Skip to Main Content


Purpose & Goal

As the United States Air Force Academy’s academic library, McDermott Library provides information resources to support the teaching, research, and learning of cadets, faculty, staff, and other authorized patrons of the Academy. In support of this mission, this policy establishes parameters and priorities for the strategic development and management of useful, balanced collections based on the teaching, research, and learning needs at the United States Air Force Academy. This includes selection, resource sharing, and routine deaccessioning for collections outside of Clark Special Collections in order to enhance and simplify access to these collections. The goal of this policy is to ensure that collections have the greatest impact on teaching, research, and learning while reflecting and advancing the mission and goals of the United States Air Force Academy and the McDermott Library.

Roles and Responsibilities

Library Responsibilities

Librarians serve as subject liaisons to specific divisions at the Academy. In this role they are responsible for developing familiarity with the curriculum of their departments and with the relevant parts of the collection that serve their subject areas. Librarians also have the responsibility to keep faculty informed of important changes regarding the collections. The library’s collection may be developed through the purchase of curated collections, the use of approval plans containing profiles that are tailored to the teaching, research, and learning at the Academy, as well as title-by-title selection supplements, with librarians selecting items to meet the more specific needs of the collection, faculty, and cadets.

Faculty Involvement

Faculty members are encouraged to participate in collection development through regular consultation with their subject liaison librarian. This contribution to collection development is valuable for the in-depth knowledge that faculty members have of their specific subject areas and broad discipline, as well as their curriculum and research needs. The subject liaison librarian is the contact person for faculty to voice any questions or concerns they may have about the library’s collection and services, or to make suggestions.

General Criteria

When considering items for acquisition, format transition, and/or deaccessioning, McDermott Library considers the following criteria:

Academic Need

Curricular relevancy as demonstrated by user demand, faculty recommendations, and librarian review is a major consideration. Preference is given to resources that are interdisciplinary and relevant to a number of departments and programs. Coverage analysis can identify unique content not available in other resources.

Scholarly Value and Authority

The authoritativeness, comprehensiveness, timeliness, and uniqueness of a resource’s content are all examined. Proposed additions to monographs are benchmarked against peer institutions and evaluated against professional reviews from authoritative sources to confirm value to an undergraduate service academy curriculum. Academic press publications are prioritized in the monographic selection process. Discoverability, archiving, and update practices are also important in connecting users with the resource.


Ease of use and access are considered, with preference to resources that are the most flexible and accessible. The condition of physical copies is considered.

Reviews, Trials, and Use

Feedback from faculty, cadets, and library personnel are an important source of feedback. Trials enable USAFA stakeholders to assess the content, test usability, and compare to similar resources. Usage statistics indicate interest and return on investment. Professional reviews of online materials are consulted when available.


Resources are selected in the formats which best support the academic need. Electronic resources are typically preferred as they facilitate access anytime, anywhere. The Library will acquire the print format when there are demonstrable and substantive differences in content or when canceling the print would negatively impact scholarship.

McDermott Library does not collect materials in certain categories, including but not limited to: large-print books, individual software packages, outdated formats or vanity press materials. Textbooks are also not collected unless they are the only form of material available to present needed subject matter. 

Consideration of the constraints of space and financial resources are also important factors in determining which formats to acquire and/or retain from existing collections over time.


McDermott Library seeks to avoid duplication, except in specific, rare circumstances where sufficient demand for multiple copies is known. Duplication across formats is also considered, with preference for electronic versions with perpetual ownership and/or access.


Liaison Librarians may make one-time, title-by-title selections of new material in accordance with this Collection Policy and funding considerations. The McDermott Library Collection Team determines if and how subscriptions, packages, and other resources should be purchased.


McDermott Library is unable to accept all materials offered, acquiring only those resources that are within the scope of its current Collection as stated above and Library Gift policies.

Resource Sharing

Recognizing that no one library can acquire the materials necessary to satisfy all user needs, McDermott Library is committed to providing access to materials that we do not own through resource sharing and cooperative collection development agreements with other libraries. 


Removing materials which have become obsolete or no longer support the Academy’s teaching, research, and learning needs is a necessary part of maintaining strong collections. Decisions to deaccession items are considered using the general criteria identified in this policy. If an item represents the last accessible copy across McDermott Library collections, faculty feedback and accessibility through resource sharing are also considered.