Collection Development Policy


Online Databases: With many print and CD-ROM databases migrating to the Internet, access to online databases shall be a priority. Online databases, unlike print resources and CD-ROMs, can be updated on a daily basis. Purchase of access to databases covering subject areas that require constant updating will be considered. Deciding factors when acquiring access to online databases are update frequency, cost, ease of use and reliability.

Among the most important resource for finding online databases is Library Journal.

Reference CD-ROMs: The reference CD-ROM collection is an important part of the library's collection development policy. Informational areas where currency and completeness are required are areas where Reference CD-ROMs might serve a need, as well as areas, such as atlases, where visual information is very important.

Factors that should be considered in acquiring Reference CD-ROMs for purchase include: update frequency, ease of use, searchability, price and multimedia capabilities. If a CD-ROM version of a print resource will provide more information and ease of use for a similar price and has multimedia or other capabilities that increases its value to a patron, it may be considered over the print version.

Most important selection tools for reference CD-ROMs are Library Journal, and Software Reviews on File. PC magazines, such as PC World and eWeek can also be valuable sources of information. If a print resource exists that the reference staff thinks might be more useful on CD-ROM, the reference staff may inquire directly to the company to see if a CD-ROM version exists.

Circulating CD-ROMs: Circulating CD-ROMs should be considered an important part of each branch's collection. Collection development should focus on CD-ROMs that most closely meet the user population's information needs.

Because of their multi media capabilities CD-ROMs allow more effective learning than print resources, or complement learning from print resources. Among these are language learning software, multimedia encyclopedias, music learning software, and home landscaping and design software. Youth Services librarians may also want to supplement their print collections with math and language learning software.

CD-ROM games, which do not have educational value, will not be considered for purchase.

Unlike books, CD-ROMs have special requirements that must be met before they can be run. They require a certain amount of memory and hard disk space, as well as certain operating system. Since Windows is the most popular operating system, most CD-ROMs acquired should be compatible with that operating system. CD-ROMs compatible with Macintosh or Linux operating systems should be bought according to their popularity.

CD-ROMs software will need to be replaced on a regular basis, as new version of the products come out that contain new information and have new features. Especially to be weeded are those CD-ROMs not compatible with newer operating systems, for example those compatible only with DOS.

Audio-Visual Collections

The Mercer County Library System offers a wide range of audiovisual resources and materials. Videos, compact discs, audiocassettes, DVDs and Books on Tape/ CD are selected by the professional staff in a systematic manner, using review media, critical works and patron requests as selection guides.

The media collections shall be weeded routinely, with materials in poor physical condition withdrawn at any time.

Video and DVD collections: Videos and DVDs for both adults and Children are selected to meet educational, cultural and entertainment needs of our communities. Selection criteria include:

  • Favorable reviews in reliable journals and sources.
  • Director’s/Producer's reputation. Material’s subject timeliness.
  • Material’s relation to existing collection, e.g., the need for new coverage on a subject or opposing viewpoint.
  • Public demand as expressed in requests for the title, if the title fits within any of the above criteria.

Because resources for purchasing audiovisual materials are limited, the Mercer County Library System does not purchase the latest popular entertainment videos or DVDs in a comprehensive fashion. The Mercer County Library System will therefore purchase a representative collection of popular entertainment videos and DVDs that meet the above criteria, garner critically-acclaimed reviews, and which fall within the collection needs as determined by the library audiovisual selectors. The Mercer County Library System will not purchase more than one copy of a DVD or video title per branch.

Audio Recordings: Audio recordings are collected in compact disc and/or audiocassettes format at all Branches. Criteria for selection include public demand, importance of the work or performance, recording quality and relation to other materials in the system.

Books on Audio Cassette/CD: The Mercer County Library System has a collection of books recorded on tape and CD. Criteria for selection include patron demand and favorable review.

Page 6: Special Collections

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