Collection Development Policy
Update in progress
Revised, February 1999
The mission of the McCain Library is to support and enrich the educational program of Agnes Scott College by providing library resources, services and facilities to meet the learning, teaching, research and personal development needs of our students, faculty and staff.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
General Guidelines for Selection
Specific Criteria for Selection
Film and Video
College Archives and Special Collections
This collection development policy statement has been written to document the philosophy of the McCain Library as it relates to the principles and ideals of Agnes Scott College, and to articulate the goals and objectives of the library with regard to collection development. The intent is to convey general principles of collection development, rather than to provide a detailed analysis of collecting levels by discipline or call number range. This policy is reviewed and revised as needed to reflect changes that occur in the publishing industry, information technology, library priorities or strategic directions of the College.
The overriding collection development goal for an institution such as Agnes Scott is to provide resources that support students and faculty in their teaching and learning. In subject matter these resources must closely parallel the academic content of the College curriculum. An undergraduate collection can never hope to provide the full range of research materials necessary to support faculty in their scholarship and publications. However since many of our students undertake advanced independent study and collaborate on faculty research projects, the library strives to support those specialized information needs through selective purchases and the securing of access to materials from other libraries.
There are secondary collection goals as well. Since the residential college experience is a holistic developmental process, the library selectively provides materials to support recreational reading, personal growth and wellness, career exploration, graduate school selection, consumer interests, and similar topics. Our modest efforts in these areas are supplemented generously by the holdings of nearby public libraries and professional collections maintained by several offices on campus. Materials which support the administrative activities of the College are also selectively purchased upon request. These include information on trends in higher education, pedagogy, technology, libraries, faculty and staff development, fundraising, and campus planning.
The time is long past when any academic library could hope to meet all
the information needs of its clientele within its local collection. Agnes
Scott College is extremely fortunate to be a partner in many library networks
and consortia which vastly expand the resources available to our students
and faculty. These arrangements allow us to provide low-cost or free interlibrary
borrowing, direct use and borrowing at neighboring institutions, and most
significantly, participation in group-negotiated licenses to a wealth
of electronic resources, both bibliographic and full-text. Georgia's GALILEO
Project is nationally recognized as a leader in these endeavors. More
details are included in Appendix B.
Ultimate responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the college librarian as employed by the college president under authority of the Board of Trustees of Agnes Scott College. The library builds collections in close partnership with the teaching faculty. Members of academic departments and programs select a majority of the books that specifically support their own programs. The college librarian and other full-time librarians are responsible for working toward achieving a balanced collection, and selecting in particular those resources which are general in nature, which augment the browsing collection, and which provide reference material, all of which meet the objectives of the library. Other members of the library staff and patrons (students, alumnae, college administrators, staff) are encouraged to recommend titles for consideration.
Annual subject allocations for the use of the departments and programs
are determined by the library administration, after consultation with
the Library Advisory Group and working within the framework of the library
budget as appropriated by the Board of Trustees. Allocations are based
on factors such as the number of faculty members and course enrollment
in a discipline, the number of majors and/or minors taken, relative cost
of materials in each discipline, the degree to which the departmental
programs utilize library resources, the value of the materials to other
departments and interdisciplinary programs, circulation figures for the
subject area, adequacy of present collection and previous expenditures
of each department.
Materials are selected in a wide range of formats -- hardbound and paperbound print, a variety of electronic formats, microform, audio-visual, multi-media, etc. Newer formats will appear over time, and some will become obsolete. The library foresees, however, a lasting and highly significant place in our collection for printed material and preservation microfilm.
When multiple formats are available, the library avoids duplication in most cases. Decisions on choice of format are based on many factors, among them suitability of the format to content, ease of use, need for simultaneous access, good design, preservation, storage and price. With regard to digital electronic resources, the library's preferred means of acquisition is purchase or licensing of web-based products with archiving handled at the remote site.
A new and important aspect of library collection development is the creation
of tools to refer users to high quality sources of information on the
Internet. When appropriate "hot links" are made from a bibliographic
record in our web-based catalog to the electronic edition of a work. Other
links are organized on the library's website, and are updated on a continuing
basis. All resources which are intentionally selected or acquired by the
library, regardless of the medium, must follow the collection guidelines
and criteria set forth in the following sections.
For books, hardcover volumes are always preferred; however, paperback
editions are purchased if that is the only format available or when the
useful life of the content is expected to be fairly short. Books in electronic
format are considered where available. Thus far these fall mainly in the
area of reference sources or compilations of historic texts.
Electronic licensing of periodical subscriptions is actively pursued when feasible.
Textbooks are not routinely purchased or provided for use in the classroom. They are purchased very selectively when they have inherent value to the collection as a reference work or authoritative source.
Multiple copies of titles generally are not purchased except where justified by unusually high demand and/or special use.
Vanity press books, workbooks and lab manuals are not purchased by the library.
Foreign language materials which support the curriculum are added to the collection on the recommendation of faculty. This includes not only material on language and literature, but also works in other disciplines which support a specific course in the Language Across the Curriculum program.
Lost or damaged materials are usually replaced, with consideration given to their significance in the collection based on availability, previous use, number of other copies held, significance of the particular edition, and current validity of content, if pertinent.
support and enrichment of the curriculum of the college;
appropriate academic level;
importance of the subject to the balance of the collection;
authority, which includes reputation and significance of author, as well as reputation and standards of the publisher;
accessibility to the title through indexes, databases and bibliographies, and to the work itself, if applicable;
currency, if pertinent (as in reference works);
availability and price.
Aids for the librarians in the selection process are reviews, particularly those in Choice and Library Journal, and for the faculty, the journals of their respective fields, as well as Choice review cards which the library sends to them each month.
Criteria for selection of books for the Browsing Collection are as follows, with the recognition that selections for this collection are not always of enduring value:
high demand/potential use;
significant current interest;
acceptable literary quality; and
durability of author.
Selection aids for this collection include Publisher's Weekly, newspaper reviews, best seller lists and recommendations by staff and patrons.
It is recognized that the process of weeding or deselection is a continuous and ongoing process necessary to maintain a vital and up-to-date collection. The process of deselection is primarily the responsibility of the librarians, working in conjunction with the other staff and faculty. Books automatically considered for deselection are those superseded by new editions or new formats; those that are worn out or damaged; multiple copies which are no longer needed; and titles removed from the Browsing Collection.
Periodicals provide a wealth of current information much of which may never appear in any other form. The library currently subscribes to 816 periodicals which include a wide variety of scholarly and popular titles chosen to meet the general and special interests of the students and faculty. Seventy of these titles are available electronically through the campus network.
Many of the same criteria used in book selection are also appropriate for periodicals. Faculty requests are an important factor in selection, as is the continuity of the periodical collection and access through indexing databases. The library also vigorously pursues access to electronic full-text databases that contain articles from additional periodicals. Approximately one thousand such periodicals are now covered in this fashion, although they are not counted as individual subscriptions.
Newspapers are a special resource both for their timeliness and their individual perspective on local, state, national, and international events. Newspapers are purchased that provide this timely coverage, and the New York Times, accessible through its own index, is retained on microfilm as a permanent addition to the library collection. Electronic full-text products in GALILEO greatly expand our students' access to additional newspaper titles.
To conserve space and enhance preservation, many periodical backfiles are retained in microfilm. This includes particularly bulky items such as weekly magazines, items that get very infrequent use, and items that are not dependent on color illustrations. The library occasionally acquires other material, such as reproductions of original sources, on microfilm. Web access to remote servers is now preferred as a mechanism for accessing this kinds of material. The library also purchases material on microfiche when that is the best or only format available.
The library's sound recordings collection includes dramatic readings and speeches as well as music. While western classical music predominates, the library also collects in the areas of musical theatre, jazz, and music from worldwide indigenous cultures. A separate allocation for sound recordings exists. Faculty from any discipline may request recordings, although in practice the vast majority are selected by members of the music faculty. The preferred format for recordings is compact disc. LPs will gradually be replaced by CDs when identical recordings or appropriate substitutions can be found.
Since 1987-88 the College has recognized the importance and popularity
of videos in the instructional program and has made a commitment to develop
a video collection. Video materials that support instructional programs
are recommended by the faculty and may be purchased by the library or
forwarded to the Media Services Coordinator for rental, depending on budgetary
constraints and estimated use. The collection includes small numbers of
35 mm films and 12" laserdiscs, but videotape is the preferred format
for purchase. DVD format is also being collected and may rival video as
the preferred medium within a few years. Many on-campus events are videotaped
by the Media Resource Center. These are selectively cataloged and/or archived
by the library.
The College archives is responsible for the identification and preservation of all official records of the College with permanent historical or administrative value, including College publications, and the records of administrative offices, academic departments, and of administrative and academic committees.
As early as 1908, the College began to preserve a less official record of the college experience by soliciting student’s letters, diaries, course notes, photographs, and memorabilia. This personal material is augmented by records of student government and organizations and student publications. Faculty and alumnae publications and papers are also collected.
The changing campus is documented through such material as photographs and building and landscaping plans. Other material that fills out the record includes posters, films, videos, and tape recordings of lectures, conferences, demonstrations, and special events as well as oral history interviews with faculty, staff, students, and alumnae.
Special Collections includes a collection of Robert Frost materials, Bill Arp papers and alumna Catherine Marshall Lesourd’s correspondence and manuscripts and research materials. The collection also includes foreign editions of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, the Posey collection of frontier religion books as well as unique and rare older books on a variety of subjects.
McCain Library is very grateful for appropriate gifts to its collection. Monetary gifts are handled through the Development Office of the college, while gifts of materials can be made directly to the library (printable gift form here). When it is requested, memorial bookplates will be placed in gift items. Because the purchase price is only part of the cost involved in maintaining an item in the library, and in order to control the growth of the collection as a whole, books and other material gifts are evaluated in terms of the same selection criteria as library purchases. If an item is already well represented or for any reason is not appropriate for the collection, then an attempt is made to place the gift where it will be more useful. It is very important that the library have as full control over all gift items as it has over the rest of its collection.
The library as an institutional resource must provide information to the students that will help them develop analytical, critical and imaginative thinking skills. To do this, the library is responsible for maintaining a collection which represents a wide range of viewpoints. The library is a proponent of critical thought and the free exchange of ideas, and does not propose to hinder such activity. The library supports the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association. (see Appendix D)
Mission and Goals of McCain Library
Agnes Scott College
To support and enrich the educational program of Agnes Scott College
by providing library resources, services and facilities to meet the learning,
teaching, research and personal development needs of our students, faculty
I. RESOURCES: To develop a strong collection of print, nonprint, and electronic materials appropriate to the curriculum and mission of Agnes Scott College.
II.SERVICES: To assist and encourage students and others in the effective use of local resources, in the pursuit of information, and in the development of library and information literacy skills necessary to intellectual independence and life-long learning.
III. OPERATIONS: To maintain systems and procedures to provide the most effective acquisition, organization, use and circulation of library materials.
IV. FACILITY: To provide an environment conducive to study, reflection, research and the use of information technologies through a physical facility which supports efficient service, proper housing of materials and equipment, collection security and personal safety.
V. INTER-INSTITUTIONAL COOPERATION: To support and encourage the use of resources beyond the McCain collections through such means as consortial borrowing arrangements, interlibrary loan, information networks and other forms of resource delivery. Also to support such efforts by sharing of our own collections and services.
VI. HUMAN RESOURCES: To maintain excellence in library service and management by recruiting, retaining and developing a superior team of library employees and by engaging in planning, analysis and assessment of library operations.
VII. CAMPUS RELATIONS: To contribute to the strength of the College community by enhancing communication with library constituencies, promoting awareness of library services, and actively participating in the life of the campus.
ARCHE Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education (For membership, see Appendix C)
Formerly known as the University Center in Georgia, ARCHE supports cooperative ventures among four-year institutions of higher education in the Atlanta area, and actively promotes the value of these institutions to the region's business, civic, and governmental sectors. The Library Council of ARCHE is one of the most active components of the consortium. Benefits include:
expedited, free, interlibrary lending among the member libraries
daily truck route for document delivery service among the member institutions
"interlibrary-use" privileges, including check-out, as approved by home library
cross-registration for courses
inter-institutional group-purchasing arrangements
continuing education programs for library personnel
AMPALS Atlanta Metropolitan Private Academic Libraries
AMPALS comprises the libraries representing the private colleges and
universities within ARCHE, as well as the libraries of Mercer University
in Macon. This group was formed to facilitate the participation of this
constituency in GALILEO, funded initially by a grant from the Woodruff
Foundation secured by the University Center in Georgia.
GALILEO Georgia Library Learning Online (www.galileo.peachnet.edu)
Initiated and managed by the University System of Georgia, GALILEO is
a state-wide, multi-type electronic library project. The most significant
of several components is the collection of online databases and other
electronic resources maintained through the GALILEO website.
The Oberlin Group is an informal alliance of the libraries associated
with approximately seventy of the nation's most selective liberal arts
colleges. Benefits include discounted group pricing on a number of electronic
resources, including PROJECT MUSE and JSTOR, and group memberships in
organizations such as the Center for Library and Information Resources
and the Coalition for Networked Information.
SOLINET Southeastern Library Information Network
The regional library network for eleven states, SOLINET brokers our access
to OCLC services. Other valuable services provided by SOLINET include
an extensive training program, preservation services, retrospective conversion,
research in electronic publishing, and group discounts on purchases of
library supplies and resources.
OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc.
A non-profit library computer service and research organization with worldwide membership, OCLC provides the infrastructure that supports cooperative online cataloging, interlibrary lending transaction and maintenance of the world's largest bibliographic union catalog. We also make use of OCLC's reference services as part of the GALILEO project.
The Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education
Agnes Scott College
Atlanta College of Art
Clark Atlanta University
Clayton College and State University
Columbia Theological Seminary
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia State University
Institute of Paper Science and Technology
Interdenominational Theological Center
Kennesaw State University
Mercer University (Atlanta Campus)
Morehouse School of Medicine
Morris Brown College
Southern Polytechnic State University
University of Georgia
The following libraries are Associate Members of the Library Council,
although their parent institutions or governing bodies are not members
Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
Atlanta History Center Library
Carter Presidential Library
Georgia Department of Archives and History
Office of Public Library Services, Georgia Department of Technical and
The Library Bill of Rights
American Library Association
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.
I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
V. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to
the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable
basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups
requesting their use.
Adopted June 18, 1948.
Amended February 2, 1961, and January 23, 1980, inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996,