Collection Development Policy


The mission of Skyline College is to provide an array of learner-centered services and instructional programs so that students can achieve their educational goals and prepare for a rapidly changing world.  In keeping with this overall institutional goal, the mission of Skyline College Library is to meet the educational and information needs of our primary clientele: students, faculty, and staff of Skyline College.  Our primary purpose is to support and enhance the teaching mission of the college by complementing and expanding the classroom experience.

As an important intellectual resource for the academic community, the library provides students, faculty, staff, and the local community with books, periodicals, online databases and other materials which serve to:

            *  directly enhance classroom instruction and the achievement of course, program, and institutional student learning outcomes;

            *  provide basic and significant works, suitable to a lower division college level, in all major fields of knowledge;

            *  cover topics and issues relevant to the diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, social, and economic background of the College community and the local community;

            *  provide information on current matters of public interest and controversy;

            *  promote social awareness and civic responsibility;

            *  promote recreational reading;

            *  support and encourage independent, lifelong learning and intellectual growth.

Essential to these efforts to excel as an intellectual resource, the library fully supports the philosophical and ethical guidelines set forth in the:

            * Library Bill of Rights.  American Library Association, 1980
            * Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries.  Association of
               College and Research Libraries, 1999.
            * Policy on Academic Freedom.  San Mateo Community College District, 1992.

The library is a forum for information and ideas and will pursue free and equal access to those ideas and resist censorship in all its forms.  Concerns, suggestions, or complaints about the collection should be brought to the attention of the collection development coordinator.  Objections to a specific item or items in the collection should be presented in writing.  The collection development coordinator in consultation with the library director will address the objection and/or decide the case. 

This collection development document serves as a practical guide for all activities related to selecting, acquiring, managing, and discarding library materials.  It is a central reference point for all those involved in decisions regarding the collection so that coordination and consistency in materials management can be developed and maintained over time.  The goal is to maintain the strengths and correct the weaknesses of the collection by anticipating and responding to the continuing and changing information and education needs of our primary clientele.


Skyline College Library, in general, purchases resources appropriate to the level of instruction at a community college, i.e. lower division undergraduate education.  The library aims to offer high quality materials at that level in appropriate subject areas, and therefore does not strive to collect items of advanced scholarship.

The library strives to collect current materials that meet the instructional, research, reference, and recreational reading interests of our clientele.   Retrospective collecting is not pursued. 

Materials are selected on the basis of literary stature and quality, soundness of scholarship, authority and effectiveness of presentation, support of the curriculum, and embodiment of qualities conducive to critical thought and understanding.  Contemporary and popular authors are included, as well as those whose writings are recognized as being of enduring value. Materials shall be selected on the basis of content as a whole, without regard to the personal history of the author. 

Variety, diversity of thought, and a balance of viewpoints shall be a fundamental guiding principle.  No item that has social or literary value shall necessarily be excluded because of the author’s race, nationality, lifestyle, ideology, political views, religious views or use of coarse language.

Materials customarily assigned to students in a course (i.e. textbooks, workbooks, laboratory manuals, etc.) are generally excluded from acquisition.  Rather, in accordance with a recommendation formally expressed in California law, faculty are encouraged to donate copies of these materials to the library’s Reserve Collection for use by students. 

Materials sought by faculty or staff for individual advanced research interests are generally not eligible for purchase.  Every effort is made to assist in obtaining such items from other libraries in the Peninsula Library System or via interlibrary loan.

Skyline College Library is not a government document depository library and therefore acquires only select government documents.

Most materials purchased and/or subscribed to will be in English, although books and select databases in Spanish will also be made available.

The library will purchase multiple copies of an item only in those cases when scholarly and/or popular interest is such that high use is anticipated or experienced.  The collection development coordinator must approve any purchase of multiple copies.

 Other criteria which may be used in considering qualification for purchase include:

  • suitability of format for library use
  • availability of special collections and resources in other Bay Area libraries
  • development and maintenance of reference resources
  • local interest in subject matter
  • physical limitations of the library
  • budgetary considerations


Skyline College Library belongs to the Peninsula Library System, a consortium founded in 1971 of 34 public and community college libraries in San Mateo County.  The library’s participation in this consortium allows students, faculty, and staff access to the full range of PLS book and periodical holdings, audio-visual materials, and online database subscriptions.  Items that Skyline College Library does not own may be available to Skyline College users through the Peninsula Library System, and vice versa.

Collection development decisions are made in view of the library’s participation in the Peninsula Library System and the cooperative nature of this consortium.


The responsibility for review and initial selection of materials is shared by every librarian.  Librarians make regular and systematic use of reviews, standard and special bibliographies, publishers’ announcements and catalogs, and other sources of information to identify and evaluate new materials for possible selection.

Recommendations by students and staff are welcomed and encouraged to ensure that the full range of interests and educational needs of the campus community are being met.  All such recommendations are evaluated using the criteria established in this policy.

Final responsibility for selection is delegated to the library collection development coordinator in consultation with the library director, who hold this responsibility within the framework of policies established by the SMCCCD Board of Trustees.


The collection of materials at Skyline College Library is directly correlated with the courses and educational programs of the college.  The goal is to offer resources that will directly contribute to the achievement of student learning outcomes at the course, program, and institutional levels. 

For that reason, librarians shall work closely with Skyline faculty to ensure that library holdings are current, authoritative and adequate for every educational program offered at the college. Faculty are encouraged to regularly assess the adequacy of library holdings in the subject areas in which they teach and make recommendations for additions to the collection using the online “Library Book Purchase Recommendation Form.”  All such recommendations are evaluated using the criteria established in this policy.


When a faculty member proposes a new course, the proposing faculty member shall assess the library’s collection in that subject to ensure that an adequate and authoritative range of materials are available to students.  If holdings are not sufficient, the faculty member shall work with the librarians to acquire the necessary resources.

Moreover, when a new course is approved, the college’s Curriculum Committee shall inform the library and the librarians shall take any needed further steps to make certain that the library has (or will acquire) the resources to help students achieve the learning goals of the new course.


Skyline College Library acquires materials appropriate to the level of instruction at a community college.  Advanced scholarly materials are generally excluded.

The library aims to purchase books and subscribe to print periodicals and online proprietary periodical databases in the following subject areas at the level indicated.  “Levels” refer to academic content and level of complexity of materials being purchased, bearing in mind that these descriptions refer in general to academic content as it pertains to research and instruction done at the community college level . The levels are defined as follows:

                        initial study =  introductory works
                        basic study =   introductory and intermediate works
                        comprehensive study = introductory, intermediate, and advanced works

SUBJECT                                                                              LEVEL OF COLLECTING

Allied Health Sciences:
            Nutrition studies                                                         basic study
            Respiratory therapy                                                     basic study
            Nursing                                                                       initial study
            Emergency medicine                                                   basic study
            Surgical technician studies                                          basic study

Applied Sciences:
            Agriculture                                                                  initial study
            Biotechnology                                                             basic study
            Telecommunications technology                                 initial study

Automotive Technology                                                         initial study


            Accounting                                                                 initial study    
            Financial planning                                                       initial study
            Marketing                                                                    initial study
            Management                                                               initial study
            Personnel Management                                               initial study
            Office Information Systems                                       basic study

Career and Personal Development                                          initial study

Clothing and Fashion Studies                                                 basic study

Computer Science                                                                   basic study

Cosmetology                                                                           basic study

Early Childhood Education                                                    comprehensive study

Education (secondary and college)                                         initial study

            Writing skills                                                               basic study

            Reading comprehension                                              basic study
            Grammar                                                                     basic study
            Research guides                                                          basic study

ESOL                                                                                      basic study

Foreign Language Learning                                                    initial study


            African history                                                            basic study
            Asian history                                                               basic study
            California history                                                        comprehensive study
            European history                                                         basic study
            Latin and South American history                              basic study
            United States history                                                  comprehensive study
            World history                                                              basic study

            Religious Studies                                                        basic study
            Philosophy                                                                  basic study

Journalism and Media Studies                                                basic study

            Paralegal studies                                                         basic study
            Administration of Justice                                            basic study
            Legal history                                                               initial study

            New fiction                                                                 initial study
            Classic and standard fiction                                       comprehensive study
            Biography                                                                   initial study
            Autobiography                                                            initial study
            Poetry                                                                          initial study


Mathematics                                                                            basic study

Medicine                                                                                 basic study

Natural Sciences:
            Astronomy                                                                  initial study
            Atmospheric studies                                                   initial study
            Biology                                                                       basic study
            Chemistry                                                                    basic study
            Ecology                                                                       basic study
            Geography                                                                  basic study     
            Geology                                                                      basic study
            Oceanography                                                             initial study
            Physics                                                                       basic study
            Zoology                                                                       basic study

Performing Arts:

            Music                                                                          initial study
            Speech and Drama studies                                          initial study
            Dance                                                                          initial study

Social Sciences:
            Anthropology                                                             basic study
            Cultural studies                                                           comprehensive study
            Economics                                                                   basic study
            Educational psychology                                              initial study
            Ethnic studies                                                                         comprehensive study
            Gay and Lesbian Studies                                            initial study
            Gerontology                                                                initial study
            Linguistics                                                                   initial study
            Political Science                                                          basic study
            Psychology                                                                  basic study
            Social Psychology                                                       initial study
            Sociology                                                                    basic study
            Women’s studies                                                         basic study

Sports and Physical Education                                               basic study

Visual Arts:

            Painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, etc.         basic study
            Art history                                                                   basic study
            Film studies                                                                 basic study


The library subscribes to print periodicals and online proprietary periodical databases.  These subscriptions are intended to provide students with a full range of scholarly, professional, and trade journals, general interest magazines, and newspapers that fit their research needs and educational goals. 


Skyline College Library has four special collections:

            1) Course Reserves: books, photocopied materials, compact discs, and
                other audio-visual materials placed on reserve by faculty for short-term
                use (one hour to one week).

            2) Recent Fiction: noteworthy novels, short story anthologies, and poetry
                published in the current year and the previous 2 years.

            3) ESOL: novels and short stories for beginning and intermediate English
                language learners.  Items in this collection are selected by English faculty and

            4)  Special Treatment: rare, valuable, or fragile books and other materials.  Also includes items too unwieldy or fragile to shelve in the usual manner.

The library also maintains several collections that are not cataloged:

  • a pamphlet file on issues of contemporary interest
  • a collection of in-house reports and documents related to Skyline College and SMCCD
  • an informal Skyline College history archive
  • a collection of college catalogs from public and private American universities and colleges, focusing on California campuses (CSU and UC systems)


Skyline College Library purchases print materials and subscribes to appropriate proprietary research databases.  The library typically does not collect audio-visual materials or computer software, although a collection of DVD’s and VHS tapes are housed in the Course Reserves collection. Access to a wider range of audio-visual materials is available via the Peninsula Library System.

 Compact discs that accompany circulating or reference books remain in the books.


The library welcomes donations.  However, due to space and staff limitations, books donated to Skyline College Library are added to the collection on a very selected basis.  Most donated books will be put up for sale during the library’s annual book sale or discarded.  Proceeds from the book sale go toward the purchase of new library materials. 

Books that meet the following criteria are accepted for donation:

  • In mint or very good condition, i.e. binding intact, text legible and free from extensive markings, paper not badly deteriorated, and free of mold and odor.
  • All gifts must comply with U.S. copyright law.  No unauthorized copies of any materials can be accepted.

Materials not accepted

  • Audio-visual materials are not accepted.
  • Back issues of periodicals are not accepted.
  • Books in poor condition are not accepted.

Exceptions to any of the above are considered on a case-by-case basis.  The library retains the right to reserve final judgment until after the items have been received from the donor.

Large book donations

Donations of more than 20 books must first be reviewed by the Chief Collection Development Coordinator (or the Library Director).  The library reserves the right to decline a large donation, as well as accept only selected titles among those being offered.  Individuals or groups wishing to donate 20 or more books must contact the library in advance to make an appointment so that the books can be reviewed first.

Book donation agreement form and acknowledgement letter

Those offering gift materials to the library must sign the “Skyline College Library Book Donation Agreement Form.”  This form explains that donated items are typically put up for sale, and that the library retains the right to make the final judgment concerning the items, including declining an offer, adding the items to the collection, putting the items up for sale, or discarding. 

An acknowledgement letter regarding donations is sent upon request.


In order to maintain currency, relevance to the college’s overall educational goals and the research needs of our primary clientele, and meet shelf space requirements (maximum approximately 55,000 volumes), librarians will conduct an ongoing evaluation and weeding of the collection.  Criteria for deselection include:

            *  materials which are factually inaccurate or outdated
            *  availability of new or updated editions
            *  items which are worn out or damaged beyond repair
            *  unneeded duplicate copies
            *  lack of use

Items weeded from the collection shall be offered for sale at the library’s twice annual book sale or discarded.

The responsibility for reviewing and identifying materials for deselection is shared by every librarian.  When appropriate, librarians may ask faculty to assist in the evaluation and review process.  Final responsibility for deselection is delegated to the library collection development coordinator in consultation with the library director.


The policy shall be reviewed and open for revision on a yearly basis.  This review shall be conducted by the full time librarians, the collection development coordinator, and the library director.

Approved May 9, 2006

Library Director

Collection Development Coordinator

Revised Feb. 22, 2007
Revised May 10, 2011

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