Collection Development Strategies For Academic Programs

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Collection Development Strategies For Academic Programs


Abstract


Collection development policy is essential to guide the library professionals in collection development, as it measures the extent to which the collections meet the goals, needs and missions of the library and its parent organization. This study is aimed at determining the availability of collection development policies in these libraries, and finding out how compliant they are in its application on their collection in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria. A total of 134 respondents were selected from the population figure out of which the sample size was determined. The primary source of data collected was mainly the use of a structured questionnaire which was designed to elicit information on collection development strategies for academic programs. Data collected will be analyzed using frequency table, percentage and mean score analysis while the nonparametric statistical test (Chi-square) was used to test the formulated hypothesis using SPSS (statistical package for social sciences). The findings of the study revealed that, the fact that every library needs a well laid out plan to develop virile collections, it is understood that a lot of time and energy is needed in the formulation of the policies, this should not deter librarians and collection developers, especially, if they are willing to benefit from the advantages of the well laid-out policy in their respective libraries. Efforts should be made by library schools to include Management and Budgeting as core courses for student’s librarians as this will help in understanding of policies in administration.


Chapter One


Introduction

Background of the Study

The library of the University of Connecticut develops, maintains, and makes discoverable robust and unique collections that support the research and learning needs of the UConn community and beyond. The University Library serves all of the undergraduate and graduate programs on the main campus, the four regional campuses, and the UConn Health campus. While the UConn Law Library is administratively separate from the University Library, the University Library and the Law Library maintain a strong affiliation, particularly in the areas of collection development and access. With 3.9 million print volumes and well over 110,000 electronic and print journals, the libraries of the University of Connecticut form the most comprehensive public research collection in the state.The University Library maintains nine physical locations: four on the Storrs campus, one at each of the four regional campuses, and one at the UConn Health campus. The Homer Babbidge Library, the flagship location of the University Library, is in the center of the Storrs campus and serves both undergraduate and graduate programs. The Storrs campus is also home to the School of Fine Arts Resource Center in the Fine Arts complex, the Pharmacy Library in the Pharmacy/Biology building, and the University Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center. Each of the University’s four regional campuses — Avery Point, Hartford, Stamford, and Waterbury — maintains a library dedicated to serving the programs at those sites. Regional campus libraries hold undergraduate-focused core collections as well as specialized research collections tailored to the needs of graduate programs: Marine Biology at Avery Point; Business, Public Policy, Education, and Social Work at Hartford; Business at Stamford; and Education, Nursing, and Engineering at Waterbury. The Storrs and regional campus locations of the University Library shares a single catalog and each of these libraries serve as a gateway to the collection as a whole. The UConn Health Sciences Library location of the University Library maintains a separate catalog reflecting the specialized needs of the UConn Health community. This document applies specifically to the Storrs and regional locations of the University Library (heretofore referred to as “the Library”) and outlines the principles and guidelines used to develop the collections at these locations.

Scope of the Collection the Library develops and maintains collections that inspire discovery and the creation of new knowledge by providing resources that support and enhance research and scholarship, undergraduate and graduate education, and emerging areas of interdisciplinary interest at the University of Connecticut. The depth of collection development varies by discipline and is driven by the scholarship and teaching priorities of the University’s academic programs.The Library recognizes that free access to ideas and freedom of expression are fundamental to research and education in a democratic society. The Library is committed to providing a balanced collection representing a diversity of perspectives. The collection will not exclude any materials on the basis of their creators’ and/or publishers’ race, color, ethnicity, religious creed, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, or physical or mental abilities.

Access versus Ownership The Library is responsible for acquiring, curating, and preserving enduring research collections and ensuring their availability for current and future scholarship. Decisions about which materials to purchase for permanent retention are balanced against the need to provide access to a broad array of information resources with immediate scholarly and research value. Research strengths, academic priorities, and the information needs of students inform decisions about when to collect for permanent retention, when to lease or borrow materials, and when to rely on openly available repositories.

Cooperative Collection Sharing and Stewardship The Library’s collection meets the needs of the UConn community while also functioning as a node in networks of collective collections developed by libraries partnering at regional, national, and international levels. The Library recognizes the vital importance of these collective collections in ensuring for the long-term retention of the scholarly record and the ongoing ability of researchers to access this record. To this end, the Library is committed to participating in partnerships with other libraries that facilitate collection sharing and stewardship. Among the partnerships that the Library participates in is the Eastern Academic Scholars Trust (EAST), a print retention partnership of over 50 college and university libraries. The mission of EAST is to ensure that faculty and students in the northeast United States have access to the collective scholarly record of print monographs, journals, and serials in the participating libraries and that this record is preserved.

Licensing Online Resources The library of the University of Connecticut negotiates licenses as “One UConn,” and including the Storrs campus libraries, regional campus libraries, the Health Sciences library, and the Law library. When negotiating license agreements for online resources, the Library refrains from purchasing resources where restrictions would impede research or intellectual freedom, or be impossible to enforce. The library strives to ensure access is granted to the fullest extent possible and that the UConn Board of Trustees’ approval, signature authority, and contract requirements are all met. In furtherance thereof, licenses negotiated by the libraries generally reference and incorporate terms and conditions set forth in the LIBLICENSE Model and in other standards widely adopted by research institutions.Additionally, the library negotiates licenses to be in compliance with the State of Connecticut’s contract requirements. Licensed resources must include the State of Connecticut’s required contract provisions.

Collections Budget The Library’s collection allocations are used to acquire ownership of or access to monographs, media, journals, databases, and data and datasets; support interlibrary borrowing and lending; enable the discovery of print and online materials worldwide; steward the University’s scholarly output; secure participation in collaborative repositories that safeguard the long term preservation of both print and digital resources; and participate in relevant professional memberships. The Library also collaborates with schools and departments to co-finance and co-sponsor specialized resources that benefit our research community.

Responsibility for Collection Development The Library’s Collections Steering Committee has administrative oversight for the collections. It sets collection development policies, makes broad collection budget allocations, and regularly reviews these allocations for strategic adjustment. Selection/retention decisions for high-cost resources also fall within the purview of the Collections Steering Committee.The Library’s Research Services unit coordinates the assessment and development of collections and discovery tools of cross-disciplinary nature, while individual subject librarians have responsibility for assessing and developing collections and information sources relating to their assigned academic disciplines. Fund allocations are divided among academic disciplines based on the size of the program, department, school or area, the nature of material needed, the record of expenditures in relation to previous years, and the existence or presence of new initiatives and/or faculty.

General Criteria for Collection Development The Library works with the UConn community and consortia to determine which resources should be acquired or retained and employs the following general criteria when evaluating resources to be added to the general collections: Relevance to education and research programs: Applicability to faculty and graduate students’ research interests, current curricular needs, and research trends in academic disciplines. Scope and depth of the existing collection: Breadth and historic retention of the Library’s collection in the subject area. Quality: Level of scholarship and creativity; long term relevance of content and format; reputation of the author, publisher, contributors, and editorial board; and availability and importance of illustrations and bibliographies.

Currency and timeliness: Rapidity with which new information significantly advances or supersedes earlier scholarship in the subject area. Discoverability, usability, and accessibility: Ability of users to locate materials in scholarly databases and free search engines, intuitiveness of the interface design, and accessibility of online materials for users with disabilities.Cost: Expense of acquiring, processing, cataloging, shelving, and preserving materials, both commercially sold and free. Renewal rates: Subscribed resources with renewal rates of four percent or more are subject to review. The review will assess the basis for the significant cost increase and may result in cancellation. Language and country of origin: Optimal language and perspective for specific programmatic research and education needs. Contribution to open scholarly communication: The resource positively impacts open access to research and scholarship; the information is or will soon become readily accessible to the world community.


Statement of the Problem

Collection development policy is essential to guide the library professionals in collection development, as it measures the extent to which the collections meet the goals, needs and missions of the library and its parent organization. A policy supports libraries in providing collections to meet teaching, learning, and research needs of its students and staff. Collection development policy builds a collection which can directly support as high a proportion of the research, learning, teaching and other academic activities of the institutions as possible.
Academic libraries are under great pressure to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the extent to which the collections are sufficient and efficient to meet the goals, needs and missions of the library and parent organizations. Librarians and collection developers are likely to go into excesses in some areas to the neglect of other areas, if no guiding policies are followed in the collection development process of a library. The implication of this is that such libraries have numerous information materials but cannot satisfy the information needs of the community they serve. It appears that many academic libraries in North West, Nigeria do not have collection development policies, and those that have them, may not be using them. On account of this, it can be said that any library without a functional collection development policy will not only be on the decline, but will also be unable to achieve the objectives for which such library was set up.

The challenge of this study is to determine the availability of collection development policies in these libraries, and finding out how compliant they are in its application on their collection in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria. No academic institution can progress without adequate provision of current, relevant information resources such as textbooks, reference materials, and academic journals in its libraries. It is against this background that the researcher deems it necessary to examine the extent to which academic libraries in North West Nigeria have collection development policies and make use of them in their collection development.


Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study is to examine the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.

Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. Ascertain the availability of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.
  2. Ascertain the content of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.
  3. Determine the extent of application of collection development policies in these libraries.
  4. Ascertainthe perceived benefits of the application of collection development policies in achieving the objectives of the libraries.
  5. Investigate the constraints to the application of collection development policies among the academic libraries of North West, Nigeria.
  6. Suggest strategies for enhancing the application of collection development Policies in academic libraries

Research Questions

This study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. In which of the academic libraries in North West, Nigeria is collection development policy available?
  2. What are the contents of thecollection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
  3. To what extent are collection development policies applied in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
  4. What are the perceived benefits of the application of collection development policies on the achievement of the objectives of academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?
  5. What are the constraints faced by academic libraries in North West, Nigeria in the application of collection development policies?
  6. What are the strategies for enhancing the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria?

Significance of the Study

The findings of this research will hopefully be of immense benefit to the following; Library Management, Acquisition Librarians, Library Users and the Government.

Library management stands to gain from the findings of this study in a number of ways. First by establishing availability and extent of use of collection development policy in the academic libraries in the zone, the library management will be in a better position to re-assess those libraries that do not possess it, or do not make use of it with a view to enforce it and achieve the objectives which the academic libraries are established for. Secondly, the findings of the study will further educate library management on how best to adopt collection development policy for the benefit of their respective libraries, based on strategies suggested to enhance its application. Thirdly, the existence and application of a collection development policy will help the library management to make proper arrangement to stock libraries with adequate materials for learning, in order to achieve the objectives of the institutions it serves.

The findings of this research will help the acquisition librarians in working with greater consistency towards achieving the libraries’ goals by using collection development policy in developing healthy material resources to cater for all users, using limited funds at their disposal. Another significance of this research work to the library is that, it will add to the growing body of knowledge in the literature of library and information science, and also provide resources for students and researchers for their work too. The significance of this research finding to a library user is that, if collection development policies are applied in academic library collections, it will help to assemble all manner of information resources of whatever type and formats for the users and this will enhance the quality and quantity of the materials available in the libraries for their studies automatically.

From the result of this research at completion, the government will be able to access the quality of resource materials available in academic libraries in the zone and detect which library uses the policies in her collection development, as there will be a glaring deference in the quality and quantity of resources that will exist in these academic libraries.

The work on completion will add to the existing literature in academic libraries on application of collection development policies in general especially where this type of research exist and, it will be a starting point where other researchers see the importance and need for such document in academic libraries particularly in North West, Nigeria where this type of research has been neglected before now and they can improve upon it.


Scope of the Study

This study is exclusively on application of collection development policies with specific issues like; availability of a written collection development policy, contents of collection development policies, extent of use of written collection development policy, effect of the application of collection development policy in achieving the objectives of the library, constraints to the application of collection development policy, and strategies that will enhance the application of collection development policies. Issues bordering on controversial materials, preservation of library materials and availability or otherwise of self-censorship are not covered in the study. The study was limited to Academic Libraries in North West, Nigeria and the professional library staff only were involved in the research.

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Conclusion


Collection development policies when adequately established and applied properly in academic libraries will enhance the acquisition of current and relevant information materials that will meet the numerous users’ information needs. This study is aimed at identifying the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria. Literature from this studies, as well as practical practices from the areas this study was carried out, has emphatically re-echoed the critical place and role of the application of collection development policies in academic libraries. From the findings of the study, major problems that hinders the application of collection development policies in academic libraries are; inadequate professional library staff, problem of funds, the use of ICT in posting unscreened information for academic library users, negative staff attitudes/Indifference, administrative bottlenecks to policy implementation and maintenance and lack of revision policy to mention a few.
Also the result from the findings, revealed that, the fact that every library needs a well laid out plan to develop virile collections, it is understood that a lot of time and energy is needed in the formulation of the policies, this should not deter librarians and collection developers, especially, if they are willing to benefit from the advantages of a well laid-out policy in their respective libraries.

The following suggestions and others were given, believing that, if they are applied, will enhance the application of collection development policies in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria and beyond. Librarians should insist on having functional policies to achieve standard library collections. Materials should be ordered for the library continuously, without necessarily waiting for a particular time, using policies. Efforts should be made by library schools to include Management and Budgeting as core courses for student’s librarians as this will help in the understanding of policies in administration. The Nigerian Library Association (NLA) should create a standard policy for academic libraries’ on their material collection development, and ensure compliance by all academic libraries for them to be of a standard and enjoy increased funding. Librarians in the North West, Nigeria should strive to be participating in workshops, and seminars particularly, on methods of improving collection development policy, by doing so, their libraries’ collections would meet the needs of the users. Efforts should be made to recruit more librarians so as to meet the needs of library users in academic libraries in North West, Nigeria.

The researcher conclusively, suggest that for application of collection development to be meaningful and realistic in academic libraries, officers in-charge of collection development need to be committed, appropriately trained formally and informally, and also be willing to spend considerable time and energy to develop useful and relevant policies. Above all, developing the policies is not an end in itself; the policies are to be followed in the collection building process. The importance of application of collection development policies to libraries in developing its collection makes it imperative that academic libraries should treat this aspect of librarianship services with utmost seriousness.

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