Collection Development Policy

The Institution

Sonoma State University is part of the 23-campus California State University System. It is a medium-sized public university (fewer than 10,000 students), primarily undergraduate, with selected graduate and professional programs (Carnegie classification Masters L). It has a liberal arts and sciences focus and is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC).

Mission of the Collections

The mission of the University Library’s collections is to promote intellectual discovery for the Sonoma State University community by providing a broad range of balanced materials to support a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, and diverse curriculum.

Serving this mission requires managing a complex array of information resources, including books, periodicals, visual and audio materials, maps, archives, data collections, and primary resources in many formats, including digital, print, analog, microform, and multimedia. Access to these resources is provided through a combination of subscriptions, purchases, and document delivery/ILL services. In order to provide the widest possible access, our preferred format is electronic, when feasible and affordable, with variations expected in different disciplines. In an evolving information landscape, the University Library explores new types of information and formats as they develop.

We support the undergraduate and graduate curriculum; faculty research is accommodated as budgets allow. We provide some materials in support of our campus residential population and to a lesser extent, to the general public of our region. Our collection development takes into account collaborative efforts with CSU libraries and other consortia, as well as increased levels of resource sharing among libraries worldwide.

Responsibility for Selection

Selection of library materials is the responsibility of librarians, with input from instructional faculty and students. The Library’s Collection Development Committee, comprised of all librarians and chaired by the Collection Development Librarian, is responsible for reviewing collection policies, budgetary allocations, database subscriptions, collection maintenance and issues impacting the collection. Subject-specialist librarians identify, evaluate, select, and deselect materials for the collection in specific areas in consultation with instructional faculty. Faculty and student input into selection is welcomed through the liaison program and through demand-driven acquisitions, in which individual purchases are triggered at the point of need from a pool of approved titles. Selection decisions reflect a balance between data-driven findings from usage patterns, professional judgment, curricular need, and limited budgets for acquiring and managing resources.

Selection Criteria

Collection levels, as defined by the American Library Association (ALA), refer to the scope and depth of library collections. SSU Library generally selects materials at the “study” or “advanced study” levels, appropriate primarily for a four-year undergraduate university with select graduate and professional programs.

Priorities for Selection and Deselection

The following criteria guide selection and deselection decisions. We prioritize: basic materials that support the undergraduate and graduate curricula and the disciplines represented; interdisciplinary liberal arts and science materials that add strength and depth to the collection and/or support campus and system initiatives; materials that reflect the diverse populations of the region; faculty research materials that also support curricular needs; and popular materials (books, music, and films) for recreational use as funds allow.

Factors that are also considered in the selection and deselection of materials include: format of the material and its compliance with 508 accessibility requirements; current and/or permanent value; literary or artistic merit; clarity, organization and accuracy of information and data; diverse viewpoints; cost; potential or known use by patrons; availability of the material through resource sharing partners; and staffing implications and equipment needs.

The Library generally does not acquire rare books, first editions, textbooks, lab manuals, tests, kits, games, materials in formats that are not supported (e.g., PAL DVDs), materials in foreign languages except as needed to support the curriculum and educational mission, duplicates, inspirational/devotional literature, and highly technical and/or specialized material beyond the requirements of the curriculum.

The Library supports the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretation in the ACRL Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries. A university library, by its very nature, is a place where investigation into all ideas is sanctioned; therefore the SSU Library does not impose filters, screens or other intellectual impediments of any sort on the use of its resources by students, faculty, or staff.

Special Collections

Special Collections contain books, diaries, manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, journals, media, and artifacts. The primary focus is on multidisciplinary materials that pertain to the North Bay counties of Lake, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma, including adjacent coastal and bay areas. Many items are rare or fragile and require special handling and access procedures. A growing number of items are exhibited online in full. By assembling and conserving an array of primary source materials, Special Collections provides a fertile environment for intellectual discovery.

Notable collections include:

University Archives

The Sonoma State University Archives preserve material produced by Sonoma State University and its constituent parts. These vital print, graphic, and media records document the history, growth, and development of the University and support its institutional memory.

Archives include:

  • SSU ScholarWorks
  • Selected administrative records of the University
  • SSU publications
  • Selected media presentations
  • SSU theses
  • SSU artifacts

Approved by Library Faculty, July 2014