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Library Policies

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Policy Statement


A. Purpose

The purpose of this collection management policy is to inform library staff, faculty and users of the principles that guide decisions concerning the acquisition and management of the Gingrich Library collection. Budget considerations, space limitations, and changes in the ways that users access information all contribute to the shape of the library's collection. These ever-changing factors necessitate the creation of a flexible policy that can respond and adapt to the needs of our users and serve as a guide to facilitate the decision-making process.

B. Community

Albright College is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The college is accredited by the Middle States Association and offers bachelors' degrees in the arts and sciences as well as a master's degree in education. Gingrich Library serves approximately 2,000 students and over 100 full-time faculty. While the library is open and accessible to the general public, the primary service community consists of the students, faculty and staff of Albright College. The needs of these primary users will always be at the forefront of collection management decisions.

C. Objective and Missions

The ultimate goal of collection management at Gingrich Library is to support the mission of Albright College, which is "to inspire and educate the scholar and leader in each student, building on a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences and a commitment to the best of human values, fostering a commitment to a lifetime of service and learning." Albright College encourages an interdisciplinary approach to learning by allowing students to combine majors across the academic spectrum. This individualized approach requires adequate and appropriate support from the Gingrich Library collection. As outlined in its mission statement, the Gingrich Library strives to provide the resources that meet the information needs of students and faculty.

D. Cooperation

Gingrich Library will supplement its collection whenever necessary through the use of interlibrary loan. Likewise, the library will share its resources through interlibrary loan with other institutions. Current cooperative arrangements include ACLCP (Associated College Libraries of Central Pennsylvania), LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing) and Lyrasis, a consortium of academic, public, school and special libraries in the Mid-Atlantic region.

E. Intellectual Freedom Statement

Gingrich Library supports the principles set forth in the ALA Library Bill of Rights and adopted by the ACRL Intellectual Freedom Committee . Selection and preservation issues are decided without partisanship regarding matters of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political or moral philosophy. The library strives to present a variety of perspectives on subjects that may be considered controversial

F. Copyright and Fair Use

The Gingrich Library supports the federal laws governing Copyright and Fair Use of all materials and formats, as set out in the 1978 Copyright Act, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the 2001 TEACH Act.

G. Statement of Responsibility

While collection management is a shared task amongst the professional librarians, faculty and students of the Albright College community, the ultimate responsibility for collection management decisions rests with the Collection Management Librarian for the general stacks and the Special Collection Librarian for the Special Collections area. The ultimate responsibility for the materials budget rests with the Library Director. Librarians make selections for purchase based upon their knowledge of the collection and curriculum, faculty recommendations, and by consulting reviews in standard academic selection tools such as Choice. Faculty members are encouraged to participate as fully as possible in this process so that course needs can be met. The library encourages those faculty members writing grant proposals to include the library in this process to ensure sufficient collection support for new courses or programs.

H. Statement of Revision

Since neither the academic world nor the world of information access is static, this policy will be reviewed and revised on an annual basis by the Gingrich Library staff. Suggestions for changes to this document are welcome from all campus constituencies, but the professional librarians and the Library Director will agree upon all modifications. Changes will be communicated to the entire Gingrich Library staff and to the appropriate members of the Albright College community.


A. General Description and Collection Emphases

Materials will be collected in all formats. Printed materials include books, magazines, newspapers and journals. Non-print items include audiovisual materials, microforms and electronic resources. All subject areas essential to a liberal arts education as defined in the mission statement of Albright College are collected. Priority will be given to support programs, concentrations and co-concentrations currently offered. Requests submitted to the Suggestion Box and the online form to Recommend a Book Purchase will be considered.

B. Selection Criteria and Levels of Collecting

The following are general criteria that are considered when selecting materials for the collection:

  • Perceived level of usefulness to the primary user community
  • Appropriateness of content in terms of educational and artistic merit
  • Usefulness of the item to the curriculum
  • Reputation of author or publisher
  • Cost of item
  • Currency of the material
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Added value to the collection of materials for that subject
  • Appropriateness for leisure reading, listening or viewing.

Materials will be collected at a level appropriate to the undergraduate curriculum (general support) or at the graduate level (introductory research) if the material is specifically to support that program.

The library recognizes the value of providing recreational materials for the enjoyment and the enrichment of the Albright community. These materials will be purchased as budget allows.

Materials added to Special Collections have more specific specifications for inclusion (see the Collection Development Statement, Rare Books).

C. Statement on Language and Multiple Copies

Materials will be collected primarily in the English language. Materials in foreign or classical languages that support the curriculum will be collected. Multiple copies of materials are purchased or added only under exceptional circumstances.

D. Statement on Currency vs. Retrospective Purchases

The emphasis in collection development will be in obtaining the most current sources available that meet selection criteria. Retrospective purchases may be required at times to complete a gap in the collection or to replace a lost item that is deemed valuable to the collection.

E. Statement on Donations

Gingrich Library accepts donations or gifts with the understanding that these materials become the property of the library. The library reserves the right to refuse any donation or return donated items not needed. Donated items must meet the same standards as purchased items in order to be considered for addition to the collection, and their inclusion and/or disposal will be at the librarians' discretion. Library staff may remove gifts from the collection at any time and without notification. Conditional gifts will not be accepted. The library assumes no responsibility for the appraisal of gift items.

F. Statement on De-selection and Replacement of Materials

The Gingrich Library collection will be continually examined in an effort to remove materials that are deemed obsolete, duplicate, inappropriate to the mission of Albright College or beyond repair. This process is a joint effort between librarians and faculty members and can be most effective only with the full involvement of both. Faculty members are encouraged to keep librarians apprised of outdated or unused materials so that more useful materials can take their place. Materials that are beyond repair but are still deemed valuable by librarians and faculty members will be replaced.

G. Statement on Leisure Materials and Personal Purchases

The Gingrich Library shall make available some leisure or popular reading and viewing material, including current best-selling books, music or movies. Leisure materials purchased or rented with funds from the Library's materials budget are housed in Gingrich Library and are made available to all Albright students, faculty, staff, and Library Society members. Materials for personal use and research or materials to be used solely in the classroom, should not be requested for purchase with the Library's funds.

H. Remote Access

The Gingrich Library supports the ACRL Guidelines for Distance Learning Library Services, which stress that "access to adequate library services and resources is essential for the attainment of superior academic skills in post-secondary education, regardless of where students and faculty, and programs are located." To this end, the Library will negotiate licensing agreements whenever possible that provide access to electronic resources for all authorized users regardless of their location.

I. Physical Location of Materials

The Gingrich Library maintains the right to determine which materials are housed in open or restricted shelving areas.


A. Print

Print materials will be collected in either hardcover or paperback format, based on durability issues, expected use, cost, anticipated long-term value and whether it is a new edition of a critical work. Paperback books with suspected heavy usage may be bound before they are added to the collection. Textbooks will generally not be collected unless they are regarded as classic or critical works in that subject field.

Because subscriptions to print serials entail a long-term commitment of resources, greater selectivity will be applied to these items. Cost and importance to the subject field will be critical factors in this decision. Other factors include the number of interlibrary loan requests for the title and the strength of titles already held in that subject area. In an effort to alleviate the budgetary impact of adding new serial titles, faculty recommending print serial titles for addition to the collection must submit a written justification for the title under consideration, and as a department, are required to suggest the title(s) of other serial(s) in the same subject area for removal from the collection in order to receive high priority. Recommendations without departmental approval or serial cancellations may receive lower priority. Librarians have the discretion to accept or deny a recommendation.

The Gingrich Library is not a Federal Depository. Selected government publications are purchased and incorporated into the general collection.

B. Audiovisual Materials

Non-print materials such as audio and video cassettes, CDs and DVDs are purchased to support curriculum needs. Specific formats are selected based on usability and durability. These materials must be previewed by faculty for quality and appropriateness before any decision can be made regarding their purchase. Audiovisual materials are kept in a locked storage room in the library accessible by library staff.

C. Electronic Resources

The introduction and continuing evolution of new technologies and formats provides new opportunities for information access. While these issues are not inherently different or foreign to those concerning other resources, there are special considerations that deserve statement here. For instance, many electronic resources are not physically acquired in the same sense that a book or video is added to the collection. The Internet, electronic serial subscriptions and databases are examples of electronic resources that are accessed rather than physically added to the collection. Others, such as CD-ROMs, may be defined in the traditional sense.

As always, the needs of the user community and the mission of Albright College will guide the selection of electronic resources. The user community, consisting of students, faculty and staff, requires multiple access points both on and off campus. While the library serves as a central access point, classrooms, computer laboratories, dorm rooms and remote access from off-campus are all viable options. This policy will continue to evolve to reflect the needs of the user and adapt to changes in technology and access, particularly as the capabilities for distance education continue to grow.

Rising costs and limited budgets are of particular concern when dealing with access to electronic resources. Whenever possible, Gingrich Library will strive to share the costs and benefits of electronic access with cooperating institutions or consortia. Such cooperating relationships must continue to be pursued and evaluated in order to maximize electronic information access for users.

The evaluation of electronic resources will apply many of the same standards as traditional resource selection. These include such factors as relevance, quality, currency, frequency of revision, scope, language and geographic coverage. Other criteria will be specific to the unique nature of access to electronic resources. These factors include:

  • Electronic resources should provide special features that enhance the accessibility of information such as linking capabilities, advanced indexing and search capabilities, etc.
  • Favorable consideration will be given to publishers or vendors that demonstrate stability and provide excellent technical support, training, and documentation to facilitate the use of their product.
  • Whenever possible, trial subscriptions will be utilized to evaluate an electronic subscription service before it is purchased.
  • Favorable consideration will be given to licenses that facilitate remote user access by increasing access points and decreasing the amount of passwords and other limitations via the use of a proxy server.
  • Preference will be given to electronic services that feature archival capabilities.
  • Because many electronic resources are offered only in groups of collected database services, they must be carefully evaluated in order to ensure a minimum of overlapped or repetitive services.
  • Electronic resources will not automatically replace print collections that are integral to the educational goals or mission of the college. The continued utility of such print sources will be weighed against the needs of the collection in all cases. Electronic resources that have print counterparts should provide access to all of the necessary information available in the print counterpart, including illustrations.
  • Favorable consideration will be given to electronic resources that benefit the greatest population of users. As with traditional resources, expensive requests must be justified.

D. Links to electronic resources

The Gingrich Library will use the same criteria for adding links to the library online catalog as it does for adding similar paper, audiovisual or electronic resource materials.

Effective Date: August 20, 2005
Last Revised: October 3, 2005

Last annual review: August 2008