This Collection Development Policy of the NEIU Libraries ("the Library") supports the Northeastern Illinois University Mission Statement and the Library Vision Statement. The policy lays out the principles and guidelines undergirding the growth and maintenance of the Library collection.

Northeastern Illinois University Mission Statement

Northeastern Illinois University ("the University"), as a public comprehensive university with locations throughout Chicago, provides an exceptional environment for learning, teaching, and scholarship. We prepare a diverse community of students for leadership and service in our region and in a dynamic, multicultural world.

Library Vision Statement

The Library affirms the mission of the University by providing quality resources, services, programs, and facilities that support learning, teaching, the curricular goals and accreditation of academic programs, and the scholarship of faculty, students, and staff. Given the University’s commitment to student success, the Library, in building its collections and in providing equal access to them, gives high priority to the academic success and retention of the University’s diverse student body.


For the Library, collection development is an ongoing resource allocation process that collaboratively determines the dynamic needs of the Library’s primary community, the resources required to meet those needs, and the constraints on providing such resources. The Library’s primary community consists of University students, faculty, and staff. As part of a state-funded institution, the Library also serves and considers the general public. Primary community needs change in response to accreditation requirements, enrollment trends, and shifts of emphasis in University strategy, academic programs, teaching, and research. Constraints on Library resources, while primarily monetary due to declines in both state funding and student tuition since 2014, can also include the lack of appropriate space and of personnel.

The shift in materials from a physical end product to an electronic end product meant that the Library, as it added new materials to its collection, needed to concern itself less with physical space needed to house new acquisitions but needed to concern itself more with access to, and the cost of, those new acquisitions. Access concerns arose from the decision of publishers to license rather than sell most electronic materials to libraries, thereby effectively moving use of such materials from being governed by copyright law to being governed by contract law. This meant that the Library, by accepting publisher licensing agreements, did not own the licensed materials but merely gained access to those materials under the agreed-upon terms and became dependent upon the publisher for retaining and providing access to the licensed materials. Cost concerns arose from the ability of publishers to create electronic packages of journals and offer them to libraries in "big deals" that became increasingly expensive over time and to offer on-demand ebooks and streaming media with pricing that required careful monitoring and analysis of usage to prevent budget overruns.

Collection Overview

The Library’s collections serve as hubs that provide equal access to information, be it physical or electronic in format, needed by students and faculty of the University for learning, inquiry, and research.

The Cafe Collection encourages the reading, appreciation, and discussion of books at the center of the current popular and intellectual culture. This collection contains materials such as best sellers, memoirs, cookbooks, popular magazines, and board games--materials that would not typically be purchased for the purpose of supporting NEIU’s curriculum. Cafe Collection materials are held at the main campus library, as well at the CCICS Library and the El Centro Library and Learning Resource Center.

The Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) Library includes significant holdings in the social sciences and the humanities, particularly as they document, relate and present the African and African-American experience. Collections include circulating items, selected monographs on reserve, and reference and periodical materials.

The Curriculum Materials Collection (CMC) supports the education program at NEIU. Materials include children's books, textbooks, teacher resource materials, and multimedia resources.

The Databases and Online Collections contain online search tools for finding journal articles and ebooks, as well as accessing images, streaming video and audio, news, and statistics.

The General Collection contains materials which can be borrowed. Subject librarians are assigned subject areas from the Library of Congress Classification System. They select materials in all formats and manage the collection based on available funds and facilities.

The Government Information Collection houses materials the Library collects as a depository for Federal (1963-present) and State (1968-present) publications. The collection includes Census data, current economic statistics, and a variety of electronic resources. Selection and deselection of these publications is governed by state and federal policy. A separate Government Information collection development policy will be written soon.

The Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) is a repository of selected governmental records for Chicago and Cook County from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. It is administered by the Illinois State Archives.

The Media Collection contains commercially produced audio CDs and DVDs (primarily music recordings and feature and documentary films, respectively). The collection includes a large number of legacy formats like VHS recordings and music LPs. There are also extensive holdings of recordings of NEIU performances, lectures, and presentations.

The Microforms Collection is a physical collection of microfilm and microfiche. This collection consists primarily of newspapers, periodicals, educational materials, and government documents.

The Music Scores Collection is a physical repository of study scores of the composers and of the repertoire taught at NEIU.

NEIU Digital Commons is a collection of services provided by the NEIU Libraries to openly share and archive Northeastern Illinois University faculty and student research and scholarship.

NEIU Masters Theses are classified by subject throughout the General Collection. A print copy of every thesis is included in the collection. Since 2015, a digital copy of each is included in the Proquest "Dissertations and Theses at Northeastern Illinois University" database.

The Periodicals Collection contains print periodicals that primarily support NEIU’s academic programs. This collection provides perpetual access to journals and journal articles where online access is not available.

The Reference Collection contains indexes, bibliographies, dictionaries, directories, almanacs, encyclopedias, atlases, style manuals, and statistical compilations. The reference collection primarily supports NEIU’s academic programs. Reference works that provide basic bibliographic access to or an overview of other academic disciplines are also selected.

Special Collections houses materials that are rare or considered in need of special preservation conditions. While the Library does not actively seek to develop a rare book collection, subject librarians may recommend that materials be housed in this collection.

The Textbook Collection includes textbooks or course readings in print format that have been purchased by the Library. This collection is on reserve at the Circulation Desk for student use in the Library for two hours at a time.

The University Archives collects materials which directly document the functions, activities, and history of NEIU, and its administrators, faculty, staff, and students. Examples of documents collected and accessioned by the University Archives include: presidential papers, memoranda, council minutes, proceedings, Faculty Senate minutes, records of the Board of Trustees, records of grants and proposals, documents related to University sponsored programs and activities, University budgets, publications of student organizations, and the school newspaper.

Collaborations and Resource-Sharing

Because no university library can provide all of the materials needed by its users, resource sharing via consortia and cooperative collection development is critical. Through document delivery services, resource-sharing via Interlibrary Loan, and consortial acquisition of electronic products, the Library can satisfy locally unmet needs in a cost-efficient manner, particularly for rare or infrequently used resources. The Library’s consortial memberships allow current University faculty, students, and staff to access and borrow materials from many other libraries and also allows the Library to license or purchase electronic resources more affordably.

The Library is a member of the following library consortia and cooperatives:

  • The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries (CARLI), an academic consortium of 130 public and private university and research libraries in the State of Illinois. One of CARLI's major services is I-Share, the online catalog which enables member libraries to effectively share library materials with each other.
  • The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), a global library cooperative. Membership includes a subscription to WorldShare, a cloud-based interlibrary loan system used by current University faculty, students, and staff to request articles from other libraries and to request books and other materials that are not available through I-Share.

Through these consortia, the Library supplements its collection via Interlibrary Loan Lending agreements for materials in most formats.


The Library budget is developed during the University’s annual internal budget process. The University’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. Three University operating funds are combined to create the Library’s operating budget:

  • 110010 – Combined General Revenue and Income Fund
  • 120045 – Library Fee (restricted, used only for library-related materials and equipment)
  • 180010 – Indirect Costs (varies year-to-year, allocated overhead cost payments from grants received by the University, used to support NEIU faculty efforts)

Each of the operating budget funds is divided into line item categories, of which the three most important for the Library, based on their percentages of the Library budget, are Personal Services, Contractual Services, and Equipment.

Monies for the collection development budget come primarily from the Contractual Services and Equipment (library books) operating funds and are allocated mostly to internal Library funds that are managed by subject bibliographers in conjunction with the Library Administration. An incremental approach is used to manage Library internal funds, meaning that the previous year’s budget is used as the basis for making changes to arrive at the new budget.

Selection and Deselection

The general responsibility for selecting and deselecting (or “weeding”) materials and maintaining a well-rounded collection lies with the Library faculty as a whole and with the individual subject bibliographers who manage funds and work in conjunction with various stakeholders who have an interest in the Library collection. These stakeholders include:

  • Accrediting agencies for the University itself and, as required, for its colleges, programs, and departments
  • Faculty members with their varying instructional and research needs
  • Students
  • Staff
  • Academic library consortia
  • Information aggregators
  • Publishers
  • Book distributors
  • Faculty Senate’s Advisory Committee to the Library
  • General public

Unless otherwise noted, subject bibliographers have the discretion to select, purchase, and collect materials in any format.

Subject bibliographers are also responsible for working with the Coordinator of Technical Services and the Coordinator of Access Services on those procedures that might be impacted by selection decisions.

Selection Criteria

Among the general criteria used by the Library in selecting materials are

  1. Appropriate support of the University’s mission
  2. Cost
    1. Ownership
    2. Subscription
    3. Interlibrary loan
  3. Format
    1. Permanence
    2. Suitability for the subject matter
  4. Timeliness
  5. Critical reviews
  6. User demand
  7. Collection weakness in a particular subject area
  8. Space

For e-resources, defined as licensed or purchased information sources delivered electronically, these additional selection criteria are used:

  1. Licensing: Because licensing terms are a crucial, essential element in the acquisition of e-resources, the Library endorses the CARLI Electronic Resource Licensing Principles.
  2. Technology:
    1. Compatibility with Library and University information systems
    2. Usage of recognized standard usage statistics
  3. Accessibility: The Library strives to work with vendors that comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 or other widely accepted accessibility standards.

Deselection Criteria

Deselection, also referred to as weeding, is the systematic removal of outdated and unused items from the Library’s collections. Subject bibliographers are responsible for deselecting items in the call number ranges of the Library’s physical collection that coincide with their subject specialties.

Materials may be deselected based on criteria including but not limited to the following:

  • Circulation history
  • Timeliness of information
  • Wear and tear
  • Format support
  • Duplication

Considerations Influencing Collection

Intellectual Freedom

Diverse Materials

The Library supports Article II of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights which states that "Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval." The Library also supports the Interpretation of the above, "A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not an equality of numbers. Collection development responsibilities include selecting materials in the languages in common use in the community which the library serves. Collection development and the selection of materials should be done according to professional standards and established selection and review procedures."

Multiple Perspectives

The Library, in line with its valuing of inclusivity, makes a concerted effort to provide access to underrepresented and marginalized perspectives, cultures, voices, and viewpoints, including publications about controversial topics by partisans of differing opinions. This diversity of coverage is essential to the mission of an academic library in a rapidly changing world. The Library acknowledges that some materials in its collections may not be compatible with the values of all the university community, but free expression is part of the ethos of academic libraries.

Open Access

The Library supports open access, an international movement spurred by the spread of the internet and by the increasing costs of subscription-based, peer-reviewed journals. Open access supporters--librarians, scholars, government bodies, and others--believe in the democratization, distribution, and attribution of scholarly knowledge. Democratization means that barriers to accessing scholarly knowledge, particularly constraints that are financial or technological in nature or that are related to permissions, shall be either non-existent or extremely low to prevent having such knowledge monopolized, as is the case now with scholarly publishing, by a few publishers and societies.

The Library supports open access for two reasons. Open access helps the library realize its vision of being a place where access to scholarly knowledge is democratic. And open access, in its quest for more equitable costing models for scholarly publishing, lowers the collection development cost to the Library of implementing that vision.


The Library may accept books and multimedia items, which may be added to the main collection on an item-by-item basis at the discretion of subject bibliographers. Gifts received by the Library that are not added to the collection are acknowledged by the Northeastern Illinois University Foundation, and sold in the Library’s annual Fall book sale.

The following formats may be accepted by library but are not typically added to the library’s collections:

  • Serials, periodicals, or other recurrent publications, unless the donation extends or backfills current collections.
  • Outmoded physical media (VHS, cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, floppy discs, microfilm, etc.)
  • Books (or other items) bearing markings from other libraries.
  • Reference materials older than the current calendar year.

The library reserves the right to deselect previously accepted donations/reject donations if they are deemed obsolete, out of scope, or no longer in suitable condition for circulation.

The Library reserves the right to refuse to accept any donation.

Approved by the Department of the Library Faculty, May 7, 2021.