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What is Collection Development?

Part of the mission of the Wichita State University Libraries is to develop the library collections to meet the teaching and research needs of the WSU faculty, staff, and students. Collection development involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current collections, assessing the needs of the university community, carefully selecting new materials in all formats, promoting the use of library materials, and continuing the effort to find the most effective means of providing information to the WSU community.

Subject Librarians

At WSU Libraries, Subject Librarians are library faculty who not only serve as Reference Librarians but  who have been assigned the responsibility for evaluating, selecting, and otherwise developing the collections in one or more subject areas. As Subject Librarians, they serve as library liaisons to the corresponding academic departments and units. They not only handle faculty requests for library materials, but they also offer library instruction specially designed to meet the needs of specific classes, provide library orientation to new faculty, and are available for consultation by faculty or students for specialized reference. 

The library encourages department and program chairs to meet regularly with the relevant subject librarians in order to keep the library informed of changes in emphasis of programs and to learn about new library resources and services.

For a list of Subject Librarians, please click here.

Acquiring Books

Subject Librarians work to maintain a strong book or monograph collection that meets the needs of faculty and students even during fiscally challenging times. There are three basic methods of acquiring books:

  • To make "direct" orders, subject librarians use input from faculty and students, book reviews, advertisements, etc. as a basis for selection. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to make requests for specific books. They may forward written requests to the appropriate Subject Librarian or fill out the Purchase Request Form which will be forwarded to the appropriate librarian.
  • Other books come to the library "on approval" through a book vendor according to predetermined subject and other criteria. Some of these "approval" books are selected by the subject librarians; others that are not needed are returned to the vendor.
  • Some books, called "continuations" are part of book series and come on subscription as "standing orders"; all issues in these series come automatically.

Acquiring Journals

WSU Libraries has a collection of over 3800 periodical subscriptions. At this time, new periodicals cannot be added to the collection without canceling current subscriptions of comparable cost. 

However, faculty and students are encouraged to forward any requests for new periodicals to the appropriate Subject Librarian  as wish lists are maintained and consulted when funding becomes available. You may also fill out a Purchase Request Form.

In addition to the print subscriptions, WSU Libraries is continuing efforts to provide access to electronic journals and selected packages, whenever possible. Click here for a list of WSU electronic journal subscriptions.

Acquiring Electronic Databases

WSU Libraries provide access to a wide variety of electronic databases and other digital reference sources - both general and subject-specific - including several full-text resources. Most of these databases are available on the Web. In recent years, the purchase of some databases has been done in conjunction with consortia in order to insure cost savings. Click here for a list of the library's online databases.

Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to provide librarians with feedback about the available databases and with suggestions for new resources. As networking throughout the university increases, so will remote access to databases that are housed on the library network and those that are available via the Internet. If faculty and students have any questions about how to access a database, please come to or call the Reference Desk at 978-3584 or contact the appropriate Subject Librarian.


Updated: July 27, 2010     Contact Dept of  Collection Development    Collection Development Home Page