library policies


Issued by: Ellen Chamberlain, Director of the Libraries
Date: 02-05-96
Revised: 08-23-06


This statement of acquisitions and selection policies for the USC Beaufort library has been formulated by the library staff and approved by the Faculty Library Committee and the USCB Administration in order to clarify the general policies of the library with regard to principles upon which the library collection is developed.  The statement is subject to review at all times by the library staff, the Faculty Library Committee, and the USCB Administration.



As used in this statement, acquisitions policy means the policy of the library with regard to the building of the collection as a whole.

Statement of Policy

The USC Beaufort library is charged with the responsibility of serving the reading, reference and research needs of students, faculty and staff of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, North and South campuses.  Therefore, the acquisition policy of the USC Beaufort library is to build a collection containing the materials that best suit the objectives of that clientele both now and in the future.  It is the aim of the USC Beaufort library to build in all appropriate fields a collection of the highest degree of excellence, both qualitative and quantitative that its monetary resources will possibly provide.

Implementation of Policy

Implementation of the acquisition policy is the responsibility of the Library Director who may delegate to others a portion of that responsibility.  While the broad outline of the policy remains constant, the specifics of implementing the policy will change as the university changes and as its expectations change.  Building a collection to meet the objectives expressed in the policy requires provisions for evaluating the collection and for expending funds designated for the development of the collection.


Evaluation of the collection, as the word implies, is exercised continually by judging it against qualitative standards, that is, through consultation with knowledgeable people and through comparison of the collection with standard general and specialized bibliographies as Books for College Libraries, Choice, Best Books for Academic Libraries, Magazines for Libraries and, where available, subject lists for college libraries prepared by learned associations.

Allocation of Funds

The Library Director is responsible for the expenditure of all library funds.  A percentage of those funds designated for the purchase of library materials is allocated to each academic department each fiscal year according to a formula approved by the Faculty Library Committee.  It is library policy for each department to pay for all periodical subscriptions and standing orders in its particular subject area from its allocation.  A general fund under the jurisdiction of the library staff is reserved for the following: reference materials, materials needed to fill in gaps in the collection, materials in subject areas that are not represented in the curriculum, materials that have been damaged or lost, and materials to be bound.



Selection policy, as used in this statement, means the set of guidelines used in making decisions concerning the addition of specific materials to the collection.

Statement of Policy

Materials selected for library purchase at anytime should be those of the greatest use to USC Beaufort, its faculty, staff and students.  Judgment as to whether specific materials meet this criterion is exercised most frequently by consulting the opinions of knowledgeable people, either on the campus or in such publications as the standard bibliographies cited in the "Evaluation" section above, dependable review journals, and lists of publications considered to be outstanding by authoritative boards of review.  Caution is urged in accepting publisher's statements at face value and in selecting titles solely on the basis of the author's or publisher's reputation.  Specific criteria applicable to almost all library purchases include:

-- Timely value of the material

-- Accuracy of the material

-- Authority, honesty and credibility of the author and publisher

-- Usefulness of the material with respect to other works already in the collection or easily available from other collections, including:

  • Representation of all sides of controversial issues
  • Avoidance of materials that duplicate information already held
  • Avoidance of expensive materials of limited use when they are held by other libraries in the System or in the region
  • Scarcity of material on the subject
  • Price of the work in comparison with other equally useful material
  • Format of the work
  • Appropriateness of the material with respect to curriculum

Implementation of Policy

While each discipline is responsible for building and maintaining a strong collection in its subject area, the primary responsibility for the building of the collection resides with the Library Director.  Within the library, designated members of the library staff are responsible for ordering and receiving requested materials and maintaining the business records necessary for the fiscal control of the budget.  Cooperation between faculty members and librarians in the selection of materials allows individual faculty members to bring their specialized knowledge to the task of selection and to assure the support within the collection of specific curricula needs.  The responsibility of the librarians is to ensure that no areas of development proper to the collection be ignored or slighted and that the collection as a whole be developed objectively, consistently and thoroughly.



When there is a choice between hard cover and paperback, the paperback will be purchased unless the work is one expected to stand up to frequent and heavy use.


Current subscriptions are placed at the request of faculty and on the basis of the expressed needs and interests of the library's users.  Every fall, prior to renewal dates, the library informs faculty members as to which titles are available in the libraryís full-text databases. Faculty members are asked to review their orders and to consider canceling the print versions that are duplicated online.


The library subscribes to representative local, regional and national newspapers.  Due to limited storage space, backfiles of newspapers are not kept beyond three to six months.

Government Documents

As a designated depository for state government documents, the library receives certain categories of state government publications free of charge from the South Carolina State Library.  These documents are sorted by subject matter and housed separately from the rest of the library's collection.

Foreign Language Materials

Materials in foreign languages are purchased to support the language curricula offered by USC Beaufort and when a specific need is evident for a foreign language edition.

Limited-Used Materials

Resources (books, manuals, indices, periodicals, dissertations) and information needed to support the research of an individual student or faculty member are obtained, whenever possible, through interlibrary loan rather than through purchase.

Out-of-Print Materials

Out-of-print materials are sought through the catalogs and Web pages of out-of print book dealers and out-of-print services of major book jobbers.


Except in extraordinary cases, no textbooks in current use on the USCB campuses are purchased for the library collection. Textbooks are purchased, and free copies are accepted, when they supply information in areas in which they may be the best or the only source of information on the subject.

Audio-Visual Media

The library acquires collections of e-books for student and faculty use. The library also acquires a limited number of recordings, CDs, DVDs and videos. These are selected on the basis of course needs and general interest to the Library's clientele, largely on the recommendation of the faculty.  As for adding other A-V materials to the collection, the general policy is to select materials which will best serve the purposes of USCB.


The Library purchases duplicate copies only in cases of demonstrated need.

Replacement Copies of Missing Books

Generally, replacement copies of books missing from the collection are ordered upon demand after the book has been missing for a period of two years.  However, at any time after a book is identified as missing, it may be replaced upon request by a user or a staff member.


The library welcomes gifts but accepts them with the understanding that it has the right to handle or dispose of them in the best interest of the institution.  The library will determine the classification, housing and circulation policy relating to all gift items.  A book plate to identify the donor may be placed in gift books as appropriate.  In the acknowledgment of gifts, attention is called to government recognition of such contributions for tax purposes, but a monetary appraisal is the responsibility of the donor.  The library follows the policies and procedures in the "Statement on Appraisal of Gifts" adopted by the Association of College and Research Libraries in 1973.  Gifts of money are handled through the USC Beaufort Development and Business Offices.


The USC Beaufort libraries conduct systematic programs of weeding from the general library collection those items that are obsolete, no longer appropriate, or physically damaged beyond repair.  The removal of materials of limited usefulness is essential to maintaining the quality of the collection.  The process of weeding requires the same participation by the faculty as does the selection of materials.  Decisions to withdraw are made in consultation with the faculty member of the academic discipline most directly concerned with possible future use of the resource.  Factors involving decisions to weed are based on S. J. Slote's Weeding Library Collections (1975) and include:

  • Works of a timeworn appearance which are not necessarily rare or of considerable value in terms of either content or actual marketability
  • Unneeded duplicates
  • Earlier editions which have been superseded
  • Editions in non-English languages in which the English version is held by the library and the foreign language material does not relate to course offerings or support faculty scholarly needs
  • Works with outdated or incorrect information
  • Books over 30 years old which have not circulated for the last 10 years
  • Ordinary textbooks and school dictionaries
  • Superseded almanacs, yearbooks, directories, and manuals
  • Student course outlines

All items weeded and withdrawn from the collection will be offered first to other state-supported institutions.  Unclaimed items will be disposed of by the library.

Intellectual Freedom

The library adheres to and supports the American Library Association's position on the freedom to read. It is important in modern society that knowledge and a diversity of ideas, regardless of point of view, be readily available in order to promote critical thinking and increase student learning.

The principles of intellectual freedom as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement of the American Library Association shall be followed in the selection of library materials.  The USC Beaufort libraries do not act as agents for or against particular issues but seek to maintain a free flow of information in the selection of books.  The disapproval of a book by one group should not be a means for denying that book to all groups if, by library selection standards, it belongs in the collection.  The procedure for challenged materials follows:

  • The library receives the complaint; staff members react politely and make no personal comment regarding the challenge of materials.
  • The patron is asked to complete the "Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials" form available at the Circulation Desk and return it to the Director of the Libraries.
  • The Library Director receives the form and activates a Review Committee (consisting of the members of the Faculty Library Committee) to study the complaint and make a recommendation.
  • The Library Director places the challenged material on reserve so that members of the committee may read, reread, or study it.  The Director also checks reviews of the challenged material to ascertain the general feelings of the reviewers.
  • The Review Committee meets.  After evaluating the material, the charge, relevant reviews, and the views of professionals in the field, the Review Committee weighs the values and faults of the challenged material very carefully and then makes a recommendation to the Library Director.  A copy of the recommendation is sent to the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
  • The Executive Vice Chancellor meets with the Library Director to verify the recommendation of the Review Committee.  Results of this meeting are forwarded to the Chancellor.
  • The complainant is notified of the decision by the Library Director.
  • Until the time that a decision is reached, no action shall be taken by the library to remove the challenged material.


Futas, Elizabeth, ed. Library Acquisition Policies and Procedures.  Phoenix, Arizona: The Oryx Press, 1977.

Katz, William A. Collection Development: The Selection of Materials for Libraries.  New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1980.

Library Acquisition and Selection Policies of:

University of South Carolina Aiken
University of South Carolina Lancaster
University of South Carolina Salkehatchie
University of South Carolina Spartanburg
University of South Carolina Sumter
University of South Carolina Union

Policy approved by the Faculty Library Committee
Date: 12-12-03
Policy approved by the Chancellorís Cabinet

Last modified Thursday October 09, 2014