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York College of Pennsylvania, Schmidt Library

Schmidt Library Policies

Collection Development Policy

Effective Date: June 2012
Last Revised: October 2020
Review Period: Every five years or as needed
Policy Owner: Content Development Librarian


This policy provides guidelines for York College librarians when making decisions on content to acquire in support of the College’s mission. Librarians, in collaboration with teaching faculty, use this policy to acquire content in a consistent and systematic manner. This policy is intended to assist with the prioritization of acquisitions to support a majority of Schmidt Library users to the extent that funds permit.

Description of Community Served

York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) is a private, independent institution of higher education located in south central Pennsylvania adjacent to the city of York. The College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and also undergoes specialized accreditations for some of its programs such as engineering, nursing, and recreation. The Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved the certification programs in education.

YCP offers primarily undergraduate programs with a growing number of graduate programs consistent with the College’s mission. The College admits both full-time and part-time as well as traditional-age and adult students. The majority of students hail from the Mid-Atlantic region. Half of the students reside in college-owned housing while the others commute from home or live in nearby rental housing.

The College prides itself on being a student-centered teaching institution with an emphasis on professional preparation. A significant number of the faculty actively contribute to the scholarship and pedagogy in their respective disciplines. Many of the faculty as well as administrators and staff are engaged in the local community. While current YCP faculty, staff, and students are the Library’s primary constituents, we secondarily serve YCP alumni and York area residents.


As experts in their various fields, faculty play a primary role in the selection of library content. They are not only encouraged but expected to collaborate with their respective Library liaison to recommend acquisitions in their subject specialties as well as their discipline as a whole. Faculty involvement in the selection process ensures that the Library has sufficient content to meet the curricular needs of the students.

Librarians ensure the quality and balance of the collections and oversee the selection and purchase of all Library content. Each librarian serves as a liaison to a school or programs within a school to facilitate collection development, provide information literacy instruction, and otherwise serve as a resource person to faculty. Liaisons are listed on the Library’s website.

The Content Development Librarian has responsibility for ensuring that all requests meet the Collection Development Policy guidelines as well as overseeing the collections as a balanced whole. This librarian coordinates the compilation of information needed to make decisions on subscriptions in all formats and guides each decision to fruition. All librarians collaborate to make decisions on new subscription requests and big-ticket items. The Library Director has ultimate authority over the Library’s budget and is the arbiter on all purchase decisions.

General Selection Guidelines

The main priority for Library resources is supporting the curricular and teaching needs of the College. The Library endeavors to meet the needs of individual faculty research within budgetary means. Because the College believes in the holistic development of its students, the Library secondarily strives to provide recreational and cultural resources to the extent feasible.

The following criteria are considered for all content regardless of format:

  • Relevance to current curriculum
  • Authoritativeness of the author, publisher, or content provider
  • Appropriateness of level and type of treatment for intended audience
  • Publication date  
  • Strength of existing collection in same or similar subject area
  • Cost per anticipated use 
  • Budget availability
  • Suitability of format for intended use


The Library acquires primarily English language content. The exception is foreign language resources to support YCP’s foreign language curricula.

Content Types and Formats

Scholarly communication has been transforming how academic content is created, disseminated, and used. Schmidt Library is committed to providing access to scholarly content as formats and methods of access evolve, and as YCP expands online course offerings. 
The Library considers adding the following content types to its collections:

  • Books. Both print and electronic. We do not buy individual ebooks unless they are on a platform we support. If print is preferred, paperback is acquired for cost savings with the exception of juvenile books, which are acquired as hardcover for the Children’s Literature Collection. 
  • Databases. See VII. Licensing of Electronic Resources and Appendix A: Subscriptions. 
  • Periodicals. See Appendix A: Subscriptions.
  • DVDs and Blu-Ray
  • Music scores 
  • Reference content. Online only.
  • Streaming media. We will acquire streaming video and audio if available on a platform we support and if licensing terms are acceptable.

The Library does not in general add the following types to its collections:

  • Computer software/CD-ROMs
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Education kits
  • Print maps or atlases
  • Microform
  • Obsolete formats such as audiocassettes, laser discs, slides, and VHS
  • Textbooks. See Appendix B: Textbook Policy. 
  • Workbooks & other consumables. Exceptions: Study guides for graduate study exams or professional licensure in programs taught at YCP, including GRE (general test only), GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, NCLEX, PRAXIS, and CPA.  

Licensing of Electronic Resources

When considering an electronic resource, in addition to the General Selection Guidelines (in section IV above), the Library sets up a trial to consider the following criteria:

  • Functionality
  • Ease of use
  • Compatibility with existing hardware and network infrastructure
  • Compatibility with Open URL link resolvers
  • Compliance with current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
  • Inclusion in the Library’s discovery knowledgebase
  • Resource stability
  • Vendor reliability, responsiveness, technical support, and long-term viability

Additionally, as electronic resources usually require a license agreement that defines permissible use of content, the Library Director reviews the license to ascertain inclusion of acceptable terms, such as: 

  • Access for all YCP faculty, staff, and students, and walk-in users
  • IP authentication
  • Unlimited simultaneous use
  • Off-campus/remote access via acceptable authentication method
  • Fair use sharing through interlibrary loan
  • Permission to use in course management and ereserve systems
  • Availability of standardized usage statistics
  • Perpetual access rights

Other Guidelines

Number of copies. The Library purchases only one copy of each title.  
Duplicate content. Duplication of content in multiple formats is avoided when possible. Exceptions may be made after discussing with requestor.  
Replacements. The Library replaces lost, missing, or damaged items as appropriate and when replacements are available.

Levels of Program Support

The main priority for Library resources is to support the curricular needs of the College. Acquisition priorities, therefore, closely follow the degree level of each program, whether a program offers a major or minor, and the newness of a program. For most majors and disciplines, the Library acquires and maintains resources at the undergraduate level, with major programs receiving more support than minor programs. Graduate programs usually require both more advanced and more extensive resources. New programs require greater support than those with no new courses, emphases, or degrees. Faculty developing a new course or program should consult with the Content Development Librarian to ascertain whether the Library has sufficient resources prior to receiving Academic Program Committee approval.

Refer to the YCP College Catalog for the most current information on YCP curricular programs.

Distinct Physical Collections

  • Children’s Literature Collection
    • Juvenile and young adult fiction and nonfiction books to support the Education curricula as well as English literature courses.
  • Instructional Media Collection
    • DVDs, Blu-Ray, and music CDs to support YCP curricula.
  • Microform
    • Comprised largely of newspaper backfiles on microfilm and periodical backfiles on microfiche. No new titles are being added. 
  • Periodical Archives
    • Print periodical back issues more than three years old stored in compact shelving in Grantley Hall. Also houses print run of Congressional Record.  Items may be requested using the online request form on the Library’s website.  
  • Popular Reading Collection
    • Books for the leisure reading needs of the YCP community.
  • YCP Authors
    • Books authored or edited by current YCP faculty or staff in the past ten years. 
  • Special Collections
    • Additions are selected by the Archives & Special Collections Manager and purchased with endowed funds. 
  • YCP Archives
    • Repository of the College’s archival records and older faculty publications.

Digital Archives

The Library is committed to ensuring the preservation of the scholarly record as well as primary sources that inform scholarship. To this end, we are a member of Portico’s ejournal and ebook archiving program. In addition, we digitize our own unique content, particularly YCP Archives, and make it available through our ContentDM institutional repository or the Internet Archive.

Consortial Participation

Schmidt Library actively participates in cooperative agreements and consortial arrangements with other library organizations to widen and enhance access to information resources. The Library’s interlibrary loan service borrows content we do not have on behalf of YCP faculty, staff, and students and lends content to other libraries for their constituents. These cooperative arrangements are especially useful to obtain out-of-scope, esoteric, high-cost/low-demand, and other resources beyond the capacity of the Library’s acquisitions budget. 

Membership in the OCLC cooperative enables Library staff to borrow physical items and acquire articles and other documents from thousands of libraries around the world. Through the Pennsylvania Academic Libraries Consortium, Inc. (PALCI), the Library facilitates unmediated borrowing of books and media via the E-ZBorrow program. Schmidt Library also participates in PALCI’s RapidILL, which delivers periodical articles in less than 24 hours. Membership in the LYRASIS and the Associated College Libraries of Central Pennsylvania (ACLCP) consortia reduces the cost of sharing and acquiring resources among member libraries. We comply with the current Pennsylvania Interlibrary Guidelines and Manual.


The Content Development Librarian evaluates potential gifts in-kind using the same criteria as for purchased content. Once a gift is accepted, the donor permanently relinquishes all rights to ownership and dispensation, and the full title to the property transfers to the College. The Library reserves the right to determine disposition, retention, housing, and all other policies regarding the use of the items. Under no circumstances do we accept gifts that are mildewed, moldy, smell musty, or are otherwise in poor condition. 

As the recipient of a gift, Library staff are not allowed to appraise gifts for tax purposes according to IRS Publication 561: Determining the Value of Donated Property. Appraisals and attendant costs are the responsibility of the donor; however, the Library will supply a receipt for accepted gifts upon donor request stating the number and type of items donated.


Reviewing the Library’s collection on a regular basis is essential to ensuring its continued currency, relevance, and usefulness. Resources that no longer meet the Library’s General Selection Criteria may become candidates for deselection. Individual book or media items may be deselected by any librarian. Deselections involving larger areas of the collection or subscription cancellations are done in consultation with faculty in the affected programs.

In addition to the General Selection Criteria, librarians also consider the following factors when determining whether to remove an item or cancel a subscription:

  • Actual use. Items that have not been used in a reasonable period of time, especially resources on current technologies or health sciences that are more than five years old, are considered for removal unless they contain significant retrospective or historical information. 
  • Cost per use. Periodicals and databases that carry a high cost but are used infrequently are candidates for cancellation. 
  • Condition. Items in poor physical condition may be removed. If an item is still being used, the Library will attempt to replace it. 
  • Obsolescence. Items in an obsolete format may be removed. Faculty are encouraged to identify similar content in a newer format. 
  • Completeness. Items that are part of a set or series of which the Library does not have a complete run may be removed. 
  • Duplication. Duplicate copies or titles that are available in another format may be removed. 
  • Superceded editions. If the Library acquires a later edition, the earlier edition(s) may be removed. 
  • Space considerations. Low-use item(s) may be removed if the Library needs the space for a better use. 
  • Uniqueness. The Library may keep a title based solely on its uniqueness.

Intellectual Freedom

A college is the home of critical thinking and the unfettered exchange of ideas. In selecting content, librarians strive to represent the diversity of opinions that have shaped the debates of the past and that frame the debates of the present and future. To that end, the Library acquires content without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, religion, or political philosophy. 

The Library endorses and adheres to the following American Library Association documents:

Copyright Compliance

Schmidt Library complies with all provisions of the United States Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.). Copyright provisions on fair use are found in Section 107 and reproduction by libraries and archives in Section 108. The Library uses such copyright guidelines as the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU), the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, and other relevant documents to interpret fair use.  

In some cases, license agreement restrictions define how the Library may use content and may pre-empt copyright fair use. 

Policy Revision

The librarians will review and update this policy every five years to ensure it reflects current acquisition priorities and practices. The Library Director will submit revisions to the Instructional Resources Committee of the Academic Senate for approval.


Subscriptions incur annual budgetary expenditures plus inflationary increases; therefore, selection decisions must be made more carefully than for resources requiring a one-time expenditure of funds. Faculty requests for new subscriptions are prioritized by the librarians considering available funding and the following criteria:


In addition to the criteria in the General Selection Guidelines section, librarians consider the following criteria for each periodical:

  • Inclusion in an indexing source available through Schmidt Library
  • Number of recent interlibrary loan requests for articles in the journal
  • Online availability with institutional site license allowing:
    • IP-authentication (not username/password)
    • Unlimited simultaneous users
    • Remote access using acceptable authentication method
    • Provision of COUNTER-compliant usage statistics

As most academic publishers manage their subscriptions on a calendar year basis, new periodical subscriptions begin the January subsequent to when a positive decision is made. 


In addition to the General Selection Guidelines criteria, librarians consider the criteria in the Licensing of Electronic Resources section for databases. Consideration of new database requests is not tied to the calendar year and may occur at any time.

Textbook Policy

Definition of Textbook

For the purposes of this policy, the Library defines a textbook as a publication specifically designed to be used for a course of study. A textbook is typically designed to fit a semester-long teaching cycle and often contains examples, problems, and study questions.  A textbook is sometimes published in conjunction with a workbook, lab manual, and/or teacher's manual. Schmidt Library additionally considers a textbook to be any book required or recommended for a course of study at YCP, including anthologies, readers, or any other books required or recommended by a professor to be used by a student enrolled in a class.  


Schmidt Library does not purchase textbooks or add donated textbooks to the library collection. Exceptions may be made for:

  • A title considered a classic in its field
  • An introductory work that is the only or best source of information on a particular topic

The Library avoids buying books that are required or recommended reading for a current YCP class.


Reasons for not adding textbooks to the Library’s collection include:

  • Textbooks are designed for students to use for a course of study requiring students to refer to them for the duration of a semester, which is longer than the Library’s loan period for books.   
  • Purchasing textbooks would place the Library in direct competition with the College bookstore.
  • Textbooks often include exercises, workbooks, quizzes, and lab manuals that are designed for individual student use. As Library books may not be written in or have pages removed, this type of consumable publication does not meet the Library’s goal of providing content to be used by multiple people.  
  • The Library generally purchases only one copy of a book.  Its budget cannot support buying enough copies of each textbook for every course offered at YCP.  
  • Textbooks are updated frequently and, therefore, become quickly outdated.  Budgetary limitations preclude the continual purchasing of new editions. Staff time to process rapidly changing textbooks would also be significant. 

Ultimately, textbooks are part of the student's expected cost of education, and it is the student’s responsibility to acquire them. 

Course reserves

The Library does not purchase textbooks for course reserves. Course reserves should not take the place of a student purchasing a required or recommended textbook, but rather provide supplementary materials for instruction and education. The Library does not scan for ereserve any portion of a textbook that is required or recommended for a class because doing so violates factor four of Fair Use, Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.Code. Factor four addresses “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”  Because the market for textbooks is students enrolled in classes, scanning even a portion of a textbook intended for individual student purchase would substantially harm the textbook market.

For supplemental books that are not on the professor’s syllabus as being required or recommended, the Library will consider purchasing a copy of a book to scan a small portion (no more than ten percent) and adding it to the collection to comply with Fair Use and the CONFU Guidelines. Alternately, the Library will obtain permission to scan and post the copyrighted material in the e-reserve system. 

In lieu of the Library purchasing or scanning textbooks for reserves, a professor may choose to place a personal print copy of a textbook on reserve for a specific course.  The Library will return the textbook to the professor when it is no longer needed for the course. 

Open Educational Resources (OER)

There is a growing number of high quality Open Educational Resources (OER) available for faculty to use in their courses. OER are teaching and learning resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a Creative Commons license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. Because of the high cost of commercially published textbooks, faculty are encouraged to consider adopting OER alternatives to traditional textbooks. Links to these free resources may be provided on a professor’s course management page or website.

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