Collection Development Policy (updated March 2024)

Collection Development Policy | Library Liaison Officers (By Faculty/School)
  1. Introduction

    This Collection Development Policy (hereafter known as CDP or the Policy) is a planning document, which identifies the long and short-term collection goals and policies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic (PolyU) Library (hereafter known as the Library). It provides a general framework for the development and maintenance of all parts of the collection. The major objectives of the Policy are:

    1. To inform users and other libraries of the nature and scope of the collection.
    2. To establish guidelines for the selection of resources so that acquisitions are appropriate to the general objectives of the Library.
    3. To assist Library staff in planning and administering the Library budget.
    4. To set standards for the inclusion or exclusion and retention of resources in the collection.
  2. About the Collection

    As the learning hub of the University and a dynamic scholarly gateway, the Library strives to facilitate and inspire students and faculty to acquire, create and share knowledge and to excel through education and scholarship.

    The Library offers integrated and timely access to a wealth of high-quality scholarly resources, creating an inspiring environment for intellectual growth and discovery. Our collection encompasses a wide range of subjects, and we strive to ensure that users have direct access to these resources in both electronic and print formats.

    To facilitate organisation and retrieval, our books and serials are arranged according to the Library of Congress Classification Scheme, making it easy for users to locate the materials they need.

  3. Selection Guidelines

    The Library plans to obtain, within its financial capabilities, library materials including, but not limited to books, periodicals, maps, pamphlets, newspapers, audio-visual materials, government documents, and electronic resources required to meet the following obligations:

    1. To procure and make available materials needed for all teaching, studying, and research activities in the University. Procurement prioritises materials that benefit the university community rather than cater to individuals, academic departments, or administrative offices (e.g. bench books).
    2. To procure and make available library materials of general information in subject areas.
    3. To make an effort to preserve publications relating to the history and development of the University.
    1. General Criteria

      A. Currency: Current publications of lasting and scholarly value will be given priority over older and out of print materials. Older editions may be acquired if they are specifically required with justified reasons. Variant editions of a title will be acquired only if they are “standard” editions or contain substantial changes and are needed for research purposes.

      B. Language: Priority will be given to English and Chinese, and foreign languages on taught courses only.

      C. Format (e-preferred policy): Any format that can be used in a library or accessed through Internet. For monographic materials, electronic version is preferred when a title is available both in print and electronic formats, unless requesters indicate their preferences with specific reasons.

      For serials subscriptions or aggregate contents, priority will be given to electronic format because of their 24x7 accessibility.

      D. Cost: An item is considered expensive if it costs more than the amount set by the University Librarian from time to time. All expensive items recommended for purchase must have the endorsement of the University Librarian or his/her designate, and also as a general guideline, holdings in other University Grant Committee (UGC) libraries will be taken into consideration to decide whether an order should be placed.

      E. Endorsement of Recommendations: All acquisition recommendations are to be reviewed and endorsed by the Collection Development Working Team (CDWT) in Appendix 1.

      F. Readership Levels: General, advanced academic and professional.

      G. Levels of Collection Intensity: The level of acquisitions will vary from subject to subject. The degree of acquisition activities will be determined by the study and research programmes of the University and the needs of the faculties.

      1. Minimum Level
        A highly selected collection which would introduce and define a variety of subject areas not necessarily represented in the University curricula. It would include basic works of recognised writers, selection of basic texts in all subject fields, reference and biographical works as well as fundamental bibliographies in all subject areas and representative journals.
      2. Instructional – Research Level
        A collection of works to meet all instruction and research needs. It includes all basic works, complete sets of works by important writers, and critical works about them, selections of works by secondary writers, basic journals, reference works and bibliographies. In addition to current materials, the Library will attempt to obtain retrospective works on a selected basis including serials, reference sets, bibliographies, and out-of-print books.
  4. Print Resources

    In accordance with the e-preferred policy, print resources will be acquired selectively in particular subject disciplines. The Guidelines for Acquisition and Allocation of Multiple Copies will apply (Appendix 2).

  5. Electronic Resources

    Faculty/School Librarians work jointly with academic staff in the selection and evaluation of electronic resources of bibliographic databases, aggregate contents and platforms, whether new or renewals.

    1. Electronic books (Textbooks/Course Reading Materials)

    If an e-Book under consideration has different options for the number of user licenses, the Library will consider the optimal number of user licenses to be acquired subject to the availability of the Library budget and license models. For e-Book with unlimited licenses to be acquired, no printed copy will be purchased.

  6. Replacements
    1. The Library will make every effort to replace missing or damaged items, but this is not always guaranteed. Consideration is given to both the current value of the item to the collection, as decided by applying the selection criteria outlined in this policy and other indications of demand for the item. Items may not be replaced if there are newer materials available that make the existing item outdated or no longer useful.
    2. In principle, the Library will purchase a replacement copy for a billed lost item. The borrower will be charged at an in-print discounted price for a lost book. If the billed item is out of print, the Library will charge the borrower at the average book price. A similar title will be acquired for replacement.
    3. Wherever possible, missing issues of current volumes of periodicals will be replaced. Back files will be replaced only if there is known demand.
    4. All replacements are contingent upon funds being available.
  7. Roles and Selection Responsibilities

    Selection of library resources is a joint responsibility of Library and academic staff. Purchasing priorities will be accorded first to academic members, then Faculty/School Librarians and Selection/Liaison Team. However, the ultimate responsibility for the acquisitions directions and policy decisions, including suitability, adequacy and quality of selections, rests with the Library.

    1. Faculty members are expected to recommend materials with particular application to teaching, research and development activities of the University. The Library Liaison Officer (LLO) of a Department serves as the main contact between the Library and that Department. He/she could help to circulate bi-weekly online lists of newly published materials compiled by the Library and keep his/her Department informed of library acquisitions.  Academic staff could channel their library recommendations via the Library Liaison Officer (LLO) or contact the Library directly. The Library may consult academic staff to set guidelines for access to various components of the collection.
    2. Faculty/School Librarians participate in the selection of library materials for his/her faculty/school. They are responsible for ensuring that materials on new courses are acquired, new subjects in relevant fields are not neglected, and also to supplement the recommendations made by their academic staff. They also work jointly with academic staff in the selection and evaluation of electronic resources of bibliographic databases and aggregate contents, whether new or renewals.
    3. Senior Library staff members are designated as Selection/Liaison Team and assist in the selection of materials in the subject areas assigned to them. They also select materials for general reference and information.
    4. The Library also purchases monographic materials through the Books on Approval Plan (BOAP) provided by book vendor(s). Books are sent to the Library according to specified subject profiles and other non-subject parameters. Faculty/School Librarians and Acquisitions Librarian undertake to review the Books on Approval Plan (BOAP) from time to time in cooperation with departmental Library Liaison Officer (LLO) and academic staff.
  8. Gifts and Exchange

    As a general rule, gifts and exchange activities are kept at a minimum level as far as possible for cost-effectiveness. Useful materials that are required for the library collection could be acquired through gifts and exchange. However, the Library will not accept gifts or donations with restrictions or conditions as to their disposition, handling, and use of the items donated.

    To send gifts of books, journals, audio-visual materials, and other resources to the University Library, please follow the procedure in the Donation of Books and Print Materials.

  9. Long-term Retention and Preservation Policy

    To manage and maintain its collection over time, the Library ensures long-term access to valuable resources.

    1. Stocktaking

      As good housekeeping practices, the Library will perform stocktaking of its collection when resources are available.

  10. Deselection Criteria

    Systematic removal of library materials no longer useful is essential to maintain the high quality and integrity of the collection. Usage of the Book Collection will be reviewed periodically and deselection conducted whenever the need arises. Items that are considered outdated, worn out, obsolete or no longer useful for the collection will be withdrawn. Superseded editions and multiple-copy items may also be withdrawn if the usage rate is low. Withdrawn items will be vetted by the Collection Development Working Team of the Library and then by academic staff members before disposal.

    1. Books are withdrawn from the collection if they are obsolete and low use excluding course reserve books and PolyU authored publications.
    2. Serial issues are withdrawn from the collection if they are superseded by cumulative editions, have a limited retention period, low use, a high cost per use, are duplication with other sources, or are no longer relevant to PolyU’s teaching and research.
    3. Database subscriptions are canceled if they are low use, a high cost per use, or duplication with other sources will be identified for review and potential cancellation after consultations with Faculty Librarians and Academic Staff.
    4. Withdrawn items will be dispatched to external institutions that wish to receive them. The Library will dispose of withdrawn issues not requested by any department or institution.

Appendix 1: Composition of the Collection Development Working Team (CDWT)


  1. Associate Librarian (Academic Support)


  1. Acquisitions Librarian
  2. Faculty Librarian (Business)
  3. Faculty Librarian (Construction & Environment)
  4. Faculty Librarian (Engineering)
  5. Faculty Librarian (Health & Social Science)
  6. Faculty Librarian (Humanities)
  7. Faculty Librarian (Science)
  8. Faculty Librarian (Design)
  9. Faculty Librarian (Fashion & Textiles)
  10. Faculty Librarian (Hotel & Tourism Management)

Colleagues from the Library who are participating in discussions regarding the agenda items will be invited to attend the meeting.


Appendix 2: Guidelines for Acquisition and Allocation of Multiple Copies

The following are general guidelines only. Should academic staff have any special requests for the number of copies of items to be acquired, they should indicate their requirement on the recommendation forms together with justification. Special requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Textbooks / Core Readings

    Electronic book is available for sale.

    If an e-Book under consideration has different options for the number of user licenses, the Library will consider the optimal number of user licenses to be acquired subject to availability of Library budget and license models.

    The priority of license models are as follows:

    License type Description
    Unlimited access* No limit on number of simultaneous users.
    3-user Only three users can access the title simultaneously.
    1-user Only one user can access the title at a time.

    *For e-Book with unlimited licenses to be acquired, no printed copy will be purchased.

    If only printed book is available for sale, the following guidelines should be applied:

    No. of student Maximum no. of printed copy Remarks
    <80 1 copy 1 copy for RES**
    80-119 2 copies 2 copies for RES (1 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days)
    120-159 3 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days)
    160-199 4 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days) + 1 for CIR#
    200 5 copies 3 copies for RES (2 for 24 hrs/60 hrs; 1 for 7 days) + 2 for CIR
  2. Reference Books
    1 copy
  3. Serials Materials
    1 copy
  4. Audio-Visual Materials
    1 copy
  5. Expensive Items
    1 copy
  6. Theses
    1 e-copy


** Reserve Collection
# Book Collection

To ensure that textbooks, essential, required and other recommended readings are available in the Library for students at the beginning of each academic year, the Library will send emails to remind staff to submit their Textbook and Recommended Reading Lists for ordering books to be placed in the Book Collection and Reserve Books Collection.

To recommend a purchase, PolyU staff and students may use the appropriate online New Materials Recommendation forms on the Library Homepage or email to the Acquisitions Team directly at or by telephone 2766-7825.