Collection Development & Gift Policies

Overview of Collection Development

Purpose   |  Responsibilities   |   Suggestions for Purchase   |   Gifts to the Library   |  Gifts Policy and Procedure


The mission of the University of South Alabama Libraries is "to support the present and anticipated teaching, research and service goals of the University of South Alabama." The Collection Development department and its policies seek to identify long and short range needs of the Marx Library and to establish priorities and goals in collection acquisition. In times of severe budgetary limitations, the policies should assist the Libraries in providing maximum possible support in all disciplines and formats. The policies developed for collection development should also serve as a guide for planning support for academic programs to be introduced or expanded.




Selection: Subject bibliographers make selection recommendations in accordance with the Marx Library's collection development policy. Subject bibliographers, working closely with the academic faculty, select materials to meet the needs of students, staff, faculty and others and to fulfill the Library's mission. Because of this important relationship to the library's users, the Coordinator of Public Services facilitates the selection of library materials in all formats by the subject bibliographers. The Head of Collection Development works closely with the Coordinator of Public Services, the Collection Development Committee, and the University faculty to meet overall collection development goals of the Marx Library.


Collection Development Committee: Collection assessment has become an important responsibility of the Libraries regarding database selection, serials review, curriculum proposals, accreditation reports, grant applications, and related acquisitions decisions. The Head of Collection Development and the subject librarian or group of librarians may be named by the Executive Director of the University Libraries to facilitate assessment activities required in obtaining statistical reports from Voyager, completing required assessment or accreditation reports, and working with subject bibliographers and academic department chairs or faculty as appropriate to the particular assessment.


Administration and Management: The Head of Collection Development has the primary responsibility for administration operations once selection recommendations have been forwarded by the subject bibliographers. The Head of Collection Development shall ordinarily make final decisions relative to the acquisition, cataloging and processing of monographs, media materials, and serials and will work closely with subject bibliographers. The Head of Collection Development also works closely with the University Libraries administration, individual bibliographers, the Coordinator of Public Services, Libraries systems staff, the Head of Cataloging and Processing, and academic faculty.

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Suggestions for Purchase

Any person may make a suggestion for materials to be added to the Library collection. Purchase of materials is not guaranteed. See Materials Purchase Request Form.

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Gifts to the Library

USA's Marx Library gratefully accepts gifts of material and cash donations. This includes donations for books in memory or honor of special people, as well as titles that support the curriculum or research goals of the university. Once accepted, materials given to the library become the property of the university to determine retention, processing and disposition. Please review the "Gifts Policy and Procedure" below.

Donation forms:

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Gifts Policy and Procedure

The purpose of the Gifts Policy and Procedure is to disseminate information to potential donors regarding material donations to the University of South Alabama’s (USA’s) Marx Library.

The Marx Library gratefully accepts gifts for the development of its Collection.  Once accepted, materials given to the Library become the property of the University.

Gifts are accepted by the Marx Library without special terms regarding their retention, processing, and disposition.  In rare cases, restrictions requested by donors will be considered, especially for unique materials.  It is important that donors understand that gifts of books and other materials to the Library have costs to the Library in terms of cataloging, processing, shelving, and shelf maintenance. 

The Library usually adds to its collection only gift materials that support the recreational, research, and teaching mission of the Library and the University.  Remaining gift materials may be disposed of as the Library sees fit.  

Non-serial gifts (books, music, videos, DVDs, maps, etc.) accepted for potential inclusion in the Library’s Collection are reviewed by Mary Duffy, Assistant Dean, who may seek the advice and expertise of subject specialists and bibliographers.  Please contact Ms. Duffy at (251) 460-7924 or

Serial gifts (magazines, journals, and newspapers) are reviewed by the Head of Documents/Serials, Vicki Tate.  Please contact Ms. Tate at (251) 460-7024 or

Financial, equipment, and property donations are also accepted as gifts.  Please contact the Executive Director of University Libraries, Ms. Lorene Flanders, at (251) 460-7021 or

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Criteria for Selecting Material Gifts

Suitable as Material Gifts

    • Supports the present or anticipated curriculum, research needs, or interests of the University.
    • Has potential for receiving high use.
    • Very current--within the last five years, especially within the sciences and technology fields.
    • Of historical value, especially local or state historical material not owned by area libraries.
    • Financial value of the printed edition.
    • Possesses prestigious, rare, unique characteristics, such as autographed copies, handcrafted copies, etc.
    • In good physical condition.
    • Matches the criteria for inclusion into the Collection within the existing Collection Development Policy.
    • Suitable duplicates:  If the duplicate copy is in better condition; replaces an item; or if the item is in high demand.

Not Suitable as Material Gifts

    • Materials more appropriate for a different type of library (e.g., public, school, or special) or age level.
    • Materials in poor physical condition (e.g., stained, marked, mold, or mildew damaged, mutilated, disfigured, bumped, scored, bridled, and underlined pages).
    • Miscellaneous issues (journals, magazines, or newspapers), or short runs of serials.
    • Part of a series, with the exception that it would complete that series within the Collection.
    • Textbooks, especially outdated or complimentary copies (if they are stamped as such by the publisher).
    • Outdated materials, especially in the disciplines where the most current, recent, and accurate information is crucial.
    • Foreign language materials not relevant to foreign language courses offered at this University.
    • Pamphlets, especially if brief (less than 50 pages) without any extraordinary value or added enhancement to the Collection.
    • Highly specialized or esoteric treatment of a subject.
    • Editions of classic works already in the Collection, unless rare or valuable.
    • Trade (mass market) paperbacks and hardbacks.
    • Vanity press books.
    • Materials are in an outdated format (e.g., 33 1/3 and 78 sound recordings).
    • Materials that duplicate those in the Library’s book, journal, media, or electronic (database) collections.

Procedure for the Donation of Material Gifts

  • Donors of smaller sized gifts (one or more items, but less than a boxful) can bring their gifts to the Marx Library, in person.  Non-serial gifts should be routed to Ms. Duffy.  Serial gifts should be routed to Ms. Tate.
  • Prospective donors of larger sized gifts (one or more boxes) are asked to make a preliminary inquiry with Ms. Duffy (for non-serial items) or Ms. Tate (for serial items).
  • The appropriate librarian(s) will evaluate the item(s) in accordance with the established criteria for inclusion in and/or exclusion from the Collection.  Additionally, the value of the gift shall be weighed against space limitations and the cost of processing.
  • Any donor who leaves his or her name and address along with their donation will receive an acknowledgment of their gift from the Executive Director of University Libraries.
  • If the donor wishes, a bookplate for the purpose of either memorial or honorary recognition will be added to the item.
  • All material gifts to USA’s Marx Library are considered non-cash charitable donations.  Prospective book donors often wish to know about the tax status of their gift and are frequently interested in having their gift appraised for tax deduction purposes.  Because of legal restrictions, the Library is unable to provide appraisals or evaluations of donated gift items for income tax or IRS purposes.  Donors requiring an appraisal should arrange for an outside, certified professional appraisal prior to making their donation.  Once your gift enters our processing area, we can not accommodate an appraiser on University property.
  • Since we have a limited size staff, the Library does not provide written inventories or lists of donated items to the donor.

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