El Paso Community College Libraries

Collection Development Policy

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 Section I



The five campus libraries in the El Paso County Community College District (EPCCD) are decentralized. The Head Librarians report to campus Deans. Technical Services, including acquisitions, cataloging and interlibrary loan, is a separate, centralized department servicing the five campus libraries. The libraries employ full-time and part-time public services librarians as well as support staff.

Mission Statement

The El Paso Community College libraries provide instruction, service, access to information, and materials that enhance academic and personal enrichment which supports the college mission.

The E.P.C.C. mission is "to provide educational opportunities and support services that prepare individuals to improve their personal quality of life and to contribute to their economically and culturally diverse community". http://www.epcc.edu/AboutEPCC/Pages/Mission.aspx.

The E.P.C.C. libraries provide their diverse and multicultural population of students, faculty, staff and community users with access to information resources and responsive services. The E.P.C.C. libraries also help support the professional development needs of E.P.C.C. faculty and staff.

The E.P.C.C. libraries are committed to the goal of helping to prepare students for lifelong learning by providing them with opportunities to learn how to access information in different formats and to develop the critical thinking skills associated with information literacy.

Service Population

The libraries serve a diverse body of over 25,010 students, 1,365 faculty and 1,416 classified staff, professional support personnel and administrators.


The College grants the degrees of the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Applied Science, Certificates of Completion, Enhanced Skills Certificates and Continuing Education Units. The College’s special programs include transfer degree, vocational-technical career, developmental, literacy, adult education, and community service.

Library usage is also available, on a limited and restricted basis, to members of the El Paso County community who are not affiliated with E.P.C.C.

 Section II


A. Authority

  1. Final authority for materials selection rests with the campus Head Librarian for that campus. Selection is the shared responsibility of the public services librarians and other faculty at each individual campus.

  2. The E.P.C.C. libraries will retain control of all resources purchased or placed in their inventories. All such resources will be housed in the E.P.C.C. libraries.

  3. Final authority for the determination of policy in the selection and acquisition of all library material is vested in the Board of Trustees of the El Paso Community College District.

B. Standards

  1. The collection development policy will be guided by national library standards including the A.C.R.L. Standards for Libraries in Higher Education and seeks to keep pace with any changes made to these standards and with other relevant new standards adopted by the library profession.

  2. The collection development policy is further guided by the standards established by our accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2010principlesofacreditation.pdf and by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

C. Controversial Material

  1. The E.P.C.C. libraries believe that the maintenance of a free society requires free access to different points of view, and a conscientious effort is made to include material concerning all sides of an issue. To this end, the E.P.C.C. libraries affirm their acceptance of the principles enumerated in the Library Bill of Rights http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/intfreedom/librarybill/index.cfm as adopted by the American Library Association.

  2. Objections to material and requests for reevaluation must be presented in writing, following the procedures outlined in the Library Resources Operations Manual.

D. Copyright Law

  1. It is the policy of the libraries to support the property and copyrights of the creators and their assigns to the materials contained in the collections, as encompassed in the Copyright Act of 1976, as Amended.

  2. The libraries further recognize the need for the fair use of these materials in the pursuit of the mission of the College.

E. Curriculum Support

  1. The libraries will build and maintain collections that adequately support the curriculum taught at the El Paso Community College. The emphasis of the collection will be on supporting degree and certificate programs. Individual campus libraries will concentrate on the curriculum offered at their campus.

  2. A broad spectrum of materials should be available to support research assignments, classroom reports and self-paced learning.

F. Format

  1. The collection shall include materials and information in diversified formats including print and non-print media.

G. Hardbound/Paperbound

  1. Due to their longer shelf life, hardbound editions will generally be preferred over paperbound editions when there is a choice between the two. Paperback editions may be preferred for titles that are not expected to contribute lasting value to the collection (such as superseded editions with no historic value).

H. Textbooks

  1. E.P.C.C. library collections are designed to supplement and enhance information given in course textbooks. Students are expected to buy their own copies of textbooks for each course. The E.P.C.C. libraries do not purchase textbooks unless they can be shown to fill a need not met by comparable materials in the collection. Such exceptions would be classic textbooks, especially those in scientific, technical and business fields that have become recognized as standard references.

I. Fiction

  1. The E.P.C.C. libraries will provide works of fiction to support Reading and Literature course work. Readers wishing to access a more extensive collection of leisure reading materials are referred to the El Paso Public Library.

J. Highly Specialized, Rare or Highly Costly Materials

  1. Requests from students or faculty members for the purchase of highly specialized, rare or very expensive material should be handled by providing access to the material through Interlibrary Loan/Resource Sharing services or via the Texshare program. Such purchase requests might be justified if the material was intended for repeated, annual use by an entire class.

K. Gifts

  1. Guidelines for the evaluation of gifts are the same as those for selecting purchased materials. Gift titles are accepted only when they impose no significant limitations on housing, handling or the disposition of duplicate or damaged items. If there is any question about adding a gift title to the collection, the final determination will rest with the Head Librarian. (See “Gifts & Donations Procedures” in the Library Resources Operations Manual.)

  2. E.P.C.C. library personnel are not permitted to issue appraisals of gift materials for tax or any other purposes.

L. Professional Review Literature

  1. The E.P.C.C. libraries will develop and maintain bibliographic review resources needed for collection development decisions. Selection tools may include but are not limited to professional bibliographies, notable booklists and professional library review journals such as Choice, Booklist, and Library Journal, as well as leading subject-specific professional journals.

M. Technology

  1. The E.P.C.C. libraries should be prepared to utilize new technologies for accessing information as they are developed. Convenient, effective access to electronic bibliographic and full-text databases, whether on-site or remote, must be provided when necessary to support the academic curriculum.

 Section III


A. Inter-Campus Loan

E.P.C.C. campus libraries make their materials available to each other through inter-campus loan, or, in the case of periodical articles, through fax. These services are provided to patrons at no charge.

B. Cooperative Agreements - General

The E.P.C.C. libraries participate in cooperative agreements with other library systems including the Amigos interlibrary loan network and the Texshare reciprocal borrowing network.

C. Texshare

Direct borrowing privileges may be made available to faculty, staff and students from libraries that participate in the Texshare program.

D. Interlibrary Loan/Resource Sharing

The E.P.C.C. Library Technical Services Department provides Interlibrary Loan, currently named "Resource Sharing," services for students, faculty and staff so that they may access materials that are unavailable locally. All such requests are made in consideration of the copyright law, the American Library Association's Interlibrary Loan Code, and the policies of the lending institution, network, or cooperative system. (See “Interlibrary Loans” in the Library Resource Operations Manual.)

 Section IV


A. Responsibility for Selection

  1. Collection development in an academic setting should be a cooperative effort between the library faculty and the other teaching faculty, with each complementing the efforts of the other. Public services librarians work with faculty members within the appropriate Division, Department or Program in developing the collection.

  2. Public services librarians are also responsible for the selection of general materials not specifically related to the curriculum and for maintaining a balance between the various subject areas and between standard and current works.

  3. Suggestions from students, staff and community patrons for the purchase of library materials are welcomed. Recommended items will be given careful consideration and will be purchased if they meet the standards outlined in VI Criteria for Selection.

B. Responsibility for Acquisitions

  1. As cost-effective acquisition is a specialized function that requires a separate set of procedures, controls and expertise, the Library Technical Services Department processes all acquisitions requests.

 Section V


A. Definitions of Collection Levels

Collection levels employed by the E.P.C.C. libraries are used both for policy development and for collection evaluation purposes. The collection levels below are abridged from the “W.L.N. Collection Codes” as shown in the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd edition, 1996.

  • 0 Out of Scope: The library does not collect in this subject.

  • 1 Minimal Level: A subject area for which few selections are made beyond very basic works.

  • 2 Basic Information Level: A selective collection of materials that serves to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere.

    • 2a Basic Information Level, Introductory: The emphasis is on providing resources that introduce and define a subject.

    • 2b Basic Information Level, Advanced: Basic information about a subject is provided on a wider range of topics and with more depth.

  • 3 Study Level: A collection that is adequate to impart and maintain knowledge about a subject in a systematic way but at a level of less than research intensity.

    • 3a Basic Study Level: Supports lower division undergraduate courses, as well as some of the basic independent study needs of the lifelong learner.

  • 4 Research Level: Includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research.

  • 5 Comprehensive Level: A collection in which a libraries endeavors, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) for a necessarily defined “special collection.”

B. Collection Levels at the Libraries

In general, collection levels will be as follows:

Basic Study Level: for most subjects that encompass study areas directly related to associate degree and certificate programs offered at the campus

Basic Information Levels: for subject areas not directly related to certificate or degree programs at the campus but needed to support basic liberal arts course work.

Minimal Level: for subject matter that is peripheral to the campus curriculum and that is accessible at other area libraries.

 Section VI


  1. General Criteria

    • Appearance of title in important bibliographies, lists and recognized reviewing media with preference given to series and titles that appear on notable book lists or in core bibliographies, or that have been favorably reviewed in the professional review literature
    • Authoritativeness of publisher or producer
    • Importance of author
    • Accuracy of information
    • Significance of subject matter to college curriculum
    • Size and adequacy of current collection in specific subject field
    • Recency of work (current topics are given a high priority) and/or permanent value
    • Scarcity of published materials on the subject
    • Format (print, microform, audiovisual, electronic, etc.)
    • Physical quality (binding, print, size, etc.)
    • Presentation on community college students' reading and interest level
    • Potential use of material by students, faculty or staff
    • Duplication of information
    • Price
    • Availability of materials through inter-campus loan, Interlibrary Loan or at area libraries
    • Available shelving/storage space
    • Maintenance requirements

  2. Additional Criteria - Children's Materials
    Children's materials will include selections from lists of the well-known children's classics in literature and from lists of award-winning children's books such as the Newbery, Caldecott, Texas Bluebonnet, Coretta Scott King, Stonewall and the Pura Belpré award lists.

  3. Additional Criteria - Periodicals
    1. Periodicals selected for purchase should be indexed in one of the commercial indexes subscribed to by the Library. Exceptions may be made for periodicals judged important to curriculum supports which are not indexed in common sources, such as local publications relating to the business, news or culture of the El Paso area.
    2. Other additional criteria include the number of periodicals received in the subject area, availability of back issues in non-print format (exceptions will be made for journals in the visual arts subject areas), frequency of updates and scarcity of materials in other formats.
    3. Newspapers: The Library will maintain subscriptions to national, local and some foreign newspapers. The Library also maintains a number of subscriptions to various trade papers whose content relate to the curriculum of the college. Retention periods vary for newspapers depending on available space, importance of title, indexing in sources owned by the Library, availability of title in non-print format and access to the title elsewhere in the El Paso community.

  4. Additional Criteria - Microforms
    The Library may acquire microform materials for any of the below reasons:
    • To replace print copy for preservation purposes
    • To save storage space as in the case of back issues of periodicals, or for multi-volume titles required for the curriculum but used only occasionally
    • To obtain titles only available in microform

  5. Additional Criteria - Audiovisual Materials
    1. Audiovisual materials such as videocassettes, audiocassettes, compact discs and DVD's will be selected to supplement and enhance lectures and course work. Audiovisual materials for classroom use are generally provided by campus Instructional Media Services departments which purchase, house and maintain their own separate collections.

    2. Additional criteria for selection include technical and/or artistic quality, availability of closed-captioning (DVDs), compatibility with Library-owned equipment and contribution of uniqueness or significance by the presentation or content.

  6. Additional Criteria - Electronic Databases, E-books and Online Services
    1. It is preferable to ask for a trial of the proposed database or online service before making an acquisition decision.
    2. Database decisions are district-wide so the range of subject should serve the widest possible primary customer base.
    3. Additional criteria for selection include:
      • Authority and stability of producer
      • Currency of content and frequency of updates
      • Ease of use
      • Options for printing, saving, transmitting and manipulating search results
      • Archival options
      • Technical and/or artistic quality
      • Contribution of uniqueness or significance by the presentation, content, timeliness of content, improved functionality such as the ability to invoke linkages to local and/or related resources, improved resource sharing due to the ubiquity of digital resources
      • Technical compatibility with existing and future (where potential is known) Library-owned hardware/software
      • Accessibility from institutionally-supported computing platforms and networked environments, as well as remote accessibility based on current technical standards
      • Capability for networking
      • Response time for remote networked environments
      • Level of expertise necessary for installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, etc.
      • Depth and quality of documentation
      • Technical support
      • Licensing considerations and access fees
      • Copyright considerations
      • Availability of user statistics
    4. Additional criteria for selection of e-books include:
      • Is the use of a specific e-book limited to a single user at a time, multiple users, or unlimited users?
      • Is simultaneous use permitted?
      • What are the Digital Rights Management restrictions on viewing, printing and downloading?
      • Are the e-books available from remote devices with the same limitations/permissions for access, viewing, printing and downloading as in the library?
      • Is the e-book dependent on a web-based interface?
      • Does the content expire after a certain period of time? Who determines this expiration period?
      • What devices or programs support the e-books’ format?
      • Are MARC records available for download?
      • Will publisher allow libraries to acquire and lend the e-books?
      • Is there an option for patron-driven acquisition?

  7. Additional Criteria - Software
    1. Microcomputer software programs that are compatible with existing and future (where potential is known) Library-owned hardware/software may be acquired as needed to run library-owned resources such as CDs, DVDs, the Internet, the online card catalog and other online databases.
    2. Course software for specific E.P.C.C. classes will not be purchased by the library since the collection is meant to supplement the course material. Also, students and faculty wishing to load/install these materials onto the library computers will instead be referred to the campus computer labs.
    3. Additional criteria for selection include ease of use, licensing considerations, technical support, technical quality, upgradability, stability of producer/distributor, depth and quality of documentation, and level of expertise necessary for installation, maintenance, troubleshooting, etc.

  8. Additional Criteria - World Wide Web Links from the DW Library Web Site
    Additional criteria for selection include
    • Authority and stability of producer
    • Stability of URL
    • Open access (e.g. patron does not have to pay to access the site)
    • Range of subject (should serve the widest possible primary customer base)
    • Currency of content and frequency of updates
    • Ease of use/navigation
    • Technical and/or artistic quality
    • Contribution of uniqueness or significance by the presentation, content, timeliness of content, improved functionality such as the ability to invoke linkages to related resources
    • Technical compatibility with existing and future (where potential is known) Library-owned hardware/software (e.g., avoid sites that require an additional plug-in)
    • Accessibility from institutionally-supported computer platforms and networked environments, based on current technical standards

 Section VII


Public services librarians, with the involvement of relevant Division faculty, will give systematic attention to collection evaluation and maintenance. This will include acquiring knowledge of existing holdings, identifying weaknesses relative to the curriculum and making the necessary acquisition and de-selection decisions.

A. Collection Evaluation

The collection will be maintained by continuously evaluating the contents both qualitatively and quantitatively. The purpose of evaluation is to identify "gaps" in specific subject areas and to maintain a well-balanced collection in terms of the philosophy and purpose of the E.P.C.C. libraries, and therefore the College.

The collection should be evaluated systematically and on a regular basis by a combination of methods. Possible evaluation techniques include:

Observation of use patterns and evaluation of unanswered reference questions

Formal questionnaire or survey of students and faculty to determine the nature of use and the level of satisfaction

Comparison of library holdings against standard subject bibliographies, course reading lists and core holdings at other community college libraries

Tracking the growth rate and size of the collection as a whole, and in parts, and gauging the amount of use within specific subject areas

Annually reviewing “Resource Sharing” requests made by students, faculty and staff

Reviewing holdings relative to adjustments in course and program offerings

Analysis of usage logs for online databases

B. Weeding

  1. Responsibility

    Primary responsibility for weeding the collection is held by the Division Liaison librarians with the involvement of relevant Division faculty in the specific subject areas.

  2. Criteria

    1. The following general criteria are considered when discarding materials:

      • Obsolescence

      • Superseded editions with no historical value

      • Poor physical condition

      • Insufficient use or basic value

      • Changing curricular needs

    2. Additional Criteria for canceling a subscription to or weeding Periodical titles includes:

      • Content duplicated in another source

      • Material not indexed in Library-owned indexes

      • Expensive titles readily available through other local libraries

    3. Additional guidelines for weeding within certain subject areas and by format are contained in the Library Resources Operations Manual under “Withdrawal of Materials from Collection.”

    4. Schedule

      a. The Reference collection will be weeded annually.

      b. The Circulating collection will be weeded every three years in a piecemeal process. The Library will follow a written weeding schedule, arranged by subject area, for the Circulating collection.

      c. The Periodicals collection will be weeded annually. Decisions regarding subscriptions to be canceled are made no later than August of each year. No title will be dropped without consultation with the relevant Discipline Coordinator, except when the same title is currently available in a different format (for example, electronic format). If questions or problems arise, the Division Dean will be consulted.

    5. Identification and Replacement of Damaged, Lost or Stolen Materials

      1. The entire collection will be inventoried every three years to identify damaged or missing material. The E.P.C.C. libraries Circulation Department will perform the inventory.

      2. The same general and specific criteria for selection will apply when determining if the material is to be replaced in the library collection. For more specific criteria, see “Withdrawal of Materials from Collection,” “Identification and Repair of Damaged Books,” and “Disposal of Discarded Materials” in the Library Resources Operations Manual.

 Section VIII


The E.P.C.C. libraries Collection Development Committee will review the Collection Development Policy statement annually and make proposals for revisions as needed.