Collection Development



Southern Adventist University

Southern Adventist University is a small university owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church.

The university strives for academic and professional excellence, responsive to the needs of its constituencies as it provides affordable education and a balanced lifestyle for students from diverse backgrounds. The institution is recognized for its integration of faith and learning, scholarship and service, and leadership and servanthood.

McKee Library Mission

Within a Christian context, McKee library manages the academic knowledge commons and instructs users in its proper use because knowledge is the foundation for critical thinking.

Collection Development Overview

Books, periodicals, and media materials are chosen with the criteria to support the university’s Christian standards, Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, curriculum, student and faculty research, local history, and community and student body interests. Librarians work closely with professors and deans to develop the collection and make sure the library has the available materials for each department’s area of expertise. Having a balanced resource collection enhances student learning and works toward the promotion of higher-level thinking.

It is our responsibility as librarians to develop a resource collection that is conducive to student inquiry and learning. We want students to have access to resources that not only support and enhance what they are being taught but that also provide alternate points of view, giving them a chance to analyze the information before them and come to their own conclusions. We take pride in crafting a well-rounded collection.

Challenge Policy

The library endorses the American Library Association’s “Library Bill Of Rights”: we attempt to represent all points of view and objectively consider all purchase requests.

Sometimes a person may feel an item does not belong in the collection. When this happens, they must complete and sign a Request for Reconsideration, available at the circulation desk. The library does not respond to anonymous phone calls, rumors, or voiced concerns.

Once the request has been received, the collection development team will meet to review it. Please note: items already in the collection stay there until the team makes its decision.

The requestor may appeal a decision to the director if so desired.


McKee Library complies with all the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C) and its amendments. Specifically, it supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) that protects the right to reproduce and make use of copyrighted works for the purpose of teaching, scholarship, and research.

Selection Criteria

In core subject areas, the library will collect at the study level, basic through advanced. (Please see the Collection Levels section for details.)

Outside this core, the library collects at the minimal study level. These are materials of general interest to our community in areas where the university offers no classes.

The library considers the following as it evaluates a resource, regardless of format:

  • Relevance to the curriculum
  • Strength of holdings in this or related subject areas
  • Appropriateness of level of treatment (e.g., Is the material accessible to students? Is it anticipated that the material will be used for term papers, supplementary reading, etc.?)
  • Style and clarity of presentation
  • Permanent value to the collection
  • Reputation of the author or publisher
  • Accuracy of the information
  • Suitability of format to content - particularly in the case of AV or digitized products. Does the format of the item effectively convey the desired information, and does the library have any special equipment required to use the material?
  • Cost

Whenever possible, the library will buy items based on reviews found in professional publications.

The library also buys items of passing or spiritual interest. It does so to help the university’s students grow emotionally and spiritually.

Specific Policies

In addition to the above selection criteria, the following materials require specific considerations/guidelines:


  1. Textbooks
    The library buys textbooks currently used in large courses and has them available on reserve. When a textbook that is on reserve is no longer required, the library withdraws it. The library does not buy textbooks for the general collection except when the item has earned a reputation as a 'classic' in the field, or it is the best source of information on a given topic.
  2. Duplicates
    The library buys duplicates only in special situations.
  3. Bindings
    The library prefers hardcopy books, unless the cost difference between it and a paperback is significant.
  4. Lost or Stolen Items
    The library will replace lost or stolen materials within one year of reported as missing.
  5. Cost
    When an item's cost is high and expected demand low, the library will make purchase decisions in light of the item's availability at other libraries in the local area or via interlibrary loan (ILL).
  6. Out of Print
    The library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases and uses standard bibliographies and other evaluation tools to locate and fill gaps in the collection. However, in view of the difficulty and expense of obtaining out-of-print and reprinted material, the library will first use its monies to buy current publications, thus preventing a future need for retrospective buying.
  7. Deselection
    The library conducts a rolling collection review and withdraws some titles that have not been used in the last ten years.


A serial is a publication in any format, issued in successive parts, and intended to be continued indefinitely. Examples include periodicals, newspapers, annuals, proceedings, and book series.

Because a serial subscription represents a long term financial commitment, the library makes these decisions carefully. It's a delicate balance between long-term cost and usefulness.

The library considers availability of indexing, the quality or reputation of the publication, and collection balance when making its decision. It will give priority to titles that support academic programs at the university or where demand exists.

The library collects specialist publications, above and beyond core titles, when that title gives students the opportunity to do independent research with faculty. Such selections give the collection depth and are the source of its uniqueness.

  1.  Popular vs. Scholarly
    The library subscribes to scholarly journals that directly support the university's curriculum. It subscribes to popular journals that round-out and enhance what is already there and that represent student and faculty interests.
  2. Duplicates
    The library does not buy duplicate copies of journals.
  3. Deselection
    To keep the periodical collection up-to-date, the library conducts a rolling collection review. Each title is evaluated at least once a year. Usage statistics are kept for all periodical titles.
  4. Newspapers
    The library collects newspapers in a highly selective way.

Electronic Resources

  1. Basic Guidelines
        • The library uses the selection criteria, outlined above, when it evaluates new electronic resources.
        • The library gives priority to resources that offer economies of scale, benefiting the most faculty and students.
        • The search interface of the resource must be powerful, flexible, user-friendly, and well-indexed.
        • The library must have the technology and staff to deliver and support the resource.
        • The library buys resources through consortia arrangements whenever it can get them cheaper that way.
        • The library's electronic resource budget must be able to sustain the resource into the future.
        • The library buys backfiles of an electronic resource if affordable and considered essential to the collection.
        • Whenever possible, access to the electronic resource must meet these goals:
          • Support remote users of library and information resources
          • Deliver reliable remote access
          • Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
          • Utilize a unified and intuitive interface
  2. Format
      • The Library prefers Web delivery over CD-ROM unless the Web version is not available.
  3. Vendors and Licensing
      • The vendor should be stable, reliable, and offer technical support.
      • A change of vendors will occur only when a new vendor can deliver a superior search interface, enable greater and more reliable remote access at a reasonable cost, or provide other key factors.

 Special Collections

For policies regarding special collections, please see the webpage McKee Library Special Collections Policy and Development.

Collection Maintenance

Periodically, the librarians evaluate the collection. The decision to pull an item is based on past use, the need for multiple copies, physical condition, uniqueness, and level at which the library collects in that subject area. Please see the Deselection section below for more details.

If an item is in poor physical condition, yet something the library wants to keep, it will be repaired or replaced by a newer edition, when available.

Cooperative Collection Development

The library realizes it cannot buy everything. Because of that, it makes full use of cooperative arrangements. Specifically, the library belongs to the ALICE (, SOLINET (, and Tenn-share ( consortiums.


For the most part, the library collects English language materials. However, at times it will buy foreign language items that support the university's languages curriculum and community (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Spanish).


The library welcomes gifts from friends of the university, with the understanding that the library may do what it wishes with material not added to the collection. The library evaluates gifts in the same way it does new resources, be it a book, journal, or electronic database.


Collection Levels

Comprehensive Level

At this level, the library collects everything, in whatever format, in a limited subject area. The aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness.

Research Level

At this level, the library collects whatever a doctoral student or independent researcher might need in a given subject area. A collection like this contains research reports, primary source documents, published scientific results, important reference works, a wide selection of specialized books, and all indexing and abstracting services in that field.

Advanced Study Level

At this level, the library collects whatever an advanced undergraduate or masters student might need in a given subject area. A collection like this has a wide range of primary sources, basic monographs – both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical framework of the subject.

Medium Study Level

At this level, the library collects whatever an undergraduate might need in a given subject area. A collection like this can support generalized study, of less than research intensity. It has a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of important writers, a selection of representative journals, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical framework of the subject.

Initial Study Level

At this level, the library collects whatever a 1st year undergraduate might need in a given subject area. A collection like this has a judicious selection of basic monographs (as found in Choice), supported by retrospective monographs (as found in Books for College Libraries). It also has a broad selection of works of more important writers, a selection of the major review journals, and current editions of the most significant reference tools and bibliographies pertaining to the subject.

Basic Study Level

At this level, the library collects material that introduces and defines a subject, in a highly selective way. A collection like this contains major dictionaries and encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, important bibliographies, and a few of the major periodicals in the field.

Minimal Study Level

A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works.

Out Of Scope

The subject is not collected.



In order to keep the collection relevant and maintain available space in the library, resource deselection procedures occur from time to time. The library retains authority for deselecting materials.

During the deselection process, the following are considered for all materials:

    • Date. When was the item published? When was it added to the collection?
    • Author. Is the author still read or likely to be read in the future? Is the book a lesser work?
    • Publisher. Was the book self-published or published by an “instant” press that may not have taken care of editing and printing?
    • Physical condition. Are there any factors that make the item unattractive?
    • Additional copies. Are more copies available that may be in better condition or are a newer edition?
    • Other books on the same subject in the collection. If this book is discarded, what else is available?
    • Shelf time. How long has the item sat on the shelf without circulating?
    • Relevance of the subject to the community. Is the material of interest to anyone in the community?

A resource remains in the collection if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • It is written by an SDA author or about SDA heritage, topics, etc.
  • It has been checked-out within the last year.
  • It has reasonable usage within the last five years.
  • It is a first edition.
  • It contains regional information.
  • It has up-to-date information that is relevant to university majors or disciplines.
  • It meets an area of academic need.
  • The item is part of a numbered set.
  • The item qualifies for special collections.

A resource is withdrawn if one or more of the following apply:

  • It is older than 40 years and has not been checked out in the last five years.
  • It has not been checked out in the last 10 years, regardless of age.
  • It contains errant or outdated information or is not relevant (especially on subjects that change quickly or require absolute currency, such as computers, law, science, space, health and medicine, technology, travel).
  • It is a non-circulating self-published material.
  • It contains mediocre writing style, especially material that was written quickly to meet popular interest that has passed.
  • It is a superseded edition.