Library collection development policy

The library's collection development policy is intended to guide staff in developing a cohesive, well-balanced collection that is tailored to meet the educational, training and research requirements of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). It also serves to inform library users, the broader fire and emergency management communities, and the general public about the breadth and depth of the library's resources.


The planned development of a library collection requires the consistent application of a stated policy. The library, which operates within the framework of institutional goals, must respond to institutional change.

With due regard to the availability of resources through consortia, interlibrary loan, and other emergency management information services, the library aims to develop, in all appropriate fields, a collection of the highest degree of excellence, both qualitative and quantitative.

For financial reasons, fully meeting the aim described above may not always be possible. Therefore, the library will observe the following general guidelines in developing its collection:

Collection levels defined

The collection development table below helps define the scope of collection and to specify the degree of coverage for each area of our collections.

The basic statement of the collection policy is expressed in terms of broad subject fields defined in the library thesaurus. For each subject, a code is given to indicate the level of collecting intensity.

The four levels of collecting intensity are:

Collection development table

SubjectCollecting Level
Arson / Juvenile firesettingComprehensive
Campus safetyResearch
Codes and standards (fire)Comprehensive
Disaster planningComprehensive
Disaster preparednessComprehensive
Emergency communicationsComprehensive
Emergency ManagementComprehensive
Emergency Medical ServicesComprehensive
Emergency responseComprehensive
Emergency vehicles/Design/DrivingComprehensive
Fiction (fire, disaster)Basic
Fire behavior / DynamicsBasic
Fire departmentsComprehensive
Fire historiesComprehensive
Firefighter fatalitiesComprehensive
Firefighter health and safetyComprehensive
Firefighting operations – Strategy and tacticsComprehensive
Firefighting tools/equipmentComprehensive
Fire Prevention – Public educationComprehensive
Fire Prevention – Public safetyComprehensive
Fire Protection – InspectionsComprehensive
Fire protection – SystemsComprehensive
Fire statistics/researchComprehensive
Geographic information systemsBasic
Hazardous materialsComprehensive
Higher education – Fire service, emergency managementComprehensive
Homeland securityResearch
Human behavior and fireResearch
Human resource management (general)Basic
Incident commandComprehensive
Incident command – DecisionmakingComprehensive
Injury preventionBasic
Instructional course designBasic
Interagency cooperationComprehensive
Juvenile literature (fire)Basic
Law enforcementMinimal
Lessons learned – Fire, EMS, emergency managementComprehensive
Mass casualtiesComprehensive
Mass evacuation / Crisis relocationComprehensive
Military operations other than warResearch
Mitigation (disasters)Comprehensive
Natural disastersComprehensive
Personal protective equipment (PPE)Comprehensive
Planning – Strategic, masterResearch
Public healthResearch
Recovery / Disaster assistanceComprehensive
Rescue operationsComprehensive
Resiliency / Critical infrastructureComprehensive
Risk communications/Social mediaComprehensive
Risk evaluation/ManagementResearch
Stress management (general)Research
Structural hazardsResearch
Terrorism (no overseas focus)Research
Training – Fire, EMS, emergency managementComprehensive
Volunteer firefightersComprehensive
Wildland urban interfaceComprehensive

Library material formats

Library materials may be any of the following items:

Additional decision criteria

In addition to the scope statements referenced in the above Collection Development table all or some of the following criteria or factors influence the selection of materials acquired for the library:

  1. Appropriateness for use in NETC curriculum and programs.
  2. Appropriateness for the research needs for NETC faculty, students, and staff.
  3. Possibility of use by one or more courses.
  4. Weakness of the current collection in a particular subject area.
  5. The level of the materials' quality in content, format, and/or literary merit.
  6. Permanence of the material.
  7. Currency and timeliness of the material.
  8. Appropriateness of purchase, taking into consideration usage patterns such as circulation statistics to determine areas of great demand.
  9. Author's reputation and credibility in the subject field.
  10. Reputation of the publisher.
  11. Title is authored by NETC faculty or staff member.
  12. Book completes series holding.
  13. Whether the book is a new edition with revised information or merely a reprint.
  14. The serial is indexed by the library in its Periodicals Index.
  15. The serial/book is easily accessible on inter-library loan.

For more information about the library’s collection development policy, please contact our staff at 301-447-1030.