The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to establish principles and guidelines for CSU librarians and faculty members in developing and maintaining balanced collections relevant to a liberal arts education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Rising costs, increasing publisher output, new technologies, and expanding demands for information necessitate careful materials selection, based on an understanding of the mission and goals of the CSU Library and Charleston Southern University and an understanding of the user population.

Who We Are

The University

Charleston Southern University is a Christian liberal arts university and is one of South Carolina’s largest accredited, independent universities, enrolling 3,600 students. Affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the University’s vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving. The University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award bachelor’s degrees in 48 majors and 8 master’s degrees in business, criminal justice, education, nursing and organizational management.

The Library

In keeping with its mission, “to support the instructional program of the University through information literacy training and by acquiring, organizing and providing access to appropriate information resources”, the Library provides information resources and services to students and faculty consistent with the degrees and programs offered by Charleston Southern University.

The Library employs a variety of strategies to ensure that library holdings and collections are adequate to support the information needs of students and faculty, whether on campus, online, or at a distance.

Collection Development Goals

  1. To identify, maintain, and provide access to resources that support the University’s curriculum
  2. To identify, maintain, and provide access to a core collection that supports Charleston Southern University's mission
  3. To identify, maintain, and provide access to resources that support the research needs of the Charleston Southern University community
  4. To collect, preserve, and provide access to archival materials related to the history of Charleston Southern University

Collection Development Responsibilities

The development of a collection that meets instructional, institutional, and research needs is the joint responsibility of CSU’s teaching faculty and librarians. Faculty input is vital to the selection of items in the Library’s collections, and any member of the faculty may request that an item be purchased. A library liaison is assigned to each department/school to help coordinate collection development activities. With the aid and advice of faculty and library staff and within budgetary restrictions, the Library Director is ultimately responsible for the selection of all library resources. The Library Director makes such decisions within the framework of the University's purpose and mission.

Collection Development Guidelines

Priority: Materials should be added to the collection following the priority list below:

  1. Resources supporting the University’s curriculum
  2. Resources necessary for accreditation/certification purposes
  3. Resources contributing to a balanced core collection
  4. Resources that support free inquiry and self-directed studies in areas not specific to degree programs
  5. Resources on topics of general interest


With the exception of items acquired primarily for use in the Foreign Languages departments, books or other items in languages other than English will not be acquired. Exceptions will be foreign language dictionaries for reference use and Greek and Latin texts in support of Christian Studies.

Format Selection:

Books are normally selected in clothbound editions, except when items are available only in paperback. Other factors affecting format selection decisions include, but are not limited to, cost, durability, ease of use, and the availability of electronic access.

Out of print items, while more readily available than in the past, will be purchased only on a case by case basis because of costs and security issues. Considerations will include an item’s value to historic perspectives and its influence on subject development or individuals.

Multiple Copies:

Only one copy of an item will be purchased unless there is a demonstrated need for duplicates.

Collection Development Tools:

Decisions in collection development are aided by the use of selection tools such as reviews from Choice Reviews Online, professional library literature, and standard bibliographies.

The Library, in carrying out its collection development activities, adheres to the principles expressed in the following statements from the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights: "Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.”


As noted under Format Selection, clothbound books will be selected when possible because of their durability. Soft cover editions may be ordered pre-laminated or may be reinforced upon receipt. A schedule for binding of paper periodicals resides with the Acquisitions Librarian. Periodicals which have a limited shelf-life will not be bound. Select titles may be replaced by microfilm for archival purposes.


Periodic weeding of the collection ensures that resources remain current, authoritative, and appropriate for user needs.

The following criteria will be used when evaluating materials to be deselected:

Deselection Process:

NOTE: Any physical item which is a “copy of last resort” among South Carolina’s academic libraries may be retained regardless of the above criteria.

Cooperative Collection Management:

The CSU Library’s collections are greatly enhanced by resource sharing and collaborative licensing of digital resources through its membership in the State’s academic library consortium, PASCAL, Partnership among South Carolina Academic Libraries. PASCAL provides broad access to more than 12 million items held by the 57 member libraries through a shared union catalog and a courier service that enables delivery of books among the members within 2 to 3 days. State funding for PASCAL, combined with membership fees, also provides a core package of electronic resources, including databases and e-books, as well as opt-in licensing for more discipline and institution-specific resources - all at greatly reduced costs. The CSU Library is also a beneficiary of the digital resources provided by the South Carolina Virtual Library, DISCUS. Traditional Interlibrary Loan services enable the borrowing of infrequently-used or ephemeral items from non-PASCAL-member libraries.

Challenges to Library Holdings:

The Charleston Southern University Library selects resources to support the curricula of the University at an appropriate level, consistent with the Library’s mission and collection development policies. In the broad pursuit of knowledge, however, materials may include resources that allow for the free exploration of all sides of an idea or question, even though neither the University nor the Library may agree with or endorse the philosophies or positions contained within all of those resources.

The Charleston Southern University Library affirms the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and opposes general censorship of library materials. The Library does recognize the right of individuals to question the inclusion of materials in the collections if they have concerns about the validity or appropriateness of materials, but objections based on moral, religious, political or other grounds will not automatically result in the exclusion of materials. All challenged materials will be handled on a case by case basis. Individuals with concerns about library materials should submit a completed Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form to one of the public services desks or directly to the Director of the Library. The Director will then review the request and will try to resolve concerns informally. Challenged material will remain on the shelf during the review process. If concerns cannot be resolved, the Director will convene a committee of two librarians and one faculty member who will examine the material for relevance to the collection and will submit their findings to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who will make a final determination.

Gifts Policy:

All prospective donors should be referred to the Director or Assistant Director of the Library.

The Library is frequently offered books and other items as gifts. Although many excellent donated materials have been added to the collection, much of what is offered may have little value to CSU’s academic community.

Criteria for Inclusion of Gifts


A letter of acknowledgement may be sent if the donor prefers. The letter will acknowledge the number of items but will not list titles. Donor bookplates may be placed in books if desired.


By law, the library cannot assign a value to any donated materials. Donors should consult with their financial advisors on assessing the value of items for tax purposes.

Specific Types of Resources


The mission of the Archives Department is to collect and preserve materials related to the history of Charleston Southern University as well as publications by or about persons who have played a significant role in the history of the institution. Collection guidelines and finding aids are available on the University Archives website.


Audiovisuals include DVDs and audio CDs. They are selected to support the University’s curriculum based on faculty recommendations, availability, and cost.

Electronic Resources

The library acquires electronic resources to support instruction and research. While traditional criteria apply to the selection of most electronic titles, the management of this format is more complex. Additional criteria to consider include:

  1. Distribution of disciplinary coverage among selected titles
  2. Duplication of content with other products, including those provided through consortial relationships, including PASCAL and DISCUS
  3. Appropriate retrospective and current coverage
  4. Currency of the information and update schedules
  5. Accessibility, including IP address recognition and authentication by proxy server
  6. Intuitive ease of use
  7. Access restrictions
  8. Licensing requirements
  9. Printing and downloading capabilities
  10. Availability of usage statistics from the vendor

Government Documents

The CSU Library is a selective U.S. Government Depository and holds over 100,000 documents on widely varying subjects. Many of these have been cataloged and are listed in the Library's online catalog. The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications is available online from 1994 to the present through the Library's Federal Government Documents webpage, on CD-ROM from 1976-1993, and in paper copy from 1908 through 1975. The Government Documents Department collects selected items available from the United States Government Printing Office. Documents are generally selected on an annual basis in accord with the expressed needs of faculty, students, staff, and area residents.

Juvenile Collection

The Library provides a collection of children’s books to support the Teacher Education program. The Juvenile Collection is not intended to be comprehensive, but is representative of various types of children’s literature, including fiction and non-fiction. Newbery, Caldecott, and other award winners are acquired annually. All titles are available in the Library’s online catalog.

Leisure Reading

In addition to purchasing materials directly related to the University’s curriculum, the Library selectively acquires materials of general interest. The Library also leases bestsellers popular, recreational and leisure reading books. Library staff members select new titles on a monthly basis. The collection is evaluated periodically to identify titles to be returned to the vendor and titles to be retained and added to the Library’s permanent collections.


Maps are collected selectively to support general reference and research needs.


Microforms include both microfilm and microfiche. The selection of titles is limited to back files of periodicals and newspapers.

Music Scores

The Library collects scores at the request of faculty and students, with emphasis on study scores rather than performance scores.


Newspaper subscriptions are carried in order to support teaching and research, and to provide sources of local, national, and international news to the CSU community. In addition to print subscriptions, newspaper titles are also available online through the library's database subscriptions.

Online Support

The Library supports distance learning with electronic books, indexes, newspapers, periodicals, and journals. Whenever possible, the Library acquires electronic resources that will be available to students and faculty from any location in any time zone.


Periodicals provide a wealth of current information and form a vital part of the collection in support of the curriculum. Titles are selected based on recommendations by faculty and librarians, their contents, and cost. A limited number of general interest titles will also be collected.

Careful judgment is required in establishing new periodical subscriptions, since periodicals represent an ongoing commitment of fiscal resources. When the costs and content are comparable – including adequacy of graphics display, the electronic format of a title is preferred over the print format since it allows for wider access and greater searching capabilities. Scholarly, peer-reviewed journals will form the foundation of the periodicals collection, but some popular magazines may be acquired. Popular magazines in paper format may be held for a limited time period. Periodical backfiles may be maintained in print, microform, or electronic format depending on the availability, quality, and cost. Maintaining titles and/or backfiles in more than one format is generally discouraged, and decisions are made on a title-by-title basis.

The Library reviews periodical subscriptions on an ongoing basis. Factors to be considered include: usage, the extent to which the title supports the curriculum, access options, cost, and availability.

Rare Books

Rare books may be purchased only if they are required to fulfill the mission and goals of the University and its curriculum. Such purchases will not, however, receive high priority if budgets are limited.


Textbooks for classroom use are not routinely collected by the Library because they rapidly go out of date. However, some textbooks may be the best sources available and could be given case by case consideration.