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Collection Development Policy: Home

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

(or, Why do we need a policy statement?)

The purpose of this statement is to establish written management guidelines for the continuing growth and maintenance of Kenyon's library collections. By articulating our collection goals and policies, we help ensure that the collections support the needs and interests of the Kenyon community. We hope that this document will provide a forum for faculty, students, administrators, and librarians to provide their input on our strategies. As Kenyon's information needs and the nature of our collections change, we expect this document to evolve. Ultimately, we hope that it will provide structures and procedures for reviewing, interpreting, and implementing policies and for integrating new technologies into our collections.

(or, How do we approach collection development at Kenyon?)

General Philosophy 
Kenyon's library collections, and our subject collection development policies, are attuned to Kenyon's overall educational mission. Among our institutional goals is to "enable our graduates to deal effectively with problems as yet uncalculated." We train our students to "discriminate between the essential and the trivial; to arrive at well-informed value judgments; to be able to work independently and with others." We focus on that which is "essential to the intellectual and moral development of [our] students." We intend to allow these ideals to inform and guide our library collections policies as well. Our collection development policies must be flexible and encourage creative ways of meeting Kenyon's information needs. We must be prepared to meet new collection management challenges, anticipate future needs, and take advantage of promising opportunities as they present themselves.

We intend to create a strong, coherent, balanced, dynamic and versatile library collection. We aim to provide support for a dynamic, diverse College curriculum by collecting at the advanced study level, as defined by the American Library Association, for all majors, departments, and programs. By collecting at this level we insure that Kenyon will have the resources required to support advanced undergraduate programs and sustained independent study.

Our collection is also a resource for faculty research, but our resources do not allow us to systematically collect at the "research" level. This is a significant challenge for most liberal arts colleges. However, institutions working together can build a consortial collection which is both deeper and broader than they could develop without coordination. Kenyon will work to support faculty research through cooperative collection development with the Ohio Five Colleges and OhioLINK consortia. We have and will continue to address specific requests for local purchase of research-level materials on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to supporting the College's formal academic programs, the library provides support for the general academic interests of the Kenyon community. The library collects at the study level for liberal arts disciplines which complement the curriculum. Finally, we collect at the basic level for materials which are of general interest to our community, but where we have no specific curricular offerings.

Specific goals for collection development by subject are outlined in individual department and program collection policy statements. These plans should be the outcome of collaborative discussions among librarians and faculty members. The plans should reflect the current strengths and future goals of the collections. They should be reviewed periodically and updated as necessary.

(or, Who does CD at Kenyon?)

Library Faculty Liaison Program 
The College Librarians and Faculty share responsibility for developing the library collection. By way of the liaison program, they coordinate their efforts to ensure that the Library collects to meet the needs of the College as a whole, and the individual departments. Most librarians, including the Collection Development Librarian, serve as liaisons to several 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, monitor the approval plan, and assess collection strengths and weaknesses. Liaisons also review gifts, provide advocacy for their disciplines in the Library, study collection use, and endeavor to understand community needs. 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. Frequent and open communication is a hallmark of all successful collaborations.

Library Collections Committee 
The Library and Information Services Subcommittee of the College Curricular Policy Committee collaborates with LBIS on policy matters relating to collection development.

Consortial Collection Development 
We are building a superb collection for Kenyon, and we are doing so in a consortial context. We must understand the implications of our consortial commitments for our collection development practices and policies. We recognize, along with our consortial partners, that it is time for us to focus more attention on how our joined collection should grow. We will continue to reduce unnecessary duplication of materials, to save space and allow for greater depth of resources. We will try to reduce duplication of effort, to gain staff time for new projects.

In the past, we saw that our different priorities sometimes aligned by chance; now we see that we have some goals which can only be reached by defining priorities together. This will require a greater level of trust in our partners as well as acceptance from our individual campuses. We know that we will not always find common ground, but even in these areas, the organic approach will continue. Our work to create a research-quality consortial collection is an important part of our support for faculty research.

(or, What do we collect?)

The Library collects a broad spectrum of information resources in a variety of formats. The formats collected include printed books, periodicals, sound recordings, video recordings, maps, microforms, and various electronic resources. The primary criterion for selecting any item is its relevance to Kenyon's teaching mission. Other concerns when we evaluate information resources include their content, accessibility, and viability.

Kenyon has historically placed a high value on collecting printed books, periodicals, and indexes. Collecting books still has a high priority at Kenyon, but we also collect electronic alternatives to hard-copy sources for several types of materials, including journals, indexes, databases, books, videos, and images. Group purchases brokered through OhioLINK have enabled us to purchase these electronic resources at bargain prices. While our policy for paper versions of serials is that we subscribe to them on a "one in, one out" basis (i.e., we add paper serial subscriptions only when we can cancel one in return), turning to electronic subscriptions has enabled us to restore subscriptions to some previously canceled serials, add thousands of new serials titles, and gain access to numerous citation databases and electronic reference services which we previously could not afford. Retrospective electronic collections also open the possibility of reducing storage space required to house the printed versions of these resources.

The Library collects primarily English language materials, but also collects in other languages as required by the curriculum. Foreign language collection is undertaken primarily in support of the study of languages, literatures, and other cultures.

(or, How do we keep it going?)

The Library assesses the usefulness, relevance, and physical condition of its collection on a continuing basis to ensure that we make the best use of the available space. Books judged to be irrelevant, outdated, unused, in poor physical condition, or superseded by new editions will be removed from the collection. Criteria for removal vary among academic disciplines, and our efforts must be informed by the teaching faculty. Books in bad physical repair, but still worth keeping, will be repaired if possible, or replaced with new copies if they are available.

Inventory and shelf reading are to be done on an ongoing basis. These activities assure that the library catalog is kept up to date and accurately reflects the library's holdings, and that library materials may be easily accessed in the building.

Due to the high costs of managing the gift process, the Library's goal in accepting gifts is to acquire only materials which are highly relevant to Kenyon's needs. All potential gifts will be evaluated in terms of the collection development goals of the Library.

Storage Issues 
The library adds over 20,000 volumes annually. In cooperation with the other Five Colleges of Ohio Libraries we are exploring options for our lesser-used volumes. Our goal is to keep a vibrant and useful collection on our campuses, while providing access to a deep variety of materials when library users need them.

Our collection of electronic journals has implications for space utilization as well. We have electronic access to significant retrospective runs of many journals, and we need to consider whether storing the bound versions of these titles is a wise use of space. We also no longer have the luxury of purchasing two copies, both print and electronic, of journal titles. We must learn to rely on the depth of our consortial collection.


This document was reviewed and revised by Joseph M. Murphy, LBIS Director of Information Resources, Karen E. Greever, Collection Development Librarian, and the LBIS Subcommittee of the Curricular Policy Committee in the spring of 2007.

© 2015. LBIS, Kenyon College
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