisions tend to follow the practice of the previous year, with input from the librarians. Decisions regarding the use of gift funds are also made at this time by the Dean.

Each year, the portion of the collections budget devoted to books and media (including reference materials and streaming content) is run through a formula, determined by librarians, to determine the amount allotted for each discipline. The formula takes into account factors such as number of majors in a program, number of sections taught, average cost of works in the discipline, publication output, level of program (graduate or undergraduate only), etc. The formula may be revised as needed to better reflect the needs of the students and faculty.

Selection and Deselection Responsibility

The primary responsibility for the selection of current materials in all formats rests with the research and instruction librarians who seek input from their academic departments. Librarians will try to anticipate faculty and student requirements and acquire applicable materials. Faculty are strongly encouraged to make suggestions. Student suggestions will be considered.  

The responsibility for the deselection of materials in all formats also rests with the research and instruction librarians. Librarians will try to anticipate faculty and students requirements and needs and seek input when deselecting materials. 

Berry Library is an academic library, but it is not considered a research library because Salem State is a regional comprehensive institution (M1), not a research university (R1 or 2). Thus, the retention of materials is based upon the needs of the current users, not the future generation of users. Materials are acquired that support the curriculum at its current academic level (undergraduate, Master’s), not for individual faculty member’s research.

All subject disciplines are recognized as distinct collecting areas. Each librarian is responsible for collecting discipline requests from faculty.  Due to the interdisciplinary nature and expense of some materials, librarians sometimes share their disciplinary funds to purchase titles jointly. Timing of requests and placing orders is coordinated by each librarian. The bulk of orders for books and media are to be submitted by librarians by the end of March/April to allow time for Technical Services staff to process orders, receive items, and reconcile accounts before the close of the fiscal year.

The setting of budgetary limitations rests with the Dean of the Library in consultation with the Library Leadership Council, which includes all of the library’s professional librarians as members. 

The accounting, bookkeeping functions, and ordering process are managed by staff in Technical Services and the Library Administration Office. The resource acquisitions assistant, who is based in the Library Administration Office, informs librarians of available funds and deadlines through frequent updates and regular reports.

Faculty Recommendations and Requests

All faculty recommendations will be reviewed by the appropriate librarian and collection needs assessed according to:

  • the amount of material already held by the library in certain fields;
  • the amount of money in the print (monograph) materials budget;
  • reviews which positively speak on the value of the material for library purchase;
  • how much will the material cost and how much use will it get.

Purchasing Considerations

Current Materials – The library purchases mostly currently published materials that are needed to achieve the university’s mission. 

Access – Priority is given to materials that are accessible through institutional purchase or subscription, and in a form that is accessible to all users.

Format – The librarian will take into consideration the needs of the users when choosing between print and electronic formats. 

Ease of Purchase - Priority will be given to materials available through existing contracts or vendors, and those who provide institutional access. 

Out of Print – Out of print titles, mainly primary sources and journal backfiles required for undergraduate and graduate programs, will be bought as funds permit.

Duplicate Copies – Duplicate copies of a title will be purchased only under very special circumstances, on a highly selective basis, given budgetary constraints. Other than this, purchase of duplicate copies is a low priority item, given ongoing budgetary constraints. Heavy demand for one title, as noted by circulation staff or the library, may necessitate use of reserves or other arrangement will be made with the faculty member so students may complete their assignments. 

Textbooks – As a general practice, print textbooks are not purchased by the library. Instructors may choose to provide access to print textbooks via a personal copy put on course reserves. However, special exceptions for the purchase of electronic texts and other required books may be made by the librarian liaison of the requesting department. Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the appropriate librarian, using the allotted book funds for the subject area. Electronic books are typically 2 to 4 times more expensive than print books, so cost will be a major factor for librarians to consider. Librarians will also work with faculty in identifying open educational resources or other open access materials to support course needs.

Language – Priority is given to English language materials with the exception of titles for the study and support of language courses.

Faculty Publications – The Library encourages and is grateful for faculty donations of their works. 

Materials Duplicated in Consortia – Librarians consider the availability of titles in consortia to which the Library belongs in making purchasing decisions. 

Equity and Collections Balance – In recognition of the prevalence of works by those of privilege, the Library makes special efforts to include works by and about under-represented populations.

Serial Publications

Due to continuous cost increases, the library’s periodicals and other serial acquisitions must reflect an especially high degree of selectivity. 

Online access to serials is a high priority and acquiring print serials may be considered only if there is an embargo on an important online title, if a print format is necessary for conveying print-specific information, or if the serial title is needed in print for the reference collection. 

Relevance to Curriculum – The periodicals collection supports the university’s curriculum as it evolves. Priority will be given to titles that are appropriate for use in undergraduate and masters level course work.

Indexing – The titles should be included in standard periodical indexes or databases, especially those that the library has access to. 

Reputation – Titles should be available for enough time so that they are well thought of and generally accepted in their field of study. 

Cost – The library must be able to afford the ongoing subscription to the journal. It might be necessary to cancel a little used or needed journal in order to order a journal that will be used more or is more needed by a department.  Open access serials will be provided to the campus community as appropriate.

Collection Balance – New titles should not duplicate the contents of similar titles already subscribed to by the library. Use of serials and periodicals will be assessed on a regular basis. Titles may be canceled when they are no longer needed by users or for accreditation and newer, more relevant titles may be added whenever possible. A proper balance must be maintained between the acquisition of new monographs and periodical titles that support disciplines.

Electronic Resources

The Berry Library collects electronic resources in the form of monographs, serial titles, aggregator collections of serial titles, indexing/abstracting databases, full text databases, and web sites that are appropriate for the library’s collection. 

Decisions regarding the selection and deselection of non-monograph electronic resources, are made collectively by the research and instruction librarians. 

Selection priority is given to products with coverage that supports the curricular needs of Salem State University undergraduate and graduate students. Priority will be given to those resources which offer economies of scale by benefiting the most students and faculty. Special attention will be given to products that provide coverage of high priority subject areas or products for pertinent subject areas with limited alternatives. Examples are CINAHL Plus with Full Text (for Nursing and health professions) and ERIC (for education).  When possible, and when advantageous, the library will participate in consortial agreements for access to electronic resources.

The same criteria are applied to the selection process for resources in electronic formats that are applied to print and other standard library formats. Even though traditional criteria apply to the selection of electronic titles, the management of this format is more complex. Additional criteria specific to electronic resource include:

  • Cost considerations
    • Additional costs for future updates or upgrades
    • Start-up and maintenance costs; and 
    • Added value over print equivalent
  • Technical concerns
    • Compatibility with commonly used hardware and software;
    • Availability of technical support from ITS
    • Reliability of networked environment
  • Service concerns
    • Availability
    • Questions of maintenance
  • User needs
    • Ease of use by user
    • Potential usage by off-campus users
    • Accessibility

Reference Materials

The purpose of the reference collection is to provide students and faculty with continuously accessible works for quick factual and bibliographic information, as well as research needs.  Librarians seek to purchase the most authoritative and current works available.  Preference is given to the purchase of reference materials in electronic format.  Superseded volumes are moved to the circulating collection if in print format, and removed from the collection if in electronic format. 

There is no designated fund from which to purchase reference materials. Rather, they are purchased by research and instruction librarians from the subject specific funds available to them.  Due to the interdisciplinary nature and expense of some reference works, librarians sometimes share their disciplinary funds to purchase titles jointly.


Monetary Donations

Monetary donations can be made to the Library through the University’s Advancement Office and the library’s donations webpage.


Materials and Book Donations

The Frederick E. Berry Library occasionally accepts the donation of books and other materials that will enhance the collections and support the curriculum at Salem State University. The acceptance of book donations is contingent upon the appropriateness of the materials for the library's holdings and the physical condition of the donated materials. Donations that are not added to the collection are given to the local charity, More than Words. An acknowledgement letter from the Dean of the Library will be sent for donations. For large gifts, or those that have been donated along with a documented high appraisal value, a detailed letter on the specifics of the gift may be provided by the university’s advancement office. 


General Guidelines

To make a donation of physical items, a list of items to be donated should be emailed to Funda Shafer complete with the title, author, and publication of each work. Items will not be accepted if they have any of the following issues: poor physical condition (dirty, moldy, burnt, water damage, damaged binding, missing pages, missing covers), excessive writing, markings, or highlighting. The library also does not accept items that are more than five years past publication date in the areas of sciences, health sciences, business. Final determination lies with the appropriate librarian.

In addition, the library generally does not accept unbound magazines (such as National Geographic), Readers Digest Condensed Books, encyclopedias, cookbooks, travel books, study guides, and textbooks.


Local Authors

We encourage local authors to donate copies of their books. 


For more information on donating materials and making arrangements, please email Funda Shafer.