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Last Updated May 3, 2023
Collection Development Guidelines

1. Overview

2. Diversity Statement

3. Goals for our collection

4. Collections that support our goals

5. Collection Criteria

Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D



The Knox College Libraries support the Knox College mission of “encouraging the personal, cultural and intellectual growth of our students”. The Libraries develop and maintain dynamic collections in multiple formats that engage and challenge the Knox community by encouraging intellectual discovery, lifelong learning, and personal growth. 


The Libraries support the American Library Association’s(ALA) Library Bill of Rights (See Appendix A) and its Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries (See Appendix B). The Libraries purchase materials presenting diverse views on current and historical issues. We strive to be inclusive in our collections. 


The collection development team assesses data to acquire, organize, and provide access to materials, integrates them into coherent collections, and manages growth and maintenance. 


2. Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Knox College Culture of Respect:

We believe that a culture of respect is one in which empathy, equity, inclusivity, and truth are valued and practiced.


ACRL Diversity Standard 4: Development of collections, programs, and services

Librarians and library staff develop collections and provide programs and services that are inclusive of the needs of all persons in the community the library serves.


ALA: Equity, Diversity, Inclusion: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights

Equity, as interpreted by ALA, means increasing diversity by mitigating conditions of disadvantaged groups:


In alignment with the Knox College’s culture of respect and the ACRL Diversity Standard 4 to develop collections that are inclusive of the needs of all persons in our community. We acknowledge that owing to past collecting practices and attitudes, our current holdings and collections are lacking representation and information related to underrepresented and marginalized communities. We are doing our best to disrupt the system knowing we are part of the system. We understand this is a systemic problem that we are a part of. We will also consider the business practices and policies of our vendors with whom we contract. To develop a more inclusive practice, we are taking necessary steps and building essential relationships across College communities to ensure that voices and stories from marginalized communities inform decisions regarding collection practices of Knox College Libraries.


In order to reflect our commitment to DEI we will take into consideration the following:

  • Collecting new materials

  • Deaccessioning material 

  • Intentional collaboration that uplifts and empowers 


3. Goals for Our Collection

  1. Support the current curricular and research needs for students of Knox College.

The majority of our acquisitions budget is spent to support areas of study in departments and programs. 

  1. Support the current teaching and research needs of the faculty of Knox College.

We strive to provide the faculty with the materials they need to teach as well as to conduct their research. However, we are not a research-level library with a mission to collect extensively in all subjects. That fact coupled with our budgetary and space constraints means that we are not always able to meet faculty research needs comprehensively. We always strive to provide faculty with the materials they need to effectively carry out their scholarship, especially by making use of shared consortial collections and interlibrary loan to extend the breadth and depth of our collections.

  1. Support life-long learning and personal growth for our community

Our collections reflect the belief that information needs and learning are not only connected to the curriculum. Our collections therefore support the personal, social, and extra-curricular needs of our community as the budget permits.

  1. Participate as a member of our library consortia arrangements through shared collections and interlibrary loan

We effectively make use of and fully participate in consortia arrangements and interlibrary loan agreements that help us extend the array of materials available to I-Share members. We manage a unique and eclectic collection that is of value to the larger consortium.

  1. Collect and preserve the scholarship and history of the college and local history

The library is active in collecting, and providing access to the scholarship and history of the college. 


4. Collections that Support Our Goals


Main (monograph) Collection–Books are purchased primarily to cover the broad subject areas taught at the college.


Campbell Children’s Collection - This collection is named for John D. & Nelle Laughlin Campbell. It is a collection of juvenile literature whose primary purpose is to support the college’s Educational Studies Department and to be a resource to the Knox community. 


Faculty Development Collection -We will add current research on pedagogy and issues of concern to faculty.  Librarians will work with the Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs to select new acquisitions for the collection and faculty are encouraged to make recommendations. Periodically, the collection will be reviewed to remove outdated material and make room for the latest scholarship.


Current Interest - This is a collection of books of current interest but might not necessarily be related to the curriculum. It may also include books related to speakers visiting campus.


Non-print Collection—Primarily DVDs. This is a collection of materials that support the curriculum and extra-curricular activities of the Knox community. Titles may be purchased for classroom or course reserves use and include donated items.


Periodicals —primarily electronic; print is collected for core, browsing titles, and for titles that are not available via electronic access. Selected titles used to support the curriculum.


Electronic collections—electronic books, journals, databases, including indexes and

abstracts, and other emerging forms of electronic content delivery


Special Collections and Archives—rare books, manuscripts, artifacts, maps, and

atlases, and archival materials that focus on institutional, and local history. Link to policy here.


Reference information—print and electronic resources such as encyclopedias,

handbooks, dictionaries, providing general factual data and information, are held in

one area for ease of access

Honors Projects—one copy of each project written by a Knox College student is available in print


Amott Science Commons–Books and periodicals related to Biology, chemistry, math, physics, computer science, neuroscience. 


Green Oaks–A print book and media collection used to support the Green Oaks term, at the Green Oaks Biological field station. It travels to the remote location once every two years. 



The process of collection development is the responsibility of librarians, in

conjunction with faculty, to ensure an appropriate collection for the curricular and research needs of the campus. Library Liaisons shall work with the faculty in their liaison areas to familiarize themselves with specific academic programs, curricular needs, research interests,

and accreditation requirements to ensure effective collective development policies

and their implementation. The librarians have responsibility for overall collection development

with the Director of the Library having ultimate responsibility.


Selection and access is undertaken in the context of print and electronic access,

consortial arrangements, and licensing/contractual agreements. 


The intellectual content of all resources, whether purchased or free, must support

the curricular and co-curricular needs of the college community. Librarians, with input from the entire Knox College community, use a variety of selection resources and criteria to ensure that information needs are met in a thorough, timely, and economical manner.


Criteria for selection of resources include:

  • Judged usefulness of the publication, considering the existing collection

  • Strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection related to current demonstrable needs of the college including support of curricula, research, special events, and specific strategic initiatives

  • Award winning publications (National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prize, Rainbow Book List, Lambda Literary award, Caldecott etc.)

  • Currency of the topic

  • Date of publication

  • Price of the publication and available funding

  • Language or format of the publication (to increase the accessibility of our collection)

  • Inclusion in publications reflecting diverse voices for the field

  • Recommendation from a faculty member in the department requesting the material

  • Requirements for accreditation, or support for an approved new program

  • Contribution to consortium

  • Intentional addition of materials by diverse voices


Textbooks that are being used for college courses usually will not be purchased for the collections. Textbooks can be purchased when the text is also a core resource in the field, when research material on the subject is limited, or when needed for accessibility reasons.



The basic criteria for selection are the same as for print resources, although

electronic resources also must provide sufficient added value over other formats.


Additional criteria for selection of electronic resources include:

  • Perpetual access, when applicable

  • Compatibility across a wide variety of platforms (desktop, mobile, etc.)

  • In-house use for community users

  • Maintenance on publisher server

  • Off-campus availability

  • Robust, user-friendly, and well-indexed search interface with numerous points of access

  • Publisher-provided usage statistics, preferably SUSHI-compliant

  • Purchases via consortium agreements (see Appendix C) will be considered when a significant portion of the content supports the mission of the institution.

  • Screen reader compliant or available in audio format when possible



Media resources are purchased in a variety of physical, electronic media, and digital

formats. Wherever possible, program titles are collected in the most current and

dependable format. Acquisitions may be evaluated by the same collecting criteria as

other resources, but the following qualifications specific to media are important to


  • Currency (or continuing relevance, when not superseded by new materials)

  • Curriculum relevance (for teaching, supplementary learning, or “source

material” research)

  • Compatibility with needs of students expressed through Disability Services

  • Historical value (selectively applied to meet specific teaching or research needs)

  • Language

  • Price

  • Quality of material (subject content and format)

  • User demand

  • User level (appropriate to known academic needs)

  • Compatibility with existing playback/viewing devices



Knox College Libraries is not accepting donations of physical items, except for: 

  • The College Archives welcomes materials that document the origins, developments, activities, achievements and people of the College.

  • Donations of unique and rare materials will continue to be accepted and reviewed by Special Collections staff following our Special Collections Collection Development Guidelines.

  • We welcome donations of books authored by Knox faculty, staff and alumni.

  • We will consider donations of books published in the last five years and that meet the criteria of our collection development guidelines.


This policy reflects the high cost of storing, reviewing and processing donations. As a liberal arts college library with a focus on a collection that supports our current curriculum, students, and faculty, we have found that it is more cost effective to purchase new titles than to review older titles that too often duplicate existing copies in our collection.



Weeding is an essential, continuous component of collection maintenance in libraries.  Permanently removing materials for reasons such as being outdated, unused or damaged from the Knox College Libraries ensures the collections’ health and viability.  Weeding maximizes collections’ usefulness, and ensures that they continue to support the instructional and research requirements of students, faculty, and staff at Knox College. In addition, the process frees shelf space for newly acquired materials.  The Collection Development Guidelines directs weeding decisions, in keeping with the library’s mission to collect, organize, and provide access to information resources.


Responsibility for Weeding

Final responsibility for weeding materials from the library’s collection rests with the library director. Individuals who participate in weeding include the director, librarians, and other library personnel. The library encourages the teaching faculty to work with and provide feedback to library personnel to identify materials to weed.

Criteria for Weeding 

Library materials of all types may be candidates for weeding based on the following criteria:

  • Currency
    The content of library materials should be accurate and up to date. Materials that are superseded by newer, revised, or updated editions may be weeded. The library takes into consideration faculty and students whose scholarship and teaching require the use of historical texts.

  • Usage
    Low or no usage may be a factor in weeding decisions. Library personnel may consult circulation statistics or other reports to determine viable candidates for weeding.

  • Physical Condition
    Materials that are badly deteriorated or damaged and beyond reasonable preservation efforts will be weeded. Consideration for replacement will be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • Duplicates
    Due to space limitations, the library may weed duplicate copies of library materials. Library staff will take into consideration the need to have more than one copy of a title on hand, especially for materials that are heavily used or are a part of a college-wide program.

  • Completeness
    Materials that are part of a multi-volume set of which the library does not have all volumes may be weeded.

  • Uniqueness that fits in with the Collection
    The library will not weed materials that are considered unique and are in keeping with the Collection Guidelines. These items may go into the Special Collections.

  • Format Obsolescence
    Materials in obsolete formats may be weeded if the content is available elsewhere or if the material is in poor condition.

Formats and Material Types

  • Books
    If physical copies are worn and the library has the same title in ebook form, these copies will be candidates for withdrawal. 

  • Journals and Other Recurring Publications
    Although electronic access is the preferred format for serials, journals, and newspapers, the library still houses titles in print and microform formats. If a journal title is available through one of the online databases, the library may opt to weed the print issues.

  • Microforms
    Books, collection sets, and other materials in microfilm or microfiche may be weeded.

  • Media Materials
    Media formats may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in the previous section of these guidelines..

  • Reference Materials
    Reference materials may be weeded based on any of the criteria listed in the previous section of these guidelines. Print materials may be weeded based on their availability online.

Disposition of Weeded Materials

Since Knox College participates in the statewide CARLI consortium, all books that are being deaccessioned will be checked against the holdings of both I-Share member libraries and other libraries within the state of Illinois. If any books are the last copy of a book in Illinois, it can be sent to the Last Copy program, to be housed at the University of Illinois. 

Materials approved to be weeded from the collection will be physically removed from the building. Records for these items will be removed from the library catalog. We will attempt to donate items to charitable organizations whenever possible. (See this list of organizations). Items that are recyclable will be recycled as much as possible. 



Special Collections and Archives



Collection Development guidelines will be reviewed by the library’s collection development team on an annual basis. Major changes will be shared with the Knox community. 



Appendix A.


(abbreviated for collection development)

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for

information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their


  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest,

information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves.

Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of

those contributing to their creation.

  1. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view

on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed

because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

  1. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to

provide information and enlightenment.


Appendix B.


FOR ACADEMIC LIBRARIES adopted 2000, adopted July 1, 2014 (abbreviated

for collection development)


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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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 though systematic theft or mutilation.

  1. Licensing agreements should be consistent with the Library Bill of Rights, and

should maximize access.


Appendix C.



CARLI—the statewide consortium of College and Research Libraries in Illinois

CRL–Center for Research Libraries

Oberlin Group–consortium of Liberal Arts College Libraries

OCLC—A nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research

organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s

information and reducing information costs.


Appendix D.


Knox College



I hereby donate _____________ _________________ to Knox College Libraries


(Number) (Type, e.g. books)


with the understanding that the donation will be added to the collection if it meets

library needs as described in the Libraries’ Collection Development Policy

(). If not, it may be

disposed of in any manner deemed suitable by the Libraries.

I understand that by signing this form, I relinquish all ownership rights to the

materials specified, and that these materials will not be returned to me if they are

not added to the Libraries collection.

I understand that although the Libraries will acknowledge gifts received, the

Libraries cannot appraise the monetary value of those donations for tax purposes.


Name of Donor (print): ___________________________________________________________

Address: ______________________________________________________________________

Phone: ______________________________

Email: ______________________________


Signature of Donor: ___________________________________________Date: _____________


Library Staff Signature: ___________________________________________________________