Collection Development Policy

Introduction and Background

Library Collections and Policies

Library Collections

The Raymond H. Fogler Library, on the Orono campus, is the largest library in Maine. The collection includes over 1.1 million volumes; over 3,500 individual periodical subscriptions; 1.6 million microforms; and 2.3 million United States Federal, Maine State, and Canadian federal and provincial government publications. Fogler Library’s branch at the Ira C. Darling Marine Center in Walpole houses a specialized collection of more than 12,000 books, journals, and reprints. The Library also has a large number of information resources in a variety of electronic formats, including access to more than 39,000 online periodicals and over 200 databases.

Scope of the Collection

The purpose of the collection is to support the curriculum and research needs of University of Maine students and faculty. As such the collection includes an excellent selection of general materials to support undergraduate studies, as well as thousands of volumes of rich and varied research materials. Specialized collections include Maine-related books, journals and manuscripts, maps, sound recordings and music scores, and educational materials for teachers and students. The Fogler Library is a U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Library. It also houses a nationally recognized collection of Canadiana, and the most comprehensive collection of materials on Spruce Budworms in the United States. Students and faculty have access to a wide variety of local and remote electronic resources. The Darling Center Library contains specialized research materials on marine biology, and physical, chemical and biological oceanography, including copies of Ellis’s Catalogue of Foraminifera and Catalogue of Ostracoda.

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Library Mission Statement

The library’s mission statement, which was developed in 1987 and revised in the 1990s, serves as the basis of its collection development policy:

The mission of the libraries of the University of Maine is to identify and provide the information and library resources needed by members of the University community in their study, teaching, research, public service and professional development; to instruct and assist in the use of library resources and services; to share in the development and implementation of the University’s educational and research programs; to cooperate with other libraries in meeting the information needs of the people of Maine; to provide leadership in the development and delivery of library services in Maine; and to participate in state, regional, and national professional library activities.

In fulfilling this mission, the Libraries are committed to the following objectives:

  1. To determine library requirements for instructional and research programs by maintaining regular contacts with academic departments and University administration, and by serving on curriculum planning committees;
  2. To develop and coordinate a collection development program, with input from faculty, that addresses current needs and future projections;
  3. To acquire, organize, catalog and maintain the necessary recorded information, both print and non-print, in those fields pertinent to the programs of the University;
  4. To acquire and maintain comprehensive collections of materials related to the University and the state of Maine;
  5. To acquire and maintain a comprehensive collection of U. S. government publications, and an extensive collection of Canadian government publications;
  6. To provide effective and timely access to information not available in the Libraries’ collections;
  7. To develop and maintain a strong, service-oriented staff;
  8. To assist students, faculty and other library users in the effective retrieval of information;
  9. To teach library competence in support of academic work and lifelong learning;
  10. To publicize and promote library resources and services;
  11. To provide convenient, comfortable facilities for study and for use of library materials and services;
  12. To promote constructive working relationships with other libraries. To participate in cooperative projects of bibliographic access, and to develop mutually advantageous approaches to collection policies and interlibrary cooperation;
  13. To improve staff performance and job satisfaction by encouraging internal communication, shared decision making, career development, and staff participation in workshops, conferences and other professional activities;
  14. To engage in systematic planning and reviewing of library policies, systems, and services;
  15. To maintain an awareness of developments in librarianship and information technology, and to utilize new techniques and systems where feasible.

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Goals of the Collection

The goals of the University of Maine Libraries collections are prioritized as follows:

First, to provide information resources needed to support the undergraduate and graduate instruction and research conducted at the University of Maine.

Second, to support the public service programs organized and sponsored by the University of Maine.

Third, to provide information resources to other branches of the University System, and the citizens of the State of Maine as Maine’s Science, Technology, and Business Library. [In 1999, the Maine State Legislature enacted “An Act to Promote Research and Development Activities in Maine” (P. & S. 1999, ch. 33, Laws of Maine).]

Collection Development Process

While the Dean of Libraries and the library staff are ultimately responsible for the quality of the library’s collection, the process of developing a collection is a cooperative venture. A quality collection can only be built with open communication and close cooperation between those who develop the curriculum and focus institutional research activities, and those who are responsible for selecting and acquiring information resources.

Information resources are acquired by the University of Maine Libraries through a variety of avenues. Many books, journals, and other types of information resources are added at the request of librarians and faculty. Suggestions also come from students, other members of the University, and the community at large. Interlibrary Loan requests for journal articles and other materials are also reviewed. Library staff review requests and order on a title-by-title basis. Other materials are sent directly from publishers and book and serial vendors, according to agreed-upon profiles. These approval and blanket order plans have the advantage of providing information resources immediately upon publication. However, they must be carefully monitored to insure that they are yielding relevant materials.

The library’s collection is also built with selected donated materials, and with resources that may be available via unrestricted access on the Internet. Donations range from single titles to gifts of large collections. Materials are acquired through exchanges with other libraries, institutions and organizations, and through document depository programs such as those sponsored by federal and state governments. Librarians select appropriate free online materials, which are added to the collection via bibliographic records and subject portals on the the library’s web site. As is the case with resources purchased by the library, donations and free materials must be reviewed to determine if they address library collection priorities prior to being added to the collection.

An essential aspect of developing a collection is identifying and preserving the materials in the collection which have long-term value and withdrawing those which do not. The process of withdrawing materials, sometimes known as “weeding,” requires a clear sense of institutional and library priorities and active participation in and communication between librarians and their constituencies.

The collection development function at the University of Maine Libraries is a decentralized process overseen and coordinated by the Head of Collection Services. Each of the librarians who participate in the collection development process is assigned subject areas which are appropriate to his or her educational background and experience. Hence, each academic college or department has at least one librarian assigned to it. Since collection development is not a full-time responsibility for any of these librarians, their level of involvement varies. However, at a minimum all recommend materials for purchase, and act as a liaison between the library and the department/college on collection matters. Faculty are encouraged to engage in a dialog about library collections and access to materials through their designated liaison.


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Reserve Reading Room Popular Collection

The Reserve Reading Room popular collection includes both fiction and non-fiction titles from the last few years. Library staff make monthly selections from a Baker & Taylor lease plan that provides approximately 300 new titles per year.

Other popular titles may be requested by University patrons via URSUS or MaineCat from libraries around Maine.

For more information, please contact:
Deborah Rollins, Head, Collection Services
(207) 581-1659 or drollins [at] maine [dot] edu