Skip to Main Content

Just about Everything You Need to Know about the Library

SFSC Library Collection Development Policy

South Florida State College

Library Collection Development Policy

  1. Purpose

The primary purpose of the library collection is to support the educational needs of the students and the community of South Florida State College. In general, the collection should reflect one or more of the following:

  • Curriculum support
  • General information
  • General or special professional growth
  • Cultural enrichment
  • Extracurricular interests

The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to guide the growth and maintenance of the SFSC Library collections in accordance with both the Library and the College's mission statements.

  1. South Florida State College Mission Statement

South Florida State College is an open-access, higher education institution dedicated to providing a learning-centered environment through quality programs, training, and services. Working in partnerships with organizations and communities, the college provides leadership and a comprehensive range of opportunities for the educational, cultural, and economic development of the service district.

The college assists the people of its service district (DeSoto, Hardee, and Highlands counties) regardless of economic, social, or educational background to achieve success in:

  • Completing an associate degree in preparation for pursuing a baccalaureate or other professional degree or credential;
  • Completing a baccalaureate degree, associate degree, or certificate related to career and technical preparation to enter the workforce, or to improve career circumstances;
  • Completing college preparatory programs of study including earning a high school diploma;
  • Obtaining basic skills in literacy, numeracy, and citizenship to prosper as a contributing member of society;
  • Gaining personal, cultural, and global awareness, appreciation, and understanding needed in a complex contemporary society;
  • Pursuing advanced academic preparation and credentials available through partnerships with colleges and universities;
  • Participating in the social, cultural, environmental, and economic development of the communities served by the college.

We believe in the worth of each of our students and, through all of our educational programs and services, we seek to develop human potential and to create brighter futures.

  1. Library Services Mission Statement

The mission of the Library is to provide information and services that facilitate and encourage academic excellence, lifelong learning, and the fulfillment of educational, occupational, and personal goals to SFSC students, faculty, and staff.

  1. Intellectual Freedom

The South Florida State College Library upholds the principles of the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statements.

The Library strives to select materials representing all sides of various issues. Because of this, some materials in our collection may be considered controversial by certain groups or individuals. It is not our intent to offend these groups or to endorse a certain aspect of an issue. Instead, our goal is to provide materials representing diverse viewpoints in support of our academic offerings and to suit the varied backgrounds of our students, faculty, and staff.

If any of our users has a complaint regarding our library materials, they may fill out a "Request for Reconsideration of Learning Resource Materials" form located at the circulation desk. This form will be reviewed by the Chair, Library Services, and Dean, Arts and Sciences, shared with the Vice President of Educational and Student Services and with the Curriculum Committee, and a decision will be made regarding the challenged material. The complainant will receive a written copy of the decision.

  1. Copyright

The Library complies with copyright as covered by the U.S. Copyright Laws (Title 17, U.S. Code, Section 101, et. Seq), College Policy 1.14 (Copyright), and College Procedure 1140 (Copyright Compliance). More information can be found on the College website at

  1. Budget

The Library receives funding from the College to purchase or provide access to new materials, both print and electronic. These resources may be supplemented by grants, gifts, and purchases by other college departmental accounts.

There is no specific budget allocation for individual disciplines. This allows for greater flexibility in meeting unanticipated needs, such as departmental or program changes or increased patron demand in a subject area.

  1. Responsibility for Collection Development

All library users, regardless of status, will be encouraged to make requests for library purchases by contacting any of the Library staff.  If the item is consistent with the collection policy guidelines, and if money is available, the material will be acquired.

The Chair, Library Services, and the professional librarian consult with faculty members to obtain purchasing recommendations and also utilize selection tools, such as review publications, bibliographies, and publisher catalogs to select materials. Ultimate responsibility for collection development lies with the Chair, Library Services, and Dean, Arts and Sciences.

  1. Levels of Collection Intensity

The amount of support the Library provides for each program will vary. Some programs require highly specialized materials and equipment while other programs can be adequately supported by general reference materials and a few basic media.

Recognizing that South Florida State College is a Level 2 baccalaureate degree-granting institution whose primary mission is providing undergraduate-level instruction, remedial education, and certificate programs, the Library staff should focus selection at the basic information level for emerging and established program areas. Subjects are to be addressed at the basic information level until a need for more specialized materials is recognized.

  1. Minimal information level – Collections that support minimal inquiries about this subject and include:
  1. A very limited collection of general materials, including monographs and reference works
  2. Periodicals directly dealing with this topic and in-depth electronic information resources are not collected.

The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

  1. Basic Information Level – Collections that serve to introduce and define a subject, to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere, and to support the needs of general library users through the first two years of college instruction include:
  1. A limited collection of monographs and reference works
  2. A limited collection of representative general periodicals
  3. Defined access to a limited collection of owned or remotely accessed electronic bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc.

The collection should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

  1. Study or Instructional Support Level – Collections that provide information about a subject in a systematically at a level of less than research intensity, and support the needs of general library users through college and beginning graduate instruction include:
  1. An extensive collection of general monographs and reference works and selected specialized monographs and reference works
  2. An extensive collection of general periodicals and a representative collection of specialized periodicals
  3. Limited collections of appropriate foreign language materials, e.g., foreign language learning materials for non-native speakers or foreign language materials about a topic such as German history in German
  4. Extensive collections of the works of well-known authors and selections from the works of lesser-known authors.
  5. Defined access to an extensive collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc.

The collection should be systematically reviewed for currency of information and for assurance that essential information is retained, including significant numbers of classic retrospective materials.

  1. Selection Guidelines

Materials are selected according to the following criteria with one being the first priority:

  1. Support of the SFSC educational curriculum
  2. Correlation/fit with the existing collection
  3. Appropriate level
  4. Accuracy and objectivity
  5. Reputation of author or publisher
  6. Currency/permanence
  7. Price
  8. Demand
  9. Condition
  1. Policies by Format of Material


Hardcover books are preferred due to their durability. Works that are of lasting value will be purchased in hardcover when available. Books for which the librarians anticipate heavy use will be purchased in hardback or bound paperbacks. Paperbacks will be purchased for rapidly changing topics or in the interests of the economy. In general, single copies of books are purchased for the Highlands campus. If a topic is very popular, the Library will consider purchasing multiple copies.


Textbooks are not normally purchased by the Library. They will be purchased only if they provide a good, general introduction to a topic or when no other general books can be found. In general, textbooks for specific courses will not be purchased. Professors may place their textbook copies on reserve for students' use if they wish. In support of the SFSC Open Access Textbook Initiative, one or more copies of an adopted OER textbook may be purchased by the library.


Journal, magazine, and newspaper subscriptions represent a continual and often large expense and are thus added very selectively. Priority is given to periodicals with relevance to a course being taught at the College and accessibility through an index in the Library. Full-text availability from one of the subscription databases will be another factor in determining whether to subscribe to the print version.

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources are defined as any material requiring a computer for access and include eBooks and streaming video. The SFSC Library shall choose to acquire or access electronic resources based on the above selection guidelines. Because there is often a print equivalent to electronic resources, the following will be considered in choosing format:

  • Equivalent price or increase in price is considered appropriate for the advantage of the format
  • More sophisticated search tools are provided in the electronic format
  • Providing multi-user and remote access is important for resource
  • Resource will be less vulnerable to theft and damage
  • A significant amount of space is saved
  • Electronic version is updated more frequently
  • Equipment needed for access is available

Audiovisuals (DVDs, CDs, etc.)

Due to the high expense of audiovisual materials, the Library will only purchase if the material is acceptable to the following criteria:

  • Importance of the subject matter to the collection
  • Scarcity of material
  • Timeliness and permanence of the title
  • Technical quality
  • Audience viewing level   
  • Favorable preview by faculty members

Foreign Language Materials

Items written in languages other than English will be acquired when they support the Foreign Language curriculum requirements and English as a Second Language program.

Popular Fiction

Popular fiction will not normally be purchased for the regular book collection unless the book is considered of significant literary value or is studied in one of the literature or reading courses.

  1. Weeding

The Librarians conduct systematic programs of weeding from the general library collection those items that are obsolete, no longer appropriate, or physically damaged beyond repair. The removal of materials of limited usefulness is essential to maintaining the quality of the collection. The process of weeding requires the same participation by the faculty as does the selection of materials. Decisions to withdraw are made in consultation with the faculty member of the academic discipline most directly concerned with possible future use of the resource. Factors involving decisions to weed are based on S. J. Slote’s Weeding Library Collections (1975) and include:

  • Works of a timeworn appearance which are not necessarily rare or of considerable value in terms of either content or actual marketability
  • Unneeded duplicates
  • Earlier editions which have been superseded
  • Works with outdated or incorrect information
  • Books over 30 years old which have not circulated for the last 10 years
  • Ordinary textbooks and school dictionaries
  • Superseded almanacs, yearbooks, directories, and manuals

All items weeded and withdrawn from the collection will be offered first to students. Any items not chosen within the allotted time will be disposed of by the library.

  1. Gift and Donation Policy

The Library accepts gift materials according to the same collection guidelines as purchased materials. Materials cannot be accepted when the donor requires that they be kept together and not incorporated into the existing collection or that they not be allowed to circulate. Popular fiction and other non-essential materials may be accepted as space allows. Books that do not meet the collection development guidelines will be disposed of as the Library sees fit either through discard or donation.

The Library staff will not make appraisals of materials for either resale value or statements of donation on income tax reports. A letter of acknowledgment will be sent to the donor.

  1. Collection Maintenance

Periodically, the Chair, Library Services, and the professional librarian will evaluate the collection to identify materials for withdrawal. The same guidelines apply to the existing collection as to new purchases, and materials that no longer meet the collection policy will be removed from the shelf. For example, materials that are outdated, damaged, seldom circulated, or contain inaccurate information will be removed. Faculty input will be sought when materials in their disciplines are being considered for withdrawal.

Damaged or missing materials are not automatically replaced but are subject to a reorder review process. If the item still meets the collection development policy, the original book or a new edition will be ordered, if available.

  1. Policy Review

This collection development policy will be periodically reviewed by Library staff and College faculty members with changes made when appropriate.

(Last revised March 2017)