Collection Development Policy



The Collection Development Policy states the principles and guidelines that the FAU Libraries follow in the selection and acquisition of library materials. The purpose of the policy is to provide consistency among the persons responsible for collection development and to communicate library policy to faculty, staff, students, and the community. The FAU Libraries select materials primarily for the students, faculty, and staff of Florida Atlantic University to support their curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs. Other users for whom the Libraries may also select materials include, but are not limited to: students, faculty, and staff of Palm Beach State College South Campus; local and visiting university and college faculty, staff, and students and other researchers not affiliated with Florida Atlantic University.

Library Mission and University Strategic Plan

The Libraries select materials based upon their responsibility to the University as stated in the Library Mission Statement: "FAU Libraries promotes academic excellence by providing opportunities for intellectual and personal development to a diverse academic community. The Libraries fulfill this mission by collecting and providing access to a unique and extensive collection of research materials and services which support scholarly research; promoting a dynamic and multifaceted information literacy program; maintaining cooperative dialogue with the scholarly community; developing creative programming; encouraging active public engagement and increasing awareness of FAU Libraries in the local, regional, national and international communities." In addition, the Libraries select materials that support the University's Pillars, which are "institutional programs focused on creating knowledge that benefits society." The four Pillars, and their Platforms, are defined in more detail in the Florida Atlantic University Strategic Plan 2015-2025: A Strategic Plan for the Race to Excellence and include the following: Healthy Aging, Neuroscience, Ocean Science and Engineering/Environmental Sciences, and Sensing and Smart Systems.

Intellectual Freedom

The Libraries of Florida Atlantic University support the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, Freedom to Read Statement, and the American Film and Video Association’ s Freedom to View Statement. The Libraries follow the Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. For this policy, the Libraries have adopted sections of the Library Bill of Rights applicable to collection development as approved by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors. The general principles set forth in the Library Bill of Rights form an indispensable framework for building collections, services, and policies that serve the entire academic community.

A strong intellectual freedom perspective is critical to the development of academic library collections and services that dispassionately meet the education and research needs of a college or university community. The purpose of this statement is to outline how and where intellectual freedom principles fit into an academic library setting, thereby raising consciousness of the intellectual freedom context within which academic librarians work. The following principles should be reflected in all relevant library policy documents.

The development of library collections in support of an institution’s instruction and research programs should transcend the personal values of the selector. In the interests of research and learning, it is essential that collections contain materials representing a variety of perspectives on subjects that may be considered controversial. Preservation and replacement efforts should ensure that balance in library materials is maintained and that controversial materials are not removed from the collections through theft, loss, mutilation, or normal wear and tear. There should be alertness to efforts by special interest groups to bias a collection through systematic theft or mutilation.

Any individual or group questioning the appropriateness of materials within the collection will be referred to the Dean of University Libraries. A service philosophy should be promoted that affords equal access to information for all in the academic community with no discrimination on the basis of race, values, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or ethnic background, physical or learning disability, economic status, religious beliefs, or ideologies. FAU Libraries acquire materials that represent differing opinions and without censorship in regard to controversial issues.

Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources

The FAU Libraries supports the free exchange of ideas with collections that provide access to a selection of materials on all subjects that support the University's mission. The FAU Libraries provide access in accordance with the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the Freedom to View Statement.

The FAU Libraries strive to balance access to, and ownership of, information resources offering the widest possible viewpoints. Materials will not be excluded because of the frankness of language or controversial approach, the political, moral, religious, sexual, social economic, or scientific views expressed, or because of the author's or publisher's race or national origin, politics, or religion. The primary purpose of the FAU Libraries' collections is to support the educational and research programs of Florida Atlantic University. We welcome all Florida residents and visitors to use library materials. Only current students, staff, or faculty of FAU may challenge the inclusion of a resource in the Libraries' collections. Parents of FAU High School students are informed by A.D. Henderson documents and communication that the K-12 legislation on school library materials does not apply to universities, and parents and students may not challenge any FAU Libraries collections.

To proceed with a materials challenge, a completed "Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources" form is required. Note that submitting the completed form to the Dean of the FAU Libraries will trigger the formal reconsideration process, and the form will become part of the public record under Florida Sunshine Laws, therefore anonymous requests cannot be accepted.


Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement

The primary subject areas collected are those that serve to support the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of Florida Atlantic University. The majority of materials are organized by the Library of Congress Classification System.

  • Languages
    • The main language of the collection is English. Non-English language materials are collected based on their relevance to University programs with a foreign language component. Additional criteria considered for the acquisition of foreign language materials are their appropriate support of the curriculum and the reputation of the work.
  • Selection Responsibility
    • Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Libraries’ collection rests with the Dean of University Libraries. The Dean’s authority for routine decisions is delegated to the Assistant Dean for Collection Strategies and Discovery Services, under whose direction materials in specific subject areas are selected by designated library faculty. While library faculty routinely consult with instructional faculty on materials to be added, all decisions about the Libraries' collections are made by library faculty. For libraries at campuses serving FAU students and faculty where Florida Atlantic University is not the lead institution (Davie and Fort Lauderdale), selection policies will differ.
  • Collection Management Department
    • The Collection Management Department serves as the operational arm of the collection development program. The Department chooses materials in accordance with the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of the University. Faculty are encouraged to suggest appropriate material for purchase, and each academic department is urged to designate a faculty member to serve as a library representative. These representatives facilitate communication between the academic departments and the Collection Management Department.
  • Partner Campus Selectors
    • Additional selectors from partner campuses select materials for their respective campus libraries.
  • Suggestions and Materials Requests
    • Suggestions for the purchase of specific titles may be submitted using the electronic Materials Suggestion Form available on the Libraries’ web site. Requests for materials submitted by faculty, students, staff, and non-affiliated users are reviewed by the Collection Management Department. Orders for materials that are designated as "Highest Priority" by the selector will be submitted for ordering if they support the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of Florida Atlantic University, and if funds are available.


Children’s Literature and Curriculum Collections

The Children’s Literature and Curriculum Collections include elementary and secondary textbooks, curriculum guides, juvenile and young adult monographs, selected juvenile serials, and appropriate non-print media. The purpose of these collections is to support the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of the College of Education. The Collection Management Department is responsible for developing these collections in consultation with the College of Education. Current state-adopted textbooks and award-winning children’s books have highest priority for purchase.

Digital Collections

The Digital Library creates collections of digitized materials in collaboration with Florida Atlantic University faculty, staff, and students, as well as with local, regional, and state partners. This collection supports the teaching, research, and mission of the university. The Digital Library Collection Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Electronic Resources

Electronic Resources are collected to support the basic instructional, research and information needs of the University. These include, but are not limited to, electronic serials or collections of serials; online bibliographic or numeric databases; electronic reference materials; electronic monographs or collections of monographs; streaming media collections. Traditional selection criteria apply to electronic resources. However, due to the unique nature of electronic resources, special criteria need also be applied. The Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Gift Materials

Donations to the Libraries are accepted through the Florida Atlantic University Foundation. Gift materials are subject to the same criteria for addition to the collection as purchased materials. The Florida Atlantic University Libraries reserve the right to accept or reject gifts, with or without restricting conditions, and the right to dispose of unwanted gift material. The FAU Libraries Gifts Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Government Publications

The Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Campus Library is a selective depository for Federal documents. The library is also a depository for State of Florida documents. In addition to curriculum and research needs, the information needs of citizens residing in the 19th Congressional District and the Florida Atlantic University service area are considered in selection of materials being surveyed for deposit and retention. The Government Documents Collection Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Interlibrary Loan

The Interlibrary Loan service provides access to material not contained in the library’s print or electronic collections. Multiple requests for an individual title or consistent requests for materials in specific subject areas will be considered for purchase. At least once each year, the Interlibrary Loan Department will send the Collection Development Librarian a list of titles requested through interlibrary loan at least three times in the previous year. This list will be reviewed to determine if requested materials are appropriate to order and add to the collection when funds are available.

Reference Collection

Reference collection development is the responsibility of the reference librarians and is coordinated at the Boca Raton campus by the Head of the Reference Department and by the lead librarians at the partner campuses. The collection is designed to meet the basic research, curricular, and information needs of the University community in all subject fields. Reference resources of all types and formats, in all appropriate languages are selected in accordance with the criteria established for the selection of library materials. The Reference Collection Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Reserve Materials

The Reserve Collection consists of a temporary collection of materials that are purchased, copied, or gathered from existing holdings, to provide limited loan periods and maximum access to clientele to support the direct needs of course instruction. The collection includes documents in print and electronic formats. The Reserve Collection is also the permanent location for materials which require monitoring due to heavy use or threat of vandalism. Materials owned by faculty are also held within the Reserve Collection. The FAU Libraries Course Reserve Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Special Collections

The Special Collections department holds materials whose format, condition or monetary value renders them vulnerable to theft or damage in the open stacks, but whose intellectual content is valuable to instruction and research at FAU. Rare books, archives, personal papers, sheet music, photographs, and ephemera are included among these holdings. Descriptions of collections may be viewed at the Complete Directory of Collections. The Special Collections Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.

Jaffe Center for Book Arts

The Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University Libraries is dedicated to the research, teaching and promotion of the book arts as contemporary art media. The center supports the instructional, research, and service activities of the university as well as the general public in this capacity, offering examples of and study in hand papermaking, letterpress printing, alternative print techniques, bookbinding and book structures and other book arts topics. The Jaffe Collection is the intellectual core of the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. The collection is an active one with an essential focus on artists' books, fine bindings, and artist-driven limited edition books and broadsides. Related collecting interests include reference books and materials that support the many aspects of the book arts and the sub-collections housed at JCBA, which include the Rosa Trillo-Clough Archive of Italian Futurism, the Arthur C. Williams Pop-Up Book Collection and the archive of ISCA: the International Society of Copier Artists.

Print Music Collection

The Print Music Collection at Florida Atlantic University Libraries, includes the following collections: American Popular Print Music, Cantors, Jewish and Yiddish. Sheet music, manuscripts, and personal documents are collected and preserved by the Special Collections Department, in order to support the curricular, instructional, research, and programmatic needs of FAU faculty, staff, and students.

Recorded Sound Archives

The Recorded Sound Archives (RSA) collects, organizes, preserves, and provides protected access to digitized copies of vintage audio recordings. The Judaic Collection (also known as the Judaica Sound Archives) holds recordings that reflect Jewish culture and history. The Jazz Collection holds recordings relating to American Jazz. The Vintage 78s Collection holds recordings produced on 78 rpm discs between 1900 and 1955. These collections of historic recordings, which are preserved both physically and digitally, support the teaching, research and service activities of the university.

University Archives

The Florida Atlantic University Archives serves as the official repository for the permanent records of Florida Atlantic University. Its primary purpose is to serve the administrative, teaching, research, and service needs of the faculty, students, staff and affiliated entities. In order to fulfill this purpose, the University Archives collects records and documents that have enduring historical value to the history of Florida Atlantic University. The University Archives then preserves these records and makes them available for researchers. The University Archives Collection Development Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.


Only one copy of an edition and format of a title is normally acquired among the following two partner campus libraries: Boca Raton and Jupiter. Exceptions may be made for heavily used items. Requests for the purchase of multiple copies are reviewed on an individual basis. This applies to the types of materials listed below in "Types of Materials Collected."

Types of Materials Collected

  • Books, Monographs
    • Monographs are acquired with first priority given to supporting the curriculum. The most readily available format for monographs is acquired. Sets are acquired by the libraries in support of the curriculum and based on availability of funds. Books are acquired in electronic or print format when appropriate. For "Textbooks," see Textbooks.
  • Serials, Journals, and Newspapers
    • Electronic access is the preferred format for serials, journals, and newspapers when available. The Libraries will acquire complete holdings for serial and journal titles to which the library subscribes when affordable. Current print newspapers are acquired on a highly selective basis.
  • Audio-Visual Materials
    • Audio-visual materials are acquired with priority given to curriculum and research support. Considerations of suitability of format, quality of production, availability of equipment, and facilities assist in the selection. Considerations in the selection of audio-visual materials include, but are not limited to, curriculum, individual needs of faculty, quality of production, region codes, viewing facilities, availability of equipment, and technical support.
  • Children's Books
    • The Libraries acquire children’s books on a selective basis in support of the curriculum. First priority is given to acquiring award-winning children’s books.
  • Dissertations, Theses
    • The Libraries collect electronic copies of all dissertations and theses completed at the University. Dissertations and theses completed outside of Florida Atlantic University are requested through Interlibrary Loan when available. International dissertations and theses are not usually acquired. Students at Florida Atlantic University will submit dissertations and theses electronically as mandated by the University. Digitized and hard-copy theses published by students in the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College are listed in the FAU Libraries catalog, and a select number are accessible through the Digital Collection Directory.
  • Maps
    • Maps, atlases, globes and charts are purchased selectively. The Government Documents Collection regularly receives maps on a selective basis from the U.S. Government Printing Office as part of the respective depository program. The Government Documents Department also purchases travel maps when funds are available in support of the International Travel Maps Collection.
  • Musical Scores
    • Musical scores are acquired selectively as needed in support of the curriculum and upon specific request of an instructor.
  • Out-of-Print Materials
    • The FAU Libraries will attempt to acquire out-of-print materials when necessary.
  • Rare Books and Manuscripts
    • Rare books and manuscripts may be acquired in support of the instructional and research programs of the University. Those received as gifts are evaluated for retention in the collection with consideration given to requirements for special housing, care, access, security, and environment.
  • Reprints
    • Reprints are acquired only on a highly selective basis.
  • Textbooks
    • Current course textbooks are not acquired routinely. Other textbooks are not acquired unless they are considered as definitive sources in the subject area. Like many other academic libraries, the FAU Libraries strongly discourages the purchase of textbooks for the collection. Textbooks are quickly outdated, and acquiring them would take funding away for the purchase of other materials needed to build a lasting research collection. Exceptions are considered at the request of an instructor depending on the availability of funds. Requests for the purchase of textbooks are reviewed on an individual basis. For faculty or instructors who prefer to loan their textbooks for a semester, see the Faculty Guidelines for FAU Course Reserves to place textbooks and other course materials on Course Reserves.

Examples of materials not collected include, but are not limited to:

  • Annual Reports, College Catalogs, Telephone Books
    • The Libraries do not acquire company annual reports, college catalogs, or telephone books because these materials are available without charge on the Internet.
  • Toys, Games
    • The Libraries do not collect toys and games.
  • Spiral Bound Publications
    • The Libraries do not acquire spiral bound publications. Exceptions are made based on subject material and at the request of an instructor with consideration given to expected use, lasting value, and content. Commercial rebinding of acquired spiral bound materials will be considered on an individual basis.


The materials budget supports the purchase of all formats designated in the collection development policy. The budget supports expenditures for the following:

  • Approval plans, firm orders, and continuing resources to the extent that funding is available, with first consideration given to continuing obligations;
  • Cooperative programs with other libraries;
  • Access to and preservation of purchased and donated library materials; and
  • Membership in consortia, bibliographic access charges.

The budget is administered by the Assistant Dean for Collection Strategies and Discovery Services in consultation with the Dean of University Libraries.

The materials budget is allocated according to available funds and established institutional priorities.


Weeding or deselection, preservation and conservation, and replacement are all important aspects of collection maintenance and evaluation.

  • Weeding or Deselection
    • Deselection or weeding is an essential, continuing library practice in which materials are removed permanently from the Libraries’ collections. Whenever possible, both faculty and library staff participate in the weeding process to ensure that publications of historical or research significance are not discarded. The FAU Libraries Deselection Policy should be consulted for more detailed guidelines.
  • Preservation and Conservation
    • Preservation is the activity to prevent, eliminate, or retard deterioration of library materials, as well as to improve their condition or to change their format as necessary in order to preserve the intellectual content. The Libraries endeavor to protect the physical integrity of materials in the collection through conservation measures, such as temperature, humidity and dust control. Where preservation of content is more important than the retention of the physical format, items may be replaced with electronic versions.
    • The primary activity of the Digital Library is to create and make accessible digital collections from Florida Atlantic University scholarly content and the unique resources of FAU Libraries. Associated activities can include the digitization of deteriorating materials for preservation purposes. Through the Florida Digital Archive (FDA), FAU Libraries’ digital objects can be preserved and assured future format migration in the FDA repository. More information about this preservation program can be found at .
  • Replacements
    • Materials in various formats that are missing, lost, damaged, or withdrawn are not automatically replaced. Potential replacements are evaluated using the same criteria for selection as regularly purchased items. Depending on the availability of funds, heavily used materials, determined to be necessary for teaching and research, will be replaced as quickly as possible, if the materials are available.


The Libraries cooperate in the purchase or leasing of library materials, such as electronic databases, journals, and monographs or books, etc. with State University Libraries and other library cooperative arrangements when possible. The Libraries share in the development of digital library cooperative programs such as the SUL Publication of Archival Library & Museum Materials (PALMM). In an age of developing information technologies, resource sharing activities are reviewed on a continuing basis.

The Libraries participate in national, regional, and statewide resource sharing programs. As a member of OCLC, LYRASIS, the Southeast Florida Library Information Network (SEFLIN), and the Florida Library Information Network (FLIN), the Libraries share their resources free of charge with other member libraries through interlibrary loan and reciprocal borrowing agreements.


This policy will be reviewed at the end of each fiscal year by the Collection Development Librarian and other designated library staff members.


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American Library Association. (2000). Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights. Retrieved August 21, 2023, from

American Library Association. (2004). The Freedom to Read Statement. Retrieved August 21, 2023, from

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Florida Atlantic University. (2023). University Catalog. Retrieved August 21, 2023, from

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Last modified at 01/16/2024 - 11:21 AM