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Collection Development Policy


The Harold Kohn Vision Science Library acquires and maintains materials that support the curriculum, research, and service goals of the institution as well as the ongoing information needs of optometrists and other individuals in the fields of vision science and care. While there is no anticipated change in the focus of the collection, some flexibility must be allowed to accommodate changes in the curriculum, technological advances within the field, and new formats for the delivery and storage of information.

Purpose of this Policy

This policy outlines the criteria utilized in deciding what materials should be added to the collection. It is designed both to assist patrons in their understanding of what the Library can provide, as well as to guide those responsible for building the Library’s collection. It is anticipated that this policy will aid those charged with the selection of materials to make judgments from a clearly recognized point of view so that the growth of the collection will be consistent with widely understood objectives and priorities.


The Library supports the teaching, research and service missions of the College by providing information to students, faculty, staff, alumni, optometrists, and the general public through a consistently selected and well-organized collection. To the extent permitted by the acquisitions budget, this collection should make it unnecessary for students to go to other libraries for materials used in their studies or for faculty to go elsewhere for materials that are directly related to their teaching.

General Descriptions of Collection Levels

(As established by the American Library Association in 1979)

The following are generally accepted definitions of collection levels:

  • Minimal Level:
    A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works.
  • Basic Level:
    This level serves to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. Basic information includes dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographic databases, and handbooks.
  • Instructional Support or Study Level:
    Materials at this level are adequate to impart and maintain knowledge about a subject but at a level of less than research intensity. Included is a wide range of basic works in appropriate formats and reference and bibliographic tools pertaining to the subject.
  • Research Level:
    Materials at this level include the major published source materials required for dissertation and independent research. This level is intended to include all important reference works and a broad selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is usually retained for historical research.

Major Subjects Covered

The Harold Kohn Vision Science Library contains and will continue to select materials in the following primary subject categories: optometry, ocular pathology and pharmacology, low vision, ophthalmology, opticianry, perception, and optics as applied to vision science. Acquisitions in these subject areas will be on the research level.

Ancillary topics of selective collection include learning disabilities, neuroscience, health care management, medical education, medical practice and law as it pertains to optometry. Works in these subject areas are on the instructional support or study level.

The Library will also maintain a reference collection at the basic level. In addition to reference works in the major subject areas described above, the reference collection will contain dictionaries and encyclopedias, basic statistical sources, and geographic resources pertinent to New York.

No materials will be excluded from the collection because of the race or nationality of the authors, or the political, moral, or religious views expressed. All sides of a controversial issue should be represented in the collection.

Range of Materials Collected

Formats of materials collected will include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  1. Books/monographs
  2. eBooks
  3. CD-ROMs
  4. Online resources
  5. Journals
  6. Recorded media (cassettes)
  7. Videos and DVDs
  8. Microform

Other, as dictated by circumstances such as the existence of supporting technology.

When there is a choice, hardbound books will be selected over paperbacks unless the price of the hardbound book is prohibitive.

Gifts of either library materials or money to purchase them will be accepted provided they are in conformity with the Gifts Policy.

Multiple Copies

The Library may acquire multiple copies of materials anticipated to be in high demand. However, in order to maintain the security and integrity of the collection, copies of works to be maintained elsewhere in the college cannot be purchased by the Library.

Collection Evaluation and Maintenance

Weeding, or the removal of obsolete materials for the purpose of discarding, is an integral part of the organized effort to maintain and develop the collection. Damaged copies should be withdrawn and items should be weeded if they contain outdated or inaccurate information, unless a work is deemed to be of historical value.


The primary responsibility for collection development rests with the Digital & Technical Services Librarian, in consultation with the Library Director. Materials are chosen for purchase from the following sources:

  • Publishers’ announcements, catalogues, and online resources;
  • Recommendations from the Association of Vision Science Librarians (AVSL);
  • Reviews in publications such as the Journal of the Medical Library Association;
  • Acquisitions lists from other optometry schools;
  • Other sources as appropriate.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit suggestions for purchase to the Collection Development Librarian. All suggestions for works that fall within the scope of the Library’s objectives as stated in the collection development policy will be carefully considered.