Collection Development Policy


The quality and character of the Simmons University Library collection is a product of close cooperation with the faculty, the historical strengths and directions of the curriculum, and the University's location within the Boston area. The Library collaborates with the Simmons University community, including faculty, students, staff and administrators, to foster the development of a flexible, transparent and balanced collection that:

  • Emphasizes teaching and learning
  • Is responsive to change
  • Cultivates student-centered transformative learning and discovery for lifelong purpose
  • Focuses on women, diversity and leadership

April 17, 2012

Collection Description

The Library's diverse collection includes resources across a variety of formats: print and electronic journals and serials; print and electronic books; electronic databases and indexes/indices; media in a wide array of formats; and the materials contained in the University Archives. Within these resources exist a number of specialized collections, including the Curriculum Collection, the Children's Literature Collection, and the Career Resources Collection. The Simmons University Archives houses collections of University records, publications, manuscripts, photographs and rare books that document the history and development of the University and historical collections in specialized related fields, including Social Work and social welfare.

May 1, 2013

Collection Levels

In keeping with both the University's core value of putting student learning first as well as the imperative to collectively invest in our community, the Simmons University Library will place a high priority on acquiring materials at a level that will support the curricular goals for all of our programs. The Library will also strive to acquire materials that will support the research needs of growing doctoral programs and faculty development.

In order to support the needs of the broadest range of Simmons students, a large proportion of acquired materials will follow the guidelines established by the ALA Guide for Written Collection Development Policy Statements and will maintain most curriculum-defined subject areas at an advanced study or instructional support level. Significant investments will also be made to increase access to research-level materials in areas of study particular to advanced doctoral students at the University:

  • Doctoral support at a Research Level
  • Masters support at an Advanced Study or Instructional Support Level
  • Bachelors support at an Intermediate Support or Instructional Support Level

May 1, 2013


In deciding which format to purchase, the Library takes a number of factors into consideration, including but not limited to, cost, usage, ease of use, required or available storage space, preservation, availability to remote users and/or simultaneous users, and frequency of updates. Although duplication is usually avoided in the collection, the acquisition of items in multiple formats is sometimes desirable in order to make the material accessible to the greatest number of library users when and where they need it. Decisions about appropriate format and duplication are made on an individual basis.

October 15, 2013

Core Collection

The Library collects material for the core collection based on the experience, discipline expertise, and professional judgment of Library selectors. Selectors will consult core lists and guidelines provided by the recognized accrediting bodies and professional associations as well as additional selection and evaluation tools. The use of these tools is supplemented by the professional literature as well as additional sources when needed. Databases are selected based on vendor information and reviews and are evaluated through demonstrations and trial periods. The Library does not purchase textbooks for the core collection; however, required texts, including textbooks, will be considered for purchase for course reserves at the request of faculty on a case-by-case basis.

May 1, 2013

Access vs. Ownership

While we are committed to the curatorial responsibility of collecting scholarly assets, we are also committed to making quality materials of all provenance available to our community. As such, acquisitions may consist of books, periodicals, and other materials that we own as well as those that we do not own but to which we ethically and legally provide access.

January 16, 2013


The Simmons Library accepts donations of materials in all formats, subject areas, and languages relevant to the curriculum and the collection. All materials given to the Library are evaluated by the same standards as purchased materials in accordance with the Library's Collection Development Policy. The Library reserves the right to dispose of unwanted items by sale, donation, or discard as appropriate. In most cases, the Library will accept gifts of periodicals only if they fill gaps in already existing periodical subscriptions.

Upon receipt, all gift materials become the property of Simmons University, and those added to the collection will be processed according to the Library's standard collection management practices. Gifts offered with conditions related to their acceptance, access, circulation or use may be accepted only at the discretion of the Library Director in consultation with the University Archivist and Head of Discovery Services and/or the Head of Information Services.

With the exception of the University Archives, the Library cannot provide an itemized list or appraisal of gift material. The Library can provide a letter to the donor acknowledging receipt of the gift.

January 8, 2013

Open Access

In order to facilitate the discovery of, and provide access to, the widest possible range of appropriate materials, free web resources, including e-journals, e-books and open access websites, will be selected and made available. In order to be included in the Library's collection, these resources must meet the same criteria as purchased and leased materials.

August 29, 2012


In order to maintain a collection that remains vibrant and useful and reflects the current state of scholarship, as well as to allow space for growth, the Library staff will regularly and systematically deselect materials from the collection. The Library will use a number of methods to identify materials for deselection, which include, but are not limited to: academic library best practices; the experience, discipline expertise, and professional judgment of selectors; and the guidelines provided by the appropriate accrediting bodies and professional associations. The Library will also base its retention schedules and deselection criteria on the distinct methods and individual needs of the programs and disciplines in its collection communities.

October 15, 2012

Simmons Publishing

In addition to our primary goals focused on supporting the teaching, learning and research processes of the Simmons Community, the Library strives to collect for potential inclusion in the circulating collection the scholarship produced by members of the Simmons community that adds to the larger conversations in their fields. Consideration will also be given to the books and monographs known to be published by current students, alumnae/i, and other Simmons-affiliated authors.

August 29, 2012

Copyright and Fair Use

The Library acknowledges the authority of United States Copyright Law and the Simmons University Copyright Policy, and promotes copyright compliance among its staff and users. Our Collection Development Policy and collection development activities comply with the requirements of U.S Copyright Law, as put forth in 17 U.S.C. §101, et seq., and all amendments and supplemental provisions.

August 16, 2012

The Simmons University Archive

The Simmons University Archives collects and makes available materials that document, reflect, and support the history and development of Simmons University. The University Archives collects, regardless of format, official University administrative and committee records, publications, photographs, audio-visual materials, and memorabilia.

The Archives maintains collections of student theses and dissertations; faculty publications; manuscripts and personal papers of members of the Simmons University Community; and historical book and other special collections.

The acquisition, appraisal, and potential deselection of manuscript collections is at the discretion of the University Archivist in seeking to maintain a collection reflective of the current and historical missions and strengths of the University Archives, the University Library, and Simmons University. All manuscript collections are accepted contingent upon a deed of gift and transfer of the legal custody, ownership, and appropriate copyrights of materials under consideration.

The University Archives administers a Records Management program that provides guidance to administrators, faculty, and staff on materials appropriate for transfer to the Archives' permanent collections of administrative and organizational records. In addition, the Records Management program supports the operations of the University and ensures compliance with all applicable federal and state regulations and other legal requirements and industry best practices. Acquisition, appraisal, and potential deselection of administrative records collections is at the discretion and professional judgment of the University Archivist in alignment with the Records Management policy, industry best practice, and the University Archives' existing documentation strategies.

July 7, 2010