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Purpose and Goals 

The collection development policy for W. Frank Steely Library helps library staff to meet collection goals as they relate to the mission of the library, informs the University community about the principles by which materials are selected for inclusion, and provides guidance about how we spend our collections funds. Additionally, the policy helps define our commitment to support the current teaching at the University, as well as supporting new models of research and scholarship. Special consideration is given to acquiring materials representing the diverse experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) and LGBTQIA+ communities in ways that extend beyond mere representation, but also place emphasis on culture and experience.

Collection Development is the process of building useful, balanced collections over time within a set budget, based on assessed, ongoing information needs of the library’s users. It also includes selection criteria, resource sharing, replacement of items, and routine de-accessioning. Through collection development the library will facilitate discovery and dissemination of knowledge via seamless access to robust and distinctive collections. The library strives to enhance and simplify access to resources which support and enrich our users’ teaching, learning, and research. The library not only acquires print and electronic collections for the campus community but cultivates partnerships with other libraries to achieve fast and efficient access to resources not owned by the W. Frank Steely Library.


Library Clientele 

The library supports the information needs of its primary clientele: NKU students, faculty, The library supports the information needs of its primary clientele: NKU students, faculty, and staff. The library also provides service to alumni, local and visiting researchers, and members of the surrounding community.


Selection Activities and Responsibilities

The library is responsible for developing its collection through a combination of selection practices, including approval plans, individual title selection, and requests from the NKU community. Librarians hold the ultimate responsibility for developing and maintaining the library’s collection based on their knowledge of the collection, expertise with collection tools and resources, and understanding of the information and resource needs of the library’s community of users.  Selection processes are cooperative and can involve consultation with faculty and departments

Faculty Collection Involvement 

Faculty members are encouraged to participate in collection development. This contribution to collection development is valuable for the in-depth knowledge that faculty members have of their specific subject areas and broad discipline, as well as their curriculum and research needs. The Associate Dean for Collections is the contact person for faculty to voice any questions or concerns they may have about the library’s collection and services, or to make suggestions.


Selection Guidelines and Criteria for the Collection 

The library’s collection is developed to support and enhance the instructional and research activities and goals of NKU. The library focuses on adding newly published materials to the collection that are authoritative and/or ground-breaking in their fields especially those focused on marginalized communities; however, the library can make retrospective selections in order to fill gaps or respond to requests with consideration according to selection guidelines.


Acquisition Methods and Formats 

The staff of the Collections Division will make the determination about how a resource should be purchased. The Library seeks to purchase resources in the format that will be the most useful to our faculty and students. For broad access, digital or streaming formats are prioritized.  



For monographs and other physical materials, de-accessioning of the collection should be conducted regularly using national best practices as a guide. Sample criteria include:      

  • Published before a certain date 
  • Not circulated in the last 5 years
  • Superseded by a newer edition 
  • Does not meet curriculum needs
  • Can be acquired elsewhere if needed, e.g. interlibrary loan. 


The library does not generally purchase duplicates; however, exceptions can be made. 


Gifts and Donations 

In general, the library does not accept gift materials. Steely’s Special Collections and University Archives will consider donations of materials that align with their collection policy.



Steely Library encourages the adoption of low-cost affordable materials and Open Education Resources in preference to purchasing textbooks. Exceptions can be made through the Textbook Affordability Program.


Intellectual Freedom

Steely Library adheres to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and the Association for College & Research Libraries Freedom to Read Statement as guiding principles.