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University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library at USF St. Petersburg campus is open for reduced hours.
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Collection Development: Guide

The Nelson Poynter Memorial Library exists to serve the students and faculty of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. The continued rational development of the library collection is an integral part of achieving the library’s goals.

This Collection Development Policy outlines the principles of materials selection through which Poynter Library attempts to fulfill its mission within the campus and the USF Libraries. The purpose of this policy is both to guide librarians who are involved in materials selection and to inform the library’s patrons of the principles involved in these selections. It is to be hoped that the guidelines express a consistent philosophy of collection development that will be responsive to the evolving priorities of University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus to the library’s relationships with the USF Libraries, and to the changing technologies of information. Nelson Poynter Memorial Library benefits greatly from the centralized services administered by the Dean of the USF Libraries and participates enthusiastically in the Library System’s online catalog and electronic and print resource sharing activities.

Because Poynter Library’s print and media collections are closely tied to the mission of University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus, development of those collections is undertaken by USF St. Petersburg campus faculty and library faculty under the ultimate responsibility of the Dean of Poynter Library. Both general and library faculty members are encouraged to participate actively in shaping the collection within their areas of expertise. Requests from students and other members of the university community are also welcomed. It is the responsibility of the Head, Collection Development & Technical Services, to coordinate and assess individual requests in order to develop a strong and balanced collection, to evaluate the collection as it currently exists, and to plan for future growth.

Poynter Library subscribes to the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” and wholeheartedly supports its commitment to the unhindered access to divergent points of view. The major priority of the library is to select materials to support the instructional needs of USF St. Petersburg campus. At present, this campus offers four-year and master’s level courses in various Business, Education, and Liberal Arts disciplines. (USF Tampa funds support the research collections needed by the College of Marine Science, a “hosted” program not funded by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus budget. A Poynter Library librarian in consultation with College faculty members selects Marine Science resources.) The library strives to build and maintain collections to support the campus curriculum. For all subject areas on campus, the Library aims to provide essential reference and bibliographical resources, appropriate journals, and a selection of carefully chosen monograph and primary sources in print or electronic format. The depth of the subject coverage depends upon the level of coursework offered through the campus curriculum. The Library does not purchase textbooks adopted as required texts, as they are expensive and frequently superseded by newer editions.

After the basic disciplinary requirements are met, the library attempts, as funds allow, to assist the individual research needs of its faculty and graduate students, both through purchase of materials and through utilization of the print and electronic resources of USF libraries, the Florida State Universities and other regional or national networks. Although the library expects that its researchers rely primarily on electronic, intra- or inter- library loan for specialized research support, it is also true that by developing more focused collections in unique areas of faculty or graduate interests, the library serves most efficiently the needs of the USF St. Petersburg campus community, as well as contributing to the research-level resources of the USF libraries. Poynter Library seeks to cooperate with USF Libraries and Florida university cooperative collection development efforts when they are compatible with University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus' mission and strategic plan.

In addition, Poynter Library is the largest library in south Pinellas County and attempts to serve the community through resources such as its local history collection and business reference materials when such collections are compatible with the needs of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus curriculum. Finally, the library attempts in a limited way to provide for the recreational and enrichment needs of the campus community through small collections of popular reading, media, and mass market periodicals.

It is to be expected that materials serving any of the above priorities will be evaluated for purchase according to basic principles of selection. Materials in all formats may be considered on the basis of appearance in standard bibliographies and indexes, favorable reviews in reputable reviewing media, or the recommendations of faculty and professional staff. Other criteria for selection include the author’s reputation and significance, the timeliness or permanent value of the title, the reputation of the publisher or producer, the appropriateness of the intended audience of the work, the potential use of the item, and, of course, the price. Current imprints of lasting value to the collection shall be emphasized, and intra- and inter- library loan shall continue to be our primary sources of retrospective items. Foreign language materials are purchased primarily to support the language programs of University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus Multiple copies are obtained only in cases of anticipated heavy and sustained demand.

Library staff shelf read stack areas on a regular basis to identify missing materials. Additional items are identified as ‘lost’ through circulation records. Circulation staff and shelf readers identify damaged materials, which, if binding or repair is impossible, are also charged to lost. Every effort is made to replace lost, missing, or damaged books and media, either through a new copy, an updated edition, or a similar book in the field. Certain classes or formats of materials that require special evaluation are treated in separate policies.

Periodicals: Because the purchase and maintenance of periodicals are significant and on-going expenses, requests for new periodical titles are carefully evaluated annually by the library faculty. Availability of indexing, potential use, assessments of quality and impact, balance within the collection, and cost of the subscription and its corresponding microform are all considered before a subscription is entered. Unless heavy usage is anticipated, duplication of titles within the USF libraries is discouraged. Electronic formats are strongly preferred, particularly if a new title will contribute to the resources available to all USF Libraries patrons. In most cases, print copies of publications are retained. Availability of microform or electronic backfiles, archival rights purchased or licensed, and availability of shelf space are evaluated when retention of print copies is considered.

Juvenile Collection: The Library maintains a collection of children’s and young adult literature, housed in the Media Services department and distinguished from the regular collection by its Dewey Decimal Classification. The Juvenile Collection exists to support the courses offered by the College of Education. These collections will also serve as resources for the College of Education faculty and students. Poynter Library supports the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” and encourages adults to evaluate for themselves the appropriateness of Juvenile Collection materials for their own children’s use. Policies for particular formats follow.

Juvenile Books: The Juvenile Collection focuses on outstanding examples of children’s and young adult fiction and non-fiction. Children’s prize-winning books are automatically obtained through an arrangement with YBP. ALA “Best Books for Young Adults” are also purchased to supplement young adult selections. Titles of particular local interest, such as works on Florida’s history or environment, may be acquired to supplement the award lists. Materials such as popular fiction series (e.g., Nancy Drew books) are not typically purchased. Notable books for young adults may be found in the juvenile non-fiction or “F” fiction collections or may be classed in the regular library collection if the titles are also suitable for adult use.

Juvenile Reference Collection: A limited reference collection is available including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases for various age groups. Examples of different types of reference books are purchased, but the collection is not meant to be a comprehensive working reference collection for children’s homework assignments. Juvenile periodicals: Periodicals and serials supporting the College of Education curriculum are acquired and housed in the regular library collection. Titles published for children and adolescents are not within the juvenile collection guidelines.

Test Collection: Educational and psychological tests will be purchased by faculty request only as funds allow. Tests are restricted to authorized users only through controlled access at the Reserve Desk. For more information see our Ed. and Psych. Test Policy.

Gifts to the Library: Donors may contribute materials. The  University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus library gratefully accepts unrestricted donations. Individual items may be contributed to the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library’s collection or to another more appropriate library within the USF. Other materials may be sold through an online used book vendor; proceeds of these sales support Poynter Library. Mass market paperback books and other materials that cannot be sold to benefit the Library may be recycled. If a donor will be claiming a tax deduction, he/she should submit a list of items contributed. If the estimated value exceeds $500, IRS regulations regarding Non-Cash Contributions will apply. Please contact the Collection Development & Technical Services campus unit, in such cases.

Policy revised 01/06 Last edited on November 29, 2020