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General Collection Development

General Statement of Policy

One goal of Randall Library is to identify, select, acquire and preserve informational resources relevant to current and anticipated curriculum, scholarly practice, research, creative and leisure activities.

The ongoing development of the Library's collection is shared by the Randall Library faculty and the faculty, staff, and students of the University. Library faculty collaborate with UNCW faculty, students, and staff concerning the development and maintenance of the various library collections, ensuring that they meet the teaching and research needs of the University. Final responsibility for the adequacy of the various Library collections rests with the University Librarian, who:

  • Allocates library funds each fiscal year for academic departments, subscriptions, general and specific Library collections, and special projects.
  • Presents the materials budget for the fiscal year at the Fall meeting of the Faculty Senate Library Committee for discussion and consultation.
  • Coordinates the acquisition of gifts donated for possible inclusion in the collections.
  • Coordinates the selection of materials that should be withdrawn from the collections.

Materials selected for the Library's collections, whether purchased or donated, print or digital, are related to the mission and goals of the University. Randall Library faculty and staff will act in accordance with the Intellectual Freedom Statement of the American Library Association, assuring the university community that no form of censorship will affect the development of any subject area of the Library's collections.

Annual Allocation of Materials Budget

At the beginning of each fiscal year the University Librarian allocates funds to the following accounts:

  • Subscriptions : print and electronic subscriptions, including (if funding is available) an appropriate amount for inflation and new titles. If new subscription funding is not available, subscriptions of equivalent value must be cancelled to add new subscriptions. The Library will work to maintain total serials expenditures under 80% of the total materials budget for each fiscal year.
  • Binding, preservation, and packaging (materials needed to prepare items for the shelf, i.e. barcodes, security strips, and cataloging costs)
  • Library Faculty funds for general collection development and specific library collections, i.e. Audiovisual, Reference, Government Documents, Curriculum Materials Center, Special Collections, and Archives.
  • Schools and Academic Departments for faculty selection of monographs, audiovisual materials, journal backfiles, and other one-time purchases. Allocations are based on a formula using undergraduate and graduate hours attempted, majors FTE, faculty FTE, and may be adjusted according to the importance of monographic material in the discipline.
  • Project Funds may be available during years when subscription inflation is fully funded. Faculty may request funding for a project if the library’s collection is deficient in a focused subject area related to the University’s curriculum, if materials are so expensive that the purchase would expend a large portion of a department’s library fund or if materials are interdisciplinary in nature and support the curriculum of more than one discipline.

Materials purchased with library funds will be added to the collection and should generally be made available for the use of all students, faculty and staff of the university. Materials needed solely for instructional purposes in the classroom or laboratory should be purchased with departmental funds, not library funds. Software is generally not purchased with library funds unless it can be made available for circulation to all users. The library materials budget does not provide adequate funding to purchase all required textbooks. If departments occasionally need to provide access to textbooks they may be purchased from departmental library allocations.

Replacement of Lost, Damaged and Missing Library Materials

Lost, damaged, and missing items are normally replaced with the most recent edition available, unless the edition being replaced is important for historical purposes. If materials are out-of-print and not available for purchase they may be replaced with titles containing similar subject coverage. Some materials for which there is adequate subject coverage, and that have low circulation may be withdrawn.

Schedule for replacement:

  • Item status = d “Damaged” – Replaced immediately
  • Item status = $ “Lost & paid” – Replaced 1 month after last checkin date, which is the date the user paid for the material
  • Item status = p “Lost & transferred” – Replaced 1 month after the last checkin date, which is the date transferred to the business office
  • Item status = i or m “Lost in inventory” or “Missing” –searched for 6 months before replacing

Lost, damaged or missing materials that are in high demand may be replaced immediately. If a billed item is returned and has not been reordered, the user will receive a refund for the cost of the item but will not be refunded the $15.00 processing fee. If a user returns a lost item that has been reordered there will be no refund and the user may keep the item.

Discarding Library Materials

The University Librarian will coordinate the selection of items that should be withdrawn from the collections. Responsibility for this ongoing activity is delegated to the Associate University Librarian for Technical & Collection Services and to those librarians who are directly involved with the development of particular components of the Library's collection, i.e., Reference/Index Collection, Government Documents Collection, CMC Collection, Special Collections, Archives and assigned disciplines.

Titles considered for withdrawal should be those that are out of date, superseded by more recent editions, and/or those no longer appropriate for supporting the teaching and research programs of the University. Circulation statistics, which are available since 1994, are also considered in the decision to withdraw materials.

Library users who request the removal of specific titles should be referred to the University Librarian.

Randall Library Collections

Audiovisual Collection

  • Video – Documentary and Feature Films, DVD, videocassette, laser disc, 8 & 16mm formats (DVD is the preferred format, and widescreen is the preferred DVD format)
  • Sound – Music CD’s, classical LP’s (closed stacks), and audiobooks (CD is preferred format). Popular LP’s, 78’s, and 45’s are in Special Collections.
  • CD-ROM – Electronic resources that do not accompany other materials (CD’s that come with books and periodicals are kept with the printed material when possible).
Curriculum Materials Center Collection

(located in Watson College of Education). See the CMC Collection Development Policy for more detail.

  • State-adopted textbooks
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Educational kits
  • Computer software
  • Auxiliary materials
General Collection
  • Circulating book collection
  • Some hard-to-replace items may be coded as library use only, i.e. old Moody’s manuals
  • Hardback is the preferred format, but if high-quality paperback binding is available at a significantly lower price, paperback editions are acceptable. Used books in good condition are also acceptable.
Government Documents Collection

See the Government Documents Collection Development policy for more detail.

  • United States documents (print, microfiche & electronic)
  • North Carolina documents (print, microfiche & electronic)
  • NTIS publications (microfiche)
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission Public Documents (print & microfiche)
Indexes/Abstracts Collection (print & electronic)
  • Electronic is the preferred format when affordable, and IP authentication is the preferred access.
Juvenile Collection (Pre-K-Secondary education materials)
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Biography
  • Picture books
  • Juvenile audiobooks and videos are in Audiovisual Collection
Microform Collection
  • Periodical & newspaper backfiles
  • Catalogued materials on microfilm & microfiche
  • ERIC documents (microfiche)
Museum of World Cultures
  • The museum is committed to maintaining and making available artifacts related to traditional and primary cultures around the world for research, study, curriculum support and individual enjoyment by interested members of the learning community.
  • The University Librarian and the Special Collections Librarian manage acquisitions for this collection.
Periodicals Collection (print & electronic)

Electronic (PDF) is the preferred format for most scholarly journals if the price is equivalent or less than the print. Duplication of print and electronic formats is discouraged due to limited stack space.

  • Current issues, including recreational titles
  • Backfiles, print and microform
  • Electronic journals, subscribed and available in aggregator databases
Recreational Reading Collection
  • Current popular fiction and nonfiction usually published within the last 5 years.
  • Circulation of this collection is reviewed at least every 5 years. Low circulating titles are transferred to the General Collection.
Reference Collection (print & electronic)
  • General reference materials, including Ready Reference area (bibliographies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, etc.)
  • Atlases
  • Maps (except those housed in Government Publications Collection)
Reserve Collection (print & electronic)
  • Materials that are needed by an entire class, including books, films, sound recordings, and articles.
  • Circulation periods are determined by faculty to ensure equitable access to all students.
  • Materials are stored in closed stacks at the Customer Services Desk, and electronic documents are accessible from the library’s eReserve web page, http://library.uncw.edu/web/customerservices/reserves.html
  • Faculty member’s personal copies of materials (except course textbooks) are placed on reserve until the library, using departmental library funds, can purchase a copy for the collection.
Special Collections

See the Special Collections Collection Development Policy for more detail.

  • Rare books, maps, pamphlets, etc.
  • History of Science Collection
  • History of Medicine Collection
  • Southeast North Carolina Collection - includes materials relating to the seven counties in southeastern North Carolina: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow, and Pender. This collection also includes work written by local authors or UNCW faculty. 
  • Manuscripts Collection
  • Various digital collections
UNC Wilmington Archives Collection
  • UNCW official publications, reports, minutes, etc. deposited according to state University Records Retention Schedule.
  • UNCW theses and dissertations
  • Seahawk DOCKS Institutional Repository – see the Seahawk DOCKS Collection Development Policy for more details.
  • UNCW alumni authors
    • Try to obtain all works by UNCW graduates
    • Major works/sampling of works by honorary degree recipients
Submitting Orders
  • Online submission through the library catalog’s “Suggest a Title for Purchase” link is preferred.
  • Library order cards and marked catalogs/brochures are accepted with library representative’s signature.
  • Email orders are discouraged, but may occasionally be accepted for RUSH materials
  • Orders from departments should be submitted by library representatives or others in the department who have been authorized to submit orders (campus auditors require orders to be submitted by those with ordering authorization)
Criteria for Withdrawal Decisions
  • Is it our last copy?
  • Do we have other formats?
  • Do we have later editions?
  • Total circulation
  • What else is available on the topic?
  • Last patron – is it faculty?
  • Do UNCP and/or FSU have copies?
  • Is it a textbook? Is it more than 5 years old?
  • Are nursing materials more than 5 years old? (except nursing history & theory)
  • Is the material dated? May not apply to some disciplines, i.e. history, literature, philosophy, religion
  • Cost of replacement
  • Is it a “hot” topic?
  • Do you know of faculty who do research related to the topic?
  • Do you know if it was a gift or something we purchased?
  • Is there still an order rec