Nielsen Library Collection Development Policy

General Collection Guidelines
Collection Criteria
Intellectual Freedom
Assessment of Collections


Purpose of the Policy

Through the selection, organization, and dissemination of materials and information, the Nielsen Library aims to “enrich our communities by empowering them to cultivate their educational goals and life pursuits.”

Our policy aims to support the five goals of the ASU 2020 plan:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Student Success
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Access & Affordability
  • Community Relations

Groups We Serve

The Nielsen Library serves primarily the students, faculty and staff of Adams State University, and also community members of Alamosa and the broader San Luis Valley region. The collection is organized by Library of Congress classification. This type of organization is the academic standard and enables easy location of known items.

We accept requests for purchases from all of our constituent groups, but also reserve the right to make final decisions with regard to those purchases in a way that maximizes benefit to the academic mission of the University.

Community Members

The Nielsen library is happy to supply a limited membership to those who live in the San Luis Valley. However, as an academic library the Nielsen Library prioritizes the needs of the faculty, staff, and students of Adams State University in its collection development practices. Certain collections are not available for community use, such as the reserves and technology collections. Community members are allowed to use eBooks and other online materials in the library but may not have off-campus access to these materials.

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Just in Time vs Just in Case philosophy

To cope with the realities of a flat budget combined with the necessity to provide access to information in electronic format the library strives to supplement our collection by experimenting with a flexible materials budget, on-demand deliveries of electronic resources such as books and articles, and up-to-date interlibrary loan workflows and technologies. We do this at the expense of maintaining a traditional physical collection whereby books and journals are brought “just in case” someone would like to use it. This strategy is needed if we are to keep pace with the diverse research needs of the University’s academic programs within the space and monetary confines of a small liberal arts school.

Resource Sharing Philosophy


The library’s resource sharing policy exists to ensure access to research materials for our own patrons while making our collections available to other libraries in return. Interlibrary loan, in compliance with copyright guidelines, cannot and should not substitute for the purchase of books or journal articles and subscriptions. Please see the Interlibrary loan policy for more details.


The library works with numerous library consortia to purchase library databases and share platforms and resources. Our memberships in groups like Prospector and MOBIUS allow users to initiate requests for materials without the need for library staff intervention and our regional courier service allows for the delivery of these materials much more quickly than the postal service. Purchasing databases through organizations like the Greater Western Library Alliance allows us to keep inflation in check and save money. The library plans to continue and expand these agreements to maintain academic excellence in the future.

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The Library Collects in the following areas:

  • Art (B, M)
  • Business (B, M)
  • Counselor Education (M, PhD)
  • ETC (English, Theatre, Communications) (B)
  • HAPPSS (History, Anthropology, Philosophy, Political Science, Spanish) (B, M)
  • HPPE (Human Performance Physical Education) (B, M)
  • Music (B)
  • Nursing (BSN)
  • Psychology (B)
  • Sciences (B)
  • Sociology (B)

*B = Bachelors
*M = Master’s
*PhD = Doctoral
+BSN = Bachelor of Science in Nursing

All disciplines work with their designated liaison librarian to recommend purchases based on curricular needs and faculty interest. All librarian liaisons also select titles that will support the academic mission of their subject areas. Liaisons will monitor their individual expenditures to make sure the budget continues to fulfill the need of each department. For more information please see the Nielsen Library Faculty Liaison Program.

Collection Formats

The library subscribes to a number of databases and journal packages to increase access to electronic content, especially academic journal articles. Databases may also include streaming media, streaming video, interactive lessons, and other such materials. Databases are selected based on available funding and departmental interest. If a department is interested in a database they may contact their liaison, who will then see about pricing, trial options, and usability. All databases will be examined on a yearly basis for usage and unique value, and recommendations as to cancellations will be made annually.

The library subscribes to individual journals for discipline-specific support if these titles are deemed necessary by the department. The preferred format for academic journals is online; however print may be considered if preferred by the department, or if the difference in price makes one prohibitively expensive. Online journals must be able to integrate with the library’s discovery service and also must accept IP authentication. If a department is interested in the library purchasing a journal they may contact their subject liaison, who will then determine pricing and accessibility. All journals will be examined on a yearly basis for usage and unique value, and recommendations as to cancellations will be made at this point.


Academic Discipline
The library concentrates a majority of the book budget in ensuring that academic departments have access to the necessary materials for student research. Books for departments may be purchased in online or print formats. Faculty are highly encouraged to send recommendations by emailing their liaisons.

The library currently has a large print reference section. The library hopes to move to a smaller reference collection in the future with more up-to-date and highly used titles, and have lower use reference titles be available for circulation or purchased in an online format.

The goal of reserves is to provide access to high-demand materials to as many users as possible within a narrow timeframe. Professors can donate any book to place on reserve for any length of time to support current curriculum. The library generally does not purchase books to placed on reserve but will consider purchasing titles that have possible long term or high impact use on a case-by-case basis. Please see our reserves information page for more details. 

Special Collections
The library currently collects books and items on Alamosa and Colorado history, along with materials related to the San Luis Valley. These purchases are made on a yearly basis.

The library actively collects DVDs that supplement departmental instruction. The library does not actively collect recordings or CDs; that collection can be found in the Music Department. All media collected must be in a current media format. The library also subscribes to databases that support streaming media; that policy can be found in the databases section.

The library supplements the main collection buy purchasing a limited number of books, magazines, and DVDs for popular use. The library also subscribes to the large popular digital book platform Overdrive.

The library’s seed collection was started with community support to foster food security in a rural area by cultivating plant species that survive the harsh climate of the San Luis Valley. Current partners in this endeavour are the Valley Educational Gardens Initiative and the Alamosa Community Greenhouse. Activities include observing National Seed Exchange Day, processing seed donations, purchasing new seeds, and a variety of related educational workshops. The collection is cataloged and organized by vegetable, herb, and flower.

The library’s technology collection was started to offer students the chance to test drive certain technologies before buying. It has since then grown to include items such as video games, a graphing calculator, and phone chargers, and reflects a growing interest in libraries moving beyond books and purchasing items that assist in learning. This program is still a pilot model, and purchases are mostly made through donations or end of year funds.

Board Games
The library provides a variety of board games for student check-outs. This program is currently in pilot model.

Miscellaneous Formats
The library may collect other objects such as maps, park passes, etc. based on perceived student and faculty need.

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The American Library Association Code of Ethics, the ALA Bill of Rights, and the ALA Freedom to Read Statement inform Nielsen Library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and discoverability of information. As such, the library strives to collect resources that present a wide range of viewpoints on current and historical issues, as well as resources that contribute to the research activity, critical thinking, inquiry, and enrichment of the library’s users. The collection will offer the widest possible range of viewpoints, regardless of the popularity of the viewpoint, or the sex, religion, political philosophy, or national origin of the author(s). No censorship shall be exercised on the basis of language or controversy of topic related to religious, political, sexual, social economic, scientific or ethical issues. Whether physical or electronic, information is not excluded from the collection, nor is its access limited because of controversial content. Challenges regarding the Library’s materials are handed on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the library’s commitment to intellectual freedom and must be made using the library’s Request for Reconsideration of Library Resources form.

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The library graciously accepts gifts from potential donors. Donors should know that unless otherwise stated, gifts to the library are final and may be disposed of if they do not meet collection needs. Cash donations to the library may be arranged through the Foundation Office at Adams State.

The library may refuse acceptance of the following items: items in an outdated format (eg. VHS, reel-to-reel), old magazines or journal issues, items that are infested or in otherwise in a state of disrepair.

Donors are encouraged to contact the library at before making a donation.

The Nielsen Library does not provide appraisals of donated items.

Read the full Donations Policy.  

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Replacement decisions are based on several factors: if the item is damaged or missing, the extent of the damage, how much the item has been used, and availability of an acceptable replacement. Replacement decisions are made on a rolling basis.


Subject area weeding is based on item age, editon, availability in other libraries, relevancy, accuracy, physical state, usage history and faculty approval. Weeding is done by the library liaison for their department and is dependent on staffing and resources.

Weeded materials go to NoStore, a Colorado library service that distributes certain types of materials to non-profit organizations, other Colorado libraries, and local book collectors.

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