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Strategy, Planning, Budget

Collection Development Policy

The Sherrod Library’s collections directly support the mission of East Tennessee State University and the needs of its students, faculty, and staff. Our policy is to acquire and make available materials in all formats necessary to support the curricular, instructional and research needs of the university. These materials add to a collection designed for both current utility and long-term value to the university.  

This policy will be reviewed periodically and revised as needed. 

Guidelines for Collection Decisions

Purchasing Priorities 

  • Requests that support the curricular, instructional, and research needs of the university are given the highest priority.  All requests for materials are reviewed by the acquisitions librarian and are subject to funding availability. 
  • Current publications of lasting and scholarly value will be given priority over older and out-of-print materials and recreational reading items.  
  • Only English language materials are collected, except for the acquisition of materials that support the foreign language curriculum. 
  • Purchase of large sets or backfiles must demonstrate a substantive long-range contribution to the collection and well-documented need. 
  • Research materials intended for use by an individual faculty member may be acquired if the materials have a broader value, supporting their instruction or others’ research. Faculty who request research materials for individual use which lack broader value are encouraged to use the library’s interlibrary loan (ILL) service.   

Format and duplication 

  • Materials will be acquired in a suitable format (e.g., print, electronic) based on careful consideration of user needs and pricing.  
  • If the library holds materials in one format, duplication is generally avoided to minimize cost. In some cases, it may be advantageous to provide additional formats. In cases where materials support both on-ground and online courses, duplication of print with electronic will be considered. Duplication is subject to review to balance user needs with cost considerations. 
  • Duplicate print materials will be purchased only to meet expected heavy or continued use.  
  • The preferred format for journals is electronic.  New journal subscriptions or continuing subscriptions will be purchased in print when it is the only format available or if it meets a specific need of faculty or students.   

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement 

The ETSU Mission and Values state that “ETSU affirms the contributions of diverse people, cultures, and thought to intellectual, social, and economic development.” Accordingly, library collections are intentionally curated to reflect a rich diversity of opinions, perspectives, subjects, and identities, including materials created by and about those from marginalized groups.  

Intellectual Freedom 

Sherrod Library adheres to the principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement.  The library supports the free exchange of ideas and strives to balance access to quality materials that represent a variety of perspectives.  Library staff are committed to assuring no form of censorship influences the development of the collection.  The sole test of a controversial item will be its contribution, direct and indirect, to the academic program of the university and to the needs of the students.  

The library will make collections as freely accessible as possible. However, if the nature of the material makes theft probable, accessibility can be safeguarded through placing the item in closed stacks.   

Individuals or groups requesting that the library reconsider the inclusion of materials in the collection may contact the Office of the Dean of Libraries by email ( or phone (423-439-4307). 

Selection of Materials

The selection of library materials is the joint responsibility of the teaching faculty and the library faculty. It is the prerogative of every faculty member to participate in the selection process in areas of their expertise.  Suggestions may be submitted using the Suggest a Purchase form available on the libraries’ website. The successful management of the collection depends on faculty involvement.  The ultimate responsibility for all collection development directions and policy decisions rests with the library, which is responsible for the development of a balanced library collection. 

All library resources, regardless of format, should be evaluated with regard to the integrity of the information provided including its accuracy, currency, authoritativeness, and scope of coverage. Additionally, selections should adhere to the chronological, geographical, and language guidelines. 

Evaluation of the collections is exercised through feedback from subject experts and through comparison of the collection with standard general and specialized bibliographies and peer library collections. 

The criteria for acquiring journals are to support the curriculum and provide research materials for faculty and students. Cost/benefit considerations are also applied when selecting electronic journals in an effort to provide the most content to the widest audience. While print materials are still acquired, preference is given to ordering the electronic version. Recommendations for new journals are welcomed from faculty members, with the understanding that new acquisitions depend upon adequate funding to support these additional journals on an ongoing basis.  

The library honors journal requests from programs preparing for accreditation reviews as the budget allows. The collection is maintained at current cost levels, and for each additional title requested the department may need to suggest cancellation of one or more journals of equal cost in their discipline.   


Course Materials  
Sherrod Library is committed to partnering with faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks and other required course materials through our Open and Affordable Course Materials Initiative. Faculty are encouraged to adopt existing materials from the library’s collections, which include hundreds of thousands of eBooks, scholarly journals and streaming video titles that are accessible by students at no direct cost.  The library also supports faculty adoption and creation of Open Educational Resources. 

When funds are available and by faculty request, the library may be able to acquire streaming media, electronic textbooks, and other required readings that meet the following criteria: 

  • Format: Electronic format is preferred. The library will make no effort to collect print textbooks and workbooks. 
  • Ownership: Perpetual licensing is preferred as it allows the library to own the content indefinitely.  
  • Access Model: Unlimited user access models are preferred. Other access methods (multi-user, concurrent user, etc.) will be considered based on the enrollment of the course. The library does not invest in materials that require individual seat licenses or access codes.  
  • Cost: Due to limited funds, the library will consider titles with the highest return on investment over more expensive titles. Any purchases over $200 should be thoroughly vetted for acquisition.  
  • Commitment: Faculty must indicate commitment to acquire the most affordable material that meets long-term instructional needs. 

Refer to the Electronic Resources section for additional requirements. 


Open Access Resources 
Sherrod Library provides access to selected open access materials in our collections.  The primary responsibility for selection of open access materials included in the collection is with the digital scholarship librarian.  Faculty are welcome to recommend open access resources for inclusion in the collection.  The following criteria will be considered when selecting open access materials: quality, relevancy to the curriculum, technical functionality, and accessibility.   

Electronic Resources  
Electronic resources such as online databases, internet websites, eBooks, streaming media, and eJournals are subject to the same selection criteria as other library resources. The library is dedicated to providing the best resources and the widest access to materials that our budget can support. We give preference to electronic resources because of the following advantages over print format: 

  • Information is easy to find in a database with highly functional searching features.  
  • Multiple users may access the product simultaneously.  
  • The product is available to ETSU authenticated users on and off-campus at all hours. 
  1. Technical Requirements 
  • Electronic resources must support IP address authentication. Resources that provide authentication by username/password will only be considered if the resource is of high value to the collection. 
  • Electronic resources must be compatible with the library's authentication and access systems (EZProxy and/or OpenAthens). 
  1. Usage Data Requirements 
  • In order to demonstrate that electronic resource investments are cost-effective, vendors must provide usage data in COUNTER format or equivalent. Resources that also allow automatic harvesting of COUNTER data through the SUSHI protocol are preferred.  
  • Resources that do not provide usage data should only be considered if: the cost of the product is relatively inexpensive and is considered an important and valuable resource. 
  1. Accessibility and Design Requirements 
  • The electronic resource must meet current accessibility standards and laws in order to meet the needs of library users with disabilities.   
  • The electronic resource should conform to the current web browser and W3C coding standards.  
  1. Vendor Considerations 
  • Vendors that offer customer service during normal business hours and provide clear instructions and documentation via their website are preferred. 
  1. License and Contract Considerations 
  • Resources such as eJournals and eBooks that have a perpetual licensing clause are preferred.  
  • Contracts that provide favorable early termination and renewal options to the library are preferred.  
  1. Renewal Considerations 
  • Electronic resources usage data will be taken into consideration for each renewal period.  
  • Electronic resources determined not to be cost-effective may be terminated or replaced with other methods of access (interlibrary loan, etc.). 

Faculty and Alumni Publications 
Sherrod Library collects faculty monographs, as well as collaborative works featuring ETSU faculty authors (e.g., contributed chapter, editor of monograph). Faculty are encouraged to notify the library of new publications or to donate a copy of published works. Each faculty-authored monograph receives an electronic bookplate in the catalog record and is shelved on the Faculty Author bookshelf, space permitting. Older materials will be transferred to general stacks as needed. 

Sherrod Library makes an effort to collect alumni publications. Alumni are encouraged to notify the library of new publications or to donate a copy of published works. Alumni works will be shelved on the ETSU Alumni bookshelf, space permitting.  Older materials will be transferred to general stacks as needed. 

Juvenile Literature 
Sherrod Library purchases juvenile literature on a selective basis in support of the curriculum.  It does not attempt to develop a comprehensive collection.  Priority is given to award-winning children’s books. 


Government Documents 
The Sherrod Library has been a Selective Federal Depositor Library since 1942 and became the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) Center of Excellence for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in 2016.  Collection strengths include federal and state law and material from the Department of Education, Department of Veteran Affairs, National Library of Medicine, and Department of Health and Human Services.  Sherrod Library has also been a selective depository for Tennessee state documents since 1978.  The coordinator of these documents programs is responsible for the maintenance of and access to these collections. 

Rare Books

The Sherrod Library Rare Books collection provides security, preservation, and access to books having significant cultural, historical, and/or monetary value. The collection includes books that support the curriculum and research needs of the university, and which are judged to be rare and/or valuable using the guidelines below. Books considered for inclusion in the collection may be purchased, accepted as gifts, or transferred from the circulating collection. This collection responsibility is continuous, but is also dependent upon availability of facility space, budget appropriations, and availability of personnel. 

Guidelines for Determining Rarity: 

Any book that meets the age criteria will be included in the collection. The remaining guidelines are to be applied in conjunction with one another. The designated representative will apply these criteria along with professional judgment to make final decisions. 

  1. Age: 

  • Any book published before 1600, regardless of condition 
  • Any book in English published before 1801, regardless of condition 
  • Any book printed in Tennessee before 1840, regardless of condition 
  1. Intrinsic Characteristics and Qualities:  

    1. Format: 

  • Manuscript books, documents, and original (hand-drawn) drawings 
  • Miniature books (the Library of Congress defines a miniature book as 10 cm. or less in height) 
  • Volumes/portfolios with unbound plates 
  • Books in unusual formats or formats that are intrinsically fragile (e.g., pop-up books, books with moving parts, accordion fold books, etc.) 
  1. Manufacture: 

  • Fine and signed bindings 
  • Fine printing and small press editions 
  • Printing on vellum or highly unusual paper 
  • Fore-edge paintings 
  1. Illustrations: 

  • Books with original engravings, lithographs, and photographs 
  • Books with foldout or otherwise valuable maps 
  • Extra illustrated books (i.e., books which have illustrations or documents from other sources that were added by the owner or a professional binder, but which were not part of the original printing) 
  1. Authorship 

  • Books by local authors of note 
  • Association copies (i.e., books owned or annotated by the author, books signed or inscribed by the author to a person associated with the author or the book, books inscribed by the author to another famous person, or books owned by someone with a particular interest in the subject (e.g., Charles Darwin’s copy of a book on genetics) 
  • Autographed copies of books by famous authors 
  1. Books requiring security:  
    1. Materials at risk of mutilation or theft: 
  • Erotica 
  • Some art reproductions 
  • Materials desirable to collectors and the antiquarian book trade 
  • Censored or banned books 
  • Materials on controversial subjects may be considered if they are believed to be at risk of theft or mutilation (e.g., Nazi publications, materials on non-traditional religions, etc.) 
  1. Materials that are difficult or expensive to replace. 

  • Items known to be scarce. Scarcity may be judged by the number of holdings on OCLC (fewer than 200 holdings on OCLC will be considered scarce) and/or availability in the used/rare book market 
  • Costly acquisitions, such as facsimile editions of illuminated manuscripts or art reproductions 
  • First editions or limited editions (not including book club editions) of books which are of literary, historic, or cultural significance 
  • Items that would be prohibitively expensive to replace 
  1. Condition (19th and 20th century books): 

  • Books that are badly worn, repaired, or rebound are not automatically rare. Consider scarcity, authorship, and other qualities 
  • Retain dust jackets if possible 
  • Fragile or brittle books that are difficult to replace may be moved to the Rare Books collection 
  1. Other Considerations: 

  • Early important works in a field of study 


The Charles C. Sherrod Library will accept gifts of books and other materials that support the curriculum and research needs of ETSU. All gifts become the property of the library and may be retained or discarded in accordance with the needs of the library. The library will NOT accept materials on loan, or with conditions of retention, location, or access. Gift materials must be in good physical condition, clean, and unmarked.  

Faculty, alumni, and university publications will be gladly accepted, unless they are duplicates of materials already in the collection. 

Except in special circumstances, the donor is responsible for the transport of materials to the library. The Dean of Libraries and/or the acquisitions librarian will determine when special circumstances exist. 

Individuals wishing to donate materials to the library should e-mail 

Acceptance and Retention of Gifts 
The Sherrod Library reserves the right to accept or decline gifts. When possible, gift materials will be previewed for suitability before being accepted. The library encourages donors to provide a list of materials, including author, title, date, and general condition of the material. 

Possible reasons for declining gifts include but are not limited to: 

  • Condition (badly damaged, moldy, bug-infested, heavily marked, etc.) 
  • Format (mass market paperback, outdated media, etc.) 
  • Subject matter (outside curriculum and/or research areas) 
  • Duplication of materials already in collection 

The library will not accept the following materials, except in special circumstances (to be determined by the Dean of Libraries and/or librarian responsible for acquisitions): 

  • Periodicals (magazines, journals, newspapers, etc.) 
  • Textbooks (unless authored by a faculty member) 
  • Law books 
  • Loose-leaf books or loose pages in portfolios  
  • Films and filmstrips, audio tapes, videotapes, floppy disks 
  • Archival materials such as photographs, documents, records (these should be directed to the Archives of Appalachia, which has its own policies for accepting donations) 

At the time of donation, the acquisitions librarian and the donor will complete the Gift Acknowledgement Form.  This document acknowledges that the donation is the property of Sherrod Library and will be added to the collection or disposed of at the library’s discretion. The form will also constitute the receipt for the donation unless a formal letter of acknowledgment is requested. Such a letter will be issued by the acquisitions librarian.  

Unsolicited gifts from authors, publishers, or organizations will not be acknowledged. 

Materials that are not added to the collection will be disposed of through the state-mandated surplus procedures. 

Evaluation of Gifts 
The Sherrod Library is forbidden by federal law from offering appraisals of donations. If a donor requires an appraisal for personal records or tax purposes, he or she must obtain the appraisal prior to the donation. To locate professional appraisers, try the Antiquarian Booksellers of America ( or the American Society of Appraisers (  Should a professional appraiser deem that the donation is worth $5,000 or more, a Gift-in-Kind form must be submitted to the ETSU Office of University Advancement and approved prior to the donation. 

Monetary Donations and Gifts-in-Kind 
Monetary donations and gifts-in-kind must be given through the ETSU Office of University Advancement (  

Please contact:  
Office of University Advancement 
ETSU Box 70721 
Johnson City TN 37614-1710 

Book Plates 
Book plates may be put in books for collection donations, Gifts of Knowledge, or at the request of the donor.  Electronic book plates may be put in catalog records for collection donations, Gifts of Knowledge, or at the request of the donor. 

Replacement and Withdrawal of Materials

Sherrod Library strives to keep the print collection current and relevant to the needs of users. As one aspect of attaining this goal, it is necessary to remove materials for a number of reasons, including (but not limited to) physical condition, relevance to the curriculum and research needs of the users, currency, and space needs. Funds should be allocated each year for the replacement of lost or damaged materials. Damaged or worn materials should be pulled on a regular basis from the collection and evaluated for a decision of replacement, repair, or withdraw.  Materials marked missing in the catalog will be searched for on a monthly basis. If not found after six months, they will be withdrawn from the collection. Materials marked lost (checked out and not returned) in the catalog will be withdrawn after the patron has paid the replacement cost. Lost and missing materials will be reported to Acquisitions to be considered for replacement on a regular basis.  

The following criteria will be used to make decisions on whether materials should be retained or withdrawn. 

Materials meeting one or more of the following criteria will be retained:  

  • Supports curriculum 
  • Acquired within the last 10 years 
  • Latest edition of work 
  • Circulated within the last 10 years 
  • On reserve within the last 10 years 
  • Included in the Resources for College Libraries core collection 
  • Included in a subject specific core title list 
  • Significant author in the field 
  • Faculty or alumni author 
  • Local, Tennessee, Appalachian, ETSU history, biography, or literature 
  • Multiple translations of foreign language works, assuming they are still relevant to the curriculum 
  • Fewer than 100 holdings in US, 20 holdings in Tennessee, or 200 holdings worldwide (per OCLC) 

Materials meeting the following criteria will be considered for withdrawal: 

  • Superseded editions unless academic faculty/liaison requests retention for a specific reason (i.e., important material that was omitted from later editions) 
  • Not circulated in the last 10 years 
  • Contains outdated/obsolete information (esp. in sciences) 
  • Digital version freely available (Hathi Trust, Project Gutenberg etc.) 
  • No longer relevant to curriculum 
  • Serial titles archived by member organizations in PAPR (Print Archives and Preservation Registry)  

Materials meeting the following criteria will be automatically withdrawn: 

  • Serials with major gaps in holdings (multiple missing volumes) not covered by microforms would justify withdrawal, as would spotty holdings and/or holdings of less than 75% of the title 
  • Physical condition unrepairable in house (consider replacing, considering above criteria)  
  • Duplicate copies - unless there have been more than 10 circulations between multiple copies in the last 10 years. Duplicates of materials relevant to Appalachian Studies may be offered to the Archives of Appalachia 


Sherrod Library Collection Development Policy

Last Approved: March 1st, 2022

Workgroup Members:

  • Jennifer Young (Chair)
  • Katy Libby
  • Travis Clamon
  • Jonathan Wilson
  • Christiana Keinath