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Library Policies

The policies of the California Maritime Academy Library

Library's Mission Statement

The Cal Maritime Library supports the mission and programs of the academy through the acquisition and management of academic information resources, the development of information fluency, and the provision of excellent service to library users.

Summary Policy Statement

Library collections are developed primarily to support the curricular and industry needs of students, staff, and faculty at the Academy. To a lesser extent the library’s collections are developed with the needs of outside industry users in mind. The Library will also work to provide materials that foster the love of reading and learning whenever possible. The purpose of this policy is to provide direction in the acquisition and management of the collections in all formats – paper, online, disc, video, etc.

An enormous amount of information relative to the subject areas of the Academy’s curriculum is published on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important to make good decisions about collection depths in various subject areas. The Cal Maritime Library uses the Conspectus Method as the primary instrument in assessing collection depths. (See Conspectus Attachment) The Conspectus Method is used by most major libraries within the United States and worldwide.

The Library supports the collection needs of all curriculum programs of the Academy at the 2c. Basic Information Level, Advanced" (See Conspectus Attachment). Those programs with majors and those courses that specifically require library use to complete learning assignments are supported at a deeper collection level. In addition, areas of highest emphasis include marine engineering/ naval architecture, marine technology, and marine transportation.

Information needs of faculty conducting research are for the most part met by the judicious use of on-line database searching, interlibrary borrowing, and document delivery, although some collection development in research directly related to Cal Maritime mission will occur within the budgetary and staffing limits of the library.

Selection Responsibility

The process of selecting materials is a cooperative one and requires input from faculty, staff, and students if the collection is to best support all areas of the undergraduate curriculum. Ultimate responsibility for collection development rests with the library.

Library staff works with each academic department to develop the collections. Faculty, staff, and students are strongly encouraged to provide recommendations for purchases and discards. In fact, the library would prefer that the majority of added materials originate from faculty, staff, and student requests. This arrangement should result in a library that is more responsive to the needs of the Cal Maritime community. In support of academic collection building, the library staff communicate regularly with members of the departments to exchange information about curriculum developments, library needs, departmental needs, library services, library policies and collection development. The library provides the departments with book and journal announcements, lists of new materials added to the library, lists of possible discards, and access to databases for finding new materials. Purchases can be suggested by emailing the library. Each department and the library also review periodical holdings occasionally in order to add to or delete from the periodical holdings list.

Selection Guidelines

Top priority is given to supporting the teaching program at the undergraduate level. Next priority is given to material for faculty research, which will be purchased if it can also serve the needs of the undergraduate community. For the most part it is expected that materials for faculty research will be obtained through Inter-library borrowing and document delivery.

Guidelines used in choosing materials are as follows:

  • topic’s relevancy to the curriculum
  • long term usefulness
  • level of treatment
  • strength of holdings
  • cost - (Inter-library loan is considered as an alternative)
  • reputation of publisher
  • reputation of author
  • favorable review in the professional journals.

Textbooks are not purchased unless they are classics in their field or the only source of information on a subject.

Duplicates are not purchased except in extreme instances of need (e.g. when required for use in more than one library location simultaneously).

Hard copy is chosen over paper bound, unless the requesting faculty member feels that the information contained in the book has a limited life-span. If paper is the only available medium, the book will be purchased with a reinforced binding by the jobber.

The library purchases only English language materials. Exceptions are made to support the international student population.

The majority of selections are current publications. This is due to the greater expenditure of time and money needed to find and purchase older out of print and/or reprinted material.

Areas of Collection Development

The Library supports the collection needs of all curriculum programs of the Academy at the "2b. Basic Information Level, Advanced" (See Conspectus Attachment). Those programs supported at a deeper collection level – "3b. Intermediate Study or Instructional Support Level" (See Conspectus Attachment) are those with majors (business administration, facilities engineering technology, marine engineering technology, marine transportation, and mechanical engineering). Those courses that specifically require library use (documented in the syllabus) to complete assignments will also be supported at the very highest level possible. Areas of highest emphasis include marine engineering/naval architecture, marine technology, and marine transportation. They will be collected at the "3c. Advanced Study or Instructional Support Level" (See Conspectus Attachment).


Books are not as easily used in an online environment as, say, periodical articles or reports. Thus, they will continue to be a mainstay in the buildings of academic libraries for the near future. No less than 30% of the materials budget will be used for the purchase of books; a percentage that is in line with common practice within an academic environment.


Because magazines, journals, conference proceedings, annuals, legal continuation services, etc. usually require long-term commitments and are costly, the acquisition of a periodical/journal title or other on-going serial publication is scrutinized more intensely than the purchase of a single monograph. Spending in serials should not exceed 70% of the materials budget to allow for the purchase of other materials; again, a percentage that is in line with common practice within an academic environment.

Government Publications

The library will selectively acquire federal materials in subject areas defined above. Federal material types collected include congressional hearings and reports, departmental publications (e.g. DOT, NOAA, USCG, etc.), and National Technical Information Service items. The Cal Maritime Library is not a depository library as defined by the United States Superintendent of Documents Depository Library Program.

The library will also selectively acquire materials from state and international governing agencies in relevant subject areas.

Only rarely will the library collect government publications at a comprehensive level (e.g. NTSB marine accident reports and marine casualty reports, IMO publications, etc.).


With few exceptions, reference material should be current (latest edition or no more than 3 to 5 years old depending upon the publication type). An annual review of the section will be conducted to weed older materials from the collection and to insure that all areas are covered adequately.


Audiovisual materials are purchased to support the curriculum. Videocassette and CD-ROM materials are the primary audiovisual materials supported as this time. Records, filmstrips and 16mm film are not collected presently. The library encourages the addition of departmental audiovisual collections to the library collection and catalog. Microfilm/fiche is purchased when hard copy is not available and when storage of hard copy materials would not be practical. As space for bound issues of serials becomes limited, more back issues will be purchased on film/fiche or will be delivered to the desktop by electronic means. The library will attempt to place only seldom-used titles, except newspapers, on microfilm or fiche or will purchase electronic access to materials when economically feasible.

Electronic formats

Access, not ownership, is the policy that guides academic libraries in this age of limited budgets and dramatically increased information possibilities. With the advent of CD-ROM technology, tape loaded services, and the Internet, access has become more efficient as well as more available to the end user. As a result, the library will try to provide electronic access if at all possible, however, there may be compelling reasons to acquire access to materials in a paper format. In general, the Library strives to provide access in the most cost-effective medium for the number of users. Yet, because licensing agreements are in a constant state of flux, a hard and fast rule to apply in acquiring electronic formats is difficult to define at this time.

Special Collections

As a rule the library does not purchase rare books or manuscript items. These materials are accepted as gifts if they are of particularly high value or if they fall within the collection development guidelines stated in this section.

The library does collect material related to the Academy and it’s history. Additionally, the library has and will continue to collect a significant number of publications on maritime history. However the primary role of collecting maritime historical materials in this region resides with the National Maritime Museum library in San Francisco. The Academy’s library will maintain the emphasis of it’s collections on the contemporary marine industry.

"Best Seller" Collection

To encourage reading and current awareness, the library provides a collection of popular and recreational reading materials for the Cal Maritime community. The library will lease these items from an appropriate vendor. These books are those designated as "best sellers" by various book industry review sources such as the Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, New York Times Bestsellers, Publishers Weekly, etc. While the contract might vary annually, the library will receive about 100 new titles a year of biographies, fiction, non-fiction, and books on entertainment, hobbies, and craft.

A percentage of the new titles received may be retained by the library for addition to the permanent collection, and that percentage of the leasing fee is paid out of the library materials budget. Additional titles may be purchased periodically from this collection at a used book price. Attempts are made during the selection process to take advantage of this provision.

Ship’s Library

The library has established a core collection of books and electronic full-text materials for the library located on the Academy’s training ship Golden Bear. We are committed to maintaining this collection by updating titles as needed, deselecting items as they become worn, damaged, superceded or obsolete, and adding new material to support changes in the Academy’s programs, the maritime industry and/or it’s techniques and technologies.

The core collection, for the most part, mirrors the collections of the campus main library on a microcosmic scale. The bulk of the materials consist of technical publications, handbooks and manuals which aid students enrolled in the ship’s academic and training programs. An additional emphasis of the ship’s library collection is in the area of recreational reading. Recreational reading as defined for this purpose consists of works of classical literature, contemporary fiction, and general histories of regions frequently visited on the training cruises; books on games, sports, and self-improvement; and materials covering nautical history, customs, folk-lore and sea stories.

In addition to the core collection, the ship’s library is augmented each cruise by the temporary loan of materials from the campus library’s main collection. These materials include information about the port cities and countries to be visited as well as those items specifically requested by faculty or students for special program or project needs, or that will support the academic activities of external visiting programs.

Extramural Funding and Gifts

Continuing to develop a top notch collection of Maritime materials while also collecting items highly relevant to the curriculum requires funding in addition to that provided by Cal Maritime.

The library accepts at any time outright gifts of cash, securities, real estate, etc. devoted to the purpose of developing or enhancing the collections, facilities, and services. These gifts are accepted in accordance to Cal Maritime Policy No. 111 "Donations and Gifts".

Textbooks are not usually accepted for the library's collection.

The library cannot appraise gifts.

The library reserves the right to dispose of gift items as it deems appropriate.

Items of a historical interest related to Cal Maritime’s history and heritage such as manuscripts, photographs, papers, scrapbooks, etc. will be accepted as a part of the Academy’s Historical Archives.


Due to the size of the library and the nature of the curriculum, the collection requires regular weeding. Within as few as 5 years at the present rate of growth the library will reach a point of imposed stasis, which means that for every item brought into the collection, one must be removed. We are working to avoid such a situation. Large universities warehouse their little used material when they reach this critical mass. This institution may have to rely on larger institutions for this warehousing. In the mean time, the library will weed yearly. The criteria for such weeding is as follows:

Materials in all science and technology subject areas must be weeded on a regular basis. Many sci-tech materials should be no older than 10-15 years, unless considered a classic in the field, or referred to often by faculty and students. In general, a book will be considered for weeding if it meets the following broad criteria:

  • Is over 10 years old
  • Has not circulated in more than five years
  • Is not listed in Books for College Libraries, Core list of Books and Journals in Science and Technology , and other standard lists.
  • Is not a classic or is not in a subject area where comprehensive and historical collections are being developed.

List of books scheduled for discard will be routed to appropriate departments for faculty input and then books that are deemed of no value to the collection will be discarded (if in deteriorated condition), donated to another institution or sold in the Library’s used book sale collection.

Cooperation with other libraries

It is vital that the Cal Maritime Library stay abreast of and seek membership in appropriate consortia committed to sharing information resources. These valuable alliances can provide access to resources otherwise unavailable to the Academy. The California State University Libraries are a natural consortia arrangement. The Library will participate in any way possible and take advantage of all services and resources available as a result of CSU membership. Guiding considerations in seeking membership in other cooperative arrangements are:

  • Mission and vision of the consortia
  • Resources and services available
  • Potential for resources and services to streamline current operations or provide higher quality
  • Cost effectiveness of membership (e.g. are membership dues offset by reduced price, access to services, or resources)
  • Reliability in delivering materials and/or services
  • Capacity of Cal Maritime Library to deliver and otherwise be a productive member
  • Potential of consortia to perpetuate its existence


Endorsed by the Faculty Senate Library Committee, December 2000

Mike Andrews, MVI
Bruce Boylen, Library
Barbara Holler Smith, General Studies
Dave McCuan, Business
Carl Phillips, Library
Jaya Punglia, General Studies
Jim Rogers, Marine Engineering Technology (Chair)
Bill Schmid, Marine Transportation

California State University Maritime Academy

Cal Maritime Library
200 Maritime Academy Drive
Vallejo, CA 94590 

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