Collection Development Policy
    1. Purpose
    2. Mission of the Library
    3. Description of the Institution
    4. Selection Criteria
    5. Responsibility for Providing Library Resources to Satellite Campuses and Distance Learners
    6. Responsibility for Selection of Library Materials
    1. Format of Material
    2. Languages and Translations
    3. Popular Reading
    4. Leisure Collection
    5. Housing Library Materials
    6. Multiple Copies
    7. Manuals and Other Professional Materials
    8. Reference Collections
    9. Document Delivery Services
    10. Genealogical Materials
    11. Weeding
    12. Replacement
    13. Gifts
    14. General Fund
    15. Challenged Materials
    16. Teaching Aids
    17. Requests to Return, Destroy, or Delete Materials in the Library Collection
    1. Maps
    2. Curriculum Materials
    3. Special Collection
    4. Digital Collections
    5. Reference Works
    6. Government Publications
    7. Periodicals
    8. Web Site Selection and Cataloging Policy


A. Purpose
The Hunter Library Collection Development Policy is intended to assist the various library bibliographers and departmental liaisons in the selection of library materials. It assists the library bibliographers in the decision-making process regarding routine acquisitions of library materials, standing orders, gifts and exchange assessments, and in establishing priorities to guide decisions on preservation and de-selection. The policy is directed primarily to the library bibliographers, Collection Development Librarian, and University Librarian and secondarily to the teaching faculty, students, and other members of the University. Others who may find it useful include the Western North Carolina Library Network, a resource-sharing network comprised of Western Carolina University, University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Appalachian State University; and institutions within the state and region. Information concerning the existing collection, collection guidelines, and curricular programs are provided for all academic departments.

B. Mission of the Library
Hunter Library's mission is to support the academic community in carrying out teaching, research activities, and university service programs. Hunter Library's primary role is to assist Western Carolina University students in becoming competent and contributing members of the information society. This mission is accomplished by facilitating access to information and by teaching skills which promote discriminating use of information. The Collection Development policy supports this mission by providing the students, faculty and the staff of the university with the materials needed to support the curricular needs of the university. The aim is to build a collection that supports the cultural and intellectual foundation of the disciplines taught in campus. In addition, the collection should provide the cultural and historical context of the scholarship pursued at the university. Priority will be given to the undergraduate curricula, followed by the graduate curricula. Since this is not a research collection, with comprehensiveness as an aim, faculty research needs will be supported for as long as there are sufficient resources. The library will not purchase extensive in-depth materials for specific theses topics for graduate students or for short-term research projects of teaching faculty. When possible, interlibrary loan or document delivery will fill such specialized needs. While the library is open for public use, its collection is not designed to support community needs. The Collection Development Policy will take into consideration the fact that the Hunter Library is part of the Western North Carolina Library Network (WNCLN) as mentioned above. As a member of WNCLN, Hunter Library shares a computer catalog system with the libraries at Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Faculty, students, and staff may borrow materials from those libraries and generally receive them within two working days.

C. Description of the Institution
Western Carolina University is one of the sixteen public senior institutions of the University of North Carolina. It is a comprehensive university, offering programs of study at the baccalaureate, master's, doctoral, and intermediate levels. The university comprises five undergraduate colleges - Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Allied Professions, Fine and Performing Arts, and Health and Human Sciences – as well as the Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology and a Graduate School. The undergraduate colleges offer programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Education, and Bachelor of Music. The Graduate School offers the Master of Arts, Master of Arts in Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Health Sciences, Master of Physical Therapy, Master of Project Management, Master of Public Affairs, Master of School Administration, Master of Science, the Education Specialist, Master of Fine Arts, Master of Music, Master of Education, Master of Accountancy, Master of Entrepreneurship, Master of Social Work, Master of Construction Management, and Doctor of Education degrees.

D. Selection Criteria
The chief factors considered in selecting all library materials, are:

  • Relevance of the subject matter to the curriculum
  • Potential use of the work by students and faculty
  • Appropriateness for meeting the curriculum-related research needs of faculty
  • Quality of scholarship or literary merit as determined by bibliographic aids and review sources
  • Accuracy of information and data
  • Timeliness or permanence of the material
  • Reputation of the author or publisher
  • Quality of the physical product
  • Availability of other library materials on the subject
  • Availability of the same material in the WNCLN network
  • Inclusion of the work in important bibliographies and indexes
  • Language (does having material in a particular language support the curriculum?)
  • Cost. Decisions regarding expensive purchases (currently this is set at $250 per item) are made considering current and anticipated needs and the availability of funds. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis
  • Format (accessibility of the information)

E. Responsibility for Providing Library Resources to Satellite Campuses and Distance Learners
Western Carolina University offers a broad range of courses at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels at its location in Asheville. Provision of library materials for satellite campuses will follow the mandates of the University of North Carolina Board Of Governors. Selection for these materials is a product of the cooperation between WCU program liaison librarians, WCU teaching faculty, and the Collection Development Librarian at WCU.

In support of WCU’s Nursing programs taught in the Asheville area an agreement between Western Carolina University and the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) is in place for the provision of library and information services.  Part of this agreement calls for the purchase of library material to be housed in the MAHEC library (see Appendix D for the entire agreement).  The library’s Health Sciences Liaison has the responsibility for collecting material to be housed in the MAHEC library.

Additionally, Western Carolina University offers graduate and undergraduate degrees, wholly or partially, through online and off-site courses.  In recognition that students in these programs need comparable library services to those offered on-campus, the library provides delivery of any materials purchased for on-campus programs.  The library also collects and makes available online resources, such as electronic books, reference works, and article databases that may be accessed remotely by students in such courses.

F. Responsibility for Selection of Library Materials
Building the library's collection is the product of cooperative work between the library and the academic departments. For that purpose the library appoints liaisons and the departments appoint representatives to the library. Responsibility for the selection of materials and for the appropriate expenditure of resources rests with the library liaison. Selections will take place in consultation with the Collection Development Librarian, Serials Librarian, and Head of Reference as appropriate.

Role of the Library Liaison: A librarian is appointed to each academic departmental program to ensure that the library and its resources reflect the programs and curricular needs of the department. Each library liaison will be familiar with the collections to which he/she has been assigned. This familiarity includes:

  • Knowledge of the resources to which the library subscribes and the collection's weaknesses and strengths
  • Knowledge of the different formats in which materials in the discipline are being published
  • Knowledge of curricular requirements in the department, and trends in the discipline
  • Familiarity with the major divisions and categories of the discipline

To carry out his/her charge, the library liaison will:

  • Peruse influential journals in the discipline
  • Read book/media reviews on a regular basis
  • Use the bibliographic services provided by the library, e.g., GOBI platform, YBP slips, and Choice cards

The library liaison should select materials for the collection based primarily on their quality and relevance to the programs and curriculum they are meant to support. The selection process should strive to maximize the budget in selecting the most appropriate items, keeping in mind that in general the materials available in the market will outstrip the resources available to the library. Although the teaching faculty's requests for library materials are one of the most important measures of the types of material on demand, the library liaison should exercise leadership, initiative, and independent judgment in procuring resources for the library. The ultimate objective is to create a collection that contains high-quality materials that, first, support the instructional program and, second, support the research needs of the university.

Role of the Departmental Representative: The departmental representative (although not required) is the principal contact with the library on collection matters. Working with the library liaison, the representative has the responsibility for ensuring that the library is aware of the library resources that are critical to support all departmental programs. The role of the departmental representative is critical to the department and to the library. In order to effectively carry out this role, the departmental representative should:

  • Be knowledgeable about the department's academic programs and offerings and understand the current and future library needs of each
  • Maintain an appropriate level of communications with his/her faculty colleagues to determine library needs and to keep them informed about the status of library collections
  • Be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of the collections
  • Be knowledgeable about the library's collection development policy
  • Be active in the process of selecting titles needed to support the needs of his/her department
  • Bring collection issues and needs to the library liaison

In order for the cooperative venture between the library liaisons and the departmental representatives to best match the instructional needs of faculty and students, it is necessary that both the library liaison and the associated representative strive to establish a rapport and communicate with one another over the course of the academic year. The library liaison and the representative should consult each other about trends in the department and the discipline, about the suitability of individual titles, and about the usefulness to the department of different formats in which materials are being published. The library liaison should advise faculty about newly published titles that may be relevant to their teaching and/or research.


A. Format of Material

  1. Balance between formats
    The library strives to build a balanced collection among the many different formats to meet the instruction needs of the University.
  2. Books
    Books are acquired for all disciplines. Format(s) will be selected based on the needs of the curriculum.
  3. Serials
    The library will collect serials in all areas of the curriculum. Format(s) will be selected based on the needs of the curriculum. [See Periodical collection development policy.]
  4. Loose-leaf Materials
    Both the Reference and the Serials departments subscribe to a small number of loose-leaf and update services.
  5. Textbooks
    In general, required textbooks for courses are not purchased by the Library. The library does, however, acquire textbooks adopted by the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction in areas in which the Department of Education certifies teachers: These will be located in the Curriculum Materials Center collections. Additionally, textbooks are purchased if they provide the best coverage of a subject, or when the work itself is of a seminal, historical, or other significant nature.
  6. Reprints
    Reprints are evaluated in the same manner as other book requests.
  7. Dissertations and Theses
    Dissertations and theses are acquired on a selective basis, consistent with general collection development policies. One copy of all master's theses and doctoral dissertations from Western Carolina University is acquired and is cataloged for the General Collection.
  8. Paperbacks
    For as long as they are cheaper than hardbacks, paperbacks will be selected whenever the price difference is significant. Paperbacks may be bound before being added to the collection.
  9. Microforms
    Monographic microforms are acquired selectively, i.e. when originals are not available or are too expensive. Serials microforms are selectively purchased with regard to price, space, and usage considerations, as well as to fill gaps in the library's serials holdings.
  10. Maps
    The library will collect maps, atlases, geospatial data and other related materials. [See also Section III.A.]
  11. Art Works, Photographs, Poster, and Pamphlets
    These materials are not collected. Exception may be made when materials are of particular value to Special Collections.
  12. Musical Scores
    Musical scores are acquired selectively to support the relevant curriculum. In order to avoid violating copyright laws, musical scores in parts (performance scores) are not collected.
  13. Plays
    Plays are acquired selectively to support the relevant curriculum. In order to avoid violating copyright laws, play text in parts (sides) are not collected.
  14. Digital Images
    Digital images represent a significant portion of the library’s digital collections. These images are made accessible through the library’s website that includes a searchable database of digital images and text that provides web-based interpretation. Specific digital image collections can be found on the library’s web page at
  15. Sound Recordings 
    Sound recordings are collected selectively in compact disc and/or streaming audio formats.
  16. Audio-Visual Materials
    Audio-visual materials are acquired selectively to support the curriculum and other aspects of the library’s mission.
  17. Emerging and Obsolete Formats and Technologies
    Emerging formats may be collected when the library has the hardware and technological infrastructure to support them. Other factors that may influence decisions to collect in emerging formats include likelihood that the format will have relative longevity, commitment across other campus units to adopt and/or support the format and associated technology, and the anticipated availability of supportive resources into the future.
  18. Electronic Resources
    Examples of electronic resources include, but are not limited to, numeric data files, bibliographic files, text files, graphic/multimedia files, etc. [For web sites see, “Web Site Selection and Cataloging Policy.”]
  19. Vertical File Materials
    Not collected.
  20. Test and Training materials
    Not collected.

B. Languages and Translations
Preference is given in all selections to English editions or to those works translated into English. Exceptions include, but are not limited to, works intended for the Modern Foreign Language program.

C. Popular Reading
The library has a number of funds dedicated to the purchase of titles intended to enhance student learning and critical thinking skills, as well as encourage learning and reading as lifelong activities. Selection of titles purchased from these funds will be based on the following criteria:

  • books that are award winners
  • titles that meet a standard of high quality
  • content expected to have some permanence
  • materials attainable at a reasonable cost

D. Leisure Collection
The library maintains a leisure collection in current popular genres meant to encourage an appreciation of reading and lifelong learning as an important part of everyday leisure activities. These materials are selected by library staff knowledgeable about particular genres and areas of nonfiction and may incorporate recommendations from the public. This collection represents a very modest portion of the overall library budget. 

E. Housing Library Materials
The library generally will not purchase materials to be housed physically outside of the library. Exceptions may be made for remote campuses, such as MAHEC and programs in Asheville. Materials kept at remote locations remain the property of Hunter Library and are purchased for the purpose of supporting instructional programs.

F. Multiple Copies
Insofar as the library's funds do not permit the purchase of all materials needed for teaching, extension, and research, multiple copies will be acquired in accordance with the following criteria:

High use:  The primary reason for multiple copies of individual titles will be high demand and heavy, continuous use. Multiple copies will not be acquired solely for the sake of preservation except for selected materials maintained for archival purposes in the Special Collections Unit.

Multiple copies/Duplicates:  Multiple copies of subscriptions will not be purchased except those needed for programs in Asheville. Duplication between formats (i.e., print and electronic) will be considered on a case by case basis. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide access to the web versions of periodicals that are included in the cost of the print subscription.

Multiple locations:  Since the university offers courses at remote sites, occasionally duplicate copies are ordered to serve distinct locations. Although the copy may be kept at the remote location, Hunter library retains ownership of the copy.

G. Manuals and Other Professional Materials
Professional materials such as manuals that are used by library professionals, but not added to the
collection for public use will not be purchased from the materials budget, but rather from supply funds.

H. Reference Collections [See also Section III.D.]
The Reference Collection has both general and interdisciplinary reference works and subject-specific materials that support individual academic programs. The Collection includes electronic books as well as print titles. Every effort is made to ensure that the Reference Collection is up-to-date and includes the principal reference sources for each discipline.

I. Document Delivery Services
Inter-Library Loan Service
Interlibrary Loan and related services should serve as an adjunct to, not a substitute for, collection development. Whenever possible, the library will acquire items having direct and lasting relevance to the curriculum and the library’s mission.

J.  Genealogical Materials
The library selectively collects materials of a genealogical nature with value for local history research, but does not have a separate section devoted to genealogical research.

K. Weeding
Weeding involves removal from the collection of materials to be discarded. The most obvious value of weeding materials is increased convenience for the library user. An item or group of items is considered for weeding when it is no longer relevant to the library's programs as defined in the subject statements, when it is redundant in the collection, when its contents and/or format are obsolete or superseded, or when its physical condition makes it unusable or detrimental to the larger collection. Other criteria may inform weeding decisions according to the judgments of appropriate selectors and the collection development librarian.  Additional benefits to be gained through weeding include the increase in the availability of stack space for current and future growth of the collection, a higher proportion of materials that interest patrons on the shelves, and economy and efficiency in the use of time by library staff. In view of the fact that this is not meant to be a research collection, failure to weed materials can diminish the vitality of a collection.

Criteria for weeding of material include:

  1. Obsolescence of Information
    Materials that contain obsolete or erroneous information and do not retain some historical, seminal, or research value should be weeded. This factor is particularly applicable in rapidly changing fields such as technology, health care and the sciences.
  2. Federal Government Documents
    Depository items, except when superseded, per Federal Depository Policy may be reviewed for discard after five years. Discarding will be done in accordance with the Government Printing Office guidelines set out in Instructions to Depository Libraries.
  3. Superseded Works
    Works superseded or cumulated in more comprehensive publications should be discarded.

L. Replacement
Replacement involves the acquisition of materials previously held. Primary responsibility for replacement decisions lies with the Coordinator of Collection Development in conjunction with the subject bibliographers. Teaching faculty will be consulted when appropriate. Criteria for replacement of material include:

  1. Missing Materials
    Materials missing in inventory after one year will be withdrawn from the catalog. Replacement is dependent upon the material's meeting the current selection criteria, availability, and value compared with purchasing newer titles.
  2. Materials Lost and Paid
    Materials which have been lost by patrons and paid for are withdrawn from the catalog. Funds collected are reinvested into the collection.
  3. Materials Long Overdue
    Materials never returned and not paid for are withdrawn from the catalog. Replacement is dependent upon the material's meeting the current selection criteria, availability, and value.
  4. Physical Condition
    Materials deselected because of poor condition will be replaced if they meet the selection criteria, if they are available, and if budget permits. If a replacement copy is not available for an item still needed in the collection, every effort should be made to preserve the item.
  5. Later Editions
    Replacement by later edition depends on subject matter, length of time between editions, circulation, or extent of revision.

M. Gifts
The Library will accept donations of library materials and monetary gifts designated for the purchase of library materials in accordance with the following criteria:

  1. Publications received as gifts or designated to be purchased with monetary gifts will be evaluated by the same standards that apply to new materials being selected. Nothing will be added simply because it is "free," since all additions involve processing and storage costs. Each item added should enhance the intellectual value of the collection and adhere to the selection criteria described in the Collection Development Policy.
  2. The library has the right to decide whether donations will be added to the collections or sold/discarded. Decisions will be made by the Collection Development Librarian in consultation with the interested bibliographers. The library will not accept gifts with conditions as to their disposition or location (except with permission of the Dean of Library Services). Items not selected for addition to the collections will be included in a library book sale or discarded according to the surplus property procedures of the State of North Carolina.
  3. Generally, the library will not accept copies of materials already in the collections.
  4. Appraisal of gift materials is the responsibility of the donor. The library does not appraise gifts.
  5. Gift materials requiring continuing obligations on the part of the library will not be accepted without serious consideration of the library's ability to keep the materials up-to-date.

N. General Fund
The general fund has a number of purposes. Among these are to purchase interdisciplinary titles, titles of general intellectual interest to library users, and titles of lasting importance to the collections. Availability of funds will affect the amount of materials purchased from the general fund in a given year. All titles purchased from the general fund will adhere to the selection criteria articulated in the Collection Development Policy.

O. Challenged Materials
The Library welcomes expressions of opinions from the public concerning materials selected or not selected for inclusion in its collections. Requests to add or remove library materials will be considered within the contexts of the principles affirmed in this document and the standards described in Association of College and Research Libraries' Intellectual Freedom Principles.  Persons who wish to request the reconsideration of library materials must complete and sign a "Request for Reconsideration" form, which is available online or at the Library's circulation desk. The form must be filled out completely and submitted to the library, assuring the library staff is able to follow up for clarification and that the patron's concern will be addressed by the appropriate library staff. Anonymous phone calls, rumors, or voiced concern will not be addressed. Once a completed "Request for Reconsideration" form is returned to the library, a task force will be convened to review the challenge and a formal investigation will be undertaken. For materials already in the collection, the material in question will remain in the library's collection while the review is under way.

The appropriate liaison librarian reviews the item on the basis of the Collection Development Policy and reports to the task force. The Collection Development Librarian reviews both the objection and the response. The Collection Development Librarian submits his/her written recommendation to the task force for review and forwards a written response to the complainant. Further appeals may be made to the Dean of Library Services.

P. Teaching Aids
Individual academic departments are responsible for purchasing, housing, and maintaining classroom teaching aids. The library will not purchase resources that:

  • are consumable and can be used only once.
  • are limited by the vendor to use by a specific person or class. Apart from rare exceptions, electronic resources that cannot be made available to the entire university community though IP authentication will not be purchased.
  • must be configured or set-up by an instructor before they can be used.
  • cannot be used without instructions and/or context provided by an instructor.

Q. Requests to Return, Destroy, or Delete Materials in the Library Collections
The library sometimes receives requests from the producers or previous owners of library materials to return, destroy, or delete particular items that exist in the collections. This is usually done when the item contains information that the producer or previous owner believes to be erroneous or problematic.

1. When the library has selected and owns the item, such a request generally will be refused. The item is now part of the record of publication and should have, as such, a place in the library's collections. When available and deemed appropriate, a corrective addendum or errata sheet may be added to the item in question.

2. In the case of publications the library is storing and making accessible but does not technically own (as sometimes is the case, for example, with documents received through the Federal Depository Library program), the library is obliged to return, destroy, or delete items at the direction of the owner or issuing agency. Care will be taken in each case to ensure that the person requesting such action is indeed the authorized agent of the owner.

This policy addresses specifically requests that come from producers or previous owners and is distinct from challenges to library materials involving intellectual freedom considerations.  For information on challenges to library materials, please see Section II.O.

III. Specialized Collections

A. Maps

The Map Room was established to service the cartographic information needs of the university community. To meet these needs the Maps Collection must include a well-rounded collection of worldwide maps and atlases, geospatial data, and related reference materials. Collection emphasis will be on post-1900 materials of North Carolina and the Southeast United States.

The following types of cartographic materials will be collected.

  1. Sheet maps. Both topographic and thematic maps as single sheets and sets.
  2. Atlases. General world atlases; US state atlases; national atlases; thematic atlases.
  3. Geospatial Data. Geospatial data in raster and vector format.
  4. Globes. A selection of physical and political globes.
  5. Plastic Relief Maps. A limited number of plastic relief maps of mountainous areas.
  6. Aerial photographs. Aerial photographs will be collected selectively.
  7. Satellite imagery.Satellite imagery will be collected selectively.
  8. Reference and Support Materials. Gazetteers listing coordinates and/or names with descriptions; basic geographic and cartographic glossaries and dictionaries and foreign language map terminology; selected cartobibliographies; bibliographies of mapping by government agencies; lists of addresses of cartographers, map publishers, map printers, map libraries, etc.; publications concerning mapping and related cartographic topics; and a limited selection of items to assist map users, such as scale converters and mileage measurers.

The following types of materials are not collected: sets of teaching maps; wall maps.

Priorities by geographic region will be as follows:

  1. North Carolina. Whenever possible any cartographic materials published on western North Carolina will be acquired. Topographic maps will be acquired down to the most detailed scales. Thematic maps and atlases will be acquired when available for the state, regions of the state, counties, and cities. Unpublished cartographic materials, and geospatial data will be selectively acquired. Some historical materials will be collected.
  2. Southeastern United States. Topographic maps will be acquired down to 1:24,000. Thematic maps and atlases will be acquired at statewide scales. Detailed coverage for some areas, states, counties and cities will be selectively acquired. A limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  3. United States. Topographic maps will be acquired down to 1:24,000. Thematic maps and atlases will be selectively acquired at statewide scales. Detailed coverage for some areas, states, counties, and cities will be selectively acquired. A limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  4. Canada and Mexico. Topographic maps will be acquired down to 1:250,000. Thematic maps and atlases will be selectively acquired. Detailed coverage of some areas and cities will be selectively acquired. A limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  5. North America. Most thematic maps and atlases will be acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  6. Central and South America and the Caribbean. Topographic coverage will be acquired down to 1:250,000. Regional and nationwide thematic maps and atlases will be acquired selectively. Detailed coverage of some countries, areas, and cities will be selectively acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  7. Europe. Topographic coverage will be acquired down to 1:250,000. Regional and nationwide thematic maps or atlases will be acquired selectively. Detailed coverage of some countries, areas, and cities will be selectively acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  8. Africa, Asia, and Australia. Topographic coverage down to 1:1,000,000. Regional and nationwide thematic maps and atlases will be acquired selectively. Detailed coverage of some countries, areas, and cities will be selectively acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  9. World, Polar Regions, Oceans, Ocean Islands. Topographic and thematic maps and atlases will be selectively acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.
  10. Moon, Planets, and Space. Topographic and thematic maps and atlases will be selectively acquired. A very limited amount of geospatial data will be acquired.

Recreational guides for North Carolina and especially western North Carolina will be acquired.

Duplicate copies will be acquired only of those items that have extremely heavy and constant use. A minimum of one duplicate copy of all North Carolina topographic maps will be acquired.

Materials that are damaged or lost will be replaced if appropriate.

So that a historical perspective can be maintained, some older materials pertaining to North Carolina and the Southeast will not be withdrawn. Other materials may be withdrawn for the following reasons: poor physical condition, obsolete information, multiple copies, or replaced by a newer edition. Depository items will be weeded in accordance with GPO guidelines.

B. Curriculum Materials

The Curriculum Materials Center supports the Education curriculum of the university. It supports elementary and secondary methods, field placements,  and practicum courses, as well as children's and young adult literature courses taught at the institution. Priority is given to materials that support course work preparing students to meet requirements of education degrees and credentials.


  1. Textbooks
    Teacher’s editions of textbooks adopted by the State of North Carolina, Department of Instruction in all subjects and at all grade levels, kindergarten through grade twelve, in which the College of Education and Allied Professions prepares certifies students to teach will be acquired comprehensively. Student editions and other support material will be acquired very selectively.
  2. Professional Materials
    A selection of professional materials which support teachers in the classroom is collected and housed in the CMC. Examples include idea and activity books, unit and lesson plans,  teaching methods books and guides to classroom management.  Books about educational research, theory or history are located in the general collection.
  3. Children's Collection
    Resources including fiction, nonfiction, picture books, folk and fairy tales, plays and poetry appropriate for infants through grade twelve.  The collection reflects the recommendations of standard reviewing tools and includes annual acquisition of award books such as Caldecott, Newbery and Coretta Scott King.
  4. Reference Collection
    The newest editions of reference sources related to materials in the school curriculum or children's literature collections are included in the Reference collection. For example, that collection includes children's literature indexes and bibliographies, indexes and reviewing sources of audiovisual media and equipment, biographical information about authors and illustrators of children's literature and indexes to educational software. Kindergarten through grade twelve encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesauri are selectively housed in this collection. When reasonable, duplication with the general collection will be avoided.
  5. Journals
    Magazines intended for use by P-12 students, as well as professional education periodicals that provide teaching ideas and review curriculum materials, educational media, and children’s and young adult literature are selectively collected.
  6. Instructional  Materials
    A representative sample of instructional materials is purchased for demonstration purposes and to provide resources that students use in lesson preparation. Examples include curriculum guides, charts, science kits, puppets, study prints, games, audio-visual materials, manipulatives, models, realia and educational toys.


  1. Curriculum Correlation
    Materials in the CMC will support meeting the objectives of the North Carolina State Standard Course of Study.
  2. Subjects
    Basic curricular subjects as stated in the North Carolina Competency-based Curriculum Guides issued by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, enrichment and remedial materials for those subject areas, interdisciplinary subject areas and materials developed for special populations (e.g. early childhood, exceptional children, English as a Second Language) will be included in the collection.
  3. Curricular Level
    The CMC collection contains media, textbooks and resources appropriate for infant programs through grade twelve. College level textbooks are not collected.   Fiction and nonfiction materials which support a typical school curriculum for preschool through 8th grade will be collected.  Fiction and nonfiction materials appropriate for high school students are similar to those found in an undergraduate library, therefore, only exceptional material will be collected.
  4. Language
    The primary language of the collection is English. Materials to support the teaching of foreign languages are included as well as materials to support bilingual education and English as a Second Language( ESL).
  5. Educational Currency
    Curriculum materials will reflect current trends in education and instruction.
  6. Multi-ethnic/cultural
    The collection will include materials which reflect multiple ethnic, racial, religious, social and sexual characteristics. It should represent a variety of economic and geographic orientations as well as problems, aspirations, attitudes and ideas of our society.
  7. Geographical
    Educational methods and approaches used in the United States and North Carolina are emphasized. Materials from other states and countries are selectively collected.

Generally, multiple copies or teaching sets will not be purchased.

In addition to general guidelines for weeding the following will also will be used:

  1. Outdated materials
  2. Textbooks no longer on the state-adopted list and no longer needed in education courses
  3. Materials in outdated formats
  4. Materials that have not circulated in more than ten years

Materials lost or damaged will be replaced at the discretion of the Collection Development Librarian, in consultation with the Education liaison.

C. Special Collections

The mission of Special Collections is to select and acquire primary research materials and ancillary documentation that support the academic community's teaching, research activities, and service programs; to arrange and describe the holdings; to provide physical access to the holdings and reference service for patrons; and to work towards preservation of the items. A joint purpose of Special Collections and the Mountain Heritage Center is the preservation of the regional heritage of western North Carolina and the Southern Appalachian area. Special Collections and the Mountain Heritage Center work cooperatively and are non-competitive in their missions. Special Collections acquires materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and rare books that document the history of the region. The Mountain Heritage Center collects artifacts, primarily three-dimensional, for the same purpose.

Based upon the identified curricular, research, and administrative needs of the University, Special Collections' primary areas of interest are

  1. The natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachia region. Within that context, particular attention is given to western North Carolina.
  2. Cherokee Indian history and culture, with particular attention given to documenting the history of the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi River and to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
  3. Works and papers of regional authors, defined as authors who by birth, residency, or through the content of their writings are associated with the Southern Appalachian region.
  4. Materials documenting the history of Western Carolina University.

The unit collects 1., papers from private individuals and families, such as correspondence, literary and other creative works, and legal documents, and 2., records of corporations, businesses, or organizations.

Western Carolina University records.
The unit houses University records that document the history of Western Carolina University. Two copies of all University publications and ephemeral periodical publications issued by agencies of the University are collected. Special Collections is not charged as the University Archives. It is the responsibility of University departments to maintain their own records in accordance with North Carolina law. Records offered to Special Collections by University departments are selected according to the College and University Records Retention and Disposition Schedule issued by the Division of Archives & History and adopted by the administration of Western Carolina University. Any transfer of records from a University department to Special Collections requires the prior approval of the head of Special Collections and the University Librarian. All transfers must be accompanied by a list of the records' contents.

The unit houses the Special Collections books, a non-circulating book collection that requires high security storage and a stable environment. Books considered for inclusion with the Special Collections books include limited editions, signed copies, rare books or books that may prove difficult to replace, books of regional interest having a limited distribution, and rare subject collections in the areas of interest mentioned above.

Photographs (i.e. prints, negatives, and photographic postcards) are collected in the areas of interest mentioned above.

The unit acquires ephemera such as brochures, pamphlets, posters, regional newsletters, musical scores, etc., in its areas of interest.

Vertical File Materials.
A newspaper clippings file of articles of regional interest is maintained based upon issues of the Sylva Herald, Franklin Press, and Asheville Citizen-Times.

Microform materials are housed in Special Collections if there is a prevailing reason (e.g. a unique set or a master copy).

Regional maps of historical interest are acquired. The unit does not attempt to replicate the work of the library's Map Room.

Art Works.
Art works are not actively collected, although a limited number of art works which correspond to a manuscript collection or which have historical value to the University are housed in the unit.

Sound recordings are collected as part of the Western North Carolina Oral History Project.

The unit does not accept donations with conditions as to disposition or location of the items.

Artifacts are not acquired. Offers of artifacts are referred to the Mountain Heritage Center. For collections that have both manuscript materials and artifacts, a joint donation may be arranged with both Special Collections and the Mountain Heritage Center based upon each unit's policies.

Multiple copies.
The unit does not retain multiple copies of publications, and retains the right to dispose of unneeded publications.

Oral history.
All oral history interviews and support documentation, both audio and video as well as transcripts, must have release forms signed by the interviewees indicating their informed consent and indicating that the interview will be placed in Special Collections and open to the public. Individuals or organizations contemplating an oral history project with the desire of placing materials in Special Collections should first consult with Special Collections staff.

Offers outside the primary collecting interests.
The unit does not actively collect books, manuscripts, photographs, or other items that do not support the areas of interest specified above. Where conditions warrant, a donation may be accepted based upon the age, intrinsic value, uniqueness, and research value of the materials.

Donations based on faculty expertise.
The unit does not collect in areas of faculty expertise unless there is a long-term commitment from the appropriate college to have faculty with expertise in the area.

Special Collections encourages the donation of original materials rather than photocopies or other reproductions. Photocopies and reproductions are considered on a case-by-case basis. In instances where photocopies or reproductions are accepted, the donation requires the same documentation as with a collection of original materials.

Special Collections will not accept materials that are closed to the public in perpetuity. Prior to the donation all restricted materials must be designated with an opening date. No book collection will be acquired as a gift with the stipulation that it is kept together.

Special Collections does not accept manuscript collections on indefinite loan. No manuscript collection will be acquired on loan unless it requires little or no processing time, has no restrictions placed upon its access or use, and has clearly defined guidelines on its future return to the owner or designated heir.No book collection will be acquired on loan.

Special collections does not endeavor to duplicate the library's general or reference holdings on regional history, Cherokee history, or other subject areas within it collecting interest. Duplicate copies are acquired only for preservation purposes or where they support reference assistance or aid in research use of the manuscript collections and other unit holdings.

Materials that have become brittle or fragile may be reformatted into another medium to help with preservation. Materials that are damaged or lost, and for which a replacement copy exists, will be replaced if appropriate.

An item or group of items may be considered for deaccessioning when it is no longer relevant to the University's activities and programs as defined in the subject statements, when it is redundant in the collection, or when its physical condition makes it unusable.

Appraisal of gift materials is the responsibility of the donor. Special Collections staff cannot assist donors with tax advice on a donation or provide an appraisal. The staff can assist in locating a source for an appraisal.

D. Digital Collections


Consistent with its role as a leader in digital technology and with its mission to support the teaching, research, and service programs of the university, Hunter Library is committed to sustaining a strong digital infrastructure and to extending access to unique resource materials via the web. The library uses digitization to create online collections that include primary source materials that are then organized into a searchable database.

To enhance their use, digital collections are often augmented with contextual material to assist the public audience with understanding and integrating their content for greater meaning. To accomplish this objective, the library engages content experts from within the university faculty to add interpretive meaning to its online offerings. In a manner similar to its Special Collections, the library's Digital Programs focuses on building collections that support the learning and research needs of the university community. A primary area of interest includes the natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachian region.

The Digital Initiatives and Access Services Department is responsible for the selection, creation, and long-term preservation of Hunter Library's digital holdings.


  1. Is the content original and of intellectual or cultural value?
  2. Is it useful in the short and/or long term for research and instruction?
  3. Does it match the mission of WCU and/or library collecting interests?
  4. Is the investment of time and/or resource in line with the anticipated value?
  5. Is the work in the public domain, does WCU hold copyright, or have permissions been obtained?
  6. Does it have substantial metadata or other existing descriptive documentation?


Hunter Library's digital collections focus on unique and rare materials from WCU Special Collections and partner organizations and scholarly articles and data sets produced by WCU faculty and staff.


  • The natural and cultural history of the Southern Appalachian region
  • The institutional history of Western Carolina University
  • Library or Special Collections materials that receive heavy use or about which library staff have preservation concerns
  • Scholarly work produced by the faculty, staff, and students of WCU


  • Materials that cannot be shared due to copyright or donor restrictions
  • Materials that duplicate digitized collections elsewhere, so long as the digital objects are broadly accessible
  • Materials that do not follow best practices for facilitating use and access


E. Reference Works

The Reference Department maintains an up-to-date collection of reference sources—such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, statistical sources, atlases, bibliographies, and indexes—which reflect the curricular and general information needs of the students, faculty, and staff of Western Carolina University.

Linguistic: Priority is given to English-language materials. Titles in a foreign language are selected only if they are superior to, complement, or cover an area not covered by the English works available.

Chronological: Currently published material has priority over retrospective titles. For most titles, superseded editions are either withdrawn or transferred to the General Collection to retain historical coverage. 

Level: Scholarly and authoritatively informational works, appropriate for use at undergraduate and graduate levels, are selected. Popular materials generally are avoided, unless they enhance an area not otherwise covered or an area where material written for the layperson is valuable (for example, law or medicine).  Juvenile materials are not acquired.

De-selection: Outdated materials or titles no longer relevant to the university's curriculum may be removed from the Reference Collection.

Locations: Although this policy concerns the main Reference Collection, the Curriculum Materials Center, the Maps Room, and Government Documents also have reference collections.


Almanacs, annuals and yearbooks: For most titles, the latest editions are purchased; for some titles, editions are acquired every 2-3 years. The geographic and subject coverage of these materials reflects and supports the teaching and research trends of the University.

Anthologies: A few anthologies pertinent to the curriculum are maintained in the Reference Collection. Examples are Historic Documents, Annals of America, and compilations of literary criticism such as Contemporary Literary Criticism.

Atlases: A representative, up-to-date collection of the major, comprehensive world atlases is maintained. A selection of regional and thematic (e.g. historical, economic and linguistic) atlases is also included.  (See also, Gazetteers and place name directories.)

Bibliographies: General bibliographies on broad topics may be included in the Reference Collection. Those with a narrow scope, such as single author or subject bibliographies, ordinarily are not included in the Reference Collection. Exceptions are occasionally made for major authors or for topics in great demand or of current or local interest.

Biographical directories: Major works are included, as are current biographical works such as American Men and Women of Science and a selection of the "who's who" type of materials. Biographical dictionaries with a very narrow, regional, chronological or subject coverage are considered on their potential usefulness in the Reference Collection.

Business and commercial directories: U.S. and international business, trade and commercial directories are collected selectively. When possible, directories are acquired in electronic format.

Career guides: The Reference Collection maintains a small set of career guides and guides to resume-writing.

Concordances: The Reference Collection includes concordances for major works and writers only (e.g. the Bible and Shakespeare).

Dictionaries, language: The objective is to acquire dictionaries covering most language families. Juvenile and pocket dictionaries are generally excluded.

English-language dictionaries: An extensive collection of general, etymological, and specialized dictionaries of dialects, slang, synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations, and subject-related dictionaries is maintained.

Foreign language dictionaries: The Reference Collection includes dictionaries for most foreign languages. Dictionaries without reference to English translations are not collected.

Dictionaries, specialized: Specialized subject dictionaries that reflect and support the university curriculum are collected.

Education directories: A limited number of guides to undergraduate and graduate study are collected. Focus is on U.S. institutions, with very selective information about international educational institutions.

Electronic information retrieval services: The Reference Department maintains access to a wide variety of electronic information sources. These can be bibliographic, numeric, or full-text in nature. In some cases, print equivalents are maintained.

Encyclopedias, general: The Reference Collection includes one edition of all the major English-language encyclopedias. An updated edition of each title is purchased every 2-3 years, rotating publishers.

Encyclopedias, specialized: The Reference Department maintains a collection of specialized encyclopedias that reflect and support the curriculum. Yearbooks for encyclopedias are collected very selectively.

Gazetteers and place name directories: Up-to-date comprehensive gazetteers and selected place-name books are selected for the Reference Collection.  (See also, “Atlases”)

Genealogy: Genealogy materials are not collected, except when justified in support of the curriculum.

Government documents: Depository government publications are added to the Reference Collection on a limited basis as determined by content and use. A few purchased, non-depository government document items are added to the Reference Collection on an exceptional basis.  [See also, Section III.E.]

Handbooks: Handbooks are collected and sometimes added to the Reference Collection.

Indexing and abstracting services: General, interdisciplinary and specific subject area indexes and abstracts are collected extensively, almost always in electronic form. In the case of print indexes, both current and retrospective volumes are housed in the Ref/Index Collection. Indexes to individual periodicals are shelved with their parent titles in the periodicals stacks. Newspaper indexes are housed in the Ref/Index stacks. Duplication of print and online indexes is avoided.

Law: Reference maintains a collection of federal and North Carolina statutory and case law, along with accompanying digests and some commentary. Reference also has a small collection of specialized law sets for disciplines such as education or sports management and for legal materials related to Native Americans.

Periodical and newspaper directories and union lists: Bibliographies of periodicals and newspapers are collected selectively, usually in electronic format. The Reference Collection maintains a collection of guides to publications in specific disciplines, such as business or education.

Quotation books: Major English-language dictionaries of quotations, proverbs, etc. are selected for the Reference Collection. Quotation books with a narrow scope are very selectively collected.

Scholarship, fellowship and grant materials: A basic collection of scholarship, fellowship and grant materials is maintained.

Statistical yearbooks: A wide range of national and international statistical yearbooks is collected.

Style manuals: Current style manuals that serve as standards for their respective fields are collected. Multiple copies may be purchased for heavily used titles.

Travel guides: Recent editions of travel guides for selected countries are collected.

The Reference Collection is developed by the Head of Reference, in consultation with reference librarians, subject bibliographers, the Collection Development Librarian, and the Serials Librarian. Reference works are purchased from the reference budget or from departmental allocations.

F. Government Publications

The purpose of being a depository library for federal and state documents is to provide access to and service for, government information as needed by faculty, staff and students of Western Carolina University and the 11th Congressional District. The library also collects and provides access to regional documents, specifically those related to environmental concerns and local or regional economic development.  Care is given to avoid duplication of resources in Special Collections.  These collections support the curriculum and research in all areas, from undergraduate level to the doctoral level.

All government publications are selected in the most appropriate available format, taking into consideration content, user preferences, and library facilities. Formats may include, but are not limited to paper, microfiche, maps and electronic formats. Increasingly access to federal information comes through links from the library catalog to federal agency web sites and library web pages. Access is also enhanced through 24/7 availability to a server with regional data. New formats will be accommodated as feasible. When patron access to data is increased through a highly preferred format, the library may purchase data in the desired format. Posters, calendars and other miscellaneous formats are rarely selected.

Libraries in the Western North Carolina Library Network (WCNLN) will build upon their strengths for the benefit of the network, while striving to meet local needs. Coverage of Government Printing Office's (GPO) "Core Collection List for Small Academic Libraries" will be achieved in the region. The "List of Classes of United States Government Publications Available for Selection by Depository Libraries" will be periodically reviewed to avoid unnecessary duplication, to make efficient use of available space, and to optimize coverage of available depository items. Methods of determining need includes the changing nature of WCU's academic mission and programs.

  • Historical research purposes.
  • Availability of information in other sources.
  • Geographic area covered by the material.
  • User interest and citizen information needs.

Statistical data across all subjects, Education including Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education, Medicine including Health, Nutrition and Human Performance, Natural Resources including Forestry, Water Resources, Landscape Ecology and GIS, Biology including aquaculture, Geosciences including geology and geography, Executive, Judicial and Legislative documents needed across disciplines, Business including Economic Indicators, Marketing, Business startup and international trade, American history including military, Political Science and Social Science, Tourism including travel and outdoor recreation, Criminal Justice, Environmental Health including Industrial Hygiene and hazardous waste removal and Communications.  Subject bibliographers are responsible for the selection of documents in their assigned areas.

The prime geographical area for collection is the Southeastern United States. There is also a great need for federal information on a national level.

Historical runs of needed statistical data will be bound, as will legislative materials WCU has identified for retention. The Documents Librarian may decide to print and bind research data, from federal web sites that is in danger of being dropped from the web site. Lost and worn materials will be replaced as needed.

G. Periodicals

The periodical collection supports the information needs of students and faculty with both print and electronic resources. The collection should reflect the long-term emphases of the curriculum and give funding priority to those areas identified as priorities of the University.  At the same time, it should be a dynamic collection, responding readily to the changing needs of the University. While the print collection is limited to a core of titles representing the foundations of each discipline, thus recognizing the importance of browsing in the process of discovery, the collection is intended to complement electronic journals offered via e-journal publisher packages, as individual title subscriptions, or aggregator databases. Document delivery is also offered as a means of accessing articles not otherwise available.

Periodicals are available in a variety of formats: print, microfilm, microfiche, electronic. The decision as to which format to purchase, and which format to be used for retention, will be made on a case by case basis considering the following:

  • Cost
  • User needs (e.g., distance education)
  • Discipline (i.e., how a particular area uses periodical literature)
  • Quality and "completeness" of the format
  • Historical importance (i.e., some formats are more suitable for permanent retention than others)
  1. Popular vs. Scholarly - In order to support the curriculum the library needs a collection of scholarly journals and a selection of relevant current awareness titles.Only those popular periodicals that provide support for academic programs will be purchased.
  2. Multiple copies/Duplicates - Multiple copies of subscriptions will not be purchased except those needed on the UNC-Asheville campus. Duplication between formats (i.e., print and electronic) will be considered on a case by case basis. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide access to the web versions of periodicals that are included in the cost of the print subscription.
  3. Weeding/De-selecting/Periodical Review- In order to maintain a viable print and electronic collection, there will be a rolling collection review project. Colleges will review the titles assigned to each department for possible deletions and additions at least once every 4 years (one College per year). Factors to consider in this review are:
    • Budgetary needs/restrictions
    • Changes in programs
    • Priorities in the departments
    • Periodical use data
    • Availability of electronic equivalents
    • Availability within the WNCLN
  4. Standing Order Review
    Ongoing and continual review of standing orders is an important component of a weeding program. Reasons for canceling standing orders may be identical to those for weeding other materials: lack of space, infrequent use, replacement in another format, reduced programmatic relevance, obsolescence, and poor physical condition. Other reasons for canceling standing orders are declining quality and the high cost of maintaining the subscription because of inflation.
  5. Document delivery options will be considered as a replacement for cancelled subscriptions. Weeding decisions will be made using the same criteria as for making selection decisions, balancing historical/archival importance with issues such as relevancy to the curriculum and space needs.
  6. Gifts - See section concerning gifts in general Collection Development Policy.
  7. Selection Criteria - In addition to the selection criteria listed in the general Collection Development Policy, the following will be considered: · The purchase of a subscription is a commitment of time and a new subscription will be retained for a minimum of 3 years after its starting date. · The title must be well established, appearing in standard indexing tools.

Newspapers - Are acquired selectively. Emphasis is placed on regional, state and major US and international titles.

H. Web Site Selection and Cataloging Policy

Because a considerable amount of scholarly information is made available on the World Wide Web, the library will add reliable and appropriate sites to the catalog. Making access to Web content available through the library catalog will allow patrons to discover and access selected sites within the context of their searches, and in the process select high quality sites that are appropriate for research. Bibliographers should keep in mind that by adding sites to the catalog the library will be endorsing the quality and reliability of the content they include. The library welcomes and encourages suggestions of sites to be added to the catalog from the university community. Suggested sites should meet the following criteria:


  1. Web sites to be considered for inclusion in the library catalog should:
    • follow all the collecting guidelines as represented by the currently approved collection development policy statement, individual subject statements and other related documents.
    • represent materials useful and important to a significant segment of the library's user community or reflect current academic needs.
    • be available in formats accessible through existing hardware and software in the library.
    • reflect the excellence, comprehensiveness, and authoritativeness expected of materials in other formats.
    • contain information that is accurate, current, and stable.
    • be maintained by an authoritative author who intends to continuously update the site and appears to be capable of doing so.
    • contain useful information themselves, such as comprehensive web bibliographies in a particular topic. Web sites that are primarily links to other sites should not be added to the catalog.
    • be accessible to WCU users with no charges or registration requirements. Sites that require user registration and/or charges must consider licensing considerations listed below.
  2. The following process should be observed in selecting and cataloging a web site:
    • Bibliographers must thoroughly examine each site before submitting it to the Collection Development Librarian.
    • The Collection Development Librarian or a designee will examine the submitted site before submitting it to cataloging.
    • Sites that require an access fee and/or a license agreement will be reviewed by the Collection Development Librarian and/or the Collection Review Committee for content review and funding consideration.
    • The cataloging department will add the site to the catalog.
  3. Licensing considerations:  Most producers of information in electronic format will restrict the use of their products through the use of license agreements. These agreements must be carefully reviewed before the product is purchased. The following should be considered as part of this review:
    • Where archiving is important, the license should include permanent rights to access the information acquired.
    • The agreement should reflect realistic expectations concerning the library's ability to monitor use and discover abuse.
    • The agreement should permit fair use of all information for non-commercial educational, instructional and research purposes by authorized users.
    • Access to products should not require individual passwords and/or user Ids.  Remote access should include explicit access for distance learning students, remote campuses, and all members of the University community regardless of physical location.
    • Definition of "authorized user" should include all on-site users of the library, as well as faculty, staff, and students.
  4. The following criteria should be observed to de-select sites from the catalog:
    • The site has changed URLs and cannot be relocated or it has ceased to exist on the web.
    • The site is no longer upgraded and its contents have become obsolete. Identifying these sites is the responsibility of the relevant liaisons and the Collection Development Librarian.
    • The conditions for access to a site have changed. For example, a "free" site might change to a site that requires registration, subscription, license agreements, or per-use fees. Identifying these sites is the responsibility of the relevant liaisons and the Collection Development Librarian.
    • The site and its contents are no longer appropriate for the library collections, as determined by the Collection Development Policy.

A. Directory of Departmental Representatives and Library Bibliographers
B. New Course/ Program Consultation Form
C. Intellectual Freedom and Challenge to Library Materials Form


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