Collection Development Policy

Purpose of the Institute Library

Preston Library's collections and services exist to support the curricula offered by Virginia Military Institute, an undergraduate liberal arts and engineering college. Although VMI is primarily a teaching institution, Preston Library also supports the research interests of the faculty and cadets and provides materials for the pursuit of the intellectual and cultural interests of the community.

Purpose of This Policy
This document provides guidance for the development, selection, and maintenance of the Library’s collections. The policy supports planning and communication between the Library and the user community. It will be reviewed regularly and revised as needed.

Collection Development Responsibilities
Members of the library staff are responsible for managing the Library’s collection. Library staff collaborate with teaching faculty to ensure the collection meets current teaching and research needs.

Selection of Materials
These criteria are considered when making selection decisions. Primary emphasis is given to materials that support the curriculum.

  • Quality of the material, including: authority of the author, reputation of the publisher, timeliness or permanence of the resource, and accuracy of the information.
  • Relation of the material to other resources in the collection.
  • Cost of acquisition and ownership.
  • Availability of the same or similar material in the VIVA consortium.

Foreign Language Materials
The Library acquires materials to support foreign languages taught at the Institute. These materials normally include literary works, selected newspapers and magazines, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and indexes.

Multiple Copies
The Library will purchase one copy of a title. Requests for multiple copies are considered on an individual basis.

Electronic and Print
The library acquires materials in both print and electronic formats. However, titles will not be acquired in multiple formats without documented justification.


Format-Specific Guidelines

a. Monographs
Monographs that support the curriculum will be acquired. The library maintains a lease-based collection of popular recreational materials which is refreshed monthly. Selected popular fiction may also be added to the permanent collection. Textbooks will not ordinarily be acquired.

b. Serials
Serials that support the curriculum may be added with department head approval. Serials must  be indexed, and priority is given to titles available electronically and with perpetual access. In addition to academic periodicals, a selection of popular magazines is held for a limited period of time.

c.  Newspapers
Local, national, and topical newspapers are acquired. Physical copies are kept for a limited period of time. Only the local newspaper will be acquired in microfilm.

d. Music
Music that supports the curriculum will be acquired upon faculty request in currently supported formats

e. Visual materials
DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for academic or scholarly use are actively acquired by the library in consultation with faculty. The library will only consider NTSC, Region 1, and Region Free formats. A selection of popular and award-winning recreational titles is also acquired. When evaluating an item for purchase, Preston Library staff will take into consideration cost of performance rights and availability in streaming formats.

f. Government documents
Preston Library is a selective depository for United States government publications. New series are selected by the Documents librarian in consultation with library selectors and faculty. Presently these documents are controlled under the Superintendent of Documents classification and cataloged into the collection.

g. Rare books, Archival materials
Policies governing the acquisition of archival and rare materials are available from the VMI Archives.


Book Donations and Other Gifts-in-Kind

In anticipation of the planned renovation of Preston Library, gift books will not be accepted until further notice. Space limitations during renovation make it impossible to process and store donated books at this time.

Preston Library is grateful for offers of gifts of books and other materials for its collection. We welcome donated materials that enhance the collection in support of the Institute's teaching and research needs. However, because of limitations on storage space and availability of staff to evaluate donated materials, we are highly selective and always evaluate potential additions, whether purchased or donated, according to the library's collection development policy.

In accordance with this policy, the library accepts donated materials only when prior arrangements have been made between the donor and the library's collection development staff. Prospective donors may be asked to submit an inventory for review before any gift is accepted. Preston Library does not accept or acknowledge unsolicited gifts-in-kind that are dropped off or shipped to the library without contacting the library first.

Preston Library will consider accepting selected recently published hard cover and high quality paperback books of scientific, scholarly, or local interest that enhance our existing collection or are related to the subject areas that are supported by the Preston Library's collections.

Some examples of materials that Preston Library does not accept are:

  • items that unnecessarily duplicate what we already have
  • damaged, marked, or obsolete material
  • general fiction
  • inspirational literature
  • textbooks
  • laboratory and repair manuals
  • instructor's manuals
  • cookbooks
  • college catalogs
  • workbooks
  • VHS cassettes or audio cassette tapes
  • journals or magazines
  • travel books/brochures

If we accept a donation, we will provide the donor with a letter gratefully acknowledging the gift, including the number of items if appropriate, but we cannot provide an appraisal or statement of value. Any appraisal must be arranged by the donor and conducted at the donor's expense. Donors who wish to learn more about tax deductions and appraisals are encouraged to contact a tax professional or the IRS before offering materials to the library. Donors acknowledge that all donated materials become the property of the Friends of the Preston Library and may be added to the collection, stored, sold, or recycled based on the needs of the library.

Financial contributions are welcome.

Prospective donors may wish to consider the following alternatives for their gifts:

  • Rockbridge Regional Library, (540) 463-4324
    138 South Main St, Lexington, VA 24450
  • Goodwill Store and Donation Center, (540) 464-1117
    8 Woodcote Lane, Lexington, VA 24450
  • Habitat for Humanity Store, (540) 464-4663
    114 Walker St., Lexington, VA 24450


Collection Maintenance

Missing/damaged items
Missing and damaged items will be re-evaluated for replacement using the same criteria as for new purchases.

Weeding constitutes the removal of outdated, superseded, damaged, or duplicate material from the collection. Decisions to discard specific items are made within the context of the entire collection development policy so that the quality of the collection may be enhanced by removing unneeded materials. While multiple factors will be considered, candidates for withdrawal include:

  • materials in poor condition
  • superseded editions
  • availability in other formats
  • materials that are otherwise unsuitable for the collection

Other factors that may be taken into account when evaluating items for withdrawal include:

  • age of item
  • circulation history
  • availability in other libraries

Exceptions to the above criteria may be made for items with the following characteristics:

  • VMI-affiliated authorship
  • local relevance
  • award-winner

Disposal of discarded materials
Items that are removed from the collection are disposed of in accordance with state regulations.


Intellectual Freedom
Preston Library adheres to the principles expressed in the following statements from the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights.


Approved December 14, 2016