Collection Development Policy




Purpose Statement

The purpose of this policy document is to guide librarians and faculty in developing and maintaining a balanced collection responsive to the changing needs of the institution and its campus community.  Principles will be applied in a manner consistent with the building of collections whose materials meet rigorous academic standards and provide factual and well documented arguments on all sides of controversial issues.

Background Statement

The University of Mount Union was founded in 1846 as a teacher’s college and has expanded over time to support a wide array of liberal arts and professional disciplines.  The University of Mount Union offers a liberal arts education grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Mount Union is a traditional undergraduate residential university, with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,200 and has recently begun to develop small specialized graduate programs. 

Mission, Goals, and Objectives

The University affirms the importance of reason, open inquiry, living faith and individual worth.  Mount Union’s mission is to prepare students for fulfilling lives, meaningful work and responsible citizenship. 

The University of Mount Union Libraries are an active partner in this mission, seeking to develop information literate students, preparing them for academic success and for life in an information society.  The University of Mount Union Libraries includes the Main Library, housed in the Kolenbrander Harter Information Center complex, and the Sturgeon Music Library, housed in Cope Music Hall.  Library staff works with faculty to develop collections supportive of the University’s curriculum and tailored to the research and developmental needs of our students and faculty.   The main purpose of our collection development effort is to provide students with the materials needed to excel in their academic programs.  Secondary purposes include the support of faculty research and support of the intellectual and recreational needs of our users.

Target Audience

The University of Mount Union Library’s holdings are developed for the primary purpose of supporting the curriculum and the research endeavors of our students, faculty, administration, and staff.  Because we are a Federal Depository for government documents, the public is welcomed and encouraged to make use of our collections.

Responsibility for Collection Development

Librarians and Faculty share responsibility for developing the collection. By way of the liaison program, they coordinate their efforts to ensure that the library collects to meet the needs of the University as a whole, and its individual departments.  Librarians serve as liaisons to all academic departments. The main responsibility of the liaisons is to maintain communication between the Library and the faculty. As the library subject specialists, the liaisons serve as materials selectors, and assess collection strengths and weaknesses.  Faculty and librarians in different departments may collaborate on collection development in different ways depending on the needs of the discipline and the resources available. 

In order to facilitate the Library Liaison Program each academic department is assigned a subject librarian and each department is asked to appoint a faculty member to serve as library liaison.  The assigned faculty member and librarian work together to disseminate publishers’ literature, review materials, and other descriptive materials and coordinate the collection of order requests.  The departmental librarian prepares these orders for submission and transfers them to the library director who pre-checks them before placing orders with the acquisitions staff.  Both department chairs and faculty library liaisons receive monthly budget reports keeping them apprised of expenditures, encumbrances and current budget balances.  The directors of interdisciplinary programs are encouraged to submit their requests to the library director and these items are purchased with library controlled funds from the Library Side or New Fields accounts.  Separate budgets for Juvenile Literature, Curriculum Materials, and Educational Media cover materials purchased for the Curriculum Resource Center.  Books and reference materials for the Music Library are purchased from library funds while sheet music and recordings are purchased with Music Department funding.

Budgeting and Funding

Library acquisitions funds, the largest portion of the library’s budget, are derived from both the Brush endowment fund and from the library’s annual operating budget.  These funds are divided between a series of accounts, many of which are designated to cover ongoing commitments.  These funds include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Books – Paper
Books – Electronic
Non-Print Materials
Periodicals – Paper
Periodicals – Electronic

Periodicals (both print and electronic), DVDs and videos, Electronic books, and databases are all purchased from central library funds.  Recommendations are solicited from faculty, and the librarians as a group decide between these requests based on available funding and curricular needs.  Binding and microform replacement costs are also provided centrally where still needed.

Traditional book purchases are segregated into the following budget categories:

Library Side
Standing Orders
New Fields

Standing Orders and Reference materials in all subject fields are purchased from central funds.  The General fund provides for interdisciplinary materials and issue oriented materials.  New Fields funds are used to provide seed money for the development of new programs or new courses.  Replacement funds offset the cost of replacing lost or damaged items.

Departmental book funds are divided among academic programs based on the depth and breadth of the curriculum, number of faculty, and number of students enrolled in a particular major.  While there is not a set formula for this allocation, funds are shifted over time as the relative strength of departments change.  Library Side funds are always equivalent to one half of the funds set aside for departments.  These funds are used to help with expensive or specialized materials which would not normally be covered by departmental budgets.  These funds also allow some flexibility for the librarians assigned to each department to address inadequacies in collection building in their subject areas. 

Selection Criteria & Format Statement

The following criteria are used to identify resources needed to support the curriculum.  In selecting materials for our library collections, both print and electronic, the following factors should be given consideration:

1. Subject matter and Scope

a. Selected materials should be directly related to the curricular objectives of academic departments and provide support for the study and research required for academic excellence.

b. Materials on all sides of current social and political issues should be considered.

c. Materials should be provided for the encouragement of lifetime literacy skills and the development of an appreciation of recreational reading.

d. Local historical materials will be collected to reflect the history of the University and the history of the surrounding community.

2. Academic Validity

a. Selected materials should meet rigorous academic standards and demonstrate fact based research and adequate documentation.

b. Authors and professional groups responsible for these materials should be of sound academic reputation and not identified with any bias or polemical approaches.

c. Materials should be written at a college or adult level and contribute to the development of advanced information literacy skills, with the exception of school level materials for the Curriculum Resource Center.

3. Material Formats

a. Hard copy book collections shall be built to represent the core materials supportive of current academic programs and shall be selected where possible in a durable format. Paperback materials may be selected in subject areas where titles are quickly replaced with new editions.

b. Electronic book collections should be selected to augment these core materials, particularly in subject areas where the collection needs to be strengthened. Preference will be given to electronic collections which broaden or deepen existing paper collections. Preference will also be given to collections which will provide timely updates to our technical collections in areas such as computer science, scientific and medical subjects.

c. Journal collections shall be selected, wherever possible, in electronic format so that journal articles may be effectively delivered to the users’ desktop. Paper journal collections will be maintained for news magazines, artistic materials and those titles not yet available or affordable in electronic format.

d Visual materials will be collected in a viewing format compatible with the current video technology and equipment for its use will be provided. Video materials will be selected to support the curriculum rather than for entertainment purposes.

e. Reference materials, both print and electronic, will be selected to provide access to organized scholarly research. The emphasis of our reference collections will be on finding aids and scholarly compilations of subject knowledge. In particular, databases and finding aids will be provided which support access to academic literature in the subject disciplines offered in our curriculum.

f. While the textbooks used in classes are not routinely purchased, textbooks may be added in subject areas where they represent the largest portion of published subject materials and for reference purposes. Where possible, these selections should not be the textbooks assigned for class use.

g. Materials for use as class reserves will be purchased as requested by faculty. The library recommends at least one paper copy for every ten students in a class. Where possible, within valid copyright restrictions, materials should be provided in electronic or scanned formats so that they may be accessible at the student’s desktop.

4. Cost and Duplication

a. The cost of library materials will be considered as an important factor in selection decisions. Cost per item will be weighed against the importance of the title to its subject field and consideration will be given to normal cost levels experienced in the related subject field. The library will not support vanity publishing. The availability of existing copies of a given title at local consortium libraries will be taken into consideration in decisions regarding expensive materials.

b. Under normal circumstances the library will purchase only one copy of each title, although additional copies may be purchased for reserve or group use at faculty request.

Acquisitions Process

The Library makes use of a number of specialized vendors in order to acquire library materials with a minimum of paperwork and at the best possible discount price.  Books are ordered through a small number of vendors who specialize in acquiring certain types of materials.  Journal subscriptions are placed annually with a periodical vendor who provides centralized renewal services.  Specialty items like DVD’s are most often purchased through a commercial discount dealer like Amazon.  Expensive reference items are often purchased directly from the publisher or from a vendor, depending on where the deepest discount in available.  Out of print and out of stock items are often purchased through used book vendors, especially those who are able to identify the condition of the ordered item.  Some specialized materials, such as realia and curriculum materials, are ordered directly from an author or publisher website as the only avenue for purchase.

All orders placed by faculty or staff are pre-checked by the assigned subject librarian and then submitted to the library director, who is also the acquisitions librarian.  The director makes the decision on the best acquisitions channel and then forwards the orders to the acquisitions staff.  Orders are placed electronically through a vendor or publisher website whenever possible In order to reduce processing and payment costs.  Order records are created by cataloging staff and are used throughout the acquisitions and cataloging process.  Received items are carefully matched with order records to eliminate duplication and to guarantee that the item is exactly what was ordered.  Faculty may attach their name to a requested item which will cause it to be placed on hold for them after physical processing is completed.  Reserve materials can also be directed in a similar manner so that they may go directly to the class reserve shelf.

Government Publications
In 1888, the 16th Congressional District from the State of Ohio selected the Mount Union Library to serve as a depository library within the United States Federal Depository System.  As the University of Mount Union, the Library continues to serve the 16th Congressional District.

With the designation of depository status, the Library assumes responsibility for acquiring, maintaining and providing access to information collected, processed and published by the federal government for the constituents of the 16th Congressional District. This collection serves the needs of the university curriculum and those of the general public. Information resources and publications are acquired in a variety of formats including hard copy, electronic, and internet accessible materials.

Strengths of the collection include selected items from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce including the Census Bureau, the Department of Labor, the Department of the Interior, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Congressional publications.

The Government Documents Librarian coordinates collection development efforts with the Director of Libraries, and other government documents librarians in the 16th Congressional District. Additionally, the Library strives to coordinate collection efforts with other depository libraries in the OPAL Consortium. 

Special Collections

The Robert Herman Carr Historical Room

The purpose of the Robert Herman Carr Historical Room is to centrally house, preserve, and provide access to the history of the college since its founding in 1846.  The historical collection was established by Robert Herman Carr ( ’02) , the first business manager of the college, who collected and preserved those original materials that would become the nucleus of the collection.   The special efforts of N. Yost Osborne (’36), head librarian and college historian from 1955-1985, helped to further accumulate, compile, and organize this collection.

Materials collected include the history of the college and official publications of the university.  Alumni publications and local history materials are also acquired for this collection.

Collections within the Historical Room include numerous historical materials of the university, a hymnal collection, publications authored by alumni, publications of the early history of northeast Ohio, the Headland Collection which includes publications about early Chinese life and culture, the Crow Collection of educational books, the Kunkle family collection, and commemorative plates of Mount Union.

The Wagner Lounge and Shilts Rare Book Room Collections

Between the 1960’s and 1970’s the Library received  donations of well over 1500 volumes from  the private library of W.D. Shilts,  former Secretary of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and retired Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Mount Union. With these donations, the Library established the Shilts Rare Book Room Collections which includes the following significant materials:

  • The Sutherin Classical Collection containing rare and early editions of Greek and Latin classics and facsimiles of Biblical codices given by Charles Sutherin (’03)
  • The Samuel Austin English Bible Collection: Bibles from the sixteenth century including a facsimile of the Gutenberg Bible given by Samuel Austin 
  • The Churchill collection, representative first editions of the writings of Winston Churchill
  • The Private Press Collection containing early books created as an artistic craft by individual presses
  • The Graphic Art Collection given by Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Shilts which is illustrative of the development of books and printing
  • A collection of numerous examples of early calligraphy and typography

Resource Sharing

As a full partner in the educational mission of the University of Mount Union, the Library's holdings are designed to complement the college curriculum and to aid faculty and students in their research and learning. Our first priority is to have resource materials available for the University of Mount Union students, faculty, and staff. If the needed item is not available at the University of Mount Union, then individuals may request the desired items from either OPAL (our Consortium) or our statewide OhioLINK system. Students, faculty and staff of OPAL or OhioLINK institutions may also borrow materials from the University of Mount Union through the same patron-initiated process.  Thus, the University of Mount Union serves as both a lending and borrowing agent with regards to resource sharing throughout the state of Ohio.

When an item is not available through OPAL or OhioLINK, then that item may be requested through the Interlibrary Loan process. Library materials needed for the purposes of study, instruction, information, or research may be requested.  The library staff of the University of Mount Union will make every effort to find the items as requested by the borrower. The lending library has the responsibility of deciding, on a case by case basis, whether a particular item should or should not be provided, and whether the original or a copy may be sent. These decisions are determined by the nature of the material, or its physical condition, or the degree of active demand for the material requested. 

Copyright Statement

The University of Mount Union adheres to all provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.)

The library staff actively promotes compliance with Fair Use Guidelines by producing and distributing appropriate memos, notices, and signage to assist students, faculty, and staff in their understanding of the guidelines.

Intellectual Freedom

The Library provides access to all resource materials appropriate to the pursuit of academic research regardless of social and/or political judgment in accordance with the mission of the Library, the University’s commitment to open inquiry, and the Library Bill of Rights.1  Access is provided with the understanding that individuals may examine all points of view without restriction.

Gifts and Exchanges

Gift books to the University of Mount Union Library are accepted with the understanding that the Library will retain them only if they complement the collection in support of current curriculum and course development. Books deemed not appropriate for the collection are passed along to the Friends of Rodman Public Library for their annual book sale. Departmental liaisons may be consulted before final decisions are made.  The Director of Libraries will make the final determination and send appropriate acknowledgement to the donor upon request. Valuations of donations are not made or given to the donor for tax or other purposes.  Donated books will receive special bookplates with donor information.

Monetary gifts are generally handled through the university’s Office of Advancement. Materials purchased with monetary gifts will receive special bookplates with donor information. Additionally, an acknowledgement of the gift and information regarding the items purchased with that gift will be sent to the donor by the Director of Libraries.

As a member of the OPAL consortium, the Library adheres to guidelines established by OPAL for exchange of materials.  Specifically, as materials are processed for withdrawal from the collection, the OPAL catalog is consulted to see if the titles in question remain elsewhere in the consortium. The OhioLINK catalog may also be consulted should the title be deemed no longer appropriate for the current collection/curriculum and course development. “Last standing” titles are to be retained by the holding library should no other titles be held in either OPAL or OhioLINK unless the title has no value of an academic nature.  Titles which will not be retained by the Library may be offered to other libraries in the OhioLINK consortium. Likewise, selected journal titles to be withdrawn from the library collection may be offered to other exchange lists.

Collection Evaluation & Weeding

Library subject specialists assess the usefulness, relevance, and physical condition of the libraries’ collection on a continuing basis.  Librarians identify subject areas which need to be strengthened.  As the curriculum changes, library subject specialists recommend appropriate materials to improve the correlation between the collections and the curriculum.  Steps are taken to ensure that collections remain up to date and relevant.  

Collection assessment also includes a weeding process.  Books judged to be irrelevant, outdated, unused, in poor physical condition, or superseded by new editions will be removed from the collection in accordance with the OPAL Weeding Guidelines (2003). Criteria for removal vary among academic disciplines.  Our efforts are based on recommendations by the teaching faculty and the requirements of each subject field. 

Inventory, shelf reading, and evaluation of the collection’s physical condition are done on an ongoing basis.  Books in bad physical repair, but still worth keeping, will be repaired if possible, or replaced with new copies when they are available.   These activities assure that the library catalog is kept up to date and accurately reflects the library's holdings.  Library collections should be easily accessible to local users and to fill Interlibrary Loan requests. 

1Office for Intellectual Freedom.  American Library Association. “Intellectual Freedom Manual.” 6th Edition. Chicago: ALA, 2002, p.57-58.

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