Cheng Library Collection Development Policies


Revised February 2015


1A. Purpose of the Policy

This Collection Development Policy serves many purposes. First, it is a means of communicating the collection philosophies and policies of the David & Lorraine Cheng Library to all University stakeholders, as well as other libraries and institutions. As such, the policy reflects the reality that libraries are constrained by limitations in funds, space and staffing, and that they seek to maximize effectiveness by establishing goals and priorities and the procedures needed to implement them.

Second, it is a working tool – a reference manual to provide guidelines and procedures so that Library staff can fulfill their duties toward making William Paterson University students successful.

Third, it is a planning tool – a document that provides a framework for visioning the Library’s collection and resources of the future.

Procedure for Amending the Policy

This policy is to be reviewed by an Ad Hoc Task Force, in sections, so that the policy is assessed in its entirety over a 5 year period. This ensures that the policy remains current, and more quickly reflects changes in curriculum, philosophy, and technology.

1B. Purpose of the Collection

Library resources are acquired primarily to support the current and future instructional programs of the university.

In addition, the Library is committed to providing the following resources:

  1. Those materials needed for research by faculty and administrators, which will be frequently used, and of long-term value to the university community. Access to materials outside of the purview of these guidelines can be provided through the Library’s Interlibrary Loan department.
  2. Basic resources that provide general information in subject areas not included in the curriculum of the university.
  3. Those resources related to the history and development of William Paterson University, to be collected and preserved as an Archive

1C. Philosophy

The Mission, Vision, and Goals of the Cheng Library are modeled to reinforce the Strategic Plan of William Paterson University. To that end, a primary purpose of the Cheng Library is to foster the development of a flexible, logical and balanced collection of resources that emphasizes support for the current and future instructional programs of the University. Primary documents of the University and the Library can be found at:

1C1. University Strategic Plan Brochure:

1C2. Cheng Library Mission, Vision, Values and Goals:

In addition, the Library strongly endorses the tenets and policies of ALA/ACRL and advocates for the Intellectual Freedom Principles outlined here:

1C3. Library Bill of Rights/Intellectual Freedom:

and here:

1C4. Guidelines for Media Resources in Academic Libraries

Thus, the Cheng Library has an established procedure to address challenges to its collection. (TIER 3/3A)

1C5. Copyright and Fair Use

The Library acknowledges the authority of United States Copyright Law and the William Paterson University Copyright Policy (, and promotes copyright compliance among its staff and users.  Our Collection Development Policy and collection development activities comply with the requirements of U.S Copyright Law, as put forth in 17 U.S.C. §101, et seq., and all amendments and supplemental provisions. 


2A. Collection Development Responsibility

The ultimate responsibility for all collection development directions and policy decisions rests with the library faculty, who are responsible for the development of a balanced library collection.  However, the selection of library materials is the joint responsibility of the library faculty and the teaching faculty.  The Library’s Liaison Program is the primary mechanism and forum for participation of teaching faculty in the collection development process. 

2B. General Guidelines for Collection Decisions

The following criteria are considered when obtaining Library resources:

2B1.   Selection Guidelines

  1. Supports the current curriculum
  2. Of value to students or faculty, necessary for research or fulfilling the general aims of a liberal education.  Need to balance the collection by subject will also be a consideration.
  3. High standards of quality in content, expression and format
  4. Major emphasis on current publications, preference to works which promise to fulfill future as well as current needs.
  5. Effort to represent the widest possible diversity of viewpoints

2B2. Evaluation Guidelines

  1. Reviewed favorably in a reputable source.
  2. Issued by known publishers with high standards of quality and reliable reputations.
  3. Written or produced by authorities or outstanding people in the field
  4. Cited in bibliographies for academic libraries or standard subject bibliographies.
  5. Recommended by a faculty member
  6. Provided essential diverse and alternative viewpoints

2B3. Format Guidelines

The Cheng Library will strive to maintain a balance among the various formats that are represented in its collections.

  1. Resources are acquired in suitable format (e.g. print, electronic or microform), and based on careful consideration of user needs and demands, ease of use, reliability of access, cost, space, and ability to support the format.
  2. Duplication of format should be avoided, although in some cases it may be advantageous to provide additional formats. Duplication is subject to review based on a balance between user needs and cost considerations.
  3. Currently, the preferred format for resources is electronic.

2B4. Open Access Resources (Revised)

To facilitate the discovery of, and provide access to the widest possible range of appropriate materials, Library staff will select and make available free web resources, including e-journals, e-books and open access websites. To be included among the Library’s collection, these resources must meet the same selection and evaluation criteria as purchased and leased material.

2C. Collection Management

The Cheng Library will place a high priority on acquiring materials at a level that will support the curricular goals for all of our programs. The Library will also strive to acquire materials that will support the research needs of growing doctoral programs and faculty development.

2C1. Acquisitions

In deciding which format to purchase, the Library takes a number of factors into consideration, including but not limited to, cost, usage, ease of use, required or available storage space, preservation, availability to remote users and/or simultaneous users, and frequency of updates. Although duplication is usually avoided in the collection, the acquisition of items in multiple formats is sometimes desirable in order to make the material accessible to the greatest number of library users when and where they need it. Decisions about appropriate format and duplication are made on an individual basis.

2C2. Deselection

Deselection is a critical aspect of collection development, and should be a regular and systematic part of the program. Deselection enables a collection to retain relevance and usefulness, and allows space for new resources and growth. In the Cheng Library, deselection refers to print and ebooks as well as subscription resources. The same factors that support the selection of materials and resources should be used to support their deselection. A number of methods to identify resources for deselection should include, but are not limited to: academic library best practices; the experience, discipline expertise, and professional judgment of selectors; use; and guidelines from appropriate accrediting bodies and professional associations. The unique needs of university programs and disciplines are factors that should be considered when establishing deselection criteria.

When and if appropriate, alternatives to deselection (such as remote storage) should be explored and implemented.

2C3. Access and Ownership

The Cheng Library seeks a reasonable balance between leased and owned content that best serves the needs of the William Paterson University community. To that end, the Library strives to obtain the most favorable and least restrictive terms of access for all of its licensed resources.

Materials in electronic formats provided through licenses and hosted by external vendors, although “purchased” are, often, not truly owned by a Library. Limitations on access may be technological in nature, may be a function of the difficulty of using an interface, or may be the result of specific provisions in a license.

The Library will consider the following guidelines in selecting and evaluating electronic information resources:

  1. Extent of availability/access to the William Paterson University community. While one academic department may be the primary users of an electronic resource, the resource should be available to the entire university community if the Library is to fund the purchase
  2. Long-term archival access. For electronic journal subscriptions, long-term archival access to purchased content should be provided, either by the vendor of the electronic version or through other means
  3. License requirements. The licensing agreement must meet library, university, and state legal requirements.

Additional factors that may influence decisions regarding the license/purchase of an electronic resource:

  • Added value over print version: greater searching capabilities, more frequent updates, multimedia data unavailable in print, etc.
  • Little overlap with other electronic resources
  • Online access preferable for resources limited to use within the Library building
  • Full-text content or reliable links to full-text are provided
  • Links are frequently checked and well maintained
  • No plug-ins or other extra software or hardware are required to use the resource
  • Number of simultaneous users is unlimited
  • Use statistics are provided in conformity with the standards expected by the library community
  • Resource is compatible with a variety of web browsers
  • Navigation is easy and clearly explained
  • Effective tutorials or other forms of help are provided
  • Downloading and printing options are clearly explained and function reliably
  • Updates are regular and timely
  • Vendor has a reputation for prompt and effective technical support


The Cheng Library is pleased to accept gifts of appropriate materials or funds for the purchase of materials, recognizing that gifts may provide valuable additions to the library collection. Donated material should support the objectives of the Library and the mission of the University, with the understanding that there are no conditions attached to their disposition.

  • Potential donors should supply a list of titles to be donated and subject specialists will review the list and identify items needed by the Library.
  • Upon receipt, donated material becomes the property of the Library.
  1. Gifts to which the donor has attached conditions, such as those concerning retention, housing, and use, will not be accepted for inclusion in the Library collection.
  2. All gift material added to the general collection will be shelved in the appropriate subject classification. The Library cannot maintain separate named collections.
  3. Items may be rejected on the basis of poor physical condition, outdated content, inappropriate academic level or subject focus.
  4. We do not accept textbooks, popular fiction novels, magazines, journals, or other periodicals.
  1. Cheng Library will provide an acknowledgement letter to the donor noting the number of volumes received, but will not include a list of items or an estimate of the value of the gift. Each donor is responsible for determining their personal tax obligations and whether their gift requires appraisal.
  2. The responsibility for delivery of donations rests with the donor.
  3. The Library will not notify donors of each title’s disposition or return items not added to its collection unless prior arrangements have been made.


The Cheng Library does not maintain a collection of textbooks that are utilized in all current courses. Space and monetary constraints are but two reasons that prohibit development of such a collection. Faculty members desiring to place textbooks on reserve are asked to request additional review copies from the publisher. Textbooks may be acquired if they are valuable as reference and research works in their own right.

The Library’s policy on textbook options can be found at:


Diagnostic psychological tests, by their very nature, are and must be kept under tight control by the professionals who administer them. The David and Lorraine Cheng Library, while ordinarily seeking to acquire and make available the greatest possible range of materials dealing with important topics taught in the curriculum, accepts the requirements of professional confidentiality in regard to psychological tests and the like. Therefore, we do not collect tests.

The Library does, however, collect critical material dealing with testing in general and specific important tests when appropriate. The Reference Collection contains resources that comprehensively deal with various tests. In addition the Library provides access to sources of scholarly studies of the various tests indexed.

Students enrolled in courses that teach testing methods are often able to borrow sample tests from their professors. In addition, their professors are able to obtain actual copies of the test from the publishers.


2D1. University Archives and Special Collections (updated 2/9/2024)

The Cheng Library Archives and Special Collections collect, curate, and provide access to organizational records, rare books, manuscripts, and unique personal papers in our priority collecting areas. Furthermore:

  • Collections and personal papers are donated to the college via deeds of gift governing access and use.
  • Collections are described through published finding aids.
  • Collection materials may be integrated into digital and physical exhibits, social media and publicity efforts, as well as classroom instruction.
  • All materials accessioned into the Archives and Special Collections will be retained in perpetuity, except where digitization permits disposal of physical copies or where materials do not meet the current mission and collecting policies of the Archives.
  • The Cheng Library Archives and Special Collections do not accept materials on loan.
See the Archives and Special Collections Collection Development Policy for more information.

2D2. Curriculum Materials

The Curriculum Materials Center (CMC) is dedicated to supporting the information needs of students and faculty of the College of Education. Resources are selected for their usefulness to pre-service and in-service teachers of early childhood, elementary, middle and secondary education, and are limited to those areas in which WPU offers teacher certification or educational endorsement.

The Curriculum Materials Librarian is responsible for the selection of materials and other resources available through the Curriculum Materials Center. Selection is based on favorable review, inclusion on standard lists and bibliographies, and faculty recommendations. With the exception of the Newbery and Caldecott Award books, duplicate copies of materials are not purchased. However, duplicate copies of some materials may be found in other collections of the Library.

The CMC Homepage can be found:

2D3. Media Services

Although housed in the Cheng Library, Media Services is, organizationally, part of Instruction & Research Technology (IRT).

For the purpose of this policy, media includes the traditional formats of audio and visual material as well as multimedia and digital formats. Material purchased for the media collection with Library funds are owned by the Library and meet the general selection and evaluation guidelines established elsewhere in this policy. Formats collected are chosen to meet the demands of the university community and to offer the most convenient, cost-effective, and appropriate access.

Media is purchased regardless of the MPAA rating or content advisory warnings. The Library will not remove or label materials because they have been or might be found offensive.

Perpetual rights are preferred when licensing digital video streaming formats. Short-term use and duplication rights are acquired on a case by case basis. Educational programs may come with public performance rights, but are not purchased separately. Non-educational programs, such as feature films, are not purchased with public performance rights except when a non-academic showing is requested.

2D4. Reference Collection

While the Head of Reference is responsible for the development, maintenance and weeding of the Reference Collection, the Department operates quite democratically. Extensive discussion and debate precede serious decisions regarding major purchases. Each Reference Librarian is responsible for one or more subject areas within the Reference Collection, and recommends specific purchases. Once decisions are made in AIS meetings, the Head of Reference works with Collection Development, Periodicals, Electronic Resources, etc. to obtain and maintain the needed resources.