West Chester University Collection Development Policy


West Chester University Libraries align with the University’s mission, striving toward student success through our development and management of library collections. The Libraries build collections to empower intellectual exploration and support the informational needs of the campus. This policy offers a framework that guides our pursuit toward acquiring relevant and diverse resources readily available to West Chester University community. The policy also provides a clear understanding of our selection practices and management of the collection.

The Libraries are an essential part of the consumption and production of research on campus. Collections are built and curated with mindful consideration to provide equitable access to information. Selection of physical and electronic resources stems from our focus on the teaching curriculum and our efforts to be fiscally responsible stewards of university funds. We choose to optimize these funds by thinking about local collections and prioritizing purchases based on evidence of need.

Background Statement

West Chester University Libraries includes two campus locations; the Francis Harvey Green (FHG) Library serves as the main library, and the second location, Presser Music Library, is attached to the Swope Music Building and the Performing Arts Center. FHG Library houses the University’s Special Collections, an extensive juvenile collection, and an Innovation Media Center.

West Chester University is part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and as a northeast academic library, the Libraries take advantage of several networks and partnerships. Examples include the Keystone Library Network (KLN), and the Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration and Innovation- formerly the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium (PALCI), and Lyrasis/WALDO. Membership and affiliation to these networks bolsters the Libraries’ ability to provide a greater number of resources and collections. As an R2 University (Doctoral Universities, High Research Activity Carnegie Classification) with special classification for Community Engagement, the Libraries recognize our responsibility to support research. See also, ‘Memberships’

The Libraries seek to be an equitable space offering a wide range of use and access to the collections. The Libraries provide an affordable community borrowing card and have hours available for the community to enter the Libraries. Three public terminals are available within FHG Library for networked access to most of Libraries’ subscription e-resources.  For students, the Libraries offer a generous loan period with the ability to renew materials that have not been recalled for reserves.  Students and faculty from other partnering colleges and universities from PASSHE or whose college/university participates in the PALCI reciprocal borrowing program may receive a West Chester Libraries card with a courtesy letter issued by their institution. This card will grant borrowing privileges and provides access to electronic resources within the Libraries.  Alumni, area teachers, and area residents can also apply for a library card.

Diversity In & Of the Collections

West Chester University Libraries is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment of respectful engagement. We value acceptance, advocacy, and open-mindedness. The Libraries work toward centralizing diversity and inclusion initiatives to strengthen intra-library and campus-wide collaboration. To enhance representation within the collections, there are continuous efforts to analyze collections, services, and spaces to identify and address gaps in diversity, accessibility, and inclusion. The Libraries seek to provide opportunities for community participation to help enhance library collections, services, and spaces.

A guiding principle for West Chester University Libraries is to provide equal access to all members of the West Chester University community with no discrimination based on race, values, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or ethnic background, disability, economic status, religious beliefs, or ideologies.

Intellectual Freedom

The University Libraries align with the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights, the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries, and the ALA Freedom to Read Statement. These statements uphold libraries’ support of intellectual freedom and the development of collections that represent a variety of perspectives.

Intellectual freedoms are invaluable to West Chester University Libraries and are critical to the development of a meaningful collection. The Libraries aim to develop library collections that support the university community’s needs independent from the personal values of the selector. Subject librarians will strive to select, preserve, and replace materials representing a variety of perspectives which may include materials that could be perceived as controversial. If there are targeted efforts to remove, censor, or damage items, preservation efforts will be made. Any individual or group questioning the appropriateness of items in the collection will be directed to the Dean of Libraries. It should also be noted that the agreement between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF) and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education mentions “there shall be no censorship of library materials” (p.4).


The West Chester University Libraries are committed to providing platforms and content that is accessible to and usable by all individuals. As the Libraries review and acquire new resources, attempts are made to ensure that technology platforms and content within those platforms follows the national standards for accessibility. The Libraries expect to work with vendors who adhere to the U.S. Access Board’s final rule on accessibility requirements for information and communication technology, covered under Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act, and strive to follow guidelines set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative.

With a mindfulness toward accessibility, the Libraries work with campus partners to guide our practices and understanding of campus needs. Partners for accessibility guidance include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Committee, Dub-C Autism Program (D-Cap) and the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities. The Libraries will work to meet any accessibility requests for reserve items or any other course-related needs.

Collection Development & Management

Selection Responsibilities

Subject librarians are expected to manage and develop collections within their assigned areas in consultation with the Collection Strategist Librarian, the Electronic Resource Librarians and, as appropriate, faculty in the academic departments of the University. Subject librarians are responsible for the selection, deselection, cancellation, and ongoing resource recommendations within their assigned focus areas during the Libraries’ fiscal year of July 1st to June 30th. Renewal decisions must often be made a few months before the end of the calendar year, subject librarians may be asked to review renewals throughout the fall semester. In cases where there is a disagreement, the Collection Strategist Librarian in consultation with the Dean serves as the final arbiter.

To ensure comprehensive coverage of specified areas of interest such as faculty publication, award winning titles, and titles within certain classification ranges, approval plans with book vendors will be maintained and developed.  On an occasional basis, as research needs and curriculums change, approval plans will be reviewed by the Dean, the Collection Strategist Librarian, and subject librarians. Suggestions for updates will be made by the subject librarian and/or the collection strategist and approved by the Dean of Libraries.

Relevant collection updates and notable changes are communicated to departments by the appropriate subject librarian, usually via email to the chair, office administrator, or a shared department listserv. Subject librarians are responsible for gathering feedback and user preferences from their academic departments and relaying this information back to the appropriate collection channels.

Subject-specific collection donations are not accepted into the collection without the approval by the appropriate subject librarian(s). If a subject librarian is not already connected with the donor, the Collection Strategist Librarian helps make the connection between the donor and the selector. Donated items will not be accepted into the collection without the approval of the appropriate librarian and should not be delivered/dropped off to the library without their approval. See also, ‘Gifts & Donations’

Selection Guidelines & Criteria

Criteria for purchase decisions may include but is not limited to:

  • Academic level
  • Accessibility options
  • Author
  • Availability
  • Consortial availability
  • Cost
  • Currency
  • Diverse points of view
  • Documented demand
  • Dewey classification within commonly collected areas
  • Immediate & enduring value
  • Inclusion in indexing resources
  • Interdisciplinary nature
  • Lack of duplication
  • Language
  • Licensing requirements
  • Loan history of content in similar areas
  • Publisher
  • Quality of scholarship
  • Relevance to existing materials within the collection/ scope
  • Relevance to the University’s curriculum/scholar research
  • Reviews from credible sources
  • Sustainability and functionality of format
  • Usage data (turn-aways or circulation)
  • Vendor


Material Selection & Criteria for One-Time Purchases

Requests for item purchases and donation of items are directed to the appropriate subject librarian. One-time purchases are facilitated by the actions of the appropriate subject librarians. For one-time purchases, subject librarians may consider the affordability, demand, and the relevance to the university’s curriculum and student success.

Cost, space, and scope may influence whether some requests for materials may be added to the Libraries.  The Libraries are unable to purchase multiple or duplicate copies of an item unless there is justification for heavy or continued use (i.e., reserves item). Whenever there is specialized research that requires many different niche resources, scholars should work with their subject librarian to assess what materials can be purchased while others may be acquired through interlibrary loan. For the long-term use of materials, the Libraries lean toward publications in English unless it is being purchased for foreign language study.

Book & Ebook Selection

Curriculum needs, price, and prominent faculty/student research are primary considerations for book titles.


Format is chosen based on requested preference, price options, and what is readily available. For e-books, librarians are often presented with 1-user, 3-user, unlimited, or concurrent/non-linear purchase options. Although 1-user options tend to be the least expensive, the Libraries may need to restrict downloads for this option to maximize access. Since concurrent/non-linear titles limit the number of downloads per year, this option is only advised for titles that are perceived as supplementary.

Reprints & Duplicates

Reprints or anthologies with previously published essays are only acquired on a selective basis. Duplicate copies of book titles are generally discouraged, unless the appropriate subject librarian believes that it fulfills a need.


Acquisitions of textbooks are influenced by cost, currency, and availability. Textbooks that depend on the use of access keys will not be eligible for purchase. Instructors are encouraged to reach out to their librarians for advice about the selection of inclusive options for course texts, especially if they would like to consider open educational resources. Instructors are also asked to donate or lend their course texts to the Libraries’ Reserves service. The Reserves service allows students to loan out course-related texts for a shortened loan period.


Librarians recognize that reference materials should be current and available for quickly gathering information. The print reference collection is located near the Research Help Desk so that librarians can quickly refer to these materials. Whenever available and affordable, current practice is to select electronic titles for reference.

Audiovisual Selection

Audiovisual materials are primarily acquired to support instruction and courses. Depending on the licensing of audiovisual materials, the Libraries may be required to purchase institutional versions.

DVDs, VHS, & CDs

Media players for DVDs, VHS, and CDs are becoming less common. While the Libraries still occasionally purchase DVDs and CDs, the Libraries are less likely to purchase VHS. Illegally copied items and DVDs out of region 1 will not be added. 

Streaming Video & Audio

Streaming video is selected based on curricular need. Streaming video needed for courses should either be requested through Reserves or communicated to the appropriate subject librarian. Any other requests for a streaming video will be sent to the subject-related librarian for approval. If a streaming title is needed for multiple years, instructors should communicate these needs to their librarian since streaming video is often licensed only for 1-year. Content within streaming platform often rotates, instructors who plan to use certain content within their course should ask their subject librarian about the continued availability of content. Although the Libraries aim to fill most requests, the Libraries may decline the request due to strict licensing, price, availability, or intended purpose.

Musical Score Selection

Musical scores are acquired selectively as needed in support of student and faculty use.

Material Selection & Criteria for Ongoing Purchases

Ongoing purchases are facilitated by the Collections Steering Committee with recommendations from the subject librarians. Ongoing purchases are subject to inflation, and are often more expensive than one-time resources, budget constraints may not allow for the acquisition of proposed ongoing resources even when there is an expressed need. Continuing resources are reviewed each year and could potentially be cancelled at any time.

When considering new e-resources, the Libraries place several expectations on vendors. Licensing agreements should:

  • Conform to laws set by the State of Pennsylvania
  • Offer licenses for journals that allow for inter-library loans (ILL)
  • Exclude confidentiality clauses or other restrictions on sharing information about pricing and terms with stakeholders and external parties
  • Protect the privacy of patrons
  • Adhere to Fair Use policies
  • Allow use by West Chester University students, faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and use within library locations
  • Honor West Chester’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility
  • Adhere to national standards of accessibility
  • Include an opt-out clause for multi-year agreements in the event of financial hardship
  • Provide COUNTER or other usage data
  • Offers a contract written in English
  • Be honest, fair, transparent, and flexible with negotiations about pricing, open access, rights management, and content/platform use and restrictions
  • Control annual price increases so they remain predictable
  • Whenever possible, make quality metadata records available

Periodical Selection

When acquiring or reviewing periodical purchases (i.e., journals, magazines, newspapers), librarians will lean toward electronic format unless cost is a factor. Journal purchases are set up as subscriptions, the Libraries do not collect singular issues/volumes of journal sets.

Database & E-Platform Selection

The Libraries must consider the type of licenses that control the use and access of an e-resource. The Libraries try to avoid purchasing any type of e-resource that requires a special login aside from a West Chester University authentication. Databases are selected with the understanding that they offer remote access capability, IP recognition, and compatibility with the discovery system. The Libraries aim to provide e-resource access to all West Chester University faculty, students, and staff with functionality, ease of use, and without access limitations.

The Libraries will often arrange for trials of proposed e-resources to gauge interest and assess functionality. Trials are intended for consideration of a new e-resource, they should not be requested based on an assignment or course-related need.


Preference for membership affiliation is based on recommendations from West Chester University library committees, or service and resource needs requested by subject librarians.  Any membership requests that are collection-related should be submitted to the Collection Steering Committee for further review. The Collections Steering Committee will submit their recommendation to the Library Dean for final approval based on the acknowledgment that the membership supports the scholarly and creative needs of West Chester University faculty and students. Memberships are subject to review each year by relevant subject librarians and the Collection Steering Committee.

Collection Budget

The budget for collections is administered by the Dean of the University Libraries; the Budget Review Committee collaborates with the Dean to set allocation recommendations. Budget allocations are based on historic spending needs but are reassessed near the end of each fiscal year. The collection budget is subject to change pending decisions made by the University administration.

Collections Steering Committee

The Collections Steering Committee guides and advises on the development and management of the collections. The committee includes participation from the resource service management librarians, two additional collection librarians, and the Library Business and Operations Manager has an ex officio role with an open invitation to attend relevant meetings.  Members of the committee are charged with making recommendations to the budget review committee concerning the collections budget, developing and amending collection policies and procedures, working with the collection strategist to assess current or proposed resources and memberships, submit recommendations for centrally funded collection purchases or cancellations to the Dean of Libraries, and facilitate discussions about relevant collection development topics. Recommendations for new ongoing purchase requests will be submitted to the Dean once per semester, unless there is a critical need to purchase something sooner.

Collection Management & Evaluation

Retention and deaccession decisions fall under the authority of subject librarian(s) who have an assigned focus on a particular call number range. The Collection Strategist Librarian in collaboration with the Collections Steering Committee will make recommendations for deaccession projects but aside from those recommendations, the responsibility lies with the appropriate librarian to continuously review their collections. Librarians may choose to withdraw items based on criteria such as:

  • Currency
  • Duplicative holdings
  • Incomplete set/series
  • Low quality scholarship
  • Low usage
  • Physical condition/damage
  • Open access or stable electronic version available
  • Out of scope of curriculum and research needs
  • Outdated edition
  • Strength of comparative holdings

 If anyone challenges or objects to the subject librarian’s management of their collection areas, the subject librarian should be made aware of the concern. Under the guidelines set by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties (APSCUF), librarians are entitled to academic freedoms that give them the right to make the final decision for their collection areas (p.3). If there is continued concern, the Dean of Libraries can be consulted. The West Chester University Libraries retain the right to maintain and develop collections based on the combined wisdom of the subject librarians and any shared retention commitment agreements (i.e. HathiTrust’s Shared Print Program). The Libraries act independently from external authorities and stand by the right to retain or withdraw materials based on the judgement of the subject librarians

Once owned by the Libraries, items become property of the PASSHE system and cannot be resold. If the subject librarian selects an item for deaccession, the item is removed from the collection and will not be available for any type of profit/resale.

Replacement for lost and damaged items is the responsibility of the patron who borrowed the item. Lost status is applied 35 days past the due date; the lost item replacement fee is waived once a patron returns the item. When items are missing or never returned by a patron, the subject librarian must decide whether to purchase a new copy.

Cancellation of subject-specific e-resources is the responsibility of the subject librarian, and cancellation decisions of large interdisciplinary e-resources are made by the collection steering committee. Whenever possible, librarians are provided with collections data to make data-informed decisions. Each fall semester subject librarians are asked to review periodical titles that fall within their subject area. Librarians must decide whether to renew or cancel based on use, inflation trends, cost, and changing curricular/program needs. The Collections Steering Committee will perform an e-resource collection assessment each fall semester based on the previous fiscal year’s data, this data will be used for renewal decisions for the rest of the fiscal year. During flat budget years, cancellations must be made to balance inflation, in healthier budget years cancellations can provide freed up funds for additional proposed e-resources. 

Distinctive Collections

Special Collections

West Chester University’s Special Collections, located on the 6th floor of the Francis Harvey Green Library collects, preserves, and promotes items such as original manuscripts, rare books, photographs, artifacts, and other formats in a variety of specialized areas. Special Collections also holds selective archival collections for West Chester University’s evolution and history. The Darlington Herbarium collection presents one of the oldest institutional collections of early American botanists and vascular plants of Europe and the U.S.  When expanding its collections, Special Collections tries to align with major research themes on campus. It also aims to fill in gaps not well-covered by other local cultural heritage institutions.

Collection areas tend to focus on rare books and manuscripts, West Chester and regional histories, West Chester University history, and botanical/herbarium-related items. Rare books and manuscripts tend to focus on natural science (18th & 19th centuries), literature, American history (including ephemera, maps, and pamphlets), and early printed books. The Special Collections can be accessed by appointment or by reaching out to the Special Collection library staff. Due to the rare nature of Special Collection items, collection materials do not circulate. Items can be accessed within Special Collections or viewed within special exhibitions.

Presser Music Collection

The Presser Music Library collection includes a range of notated music, music literature, and audio and video recordings. The notated music collection includes music for study and performance, including scores and parts for individual instruments, voice, and chamber ensembles as well as full scores for larger works. Presser also holds many critical and scholarly editions, both composer collected editions and monuments, as well as full and vocal scores for operas and musical theatre. The notated music collection is centered on Western classical music, jazz transcriptions and lead sheets, and musical theatre, with some representation of popular, traditional, and non-Western musical traditions. The Music Library also has significant holdings for the study of music education, including general pedagogy as well as methods for instrumental and vocal ensembles and general classroom instruction.

Juvenile Literature

The Libraries is invested in its development of its juvenile literature collection. This collection includes thousands of juvenile fiction, nonfiction, and picture books. More specifically, the libraries have acquired elementary/secondary textbooks, juvenile and young adult monographs, juvenile serials, and appropriate non-print media. These collections support curricular needs for the College of Education and Social Work, the English Department, and serve as a resource for the entire campus. Priorities for the collection include award-winning juvenile literature.

Frederick Douglass Literature

During his lifetime Frederick Douglass frequently visited the West Chester area, and in 1895 he gave his last public lecture on West Chester University’s campus. In response to this important event, West Chester University established the Frederick Douglass Institute that focuses on maintaining the legacy of Douglass on campus and beyond. To support these initiatives, the Libraries created an approval plan that automatically triggers a purchase for any scholarly monographs focused on the life and legacy of Frederick Douglass.

Faculty Publications

The Libraries endeavor to collect scholarly materials authored, edited, or created by West Chester University faculty. This includes books, visual media, and sound recordings. An approval plan was set up to automatically deliver books published by West Chester University authors. Librarians can choose whether they prefer an ebook copy for the library or if they prefer a print copy for the collection. The current policy is to order an additional print copy for the faculty publications collection in Special Collections. If faculty members notice their item is not already owned by the Libraries they are encouraged to reach out to their subject librarian or through the Suggest a Purchase form.

Holocaust Studies Materials

A charitable endowment in March 2000 led to the creation of the Sender Frejdowicz Holocaust Library Collection that is housed in the FHG Library. Materials include books, children’s books, pamphlets, maps, videotapes, and films that focus on Holocaust studies. The Libraries continue to collect material on this topic but this library collection is based on contributions by the Holocaust and Genocide Studies program.

Access & Ownership

Leasing Content

The Libraries acknowledge that while ownership and perpetual access are often the ideal options for sustaining access, these options are not always affordable, available, or best for content that becomes outdated quickly. Libraries will lease content from vendors to provide access to e-resources that are perceived as essential and required for scholarly research, course assignments/activities, academic and creative growth, and departmental accreditation. In all cases, the conditions of access (such as read only, ability to make copies of extracts, download of full content) will be weighed carefully by librarians in the context of the users' needs. Access to leased content cannot be guaranteed each year, if an instructor or researcher depends on a resource, they should work with their subject librarian to explore best options for sustaining or finding alternative routes for access.

Access & Use

Physical Resources

Access and use of West Chester University Libraries’ physical collections are intended for the entire West Chester University community. Once physical items are purchased for the Libraries, they are to be housed in the West Chester University Library buildings/facilities and not stored in a location that limits access to only private use. Most items can be borrowed from the Libraries except for reference materials, bound periodicals, and special collection materials; guidelines for borrowing can be found on the Libraries’ borrowing page.  Community patrons can access the physical collection during the Libraries’ public hours and they can borrow materials by purchasing a community borrowing card.

Electronic Resources

E-resources are available to students, faculty, and staff with a two-step authenticated login from any computer. Aside from a few e-resources that are licensed only for West Chester University affiliates, community members can access e-resources through one of the community access terminals in the FHG Library during public hours. Although most e-resources provide immediate access, some e-resources have download limits/limited number of seats that may temporarily prevent access.

The Libraries’ guidelines for selecting appropriate e-resources licenses are outlined in the ‘Material Selection & Criteria for Ongoing Purchases.’ In general, the libraries seek out licenses that are inclusive of the West Chester University community and not limited to a small subset of users.

Collaborative Collection Development & Resource Sharing

Partnering with library networks and programs enables research libraries to expand access to resources in a collective way. Resource costs and diverse informational needs make it difficult for one library to absorb every need.  To ensure that most collection needs are met, West Chester University Libraries partners with libraries and programs through resource sharing networks (i.e. Interlibrary Loan, Rapid), reciprocal borrowing agreements, and consortial networks (Keystone Library Network, PALCI, Lyrasis/WALDO).

Resource Sharing

Resource sharing encourages the free exchange of materials among the participating libraries for the mutual benefit of all parties. West Chester University is part of several local, regional, and international resource sharing networks. The service is offered with no cost to West Chester University affiliates; patrons will never receive any unexpected fees unless there is a loss or damage of an item. See also, ‘Interlibrary Loan’

Reciprocal Borrowing

West Chester University students and faculty are also able to gain access to partnering libraries connected to the PALCI Reciprocal On-Site Borrowing Program. West Chester University faculty and students simply need to complete the reciprocal on-site borrowing authorization form and have it approved by West Chester University library staff, then take the form and any other requested identification to the participating partnering library.

Consortial Networks

Whenever appropriate, the West Chester University Libraries depend on collaborative/consortial networks to negotiate resource pricing on a collective purchase. Collaborative purchase agreements expand the Libraries’ ability to offer a wider range of e-resources and help support smaller libraries within the network.

Collection-Related Services

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) provides a key component of collection management and access to information. Through the interlibrary loan service, the library requests access to print, electronic, and digitized content from partnering libraries. If West Chester University Libraries does not own an item or the item is out on loan, students, faculty, and staff can create a borrowing request. If an item is owned by the Libraries but a student is unable to come to campus, the student can request a digital scan of an article from a print journal or a chapter from a print book through the resource sharing/interlibrary loan request form.


Reserves allows instructors to temporarily hold course-related materials in the library. Course reserve items may include but are not limited to print books, ebooks, book chapters, DVDs, streaming video, and kits. These items are either pulled or scanned from the Libraries’ collections, borrowed from the instructor, or purchased. The Libraries cannot guarantee that course reserve requests will be filled before the start of the semester unless a reserves request is submitted three weeks in advance.  When making requests, instructors should be mindful of copyright. See the Libraries’ copyright and course reserve page for more information.

West Chester University Libraries provides course reserves in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law. Each request is considered on a case-by-case basis and the four factors of Fair Use are examined as needed.  Some requests may not meet the definition of Fair Use; in those cases, library staff will investigate options to obtain the required permissions and/or licenses or assist faculty with identifying alternative resources. See the Libraries’ copyright and course reserve page for more information.

Physical vs. Electronic Reserve Requests

Physical materials are set with a limited period to ensure maximum access. When available and affordable the default format for book purchases is electronic but an instructor can indicate alternative preferences.  If an ebook is being purchased for a course the subject librarian will purchase a multi-use, simultaneous use copy when available. If a 1-user copy is the only ebook option available, the librarian will ask if a print version would be a better option. Concurrent/Non-linear ebook versions have a limited number of uses per year and may be considered for small courses that have limited use of the material. If an instructor only plans to use a chapter from a book, they may request a scan of that chapter rather than requesting the purchase of the entire book.

Streaming Video Reserve Requests

Streaming video can also be purchased for course reserves, but licensing may often be limited to 1-year, instructors should indicate if they plan to use the film/video for multiple years. If instructors are relying on a streaming video that is held within a streaming video platform/collection, the instructor should verify continued access with their librarian since availability is subject to change.

Suggest a Purchase

The Libraries welcome collection-related feedback and recommendations. An electronic form is available for patrons to submit suggestions for library purchases. Each submission is forwarded to the appropriate subject librarian for review and consideration. Unfortunately, the library cannot fulfill every request due to cost, format, content, or availability. If the Libraries are unable to purchase an item, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to use the Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan borrowing service.

Born-Digital & Institutional Repository Policies

The West Chester University Libraries are dedicated to the long-term collection, maintenance, delivery, and preservation of a wide range of digital resources that showcase the West Chester University community. With digital services like the Libraries’ institutional repository, Digital Commons @ West Chester University, the Libraries can share digital content from West Chester University affiliates on a global scale. Content creators must have some affiliation with West Chester University, willing to share their work, have ownership or control to provide access, be able to upload a digital file of the content.

Once a student or faculty member provides permission to share their digital content, a librarian or library staff will verify if it can be publicly posted without copyright concern. Submissions can be posted for immediate access or temporarily hidden from view with a set embargo.

Content uploaded into the intuitional repository ranges in scope and format, but some examples include:

  • Born-digital content created on campus for WCU communication, projects, events
  • Articles
  • Books and book chapters
  • Theses & dissertations
  • Creative works such as images or videos of art, productions, etc.
  • Posters
  • Conference proceedings or other materials
  • Photographs
  • Reports

 Those who wish to upload their digital content into the institutional repository grant the West Chester University Libraries with non-exclusive rights to manage and share their digital objects, but the copyright owner may contact the libraries at any time to request the removal or embargo of their work.

Open Scholarship

West Chester University Libraries are invested in supporting open access, open data, open knowledge, and open educational resource initiatives across campus. The Libraries are also committed to the promotion and endorsement of open resources that work toward the benefit of the West Chester University community. The West Chester University Libraries are driven by the mission to ‘empower intellectual exploration through building connections, collections, and community.’ The open scholarship movement reinforces this mission with the free exchange of information and ideas that builds a strong academic community of collaboration and inclusivity.

When appropriate, advantageous, and within financial reach, the collections budget may be applied to activities or initiatives that advance local, community, and open scholarship. Subject librarians are encouraged to evaluate, select, support, and promote the use of open resources. Members of the West Chester University community are invited to recommend open resources with their subject librarian for catalog consideration, but each resource will be reviewed for quality, authoritativeness, objectivity, currency, technical functionality, relevance to the West Chester University curriculum, accessibility, and ease and feasibility of maintenance.

West Chester University faculty, students, or staff who have questions about open scholarship can reach out to their subject librarian who may connect them with the librarian assigned to promoting open educational resources. Scholars who wish to share their works publicly through the Libraries’ intuitional repository, Digital Commons @ West Chester University, should visit the ‘submit your research’ page, contact the Libraries’ institutional repository administrator, or reach out to their subject librarian for guidance.

Gifts & Donations

Monetary gifts are accepted through the West Chester University Foundation. Collection donations are subject to the same criteria as purchased materials. West Chester University Libraries reserve the right to accept or reject donations with or without restricting conditions. Once accepted, the donated materials become property of the West Chester University Libraries. The Libraries retain the right regarding the item/collection’s storage, location, processing, access, use, retention, reformatting/digitization, and removal.  The subject focus and/or special nature of the donation helps determine which subject librarian is contacted for review. For donors wanting to donate collections that have mixed subject materials or wanting assistance with connecting to the appropriate librarian, the Collection Strategist Librarian should be contacted. For donations of rare materials, Special Collections should be consulted.

Each subject librarian uses their own set of criteria to determine whether the material should be added. Here are some general guidelines that tend to be used:

  • Are there duplicative holdings either in the same format or another format?
  • Is the title from an underrepresented group, genre, author?
  • Does the item support the University’s teaching curriculum, faculty research, or support student success?
  • Is the item in decent condition?
  • Does the item have significance to the local community?
  • Is the item illegally copied from another source?
  • Is the item part of an incomplete set?
  • Is the item current? Or still relevant?
  • Is it a superseded format (e.g., cassette tapes, VHS tapes, 8-track tapes)?

Gifts-in-kind or donations may offer eligibility for state and federal income tax benefits but under Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations, the Libraries are not permitted to appraise gifts.  Appraisals are the sole responsibility of the donor and should be completed before the donor transfers the property to the Libraries. 

Donors should refer to the IRS ’s Publication 561: Determining the Value of Donated Property for information on gift appraisals accepted by the IRS for tax purposes.  The Libraries do not pay or reimburse for such appraisals, nor does it authenticate the qualifications of appraisers or the validity of their appraisals. 

The Libraries do not advise on matters related to the tax implications of a gift; prospective donors should consult with the IRS or a legal or tax expert. Upon request, the Libraries will provide donors with a written acknowledgment of the gift.

Policy Maintenance

The Collections Steering Committee is charged with determining when to make updates and revisions to the collection development policy. The Collections Steering Committee will work with subject librarians and make recommendations for updated language, initiatives, and practices. Exceptions to this policy may be granted by the Collection Steering Committee in consultation with the Dean.


Policy adapted from:

Columbia University (n.d.). https://library.columbia.edu/about/policies/collection-development.html

Florida Atlantic University Libraries Collection Development Policy (2021). https://library.fau.edu/policy/collection-development-policy 

Gregory, V. (2019). Collection Development and Management for the 21st Century Library Collections. ALA Neal-Schuman.

Oakland University Libraries Collection Development Policy (2019). https://library.oakland.edu/policies/collection_development.html

Pacific University Libraries Collection Development Policy (2019). https://www.lib.pacificu.edu/policies/

Last Revised June 2022