The Collections and Collection Development

The Library collects information in any format needed to meet present and anticipated teaching and research needs of the College.

The Library’s collection development goals are:
  1. to provide a collection that supports the College’s varied and dynamic curriculum;
  2. to provide material that supports faculty research, especially research that leads to growth of the curriculum and the participation of students in research and independent study;
  3. to provide informational and recreational reading material for the College community.

Development of the Library’s collections is a joint responsibility of teaching faculty and librarians. Together, they assure the availability of works basic to a discipline, as well as works that represent the current state of thinking. Although each department has a faculty member specifically charged with responsibility for helping build the collection, the library welcomes purchase recommendations from all users and accepts them in any format—ads from publishers, email, recommendations submitted via the library web form, etc. The library is able to purchase most books recommended by users.

Because it is impossible for the Library to develop comprehensive collections except in a few narrow areas, library staff assure faculty and students access to the widest possible range of material through document delivery arrangements with other libraries and collections.

Faculty coordinator and librarian liaison responsibilities

Each academic department has a faculty coordinator and a librarian who serve as collection liaisons. At the beginning of each academic year, the library contacts department heads and asks them to designate a faculty member who will be the library’s main point of contact with the department for questions relating to collection development.

Liaison librarians send to faculty coordinators reviews and publishers’ catalogs to use for selection decisions. Departments decide for themselves how to best use these materials. In some cases, they are circulated to all members of the department; in others, they are divided by specialty and given only to faculty with expertise in that area; and in still others, they are reviewed only by the faculty coordinator. The selection materials are returned to the liaison librarian, who then forwards them to the library’s acquisitions department for ordering. The liaison librarian may also supplement selections made by faculty, particularly when a department does not request many items for purchase or when the librarian sees advance notice of important new publications.

The library identifies a certain amount that it expects to spend on purchasing books in support of a department based on past years’ expenditures, but the faculty coordinator is not responsible for tracking spending. The faculty coordinator should simply forward requests for purchase, and the liaison librarian will contact the coordinator if there are any concerns about cost.

Changes to the library’s periodical subscriptions are usually made only once a year. In early fall the faculty coordinator is asked to consult with departmental colleagues and submit any requests for new periodicals. Because of budgetary limitations, it’s sometimes not possible to add all new periodicals requested by a department. In such cases, the department is asked to identify cuts to their list that would cover the cost of required additions. Faculty coordinators may also be asked to review periodicals purchased in support of their department with low usage statistics. In mid fall, the library submits all its subscription renewals, additions, and cancellations to vendors so that new subscriptions will begin in January.

At times, liaison librarians might also contact faculty coordinators for help evaluating expensive resources where wide departmental support or the support of multiple departments on campus is needed to justify the expense. Normally this occurs only once or twice a year.