Collection Development Policies | University of Portland

Collection Development Policies

As stewards of the Clark Library's collections and acquisitions budget, the Collection Development Team outlines the following principles and guidelines to develop and maintain collections which support the missions of the University and its Library. This policy focuses on activities associated with the Library's core collections. Collection Development Policies are also available for

Internal and external forces, including institutional budget support, changes in pedagogy and curriculum focus, as well as the establishment and elimination of degree programs impact collection development, both as a planning activity and service. Electronic resources and their changing access models and the need to support both digital and tangible formats create collection development challenges and budgetary pressures.

Consortial relationships also influence collection development through such activities as the joint purchase of resources, resource sharing, and collection development agreements. The Clark Library participates in the Orbis Cascade Alliance, a regional library consortium which promotes innovative library services through collaborative initiatives including a shared catalog and collection building policies, print resource sharing, and consortial electronic resource purchasing.

Library mission and profile:

The Clark Library serves the University of Portland community as a dynamic teaching library. The library accomplishes its mission through interactive instruction, by acquiring and organizing multi-format collections that support the curriculum, and by facilitating access to resources in the Clark Library and beyond. Collection Development, to meet the needs of the University's academic community, is a pivotal part of that mission. Resource selection and collection maintenance are focused on building and sustaining collections and securing access to resources that support and complement the degree programs offered at the University.

Selection responsibility:

Collection development at the University of Portland is a collaborative venture between librarians and teaching faculty. Responsibility within the Library rests the Head of Collection Services and the librarians. Together they constitute the Collection Development Team. Each librarian is assigned liaison functions for at least one academic department and has primary responsibility to develop and oversee the collection associated with that department. Duties include serving as primary contact with departmental faculty for collection development and working with them to build the collection. Liaisons also select materials, evaluate collections, and identify resources for deaccessioning. As part of their work, liaisons must maintain an awareness of discipline specific discipline-based publishing trends along with initiatives within the individual departments.

The University of Portland community is a vital partner in the building and maintenance of the Library’s collections. The Clark Library welcomes community members to suggest purchases by completing the Suggest a Purchase form. 

Collection guidelines:

Objective data and the subjective judgment of librarians inform collection development. Objective data includes publishing output, circulation or use of resources, interlibrary loan and Summit borrowing data, and information in standard bibliographies and other publications. Librarians make subjective decisions based on their knowledge of the field, the department's curriculum, and the needs of faculty and students they serve. Based on the premise that librarians use objective data and subjective judgment as guiding collection development principles, the Library has created specific guidelines describing how resources are collected and maintained to support the curricular and co-curricular needs of the institution.

To meet its mission, the Library employs a careful, strategic approach to collection development and maintains a balance of digital and tangible formats through access and ownership models meant to meet the needs of the University and its disciplines while effectively managing space and financial resources. Accessibility to students, faculty, and staff throughout the University, rather than limited access for individual classrooms provides key guidance on resource acquisition. Due to budget and space limitations, the Library usually does not maintain duplicate copies, formats, or resources (i.e., if available in electronic format, print is not retained; different versions of the same electronic content are not acquired; duplicate copies are not purchased or added to the collection).

Discipline-specific differences in instruction and research at the institutional level as well as publishing output must be considered. Each department has collection development guidelines describing how resources are collected and maintained to support the curriculum in that subject area. Please contact the library's departmental liaison for more information about that department's guidelines.

In addition to meeting curricular needs, the Library strives to meet the co-curricular and general interests of the campus community through its Popular Books and DVDs program, subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, and through strategic purchasing of content to support the community's diverse interests, activities, and events.

The Library acknowledges the privilege reflected in its collections. Historical traditions of acquiring materials mirroring the primarily majority identities of librarians and university faculty have resulted in a collection that does not reflect the full breadth of our diverse campus and world. Therefore, grounded in Clark Library's Statement of Ethics and Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Library commits to addressing critical gaps in the collection by purchasing content featuring a diverse array of subjects, authors, and creators.

Evaluation and maintenance of the collection:

Evaluation of the collection is approached as both an ongoing and a systematic practice. Strategies include ongoing review of databases up for renewal, review of interlibrary and copyright clearance data, annual serials review at renewal, and collection assessment for weeding.

Just as discipline-specific differences in instruction and research at the institutional level and publishing output must be considered in resource acquisition, they must be considered in evaluating and weeding collections. Weeding is done using a discipline-based approach and, especially for tangible resources, with criteria such as the appropriateness for the collection, past use of the item, value to the collection and to the Alliance, intrinsic value, completeness of sets, availability within the collection of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, and space considerations. As a general rule, the library only keeps the most current edition of a work, withdrawing previous editions. Evaluation and deaccessioning for the tangible collections are slated to be done on a five-year cycle.

Interlibrary loan and patron initiated borrowing:

No library can meet all the informational needs of its community within the confines of its collections. Clark Library relies upon both patron-initiated Summit borrowing, interlibrary loan and document delivery to provide academic resources not available at the Library at no charge to users.

Intellectual freedom:

The Clark Library supports the tenets expressed in the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, and strives to select library resources without prejudice or censorship.

Members of the University of Portland community have the right to challenge library materials on the grounds that the resource fails to support the degree programs of the University or the Library’s collection development policies. Refer to our Materials Challenge Policy for more information.


The Clark Library complies fully with all provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The Library fully supports the Fair Use section which permits and protects citizens' rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for teaching, scholarship, and research. Materials added to the collection, through purchase or as gifts, must meet the standards of the Federal Copyright Act and its fair use exemptions.


Due to financial and staff constraints, the Library supports a small preservation program. Measures to preserve its collection include limited binding of print journals, repair and rebinding of physical books, replacement of damaged items, use of archival electronic databases such as JSTOR, and access to the University’s archives and the Library’s special collections through its digitization program.


Gifts can play an important role in the development of active library collections suited to meet the needs of library users. The Library accepts gifts with the prior arrangement of the Head of Collection Services or designee, usually the subject liaison. Gifts of materials are considered as outright and unrestricted donations and accepted with the understanding that they are to be used in the best interest of the Library. Upon receipt, they become the property of the Clark Library. The Library holds the right to determine retention, location, circulation, and disposition of the gift. The Library generally adds unique items that meet collection development guidelines. The Library retains the right to dispose of gifts not added to its collection. See our Gift Policy for more information.

Adopted April 19, 2016. Revised February 28, 2022; May 14, 2024.

Questions regarding this policy may be directed to Christina Prucha, Head of Collection Services,