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About Us: Collection Management



 Policy Purpose

The University of North Carolina Asheville is the designated liberal arts university in the 17campus University of North Carolina system.  In order to advance UNC Asheville's mission, D. Hiden Ramsey Library is committed to the principles of a liberal arts learning community.   This policy statement is intended to provide librarians and the academic community guidelines for the development and management of information resources. 

 Western North Carolina Library Network (WNCLN)

 The UNC Asheville Library extends student and faculty access to library materials primarily through its successful and long-term membership in the Western North Carolina Library Network (WNCLN).  Created in 1985 as a collaboration of Appalachian State University (ASU), the

University of North Carolina Asheville (UNC Asheville), and Western Carolina University (WCU), WNCLN has provided students and faculty on each campus with a shared library management system, a shared patron file, an online catalog, online course reserves, etc. 

Searches in the Library’s online catalog automatically present the holdings of ASU’s and WCU’s libraries in addition to those held by UNC Asheville.  Students, faculty, and staff may request for pick-up at the UNC Asheville Library circulation desk hard copy materials (books, DVDs, current issues of periodicals, bound volumes, etc.) via ABC Express.   The combined holdings of the three libraries of WNCLN equate roughly to those of a small research library collection, all of which are available to UNC Asheville students and faculty within a few days of a request.  The ability to efficiently and effectively share access to the considerably larger monographic collections at Appalachian State and Western Carolina have allowed UNC Asheville to provide considerably more access to online resources than might normally be expected.  Accordingly, all Ramsey Library collection management decisions (e.g., additions, deletions, retention, etc.) are taken in full recognition of the holdings, ease of access, and rapid delivery of the aggregated WNCLN collection. 

University Mission 

UNC Asheville is distinctive in the UNC system as its designated liberal arts university. Our practice of the liberal arts emphasizes the centrality of learning and discovery through exemplary teaching, innovative scholarship, creative expression, co-curricular activities, undergraduate research, engaged service, and practical experience. Primarily undergraduate, UNC Asheville offers a liberal arts education characterized by high quality faculty-student interaction. We offer this challenging educational experience to all promising students who are committed to liberal learning and personal growth. 

Our liberal arts educational approach emphasizes life skills including critical thinking, clear and thoughtful expression, and honest open inquiry. Students undertake concentrated study in one area while simultaneously developing an understanding of the connections among disciplines. We encourage students to clarify, develop and live their own values while respecting the views and beliefs of others. In addition, we cultivate an understanding of the dimensions of human diversity while recognizing the common humanity of all. We believe a quality liberal arts education enables our graduates to be lifelong learners and to lead successful, flourishing lives as leaders and contributors to their communities. 

At UNC Asheville, we respond to the conditions and concerns of the contemporary world both as individuals and as a university. We incorporate economic, social and environmental sustainability into our institutional practices and curriculum. With a range of associated centers, partnerships, and initiatives, we fulfill our public responsibility to address the needs of our community through a continuum of learning. We develop a commitment to continuing service characterized by an informed, responsible, and creative engagement with the Asheville area, the southern Appalachian region, the state of North Carolina, and a diverse and increasingly connected world. 


(Adopted by the UNC Asheville Board of Trustees June 19, 2009)

(Approved by the UNC Board of Governors November 13, 2009)  

 D. Hiden Ramsey Library Mission

Ramsey Library supports the learning, research and community missions of the University of North Carolina Asheville by providing information in formats from traditional to cutting-edge technology; offering group instruction and individual consultation in locating and using resources; and exhibiting leadership for the academic community in the means of accessing and best utilizing information.  The library advances the intellectual climate of the campus by promoting independent and collaborative avenues of inquiry, cultural enrichment, thought, reflection, and understanding.  

(Revised: Spring 2010)  

Intellectual Freedom

Ramsey Library adheres to the tenets of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.  In accordance with these principles of intellectual freedom, books and other library resources shall be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all members of the UNC Asheville community. Materials shall not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.  Ramsey Library seeks to provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials shall not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.  Ramsey Library will challenge censorship in fulfillment of its responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.  

(Adopted: January 25, 2002) 


Ramsey Library seeks to follow the letter and spirit of U.S. copyright law while advocating for user rights and unfettered access to information.  To that end, Ramsey Library supports the American Library Association's position that "Libraries are leaders in trying to maintain a balance of power between copyright holders and users, in keeping with the fundamental principles outlined in the

Constitution and carefully crafted over the past 200 years." 1  

(Adopted: February 2011)


Areas of Emphasis

Ramsey Library emphasizes owned and accessed (i.e., electronic) collections in the traditional liberal arts (e.g., literature, history, political science) and in those areas of teaching and research emphasis.  Due to historical patterns, literature and history comprise the bulk of the collection and Ramsey Library continues to collect heavily in those areas.  However, subscriptions to fulltext, electronic databases and indexes as well as paper and online journals have recently shifted considerable focus to the natural sciences in support of undergraduate research.

Collection Locations

Ramsey Library's physically owned collections are all located within the main library facility  in the following areas (see building map): 

  • General Stacks (Lower Level, Main Level, Upper Level) 
  • Special Collections (Upper Level) 
  • Curriculum and Children's Collection (Lower Level) 
  • Reference (Main Level) 
  • Bound Periodicals (Lower Level) 
  • Current Periodicals (Lower Level) 


Organization for Collection Development


Ramsey Librarians/Bibliographers collaborate closely with ALL UNC Asheville faculty members to identify books, journals, electronic resources, videos, and other information products to best support the teaching, learning, and research needs of the academic community.  Increasingly requests are for audiovisual and electronic resources accessible remotely as well as for classroom use.  This effort includes the use of a variety of bibliographical aids including Choice reviews online, the Chronicle of Higher Education, University Press publications, bibliographic aids in the subject disciplines, student and faculty recommendations, and other sources to select materials for addition to the collection.  Standard bibliographies and standard bibliographical lists of best materials are utilized in the evaluation of the collection and in the selection of additional resources for acquisition.  Materials are selected in a variety of ways: input from the faculty, student requests, inter-library loan requests, and input from the subject specialist librarians on current materials in the various disciplines taught.  Librarians work with all instructors to support teaching and student learning.  Where program specific needs arise, librarians coordinate collection purchases with the subject specialists for that program area. Statistics regarding the use of the databases are examined annually to determine the usefulness of the databases for the programs offered by the University.  Databases that are no longer useful are dropped, and new databases are acquired.


Requests for purchase from bibliographers or directly from UNC Asheville faculty are ordered by Ramsey Library acquisitions personnel.  To the extent feasible and advisable, recurring purchases are placed on standing order.  

Budget Structure/Allocation

The acquisitions budget is allocated by academic department or program in accordance with the Library's Collection Development Committee's analysis of the current and future information needs of the University.  This analysis is enriched by input from teaching faculty, patron requests, and [input from] the University Library Committee.  Funds for the purchase of library resources are reallocated as follows:  

Annually in the spring and summer following the close of the budget year, subject bibliographers consider input from departmental liaisons and other faculty in assigned subject areas to assess (a)  funds needed for purchases in their subject area during the fiscal year beginning July 1; (b) the amount of funds they could judiciously spend in addition to the base request in the event they are available ; and (c) changes in program, faculty or curricular emphasis that will affect and justify unusual changes in the existing allocation.  During the late summer or early fall when realistic budget projections are available the Collection Development Committee meets to discuss requests and to set allocations by subject area for the coming year.  While the University Librarian makes the final decision on budget allocations, they will regularly be discussed with the University Library Committee to incorporate differing viewpoints. 

(Initial approval: 1982)

(Revised: 2/11)

Responsibility for Selection 

Library collection development is the responsibility of subject bibliographers and the library’s

Collection Development Committee, under the direction of the University Librarian, the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees. Responsibility and authority for the contents of the collection, including the decision to add materials and expend materials acquisition funds, resides with the University Librarian as delegated to subject bibliographers and the Collection Development Committee.  

The monthly Librarians' Meeting functions as a Collection Development Committee chaired by the University Librarian. In their role as subject bibliographer, each librarian will act as a liaison between the library and assigned academic departments and will make collection development decisions in concert with departmental representatives.  

Orders for books, reference materials, videos, and CDs over $300 and all continuations must be approved by the Collection Development Committee.  

General Collection Management & Development Policies 

The collections of Ramsey Library, including digital products that are not physically owned or stored within the library building, are carefully selected to support the teaching, research and service missions of the University of North Carolina Asheville. Given the growing disparity between available resources and the ever-expanding quantity of information in tandem with spiraling costs, the library’s collection management program must judiciously assign its limited materials budget to most effectively meet the prioritized needs of the academic community. 

The following acquisition priorities will generally guide library purchases and fund allocations: 

  1. Materials directly supporting undergraduate instruction 
    1. Subject materials to support the curriculum 
    2. Interdisciplinary and general academic books, periodicals, and electronic resources 
    3. Reference books and electronic resources 
  2. Materials supporting undergraduate research 
  3. Materials supporting graduate student research 
  4. Materials supporting faculty research 
  5. Materials supporting popular interest and recreational resources 
  6. Materials supporting community interests 

Required Texts

Since it cannot address a significant proportion of the demand and since instructors may prefer that students own and even retain their textbooks, the library does not acquire materials simply because they have been adopted as required texts. Such works may be purchased as background material in support of a discipline irrespective of its use as a text in a class. Also, instructors may request that single copies of an assigned text be purchased and placed on course reserve.


Curricular diversification and limited financial resources necessitate the careful selection of materials to meet the needs of existing academic departments as well as new program areas. Evaluation of materials will include the following criteria2

  • General Considerations 
    • Patron need and wants 
    • Collection priorities outlined above
    • WNCLN holdings
    • Strengths & weaknesses within the collection
  • Specific Criteria for books.  
    • Content
    • Germane to the priorities outlined above
    • Currency
    • Other than classic or seminal texts, purchases and accepted gifts should reflect near current information and scholarship
    • Authoritativeness
    • Freedom from bias
      • The library seeks to present as much information as possible which exhibits impartiality of opinion, or clearly stated bias.  In overall effect, bibliographers strive to maintain a high-quality, well-balanced collection representing a diversity of perspectives. 
    • ​​​​​​​Reputation of author or publisher 
    • Readability/presentation
    • Special features (e.g. index, bibliography, footnotes, maps, etc.)
    • Paper, typography, design
    • Paperback vs. hardcover
      • In general paperback is preferred.
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Specific Criteria for serials.
    • ​​​​​​​Paper vs. electronic
      • When available electronic, remotely accessible versions of periodicals are preferred to print unless quality of images or other pertinent considerations apply.  In most cases, due to the cost of acquisitions, handling, space, etc., electronic only subscriptions are preferred over electronic plus paper.
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Specific Criteria for Non-print and Electronic Resources 
    • ​​​​​​​Technical Quality 
    • Effectiveness and ease of interface
    • Ease of downloading
    • Effect of content embargo, if any
  • Specific Criteria for Special Collections
    • ​​​​​​​The Special Collections and University Archives unit of D. Hiden Ramsey Library is to facilitate undergraduate research opportunities related to community-based issues and while doing so to engage in community collaboration and consultation.  To this end the unit provides academic support for the undergraduate research programs of the university and for associated graduate programs offered through the university.  Special Collections acquires materials in support of the undergraduate research mission of the institution and plans instructional programs for faculty and students to facilitate research and interdisciplinary study.  See the full Special Collections Collection Development Policy for further detail.


(Approved:  January 18, 2002) 

(Revised: February 2011)


The removal of outdated, duplicated, mutilated or superseded materials is an essential component of maintaining a healthy, usable library collection. When executed properly, deselection presents the academic community with a collection that is up-to-date and evolving to meet the needs of a dynamic and changing curriculum with less chance of the uninformed encountering inappropriate materials. The following criteria will guide the deselection of materials. 

  • How important is the title? 
  • Included in a general guide such as Books for College Libraries
  • Listed in a standard subject bibliography? 
  • Importance to departmental faculty 
  • Use 
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How recently was it circulated?
    • How frequently has it circulated? 
    • What are the prospects for future circulation?
    • Are their multiple copies?
    • Does use justify the number? 
  • Is there a later edition that supersedes this work? 
    • If so, should the edition under examination be retained, withdrawn? 

                                           Earlier editions? 

                                             Is the book badly worn, damaged? 

                                                   If withdrawn, should it be, can it be replaced?   

Disposal of Withdrawn Materials 

Ramsey Library has been authorized to dispose of duplicate or discarded materials through donation to an off-campus non-profit organization, Betterworld Books, or destruction. The library recycles as much of the destroyed materials as possible.  This method has been approved by the North Carolina Department of Administration - State Property Surplus division.  The above disposal methods do not extend to U.S. and N.C. documents where disposal is regulated by depository library agreements.


Ramsey Library welcomes gifts of books, manuscripts, digital media and other research materials. Due to the high costs of managing the gifts process, the Library’s goal[s] in accepting gifts is to retain only materials which are highly relevant to the University’s needs. All potential gifts will be evaluated by appropriate librarians in accordance with the collection development policies of Ramsey Library. More detailed information about evaluation criteria and procedures can be found in the Ramsey Library Gifts Policy


Approved Library Faculty: 2/25/11 Approved University Librarian: 2/25/11


  1. Carol Alabastser, Developing an Outstanding Core Collection: A Guide for Libraries, (Chicago: American Library Association, 2002)(UNCA/Z687.2.U6A43 2002) 
  2. G. Edward Evans, Developing Library and Information Center Collections, 5th ed., Library and information science text series (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2005)(WCU/Z687.E918 2005).  
  3. Peggy Johnson, Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management, 2nd ed. (Chicago: American Library Association, 2009)(ASU/Z687.J64 2009).   
  4. American Library Association, Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd ed., Collection management and development guides no. 7 (Chicago: American Library Association, 1996)(ASU/Z687.A518 1996).   
  5. Guide to Library User Needs Assessment for Integrated Information Resource Management and Collection Development, Collection management and development guides no. 11 (Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2001)(ASU/Z687.G847 2001).    
  6. Richard J Wood, Library Collection Development Policies: A Reference and Writers' Handbook (Metuchen, N.J: Scarecrow Press, 1996)(UNCA/Z687.2.U6W66 1996).   
  7. Frank W Hoffmann, Library Collection Development Policies: Academic, Public, and Special Libraries, Good policy, good practice no. 1 (Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2005)(ASU/Z687.U6H64 2005).  



  1. American Library Association, "Copyright,", accessed 1/28/11.
  2. For additional information see:  Richard J. Wood and Frank Hoffman, Library Development Policies: A Reference and Writers’ Handbook. Scarecrow Press, 1996.