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Collection Development Policy

This living document was compiled by the Massasoit Library staff to capture the major ideas that guided the decision making processes across disciplines.

Guiding Principles

Materials selection is a continuous process affected by the content and needs of a changing curriculum. These selection guidelines apply equally to all formats of materials considered for acquisition. We apply the following priorities (in descending order):

  1. Materials supporting the curriculum and accreditation.

  2. Materials contributing to balanced collections in content and point of view, with an eye toward diversity, equity, inclusion.

  3. Materials foregrounding cultural perspectives that support learner success.

  4. Essential and foundational resources supporting a generalized knowledge base. 

  5. Materials for recreational reading and language acquisition. Coverage in this area is generally limited to materials that support the needs of students enrolled in ESOL, PCR, and other preparatory courses.

General Selection Criteria

Faculty Librarians consider the following guidelines when selecting and adding materials to the collections and apply to all resource decision making processes:

Subject matter and scope:

  • Diverse perspectives essential across all subjects, especially in areas where non-dominant voices have been left out of the conversation.

  • Relevance to the curriculum.

  • Significance and lasting value.

  • Relationship to current holdings and strength of materials in that subject area.

  • Historical value.

  • Research value to students and faculty.

  • Demand and frequency of interlibrary loan requests in the same or similar subjects.

  • Local interest (subject, author, or publisher).

Treatment of subject or material:

  • Introductory, scholarly, technical, or popular.

  • Current.

  • Timely and/or popular interest.

  • Suitable and useful in subject, level, and style for the intended audience, particularly students and faculty studying the discipline.

  • Important as a document or artifact of the times.


  • Factual accuracy and authority. 

  • Acceptable qualifications or reputation of author, artist, or publisher.

  • Availability of indexing, date of publication, primary versus secondary source, fact or opinion, observation or research.

Point of view:

  • Fair and balanced point of view.

  • Critical analysis, which includes items of partisan or sectarian nature.

  • Community values and citizenship.

  • Social significance.

Elements of quality:

  • Well written.

  • Suitable format for message.

  • Original and creative in presentation and content.

  • Cited frequently in standard bibliographies.


  • Preference for electronic versions to support access and equity.

  • Condition and durability of materials.

  • Proxy IP authentication, perpetual access, free trials, full-text availability, indexing, and accessibility for electronic resources.

  • Non-acquisition of obsolete technology formats.


  • The Libraries define textbooks as consumable works whose published form clearly indicate their intended use as principal teaching aids.

  • The Libraries do not purchase specific editions of textbooks used in College courses.

    • Instructors or others may place personal copies on Reserve

    • For circulating collections,  textbooks may be purchased, or retained if donated, if they provide a good, general introduction to a subject. 

Non-English Language Materials:

  • Primarily English language materials are collected.

  • When available, materials in our students’ languages of origin may be collected, particularly for recreational reading and children’s literature.  

Subject Area Guidelines

Faculty Librarians will consult subject specific and standard library reviewing sources when making selection decisions. Additionally, Faculty Librarians use their own and Teaching Faculty’s expertise as resources for selection and evaluation of the collections. Selectors base acquisitions on course and/or assignment needs and the frequency of requests for materials in particular subject areas.  

  • Classic titles on the shelves are labeled “Subject Matter Classic” in order to assist with future curation efforts.

  • Books that are older than five years old will be labeled “Historical” in specific sections, mostly in nursing books (RT) and other clinical or medical titles. Evaluation of books on the R shelves will be performed yearly or in preparation for an accreditation visit. 

  • Faculty Librarians hold primary responsibility for book selection in the Library of Congress (LOC) call number ranges listed below. Due to the collections’ cross-disciplinary nature, the selectors may consult other liaisons’ expertise in book choices:

    • Business & Technology - H-HL, T, and Z.

    • Emergent Technology - N, Q, T-Z

    • Humanities & Communication Arts - P

    • Nursing & Allied Health - R

    • Public Services & Social Sciences - B-L, T (Fire Science & Paramedics)

      • Science & Math - Q-S