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Collection Development Policy

Statement of Purpose: The collection development policy outlines the philosophy and principles that the faculty and staff of the J. Murrey Atkins Library follow as they select, acquire, and oversee the collection. It does not give specific instructions on which resources to choose, but it does provide faculty and staff with a general direction as they make their decisions. These guidelines help the library meet the needs of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte) academic community while using the library collection funds appropriately. The overall policy ensures consistency in long-term collection development and communicates the values of the library to its community members.

Mission Statement: The Atkins Library develops its collections based on the ideals outlined in the Library’s Strategic Plan. University Goals: The library strives to support the goals outlined in UNC Charlotte’s 2016-2021 Institutional Plan.

Intellectual Freedom: Intellectual freedom and privacy are priorities for any library. In upholding these principles, the Atkins Library supports the following statements from the American Library Association. These values enable it to serve all of its patrons equally and without bias, both through patron interactions and through the content that we offer.

Copyright: The Atkins Library fully complies with U.S. Copyright Law and expects its users to do the same. The Library follows Fair Use as described in Section 107 of the Copyright Act, which addresses use of copyrighted materials for scholarship, research, teaching, and other purposes. Please contact the library staff with any questions regarding copyright:

Review: This policy will be reviewed annually by the Collection Development Working Group. The policy will be revised as necessary and approved by the Collection Development Committee.

Consortial Agreements: UNC Charlotte is a member in good standing of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL), the Carolina Consortium, and Lyrasis.

Accessibility: Atkins Library is committed to providing equal access to our resources to all of our users. When evaluating current and new resources, the accessibility of the resource is taken under consideration. If a resource is not accessible we will work with users to find an alternative way to present the information.

Responsibility: The many aspects of collection development are divided as follows.

  • The Associate Dean for Collection Services and the Collection Development Librarian are responsible for overall management of the collection and are the primary contacts for publishers and vendors.

  • Subject librarians are responsible for collection development in their areas, and help guide the overall direction of the collection. More information on them, including contacts for specific subjects, is on the Subject Librarian webpage.

  • Members of the Collection Services Department manage the process.

  • The Dean of the Library has final approval on high-value purchasing decisions.

Service Population: The Atkins Library serves UNC Charlotte’s staff, faculty, and students of all levels as well as community members. Information on our current demographics can be found on the public relations website.


  • Print materials are stored in the J. Murrey Atkins Library, the Height Architecture Library on the UNC Charlotte campus and at the Derida Road Offsite Storage facility. Some are restricted to in-library use, but most may be checked out by community members.

  • Purchased online materials are available through the library website from anywhere on campus and off-campus for users to access with a UNC Charlotte login and password.

  • The Architecture Library is housed on the second floor of Storrs Hall, but its collection development is managed through the Atkins Library.

Special Collections and University Archives: Special Collections and University Archives are creating their own collection development policies for rare books, manuscripts, and oral history interviews. Guidelines for accepting donations and transfers of rare books can be found on the Donate Materialspage.

The Atkins Library collects resources of the following types and formats.

Books/Monographs: This includes print and ebook formats.

Journals, Newspapers, and Other Serials: E-journals are preferred; however, print versions will be collected if electronic subscriptions are unavailable, cost-prohibitive, or the print is preferable.

Textbooks: The Library does not buy print copies of assigned textbooks for specific classes because of limited funding and space. The Library encourages faculty to request e-textbooks through the Electronic Course Material Request Form. In some cases, core textbooks for the general collection may be acquired. The library also encourages the use of open textbooks and open education resources, and will assist faculty in locating materials that fit the course’s need.

Audiovisual Materials: Media are acquired as necessary to support academic needs. They include DVDs and streaming media, which are available through the library website.

Electronic Resources: In addition to ebooks, ejournals, and streaming media, the Library subscribes to and purchases many resources electronically, including abstracting and indexing databases, full-text databases, primary source material, data tools, and other services.

Microforms: Microfilm and microfiche materials are added to the collection to save physical space in the Library or when no other format is available for the content.

Dissertations and Theses: Dissertations and theses of UNC Charlotte students are handled by the Center for Graduate Life. Theses and Dissertations provided to the library can be browsed and searched through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database, the library catalog, and Niner Commons, the library’s institutional repository.

Government Documents:


  • Atkins Library is a selective federal depository library.
  • Federal documents will be selected to support the curriculum and the citizens of U.S. Congressional District 12. They are selected by the Federal Documents Coordinator, in consultation with subject librarians.
  • Documents may be selected in print, online, or microfiche format.
  • Documents are received from the Government Publishing Office.
  • Federal documents must be retained for five years and then may be removed if approved by the regional depository library (Chapel Hill). Then they must be offered to other libraries before disposal.


  • Atkins Library is a 100% depository for documents published by the State of North Carolina.
  • North Carolina documents are received from the NC State Publications Clearinghouse, State Library of North Carolina.
  • Atkins Library selects to receive all documents published in print. Many documents are also available online.
  • NC documents must be retained for ten years and then may be removed if approved by the Government and Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.
  • Local: See special collections

Book Selection Criteria: These are some of the guidelines used by library staff and faculty when deciding whether to purchase an item, regardless of format.

  • Currency: Is the content something that becomes outdated? If so, is this the most current version available?
  • Authority: Does the author/editor/publisher have a reputation for quality work? Are they qualified to provide information on the subject matter?
  • Utility: Will the resource be useful to the library’s users, primarily in support of the curriculum?
  • Cost: Is the cost of the resource appropriate given the anticipated use?
  • Format: Is the resource in a format that the library’s users can use easily?
  • Availability: Is the resource in print or otherwise readily available for purchase?

Ebooks: Ebooks should meet the selection criteria outlined above. In addition, to provide users with the best and most consistent access to the resources, ebooks should meet the following requirements for purchase. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Unlimited user access - any number of users can access the material simultaneously.
  • No digital rights management (DRM) - there are no limitations on printing, downloading, or sharing the material.
  • Perpetual Access/Archival Rights - we retain access even if the contract with the publisher ends.
  • Ease of use (including tutorials, different search options, help screens, etc.).
  • Appropriate and consistent updates for resources where currency is important.
  • Licensing terms that suit the library’s needs or are negotiable.
  • Clear, complete documentation and customer support.
  • Ability to provide remote access
  • Free trial of resources, if possible

New Journal and other Resources Selection: The library currently subscribes to several individual journals and journal packages. When reviewing new journal requests the collection development librarian must look closely at the budget, as journal subscriptions are an ongoing cost that frequently increases each year. These selections are made on a case by case basis in consultation with subject librarians and faculty, reviewing interlibrary loan and electronic turnaway data, and may require the cancellation of other titles or resources to cover the cost.

Open Access: Learn more about the library’s position on Open Access in this statement.

Languages: The Atkins Library collects primarily English-language resources, though foreign language materials may be purchased for specific courses or at faculty request.

User Recommendations: Users are welcome to recommend additions to the collection. The appropriate subject librarian will determine whether they should be purchased based on the standard selection criteria and availability of funds. In addition, each department has a library collection representative that can suggest purchases for their department to their subject librarian.

Faculty Publication: The Atkins Library works to highlight and support the research of its community members. With this goal in mind, subject librarians seek out and purchase faculty publications. Users are encouraged to bring to the Library’s attention any faculty publications that are missing from the collection.

Duplication: Duplicate copies may be held based on need, to be determined by the subject librarian.

As a rule, the Atkins Library does not accept in-kind donations. Please see the full gift policy for more information.

The Library periodically removes materials because of space constraints and to keep the collection current. See Rightsizing Policies & Procedures.

When an item has minor damage, on-site staff repairs it. If an item is lost or suffers extensive damage, the appropriate subject librarian determines whether to replace it. The decision is based on usage data and the standard selection criteria. If the item is out-of-print or otherwise cannot be replaced, a similar substitute may be purchased instead.

Care of print materials in Atkins Library, Height Architecture Library and Offsite Storage must be stored at following temperatures and humidity levels to avoid damage to the books and other materials, as recommended by the NISO Environmental Guidelines for the Storage of Paper Records

Combined stack and user areas:
Temp.: 70°F  
% Relative Humidity: 30%–50%

Optimum preservation stacks: 
Temp.: 35-65°F 
% Relative Humidity: 30-50% 

Maximum daily fluctuation:
Temp.: +/-2°F
% Relative Humidity: +/-3%