The purpose of this statement is to establish guidelines for the continuing growth and maintenance of CSUSM's library collections. Our overall objective in articulating collection goals and policies is to ensure that the collections support the curricular and research needs of the CSUSM community. This statement is intended to guide acquisitions and to inform the community of the motives, standards, and procedures used in collection development at CSUSM. This document will evolve as CSUSM's information needs and the nature of our collections change. It provides a framework for reviewing, interpreting, and implementing policies and for integrating new technologies into our collections.


The CSUSM Library selects, acquires, and manages its collection of books, periodicals, serials, databases, media resources and other library materials to support the broad educational mission of the University and to provide its diverse community of students, faculty, and staff with effective access to and appropriate delivery of recorded knowledge. Collection development directly supports the University instruction, research, and public service responsibilities, which include curriculum-related instruction, research, and other campus and regional educational objectives.

Our goal is to ensure that the Library's collections are attuned to CSUSM's educational mission. Our general and subject-specific collection development policies must be flexible, to encourage creative ways of meeting CSUSM's information needs. We must be prepared to meet new collection management challenges, anticipate future needs, and take advantage of promising opportunities as they arise. We strive to create a coherent, dynamic, and versatile library collection to provide support for a dynamic, diverse university curriculum. Specific goals for collection development by subject are outlined in individual department and program collection policy statements.

The CSUSM Library supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and its interpretation in the Association of College & Research Libraries’ Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries.


The Dean of the Library has overall responsibility for Library collections, and delegates aspects of that authority to the Collections/Acquisitions Coordinator and to the subject librarians.

Librarians work with academic departments to develop library collections that meet the needs of the University. Subject librarians develop subject-specific collection policy statements, serve as materials selectors, assess collection strengths and weaknesses, review gifts, and provide advocacy for their disciplines in the Library.



The Library collects a broad spectrum of information resources in a variety of formats, including printed books, periodicals, sound recordings, video recordings, maps, microforms, and various electronic resources. The primary criterion for selecting any item is its relevance to CSUSM's teaching mission. Other criteria in evaluating information resources include their content, accessibility, and viability. In accord with our commitment to accessibility, we purchase closed captioned multimedia formats whenever possible. In keeping with our campus commitment to innovative uses of technology, and in support of a student body comprised primarily of commuters, we prefer electronic over print (especially for serials) unless a good case can be made for print.

Decisions on location of material should be made based on content as opposed to format. Subject librarians are responsible for recommending locations for materials.


The Library collects primarily English language materials, but also collects in other languages as required by the curriculum. Collection in languages other than English is undertaken primarily in support of the study of languages, literatures, and cultures.

Collection Maintenance and Weeding

The Library assesses the usefulness, relevance, and physical condition of its collection on a continuing basis. Materials judged to be irrelevant, outdated, unused, in poor physical condition, or superseded by new editions may be removed from the collection. Criteria for de-selection vary among academic disciplines; librarians consult with appropriate disciplinary faculty in retention decisions. Materials in bad physical repair, but still worth keeping, will be repaired if possible, or replaced.


Appropriate gifts enhance the collection and support the University’s commitment to excellence. The CSUSM Library accepts donations of materials that fit within the University’s programmatic boundaries. The Library generally does not accept outdated textbooks, popular books and magazines, materials in poor condition, or materials not relevant to current or proposed academic programs. Back files of journals are accepted only to fill gaps in existing holdings. Currently, donations of journals for which full-text access is available through the Library, are not accepted.

Consortial Collection Development

The Library’s collection decisions are influenced by its consortial partners. Group purchases brokered through the CSU’s Systemwide Electronic Information Resources (SEIR) office have enabled us to acquire electronic resources at affordable prices, adding thousands of new serial titles and gaining access to numerous citation databases and electronic reference services. The availability of materials in the other libraries of the San Diego Circuit (UCSD, SDSU, USD) also plays a role in our acquisitions decision-making.


Following standard academic practice, the Library does not purchase textbooks for California State University San Marcos classes. Additionally, given our limited financial resources for library materials, staffing costs, and the high frequency of textbook revisions, it is not within the Library’s ability to meet student demand for textbooks at CSUSM. The Library also views the purchase of textbooks as part of the student’s expected cost of pursuing a degree in higher education, whereas the library collection is intended to provide research materials and other resources which supplement the learning experience taking place in the classroom.

We encourage professors to place on reserve one complimentary publishers copy of a textbook so that all students in the class may benefit from access to these resources.

For the purpose of this policy, a textbook may be described as an edition of a book specifically intended for the use of students who are enrolled in a course of study, e.g. a required reader for a current class.


For more information contact:
Hua Yi, Collections/Acquisitions Coordinator

approved by LRT 10/13/08