Skip to Main Content
Skagit Valley College Library  Logo
Hosted on our partner site, Springshare LibGuides CMS
  • Canvas
  • MySVC
  • Library Home
  • SVC Home

Collection Development


This collection development policy provides guidelines for establishing priorities for the selection of library materials and the criterial for withdrawal of materials from the collection.

Although the SVC library faculty are primarily responsible for the quality of the collection; library faculty work collaboratively with classroom faculty to ensure that classroom faculty have input in their subject areas. Suggestions for purchases are welcomed and received from all elements of the community: students, staff, faculty, administrators and community borrowers.

The library offers print and electronic resources which provide accessible library sources for the college community.  Resources include multiple online and physical formats. Electronic resources include e-books, online reference and other specialized databases.

Classroom faculty are encouraged to work with library faculty to:

  • evaluate materials and resources available in the library
  • identify materials and resources to support their courses
  • plan use of materials and resources in the library collection
  • make recommendations for additions to and deletions from the library collection

Intellectual Freedom:

It is the responsibility of library faculty and other selectors to ensure that all points of view relevant to the college mission are represented in the collection. The library endorses the following documents from the American Library Association: the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read statement. 

Challenges to Library Materials:

A complaint about an item in the collection should be submitted in writing and addressed to the Director of Library Services.   Written complaints should include:

  • the author’s name, title of the item, edition, copyright date, and call number,
  • the specific concern (citing page numbers),
  • Critical reviews of the work or alternate view points, and the action being requested.

The director will seek additional input (typically no more than two members of the library advisory committee) to review the work before rendering a decision.  A written response will be issued within 30 days of receiving the complaint.

Library and media materials and resources are selected to:

  • provide access to collections in sufficient quality, depth, diversity, format and currency to support the research and teaching missions of the college
  • support the mission and goals of the college
  • support the educational programs of the college
  • support cultural and ethnic diversity
  • support general reference services of the library
  • support scholarship, research and enrichment of students, faculty and staff
  • balance depth and breadth in support of lifelong learning
  • support individual learning in the community
  • provide supplemental reading, viewing and listening
  • provide access to information resources in a variety of formats

Guidelines for the selection of materials:

Items considered for addition to the library collection will be evaluated by library faculty, with attention given to:

  • written reviews indicating authority, treatment, accuracy and relevancy of content
  • relation of content to the college curriculum
  • size and adequacy of current collection in the subject area
  • potential use of materials by students and faculty
  • currency of material

Priorities for purchase are:

  • faculty requests for materials to support courses
  • materials and resources for new and/or revised courses
  • up-to-date reference materials
  • significant new titles in all areas of the curriculum
  • maintaining a desirable balance of print, audiovisual and electronic resources
  • up-to-date materials throughout the collection

Materials not normally selected include:

  • rare books and first editions
  • books in languages not taught at the college, unless there is a demonstrated need
  • highly specialized technical materials that would not be used by SVC students
  • textbooks for courses offered at the college

Print Periodicals:

Print magazines and trade journals are selected to support instructional programs and for general interest/recreational reading.  Newspapers are purchased to provide local and regional news coverage.  Titles may be discontinued if full text is available electronically.


Audiovisual materials and equipment are selected to meet instructional needs. Audiovisual materials include DVDs, sound recordings, slides and kits. Sharing of costs between the library and a department may be negotiated for costly items. It is a goal of the library to add all media materials purchased and/or created by the college to the library collection regardless of their location on campus and/or the source funds used to obtain them.  The library also has a collection of “browsing” DVDs for leisure use by our patrons.  This collection is dependent on donations. 

Government Information:

The library is not a depository for federal or state government publications. Government publications are selected according to the same criteria applied to other library materials, and are placed within the appropriate location within the collection.

Special Collections

Skagit Valley College Collection

The library maintains a small archival collection which includes the following:

  • Materials pertaining to SVC history
  • Items of value or interest to our past and current students, including:
  • Course catalogs,and commencement programs as required under the Washington State General Retention Schedule
  • Records of special college-wide programs such as building dedications, retirement celebrations, hall of fame, and other events subject to librarian approval.
  • Records of regular college-wide programs or events, such as Jill Fugate presentations, career fairs, etc. subject to librarian approval.
  • Relevant papers, such as quarterly schedules, publications or other materials belonging to individuals connected to the college, subject to librarian approval.
  • Other relevant materials subject to librarian approval.

When adding materials, the quality, condition and timeliness of the materials is considered.  Ephemeral materials such as candidate focus sessions, budget hearing notes or meeting notes are not retained.  Materials related to the internal functions of the college, such as committee meeting notes, departmental budgets, etc., and other items that fall under the records retention policy applicable to individual departments are not included in this collection and should be referred to the appropriate department for record keeping.

ESL/AESL Collection

The ESL/AESL Collection is an adult oriented collection which includes dictionaries and grammars, English language learning materials, print and media, and a leveled reading collection including listening materials to support the English Language Acquisition (ELA) programs.

Children’s Collection

The library may purchase and accept donations of children’s books to support Skagit Valley College programs, coop-preschool, college daycare, and the college community.   Books in this collection are selected for infant to kindergarten age children.  Chapter books and young adult materials are evaluated and added to the regular collection if appropriate.

READ Collection

“Studies show that those who read more read better.  They also write better, spell better, have larger vocabularies, and have better control of complex grammatical constructions” (Krashen, 2004).  As such, the READ Collection provides access to recreational reading for SVC students and other patrons.  

  • Books, fiction and non-fiction, that get favorable reviews in popular, general audience publications, such as New York Times, Seattle Times, Publisher’s Weekly, standard library review publications, etc.
  • Books suggested by faculty
  • Books of different genres to appeal to a wide variety of readers
  • Hardcover or good quality paperback
  • YA and other books suitable for CCB/EL/AESL students are a priority acquisition


The library welcomes gifts and accepts them with the understanding that the materials will be evaluated according to the same standards as purchased items and provided they support our curricula, meet collection goals are in good condition and do not duplicate our holdings, they may be added to the collections.

All donations become the property of the library and are evaluated and handled in the same way as purchased materials. Useful materials are integrated in to the collection. Gifts that are in good condition, but not suitable for the library collection may be offered to other area libraries, sold at our book sales, or recycled.

Donors may request a receipt for the gifts given.  They may also request that a name plate be attached to the materials if they are added to the collection.

In general, the library does not accept the following materials:

  • Any items in poor condition, including those containing torn pages, torn covers, excessive marking or highlighting, mildew, pests or otherwise deemed to be in poor condition by a librarian.
  • Old issues of magazines or journals
  • Materials in out-of-date or discontinued formats, such as vinyl records, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, reel-to-reel film, etc.
  • The library has the right to refuse any donation that librarians feel do not meet our needs or standards.

 Assessment and Maintenance / Weeding

Weeding is an integral and important part of collection development.  The library collection is dynamic with new materials added and obsolete or damaged materials discarded. It is an ongoing process that reflects the changing needs of the college curriculum.

Current philosophy for community college library collections is to stress currency rather than a historical survey of materials.  Lower division research does not require the depth and breadth of a major research library; however, as Skagit Valley College has begun to add applied baccalaureate degrees, the library collection is reflecting the need for more depth in certain subject areas.  Foundation works will be retained where possible and in addition, reference works in support of subject fields will be maintained as the budget allows.

Materials are maintained in the collection based upon their content rather than the provenance of the item.  Materials authored by local or college-related persons, may be kept in the collection for archival or historical purposes. The librarians will evaluate the collection on a 5 year cyclical basis as listed below.  This will ensure that the entire collection is evaluated in a timely fashion.  Library faculty will contact appropriate classroom faculty to ask for their input as we evaluate different areas of the collection.  Faculty members are encouraged to survey their subject area(s) and recommend additions to and deletions from the collection.  2007/8 academic year is Year 1 in the current cycle.

Year 1:  000 – 359

Year 2:  360 – 599

Year 3:  600 – 699

Year 4:  700 – 813

Year 5:  814 - 999

Subject Area Criteria for Collection Weeding

The following guidelines for broad subject categories are to be used in conjunction with the general criteria for weeding as well as any specific circumstances pertaining to individual subject areas or programs offered by Skagit Valley College.  The guidelines are generalizations and there will be exceptions to them.  For example, conceptual works in several areas may have a long lasting relevance or historical value and still be of value beyond a certain date.

  • Technology and Library and Information Sciences:  Materials in these areas that are technologically oriented tend to become outdated within seven to ten years and should be considered for weeding after this time.  Other arterials that are more conceptual in nature and do not involve specific technology have longer lasting relevance or historical value and may still be of value to the library after the ten year mark.

Applicable Disciplines:  Computer Information Systems, Computer Science, Media Communications, Management Information Systems

  • Humanities:  Materials in this area generally do not become outdated, so factors such as circulation statistics, duplicates, and damage take on added significance in weeding

Applicable Disciplines:  Art,  English,  Ethnic studies,  Geography,   Humanities,  Journalism,  Literature,  Music,  Media Communications,  Philosophy,  PE,  Speech,  Theater,  World language

  • Social Sciences:  Materials in the social sciences typically become dates after ten years, but an exception to this is history.  History materials usually do not become outdated, but may be superseded by newer editions.

Applicable Disciplines:  Administration of justice,  Anthropology,  Early Childhood,  Education,  Ethnic Studies,  History,   Human Services,  Media Communications,  Paralegal,  Political Science,  Social Science,  Sociology

  • Business and Economics:  Materials in these areas typically become outdated after ten years and should be considered for weeding after this time.

Applicable Disciplines:  Accounting,   Business Administration,   Business Management, Economics 

  • Health Care and Medicine:  Materials in this area are usually outdated in as little as five to seven years and should be considered for weeding after this time.

Applicable Disciplines:  Human Services, Nursing, Medical Assistant:  Pharmacy, Phlebotomy, and Dialysis

  • Applied Sciences:  Materials in these areas tend to become outdated within seven to ten years and should be considered for weeding after this time.

Applicable Disciplines:  Agriculture,  Automotive / Truck / Diesel, Computer Science / Computer Information Systems / Management Information / Telecommunication Networks, Culinary, Electronics / Electronics Engineering / Engineering /  Mechatronics, Environmental Conservation, Fire, Geographic Information Systems, Marine Maintenance Tech, Medical Assistant & Front office & Billing,  Media Communications, Multimedia & Interactive tech, Office Administration, Welding  

  • Pure Sciences:  Materials in these areas are usually outdated within 10 years, but exceptions to this should be noted, such as in mathematics, which does not become outdated as quickly.

Applicable Disciplines:  Anthropology, BiologyChemistry, Earth- (Astronomy, Meteorology, Geology, Oceanography), Natural Science, Nutrition, Physics

Other weeding guidelines

  • Outdated information:  Materials that contain out-of-date information should be weeded.  Nursing and technology should carefully look at works that are older than 5 years.  Some fields such as pure and applied sciences may have materials with a currency of 10 years.  Fields such as history or literature may have no age limitations at all.  When considering the age of a material, librarians will take into account foundation texts and highly popular and recognized titles which may be kept longer than other titles in a discipline.
  • Editions:  In most cases, a later edition will replace an earlier edition of a work.  When new editions are received, older editions should be examined closely and weeded if appropriate.  In the case of annuals and certain reference titles, some materials may be moved to the circulating collection.
  • Usage:  Usage statistics for individual titles will be considered before any work is discarded.  Checkouts within the last five years will be considered evidence of usefulness.
  • Discontinued Programs or Courses:  Materials supporting programs or courses that are no longer offered by the college should be examined for general relevance.  If there is no longer a demand or they no longer support library missions or goals, they should be withdrawn.
  • Condition:  Any material that is in poor condition may be withdrawn.  Replacement will be based upon usage statistics and need.  In some cases, updated editions or similar works may be purchased.
  • Level of Materials:  Advanced works may need to be replaced by works more appropriate for the community college setting.  Conversely, basic works may need to be replaced or supplemented by more in-depth, comprehensive coverage.
  • Professional judgement.  Books will be retained, if, in the view of a professional librarian, the item has bibliographical significance, is by an employee of the college, or is of historical significance, or is the only copy.

Other Formats and Collections

  • Audiovisual and electronic materials will be reviewed on the same basis as print materials.  In addition, the librarians will consider weeding materials if the format is no longer sustainable.
  • Reference materials may be placed in the circulating collection as opposed to removal from the collection.
  • Textbooks are not regularly purchased by the library.  However, any textbook in the collection will be examined to determine if newer texts are available. 
  • Serials.  Incomplete and short runs of a title may be withdrawn.  Titles that do not contain significant information supporting the current curriculum may be withdrawn. Items where information currency is important such as newsletters will have predetermined holding limits.


Krashen, Stephen. "Anything But Reading." Knowledge Quest 37.5 (2009): 18-25. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 June 2015.

Mills, Revised, 10/2018

© 2022 Skagit Valley College