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  • Collection Development Policies and Procedures

Drew University Library

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The Library exists to support the total program of the University. Therefore, the development of the Library collections should parallel the development of the University itself. Library materials will be acquired, as funds allow, in accordance with the following priorities, ranked in descending order of importance:1. Materials to support the current teaching programs of the University, noting the instructional needs in each discipline;

2. General reference works and works in fields not currently represented in University programs, but which are of such importance that they belong in any reputable academic library;

3. Materials to support: a) historically strong collections linked to research areas of the University; and b) the research needs of students and faculty when consonant with teaching programs;

4. Materials that: a) form a basic collection in support of anticipated future programs of the University; b) support interest in topics of current concern to members of the University community; c) augment a limited number of special collections;

5. Appropriate varieties of extracurricular library materials, e.g., popular literature.
Within the parameters identified above, the Library will attempt to include all subjects, viewpoints and methodologies.

All materials purchased with funds allocated to the Library become Library property, available for the use of the entire University community. It is inappropriate to use Library funds to acquire materials for the exclusive use of any group or individual. Departmental or personal office collections should be purchased with the funds of the department or person using such collections.

In selecting materials to support undergraduate instruction, priority will be given to materials in English or in English translation, since that is the language of instruction and reading assignments in the College. Exceptions are made when the subject of study is other languages and literatures and when seminally important works are not available in English translation. Translations from English into other languages or from one foreign language into another will not be acquired unless significant scholarship is also represented.

Budgetary and space constraints preclude the purchase of duplicate copies. Although students are expected to provide their own textbooks, the Library will occasionally purchase such material at the recommendation of, or in consultation with, faculty.

As necessary for reasons of currency, space, and physical condition, Library collections may be reviewed for discard or alternate format (if available), following the same principles used in selecting materials for acquisition.

Library and Faculty Coordination

Since the faculty of the three schools are most directly involved with the teaching and research programs of the University, they are expected to have a key role in selecting materials supporting these programs. Structurally, it is the departmental library liaisons who coordinate this faculty role in the College of Liberal Arts; in the Theological and Caspersen Schools, subject specialists work with faculty in selecting materials. The Library also offers to meet with new faculty, both to inform them of strengths in our collection that seem to match their interests and to benefit from their perspectives on the collection.

Besides these mechanisms, all faculty are encouraged to recommend specific titles or to contact us about more general subjects that seem to need greater representation in the collection. The Library staff accepts faculty recommendations for purchases as long as funds are available and the item requested falls within the guidelines of the acquisitions policy statement.

It is expected that faculty or departments planning new academic programs will be in conversation with the Library about the adequacy of Library collections to support the proposed program and the costs of developing and maintaining such collections. Budget proposals in support of new programs will include funding for Library collections.

Because the Library faculty has the responsibility for the development of a well-balanced collection, Library faculty may also initiate the purchase of material in general and specific subject areas.

Student Input

Students seeking to have items added to the collection are encouraged to submit requests. These. requests will be given serious consideration whenever the material requested meets the guidelines of this policy.

The Library does not purchase the materials a student needs for a thesis or dissertation unless the materials fall with the guidelines of this policy. For other materials, students doing advanced research should rely on Interlibrary Loan or make other appropriate arrangements; the Library will help students to locate off-campus resources.There is one exception to this policy. Each year, the Caspersen School awards the John Mulder Prize to the student with the highest Comprehensive Examination results. The prize entitles the recipient to select materials costing up to $500 for his or her own dissertation work. The materials remain part of the Drew collections and are identified with a bookplate recognizing the student.

Budget Preparation

In developing the budget for collections, the Library has used the following criteria: the level of instruction and the presence of a major or (in the Theological School and Caspersen School) concentration in the discipline or field; the relative importance of periodical and monograph literature in a particular discipline as determined by that discipline; and the volume of publishing and cost per title. Budget allocations may be increased by the rate of inflation, by significant changes in the programs themselves, or in recognition of collection gaps (as indicated by faculty requests). Discipline and format allocations are determined annually, considering such factors as average price of books and other materials in a subject area, volume of publishing within a discipline, and total funds available. The Library's approach is the accepted standard for liberal arts institutions of our type.


Content, not format, will be the basic criterion for deciding whether to add any item to the collection. However since there may be significant costs involved in providing appropriate access to some types of materials, format cannot be completely ignored. Projected use, cost, and available space will determine whether to buy any individual item in print, microform, or electronic format if more than one format is available.


When a book is available in both hardcover and paperback editions, it will usually be acquired in hardcover. Paperback copies will be purchased only if the difference in price is significantly more than the added cost of having the paperback bound and if the anticipated use will not be heavy.

In the case of titles that have gone through several editions, the latest edition will automatically be acquired unless an earlier edition is specified because of historical value or because it contains material not included in the later edition.

Out of Print Items

When a book requested is found to be out-of-print, the Library will notify the requestor. Although the Library will make a reasonable effort to acquire the title from a book dealer, it can never be anticipated that an out-of-print work will become available at an affordable price or in a specified length of time. Reprint editions or microform may be acquired when available.


Selection of individual journal titles is made in consultation with academic departments. Funds for new, current subscriptions come from the discipline's journals budget, but files of back issues are charged to discipline book accounts. As with out-of-print books, the availability of back issues cannot be anticipated. Back files will be acquired in microform or electronic format if available or, failing that, in reprint, unless the original edition is essential (e.g., microform would not be purchased for art or biological journals in which colored illustrations are an integral part of the intellectual content).

Journal article reprints are not acquired for the permanent collection.

Government Publications

Based on the teaching programs of the University, the Library selects appropriate materials to be included in the Documents Depository. United States, United Nations and New Jersey documents not accessible in this way may be ordered individually within the guidelines of this statement.

Electronic Resources

Sources available in electronic format are selected primarily on the basis of their content and added research potential. The Library will consider ease and breadth of access, as well as stability of format, when purchasing electronic resources.

Video and Other Audiovisual Media

The Library maintains an audio music collection on CD-ROM. It is currently developing a pilot project to collect DVDs to support instructional programs. The Media Resource Center, a department of Instructional Technology Services, maintains a video collection to support classroom instruction. These materials are cataloged in the Library's online catalog. The Library will occasionally acquire materials in this area at faculty request.


Materials received as gifts will be evaluated by the same criteria as materials purchased. Since all items generate processing, storage, and access costs, the Library requires that gift materials enhance the academic value of the collection. Gifts should be given with the understanding that items that the Library staff assesses as unneeded (e.g., duplicate copies, materials inappropriate for an academic library, materials outside the scope of the collection) will be disposed of by sale, exchange, donation, or discard.


When titles in the collection are reported missing or lost, those requested for teaching or research will be replaced promptly if they are still obtainable. Titles for which there is not an immediate need may not be replaced for a period, since it has been the experience of the Library that many titles reported lost are in fact found within a predictable period of time. When an inventory of the collection is taken, missing items in demand will be replaced as soon as feasible. Missing or lost titles may always be requested though Interlibrary Loan.



Monograph order recommendations may be submitted by: 1) using the library book order request cards (yellow); or 2) initialing the Choice review slips supplied to departments and area studies coordinators by the Library; or 3) using the Book Acquisition Form accessible through the Library's home page. Requests may also be sent by email. The yellow card or online form should be filled out as fully as possible, though it is not expected that full information will always be available to those initiating requests. Catalogs or brochures are a helpful supplement to the order card itself, especially in the case of small, non-commercial publishers; catalogs and brochures will be returned to the person placing the order if he or she so requests.

When orders for out-of-print titles are submitted on the basis of a listing in a dealer's catalog, it is essential that the catalog accompany the order request and that the order reach the library as quickly as possible. The catalog will be returned if requested. If out-of-print titles are located on one of the out-of-print Web sites, e.g., Abebooks, the particular site should be indicated.

Library liaisons and individual faculty are encouraged to spread their order requests evenly through the ordering period (primarily June 1 to March 31 of each year), which will facilitate processing by the Acquisitions staff. Very large groups of order requests, especially late in the year, are subject to delays. The University's fiscal year opens on July 1 and closes the following June 30. Unexpended funds cannot be carried forward. Placing order requests early in the fiscal year allows ample time for materials to be received and invoices to be processed within the current fiscal year.

Orders are processed by the Acquisitions staff in the order received, to ensure fair treatment to all departments. For most current U.S. imprints, the requested title should be available 2 to 3 months following request. Priority handling can be given to genuine "Rush" orders, but this designation should be used sparingly, and only for titles which are genuinely needed by a specific date. If large numbers of "Rush" orders are received, it is obviously impossible to expedite their handling, and the designation will have to be disregarded. It must be noted that publishers and wholesalers do not always honor "Rush" designations. Once a book has been received by the library, rush processing may always be requested if necessary.

The online catalog displays the status "ordered" from the point of order until receipt of the book by the Library when the status changes to "received". Once the title is available on the shelves, the catalog lists the call number of the book. More specific questions about a book with the status "ordered" or "received" should be directed to Circulation staff. Faculty are encouraged to use the New Acquisitions List online to check for new titles in their discipline. The Library is exploring the capabilities of the new operating system (Sirsi) to provide automatic and electronic notification of the availability for use of a requested title.

Although the Library will process order requests throughout the year, it cannot guarantee that requests received after March 31 will be processed and received on the current fiscal year. To allow for cancellations of out-of-print titles and delays in supply of titles out-of-stock at the publisher, budget encumbrances should exceed actual allocations by 10 to 15 percent. Library liaisons should use this greater amount as a guideline in submitting requests. In the event that book accounts are not fully encumbered by April 1, the Library will make selections in those disciplines to ensure that allocations are spent.

Faculty members should be aware that monographs of a general or interdisciplinary nature may sometimes be charged to a fund different from that of their discipline. Reference works, no matter how subject-specific, are charged to a general reference account.

The Library will supply an accounting of current allocation and the previous year's allocation and expenditure for each discipline at the beginning of each academic year. Periodically during the year the current status (allocation, dollars expended, dollars encumbered) of each account is also reported. In the College, these reports will be made to department or area chairs and library liaisons. This information will also be supplied at any time upon request.


Because journal subscriptions require an on-going commitment of Library resources, recommendations for new journal subscriptions must be submitted on the recommendation form available on the Library's home page and from the Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development. Recommendations may be submitted at any time, but requests cannot be processed until February when all renewals for the current fiscal year have been processed. Departments and areas in the College are provided with lists and costs of current subscriptions in their disciplines each January and are encouraged to review these to ascertain that the needs of the instructional program are being met. The Theological Librarian regularly reviews subscriptions in consultation with the Theological School faculty.

Duplication of Print and Electronic Subscriptions 

When journal titles become part of a bundled electronic journal subscription provided by a trusted academic publisher and the bundled subscription is expected to continue indefinitely and to incorporate those journals for the foreseeable future, the Library will cancel the print subscriptions. Examples of such bundled subscriptions are: ProjectMuse, Academic Press's IDEAL (now incorporated into ScienceDirect), Duke e-journals, PsychArticles and ScienceDirect.

It has long been the Library's practice to cancel print subscriptions in this circumstance; often cancellation of the print releases the resources necessary to purchase the electronic. In every case the electronic subscription provides access to more journals than provided by our print subscriptions.

This policy applies only to bundled electronic subscriptions. Individual title subscriptions are decided on a case-by-case basis considering archival issues and preferred format. Generally the Library does not have the resources to subscribe to both print and electronic.

Given the increased opportunities to purchase bundled subscriptions, the Collection Development Committee has formulated this statement to explicitly state Library policy.