BUL Collection Development Policy
Philosophy and Mission
The Bethel University Library collections are built to provide strong support to our academic community. The library acquires, organizes, houses and manages a variety of resources in multiple formats. Increasingly, our collection development practice combines the traditional ownership model of acquisition with other methods, such as leasing access to electronic materials as well as interlibrary loan among our consortial partners, with the ultimate goal of timely, convenient and economical access.
The primary goal of the collection is to support our various curricula. Secondarily, we provide access to materials deemed essential for a well educated person as well as materials that provide general enrichment and enjoyment. We are unable to provide materials solely for the research needs of faculty members, though we will do everything possible to acquire those materials not immediately accessible through our free interlibrary loan service.
In addition to owning materials in a variety of formats, the library is committed to providing a wide range of finding tools to locate relevant materials within the disciplines represented at Bethel. These are primarily electronic indexes/databases and are generally licensed subscriptions.
The Library supports Academic Freedom as outlined in the Bethel Faculty Handbook. Additionally, we support the Library Bill of Rights of the American Library Association.
Selection and Deselection Criteria
The library takes into account these criteria when deciding which materials to add to our collection:
• Contribution to curricular needs
• Significance, both short and long term
• Reputation of author/creator/publisher
• Licensing terms (for electronic subscriptions)
• Availability among partner institutions
The library welcomes and actively solicits recommendations from our faculty for materials selection. All requests are considered and have final approval by the Collection Development Librarian.
Because our library has limited space and wishes to maintain an up-to-date collection, we frequently deselect materials with appropriate input of faculty. The following criteria are considered in our deselection process:
• Date of publication
• Currency of information
• Condition of material
• Continued relevance to curriculum
• Use statistics
• Newer editions available
Deselection takes place more regularly in disciplines where currency is paramount (e.g. sciences, social sciences) and less so where it is not (e.g. humanities, history).
Books: the library chooses between paperback and hardcover formats based on cost as well as anticipated use and extended relevance of the item, with paper being the predominate choice. Each year the library purchases an increasing number of electronic books, usually as collections offered through consortial organizations.
Newspapers: most newspapers are held for a period of about 3 months. Many are available electronically for dates older than that.
Journals: journals usually are not added if not included in an index available through our library. Space limitations as well as changing user preferences and flexibility of access incline us toward electronic access where possible. We anticipate adding fewer print journals as time goes on, and will not duplicate print and electronic where stable, ongoing electronic access is available.
Audiovisual Materials: materials are added regularly in commonly used formats. Priority is given to materials needed for coursework, but we also add recreational materials as funds allow.
Microforms: the library owns a substantial collection of film and fiche for journals and ERIC Documents, but has stopped adding new microforms as electronic access to such materials has increased.
Textbooks: as a rule, the library does not collect textbooks, except as part of our K-12 curriculum collection maintained on behalf of the education dept.
Gifts and Donations: the library appreciates donations and decides whether to add them to our collection using the same criteria as for materials we purchase. Unless otherwise arranged, all materials donated become the property of the library and may be disposed of as we see fit. The library will acknowledge such gifts in writing, but cannot offer a monetary evaluation of the donated materials.
Reference Materials: these items remain a valuable adjunct to the regular collection, but due to changing use patterns as well as continuing space restrictions, these items are purchased increasingly in electronic format when available to increase access and free shelf space. Many print reference items now allow limited checkout, while a few have retained their in-library-use-only status.
Electronic Resources: the library purchases and/or leases electronic resources using many of the same criteria as other materials, but also considers the reasonableness of the licensing terms, especially regarding copyright and interlibrary loan privileges; user friendliness; ease of access; availability of usage statistics and stability of the platform.
Materials Request Policies & Procedures
The Library Director allocates a significant portion of the library budget for departmental library purchases based on several factors, including faculty and student FTEs, credit hours taught, average cost of materials within the discipline and departmental research requirements and use patterns. These allocations are adjusted as needed to accommodate changing curriculum and enrollment.
Each fall the new allocation for each department will be sent to the chair or bibliographer, along with a report of items purchased or encumbered for the dept so far and the current balance of the allocated funds. Departments may work out their own method for requesting among its faculty, but we suggest central coordination of some kind so that balance, fairness and accountability are maintained among the department members. All requests must have the approval of the dept chair. Please keep in mind the easy access of our consortial library collections and consider whether an item you want is needed in our library or if availability in one or more of our partner libraries is sufficient to meet your needs.
Requests may be submitted in whatever form is most convenient: electronic request form, available from the library site (these will be forwarded to the chair for approval before processing if submitted by someone other than him or her); catalog pages; reviews; Choice cards; spreadsheets, lists or emails. We do appreciate as much publication information as possible, including, if at all possible, ISBN or ISSN numbers. Please clearly indicate if an item is needed urgently. Once your dept allocation has been met for the current fiscal period, we will stop ordering and set aside the rest of your orders until the new fiscal year. If you knowingly submit orders that are likely to exceed your budget, please prioritize them so we can be guided as we select among your submissions.
The institutional fiscal year dates from June 1-May 31. While departments are encouraged to submit requests, with their chair’s approval, throughout the year, the library sets a deadline for requesting materials that will be counted toward the current fiscal period that accommodates the ordering, processing and widely varying delivery speeds of large numbers of requests across the institution. After this deadline, any money remaining in a department’s library allocation will revert to the general library funds. This deadline fluctuates somewhat from year to year, but most often falls in February.
While we value, encourage and give priority to departmental input for library purchases, the Collection Development Librarian also selects materials on behalf of the departments.