Outline of the Collection Management Program

Selection of materials, liaison with members of the teaching faculty, collection evaluation, and related activities are carried out by library faculty affiliated with the Collection Management and Special Services Department. Faculty from throughout the library serve as bibliographers for specific disciplines or collections under the direction of the Head of Collections and Museums. Reference and Instructional Services librarians are responsible for the development of the main Reference Collection under the general direction of the Reference Collection Management Coordinator.

Bibliographers' Responsibilities

Each bibliographer is responsible for the library collection in the specific subject area(s) which s/he has been assigned or for a specialized collection, such as the Career or Youth collection. A bibliographer carries out activities in three broad areas: materials selection, faculty liaison, and collection assessment. As part of materials selection, the bibliographer is expected to identify and select current and retrospective materials in diverse formats on a timely and continuing basis, to be ordered as funding permits. In doing so, s/he acts in accord with established general collecting policies and utilizes a suitable set of selection tools. The bibliographer is charged with developing and maintaining knowledge of local academic programs and research interests and of publishing patterns within particular disciplines; s/he also is expected to cultivate a familiarity with technologies applicable to Collection Management activities. The bibliographer is responsible for monitoring and revising parameters established for particular subject areas as part of the library’s approval plan profiles. S/he works with bibliographers for related disciplines or collections to coordinate acquisitions. A bibliographer may recommend the realignment of collecting responsibilities or the designation of new or redefined collecting areas as appropriate.

The bibliographer reviews incoming materials to maintain an awareness of additions to the collection, publishing trends, and publishers' characteristics. The bibliographer makes decisions on the establishment and cancellation of serial standing orders; acceptance of gifts-in-kind; retention of older editions; replacement of missing, damaged, and worn titles; and adding of titles to out-of-print desiderata lists. S/he may recommend the establishment of blanket orders or approval plan profiles to facilitate the acquisition of appropriate titles. The bibliographer also monitors periodical publishing and subscription costs, and recommends the adding and canceling of subscriptions. Bibliographers also review Internet-based resources, and make recommendations for licensing of database, and cataloging of free and unrestricted Web sites.

The bibliographer is charged with utilizing materials funds from all sources in a responsible manner, and encumbering regular allocations and special funds according to established schedules. S/he is expected to inform the Head of Collections and Museums of curricular revisions or other factors which should be considered in the allocation of resources.

As a partner with the teaching faculty, the bibliographer develops formal and informal contacts in order to be prepared to address changes in curricula, enrollment patterns, and research interests. S/he initiates and maintains regular contacts with departmental or program liaisons and with other faculty as appropriate. The bibliographer serves as a liaison between the teaching faculty and other bibliographers and library departments.

The experienced bibliographer is expected to identify areas of the collection that need assessment and to conduct evaluations of holdings in all formats, applying the knowledge gained through the process to selection, deselection, and preservation decisions, and to long-term planning for collection development. The bibliographer has primary responsibility for preparation of reports on library resources and services for academic programs undergoing internal and external reviews. S/he also prepares library consultation reports as part of the evaluation of the library’s ability to support proposed curriculum changes. In planning for collection development, the bibliographer is expected to consider possibilities for resource-sharing and cooperative collection development with other institutions in the state, especially the Regents libraries.

Faculty Liaisons

The library liaison program is designed to enhance communication between the library and the academic departments of the university. Each academic department of the university selects at least one individual, generally a member of the teaching faculty, to serve as a library liaison. Departments with a variety of programs or divisions may appoint more than one liaison.

The library liaison is responsible for communicating departmental needs and interests to the library. The liaison is the official contact for the library faculty who serve as subject bibliographers. The liaisons work with the bibliographers to build collections that support the curriculum, research activities, and interests of the university community, and that reflect changes in a discipline or field of study.

The liaison also serves as the library's primary contact person for the dissemination of information about library policies, new programs, and special resources. Information about library services, such as library instruction sessions, may be sent to the liaison for distribution to departmental colleagues. The liaison is responsible for keeping colleagues informed of developments in the library and for encouraging faculty involvement in developing the library's collections and recommending modifications in their focus and emphasis. The Head of Collection Management and Special Services maintains a list of all liaisons and monitors vacancies created by resignations, retirements, and the creation of new departments. New appointments are requested as appropriate.

The Head of Collections and Museums serves ex officio on the University Curriculum Committee. A member of the Library’s Graduate faculty also serves on the Graduate College Curriculum Committee. Representation on these committees provides additional avenues for obtaining information about university curricula and related matters and providing input concerning the implications of proposed changes for library services.

Library Materials Budget

The library receives a recurring materials budget each year from the state budget allocation to the university. It is the responsibility of the Head of Collections and Museums to develop and recommend the internal allocation process by which these funds are administered. Funds are not allocated to academic departments or programs, but to subject areas designated by Collection Management and Special Services, and to specialized collections within the library.

The materials budget is utilized for expenditures in six broad categories:

  1. one-time orders, including monographs (all approval plan titles, firm orders and sets), and other materials such as cds, DVDs. videocassettes, periodical backsets, and maps;
  2. periodicals, including indexes, abstracts, CD-ROM subscriptions, and newspapers, with the category generally including all materials issued more frequently than annually;  combined print/electronic subscriptions are assigned to this category along with print-only and microfilm subscriptions.
  3. serials, including all continuations issued annually or less frequently, and other titles issued at such frequencies but updated by more frequent supplements;
  4. access charges (non-capitalized expenditures), subscriptions to electronic indexes/abstracts, journals, and full-text databases; including costs associated with the library's use of OCLC, Innovative Innofaces, and Marcive services; and document delivery fees;
  5. binding, including all external binding and rebinding of periodical and monograph volumes, and any special storage cases acquired in lieu of binding; and
  6. miscellaneous, including sample periodical issues, security microfilm copies of UNI theses, charges for photocopying for replacement purposes, and costs associated with the use of out-of-print search services.

The library occasionally will share costs with another university office on that office's recommendation. Materials acquired under such an arrangement are housed in the library. The library does not use the materials budget to acquire items that are not fully cataloged and made available to the public with the exception of a limited number of desk copy titles purchased for use by library faculty and staff.

The Collection Management and Special Services Department identifies subject areas closely linked to academic departments and programs to which funds are allocated, and by which monograph, periodical, serial, and electronic resource encumbrances and expenditures are monitored. Funds also are allocated for each discrete collection in the library (e.g., Reference Collection, Youth Collection). Changes in a discipline, curricula, and enrollments may lead to the division of existing fund lines or the creation of new ones. Such changes are considered on an annual basis and are implemented at the start of a new fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). Funds are allocated to specific subject areas, such as Computer Science, French, and Reading. Fund lines also have been created for tracking general and interdisciplinary periodical and serial titles by broad categories, including Business, Humanities, and the Social Sciences. (A list of all subject areas by which funds are allocated and tracked appears at the close of this section.)

Allocations for subject areas are determined by a formula which incorporates a number of variables, including number of declared majors, faculty FTEs, external book circulation and internal use, and industry figures on materials costs. Figures reported for academic departments are adjusted as necessary to match the subject areas to which funds are allocated. Multi-year averages are used in weighing local data. Each fund is guaranteed a base allocation equivalent to a set percentage of the previous year's final allocation. Allocations for Fine and Performing Arts non-print materials, Career, Documents and Maps, Reference, Special Collections, and Youth are set at a percentage of the materials budget. The percentage allocated to each line is determined with reference to historical spending patterns, anticipated needs, and materials costs.

A replacement fund generated by university billings for lost, missing, and mutilated materials is available for acquiring exact replacements or new editions of works selected by the bibliographers, or for building the collection with new titles in disciplines experiencing high rates of mutilation and loss.

Revenue generated by library fines also is made available for the acquisition of library resources. This money is managed separately from the recurring materials budget.

The library also has access to a number of special funds that support materials acquisition. These gifts and grants are administered through the UNI Foundation. Gift and grant funds are accepted with the understanding that materials acquired with such funds are subject to the same criteria as those acquired with the recurring materials budget.

General Selection Policies and Procedures

Any member of the university faculty, staff, or student body is welcome to recommend titles for acquisition. Equal consideration is given to anonymous requests as well as those for which the requestor is identifiable. In addition, titles requested on interlibrary loan that cannot be borrowed from another institution are referred to Collection Management and Special Services for purchase consideration. Information linking individual requestors with particular titles or categories of material is kept confidential, in accord with the policies of the American Library Association.

Selection decisions are made in accord with established parameters for particular subject areas and with library guidelines on such matters as purchase of multiple copies and retention of superseded editions. In the selection of audio-visual and electronic resources, equipment needs and access restrictions also must be considered. Within material-specific guidelines, selection decisions are based on content, not format.

A variety of monograph selection tools are routed to the bibliographers, including trade publications such as Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers' Weekly, Choice Reviews-on-Cards, and publishers' catalogs and advertisements. Literature on periodical and serial titles, and unsolicited periodical issues, also are routed to the bibliographers for their review. Recommendations from the larger university community and those made by bibliographers in areas outside their subject assignments are referred to the appropriate bibliographer. The department keeps comprehensive files of information on recommended periodicals, indexes and abstracts, and newspapers.

Collection Assessment

The assessment of library collections is carried out by bibliographers as part of their regular responsibilities. The scale of a particular assessment is determined with reference to perceived collection inadequacies, program changes, faculty research interests, interlibrary loan activity, and cooperative collecting agreements. The Head of Collections and Museums may suggest areas that should be assessed and the way in which the assessment should be carried out. Each assessment normally includes a statistical analysis of the scope and age of library holdings, measurement of the collection against standard bibliographies, and review of circulation figures. Citation studies, course and syllabus analysis, and weighing of faculty input are important components of most assessments.

The Collection Management and Special Services Department supplies customized reports on library resources and services to departments or interdisciplinary programs undergoing program reviews. It also supplies data in support of self-studies and accreditation reviews, working with members of the teaching faculty. The Head and bibliographers meet with external review teams on request. The department will conduct assessments of library holdings for individual faculty and departments contemplating significant program changes or the introduction of new degree programs. A statement concerning the adequacy of library resources is required as part of proposals for new courses, minors, majors, and degree programs under university curricular policies.

Special Legal and Policy Requirements

In developing and maintaining its collections, the library observes the applicable rules and regulations of the University of Northern Iowa and the State of Iowa. Guidelines covering particular areas of concern are outlined below:

  1. Fund-raising and Gifts
    The UNI Foundation serves as the coordinating agency for all fund-raising and soliciting of funds in the name of the University of Northern Iowa.  Solicitation of gifts and grants fromprivate sources requires the prior approval of the Foundation.  All grant applications prepared and submitted by the library must be approved by the Foundatio, or in the case of requests for funding from government agencies, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. All funds made available for materials acquisition from non-university sources are administered by the UNI Foundation. Encumbrances and expenditures against these funds are tracked separately from those made against the recurring library materials budget.
  2. Materials Purchasing
    The library will purchase materials directly from individuals (privately published titles, out-of-print material) when necessary. Library materials may be purchased from university employees only under guidelines governing conflicts of interest of Board of Regents employees. 
  3. Photoduplication
    Photocopies of works unavailable for purchase are made for the purpose of adding the title when copyright compliance permits or when express permission to produce a copy for this purpose is obtained from the publisher or other copyright holder.
  4. Disposition of Withdrawn Materials
    Disposition of materials withdrawn from the collection is governed by university policies. Ownership of all property except for titles received on federal depository resides with the university (state of Iowa) regardless of how the property was obtained or the source of funds utilized for its acquisition. Withdrawn materials are not given to individuals. They may be transferred to other university departments and offices with the approval of the Head of Collections and Museums. Those which no other campus unit has requested may be offered to one of the other Regents libraries or another state institution. The Library also conducts occasional sales of withdrawn materials and gifts-in-kind not added to the collection.
  5. License Agreements
    The library abides by all license agreements governing use of materials acquired in electronic format, including payment of simultaneous use fees for remote access electronic resources. Lease copies of print materials are returned at the end of the lease period under terms established by the publisher or distributor.
  6. Depository Collections
    The library abides by all legal restrictions on the use and disposition of depository materials received from the federal (United States) and state (Iowa) governments. These requirements are outlined in the Documents and Maps Collection policy statement.

From the Rod Library Collection Management Policy 1994; last revised 2013