Adams State University
Nielsen Library

Nielsen Library Policies: Collection Development

Collection Development policy

Collection Development Policy
Nielsen Library
February 2023


Introduction and Mission Statement

Overview of the Collection

Funding for Information Resources

Library Clientele

Selection Responsibility

Selection Criteria

Special Collections

Other Available Resources

Other Policies



Nielsen Library is the primary source of academic information resources for Adams State University (ASU). The purpose of the library is to provide access to resources which provide academic support for the education programs offered on campus and through distance studies.


The purpose of this policy is to provide guidelines for building and maintaining a collection of information resources to meet the needs of ASU students, staff, and faculty, also accessible by community members. Specific objectives of this policy include:


Communicating the nature and limits of the collection; 

Defining criteria for making decisions; 

Ensuring appropriate use of limited funds; 

Promoting consistency in collection development decision making over time; 

Relating library goals to the goals of the campus; 

Serving as a communication point between Nielsen Library staff and ASU personnel.



Adams State University Mission Statement
Adams State University’s driving purpose is to provide equitable access to education for all. We promote successful and engaged lives by caring for, connecting with, and challenging our students, campus, and community. As Colorado’s premier Hispanic Serving Institution, Adams State University draws on its rural location in the San Luis Valley to serve and empower all students, especially those from historically underserved populations.



Overview of the Collection


The library provides access to information resources including: books; indexing/abstracting tools; journals; reference materials in print and/or electronic formats; and audiovisual media and microfilm to support ASU curricula, faculty, student, and local historical research. 


In general, resources purchased or leased for the collection are appropriate for individuals studying at an undergraduate or graduate level.


It is important to note that while electronic information resources offer many benefits, they pose new challenges. The library does not have sufficient funds to purchase both print and online versions of journals, necessitating the cancellation of many print titles in favor of leasing access to the electronic versions. However, like all libraries, Nielsen Library does not “own” most online resources. There is great concern about the ability of libraries to provide long-term archival access to electronic resources. Other challenges associated with online resources include the cost of library staff to manage them and the necessity to regularly upgrade technology.


Within the constraints of available funding, the library strives to provide adequate coverage in the areas of general education, art, biology, business, chemistry, counselor education, earth sciences, education, English, history, government, kinesiology, mathematics, music, nursing, psychology, sociology, Spanish, and theater.


Nielsen Library serves as a select repository for federal and Colorado state government documents. These arrive in a variety of formats including paper, microfilm, and electronic copy.


The library maintains copies of master's theses from ASU graduates. These were voluntarily submitted to the library which has resulted in a sporadic collection. Older theses are in the archives or the Colville Room; newer theses are available via ProQuest. 

Because ASU does not fund the library to maintain campus archival materials, these items are not actively acquired. There have been efforts in the past to manage an active University archive, and the library continues to care for the materials we do have. 

Funding for Information Resources


In the current environment of exponential growth of information resources, no individual library can afford to purchase all of the information resources patrons need. The development of new information technologies and the continued high rate of inflation for academic books and journals make this even more difficult.

The primary source of funds for purchasing and leasing materials for the collection is the Information Resources (IR) account containing state funds allocated to the library by the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) chancellor's office. This annual allocation depends upon overall state funding for higher education, allocations among University of Colorado campuses, and UCHSC campus budgetary matters.

IR funds cover the costs of purchasing and/or leasing access to books, journals, audiovisual materials, and other information resources that support core campus programs. These funds must also cover the costs of binding, preserving, repairing, and replacing materials. Because library base funding does not increase when new campus programs are added, support of such programs must often come from program funds or additional funds provided by campus schools or administration.

Funds allocated by the campus are augmented by several small endowment accounts. These accounts generate revenue that may be used to purchase print resources, pay for the cost of licensing online products, and to acquire the hardware necessary to access electronic resources.

Library Clientele


The purpose of Nielsen Library is to serve the information needs of its primary users:

ASU students, staff, and faculty; Alamosa community members.

Selection Responsibility

The Director of the library has overall responsibility for determining which items will be added to or removed from the library's collection. Subject liaisons are responsible for acquiring materials of interest to their department(s) as well as lending their perspectives and knowledge to more general acquisitions. Special collections are not actively expanding at this time; however, responsibility for curating these collections rests with librarians.

Selection Criteria

Many factors must be weighed in making selection decisions. The following factors are considered when evaluating resources for addition to the collection.


Books (Monographs);

Subject matter and relevance to the educational and research needs of primary clientele; 

Potential use by primary clientele – may be indicated by use of previous editions and/or inclusion in standard recommended lists; 


Existing coverage in the collection; 


Recommendations from primary clientele; 

Book reviews; 

Availability through Inter-Library Loan (ILL); 

Format (The library does not automatically exclude formats that provide pertinent information needed by primary users. However, the following types of materials are generally not acquired: Charts; Congresses; Examination review books/guides; Graphs; Laboratory manuals; Lecture notes; Loose-leaf publications; Microfilm; Pamphlets; Pocketbooks; Posters; Proceedings; Programmed or self-instructional texts; Reprints; Spiral bound publications; Study guides; Syllabi; Symposia; VHS or obsolete formats; Workbooks).



Subject matter and relevance to the information needs of primary clientele; 

Potential use by primary clientele – may be indicated by inclusion in standard recommended lists and number of ILL requests; 


Recommendations from primary clientele; 

Availability through ILL.


Electronic Resources

Subject matter and relevance to the information needs of primary clientele; 

Potential use by primary clientele – including ILL requests from primary library users; 


Availability of necessary hardware, software, and connections; 

Licensing agreement requirements/restrictions; 

Appropriateness for the library environment (ability to be networked, etc.); 

Access method – preference given to IP filtered access over password-protected access; 

Ease of searching and user friendliness; 

Search speed; 

Availability of full-text, full images, tables, and figures, PDF option, etc. 

Security issues; 

Vendor service reliability.

Special Collections

Colville Room: Ruth Marie Colville was a San Luis Valley historian who left a number of books and papers to ASU. Her books and some theses of ASU graduates are discoverable in the catalog, and accessible with assistance from a librarian. These works do not circulate, but can be read/copied in the library. 

Cooper Room: Dr. Jack Cooper was a local valley historian and an avid photographer. This room contains many works on photography and US history, as well as local and ASU history. As with the Colville room, the contents of this room are discoverable in the catalog and can be read/copied in the building but do not circulate. 

Colorado Room:  Contains newspaper clippings, indexed alphabetically by topic. Publicly accessible with library staff assistance;  not accepting donations or other additions. 

Reference Collection: The library maintains a non-circulating reference collection to answer clients' immediate needs for information. The reference collection contains a variety of resources, including almanacs, bibliographies, biographical resources, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, indices and abstracts, government publications, grant and financial aid resources, statistical resources, style guides and manuals, and test and measurement resources.

The library's reference collection contains both print and electronic resources. The reference collection policy follows the general collection development policy in terms of subject scope; however, it includes materials necessary to answer a wide variety of general reference questions. 

Reserve Collection: ASU instructors may request that course-related books, audiovisual media, and scans of journal articles be designated for reserve status. Reserve materials are shelved behind the Circulation Desk and are checked out for use in the library on a first-come, first-served basis. Article or chapter scans will be uploaded to Libapps and are accessible through the Blackboard course page. For more information and to request that items be placed on reserve or scanned, visit the library’s reserve web page: 

Other Available Resources


Interlibrary Loan: ILL enables library staff to supplement the library's collection by obtaining copies and/or loans of items not available at ASU. Electronic ILL systems are used to locate items worldwide and request them for ASU clients as well as to extend ASU resources to library users from other institutions. More information about ILL is available on the library’s website at 

Prospector: Nielsen Library participates in the Prospector catalog containing the holdings of nearly 200 academic, public, and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Library users have access to more than 30 million books, journals, sound recordings, films, videotapes, and other circulating materials held in Prospector libraries. Prospector materials may be requested online at Requested items will be delivered to Nielsen Library for pick-up.

Other Policies


Binding and Preservation
When possible, books are purchased in hardcover. Soft cover items received may be sent for binding, depending on cost and expected use. All print journals that are retained for more than five years are bound.

Items needing repair are sent to the library’s Materials Processing staff for repair or rebinding. Items that are too damaged to be retained are discarded or replaced, at the discretion of the library staff.


Gifts and Donations
Gifts for the collection provide a valuable supplement to the library's limited IR budget. Selection criteria for gift materials are the same as those for purchased materials. In most cases, duplicate materials will not be added to the collection. Resources most suitable for donation include:

Institutional subscriptions to relevant journals; 

New editions of relevant texts; 

Missing issues of library journal subscriptions; 

Books and other items published by ASU faculty; 

Rare or historical materials.

Financial donations to purchase resources for the collection are greatly appreciated. For more information or assistance in making a donation, please visit the ASU Foundation Online Donation web page:


Multiple Copies
As a general rule, duplicate copies of print monographs and LRC materials are purchased very rarely. Duplicate print copies of journals are not purchased.


Books that are missing, lost, or damaged are not automatically replaced. The decision to replace a book is made by collection development staff based on use, subject matter and relevance to the needs of primary clients, currency, cost, and available funds.




Weeding (the removal of items from the collection) is an integral part of developing and maintaining the collection. Materials no longer relevant to the needs of primary clientele and duplicate copies of seldom-used items are periodically removed from the collection. This is done to conserve valuable space and to improve the utility of the collection. Withdrawn books may be offered to other local libraries or free to patrons. Withdrawn journals are offered to other local libraries or through national library exchanges.


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