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Collection Development Policies

Formats Collected

We choose between paperbacks and hardcover formats based on cost as well as anticipated use and extended relevance of the item, with paper being the predominant choice. Each year we purchase an increasing number of electronic books.

Most newspapers are held for a period of about 3 months. Many are available electronically for older dates.

Journals usually are not added if not included in an index available through our library. Space limitations as well as changing user preferences and flexibility of access incline us toward electronic access when possible.

Films and music
These materials are added regularly in commonly used formats. Priority is given to materials needed for coursework, but we also add recreational materials as funds allow.

As a rule, we do not collect textbooks, except as a part of K-12 curriculum collection maintained on behalf of the education department.

Gifts and Donations
The University Library appreciates donations and decides whether to add them using the same criteria as for materials we purchase. Unless otherwise arranged, all materials donated become the property of the library and may be disposed of as we see fit. The library will acknowledge such gifts in writing but cannot offer a monetary evaluation of the donated materials.

Reference Materials
These items remain a valuable adjunct to the regular collection in both electronic and print format, although increasingly in electronic format alone. Many print items now allow limited checkout, while a few have retained their in-library-use-only status.

Electronic Resources
We purchase and/or lease electronic resources using many of the same criteria as other materials, but also consider the licensing terms, copyright, interlibrary loan privileges, user friendliness, ease of access, availability of usage statistics and stability of the platform.

Selection and Deselection Criteria

We take into account these criteria when deciding which materials to add to our collection:

  • Contribution to curricular needs
  • Cost
  • Currency
  • Significance, both short and long term
  • Reviews
  • Reputation of author/creator/publisher
  • Format
  • Licensing terms for electronic subscriptions
  • Availability among partner institutions

We welcome and actively solicit recommendations from our faculty for materials selection. All requests are considered and have final approval by the Collection Development Librarian.

Because our library has limited space and wish to remain up-to-date, we frequently deselect materials with the appropriate input from faculty. The following criteria are considered in our deselection process:

  • Date of publication
  • Currency of information
  • Condition of material
  • Continued relevance to curriculum
  • Use statistics
  • Newer editions available

Materials Request Policies and Procedures

The Library director allocates a significant portion of the library budget for departmental library purchases based on several factors, including faculty and student FTEs, credit hours taught, average cost of materials within the discipline and departmental research requirements and use patterns. These allocations are adjusted as needed to accommodate changing curriculum and enrollment.

Each fall the new allocation will be sent to the department chair or bibliographer, along with a report of the items purchased or encumbered so far and the current balance of the allocated funds. Departments may work out their own method for requesting among its faculty, but we suggest central coordination so that balance, fairness and accountability are maintained among the department members. All requests must have the approval of the dept chair. Please keep in mind the easy access of consortial library collections and consider whether an item you want is needed in our library or if availability in one or more of our partner libraries is sufficient to meet your needs.

Requests may be submitted in whatever form is most convenient: electronic request form, catalog pages, reviews, lists or emails. We appreciate as much publication information as possible, including ISBN or ISSN numbers. Please clearly indicate if an item is needed urgently. Once your department allocation has been met for the current fiscal period, we will stop ordering and set aside the rest of your orders until the new fiscal year. If you knowingly submit orders that are likely to exceed your budget, please prioritize them so we can be guided as we select among your submissions.

The institutional fiscal year dates from June 1 - May 31. While departments are encouraged to submit requests throughout the year, the library sets a deadline for requesting materials that will be counted toward the current fiscal period that accommodates the ordering, processing and widely varying delivery speeds of large numbers of requests across the institution. After this deadline, any money remaining in a department's library allocation will revert to general library funds. This deadline fluctuates somewhat from year to year, but most often falls in February.

While we value, encourage and give priority to departmental input for library purchases, librarians also select materials on behalf of the departments.

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