Collection Development Overview

The Library collects materials in all formats so long as the materials meet the selection criteria. Some types of materials are more problematic for the Library and other criteria may also need to be considered, especially those materials which may require licenses or have other restrictions.

Intellectual Freedom

The Library endorses the principles expressed in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights, and attempts to include in the collection “materials representing all points of view concerning problems and issues of our times.” As long as they fit into the general collection parameters of the Library, all subjects will be considered without prejudice or censorship when determining the balance of the collection. In order to avoid censorship, selection should be based on a positive approach, favoring liberty of thought and the value of the work as a whole. The Library will follow guidelines in ALA’s Intellectual Freedom Manual when responding to censorship challenges.

Collection Overview

The Longwood Library collection in many areas reflects the long history of the University. Resident in the Library’s collection are many important 19th and early 20th century works which provide depth to the collection. The collection consists of approximately 320,000 volumes and over 2,000 current subscriptions. In addition the Library houses over 700,000 microforms and audio-visual materials. In recent years the Library has been able to add approximately 7,000 volumes per year. The Library’s resources have increased due to access to electronic and online materials. The Library currently subscribes to approximately 20 databases, which supplement the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) collection of 170 databases. The Library provides access to over 2,600 full-text electronic journals, which are enhanced by the more than 5,000 full-text electronic journals provided by VIVA. In addition, the Library along with VIVA provides access to over 775,000 other electronic full-text materials including news articles and business and statistical reports.

Selection Guidelines

Given the size of the college and the finite resources allocated to the Library, it is impossible to provide all the materials that may be necessary or desirable. Therefore, in selecting materials for the Library, the following priorities apply:

  1. Materials to support the current instructional program of the University.
  2. General reference and informational works.
  3. Materials to support the research needs of the faculty, with careful consideration of the potential usefulness to undergraduates. For narrowly specialized and more expensive materials faculty members must expect to resort to interlibrary loan, online literature searches, and the more comprehensive resources of nearby universities.
  4. Materials that meet the recreational needs of the clientele.

Generally, the following considerations are made for all materials selected for inclusion in the Library collections:

  • relevancy to the curriculum
  • quality of the work
  • reputation of the author(s)/publisher(s)
  • lasting value or content
  • appropriateness of level of treatment
  • strength of present holdings in same or similar subject area
  • cost
  • suitability of format to content

In addition, the Library

  • purchases materials normally in English. Literatures and language materials generally used in the teaching and learning of foreign languages are also purchased, as are foreign language dictionaries.
  • purchases normally one copy of a title. Exceptions may be made particularly when demonstrated use dictates or for materials pertaining to local history or interest.
  • purchases primarily current materials. Out of print materials are often difficult to acquire and many times simply are not available. Reprint editions, or Books-on-Demand from University Microfilms may fill some out-of-print needs.
  • considers the holdings of neighboring institutions when a request is made for expensive/low-anticipated use materials.

De-Selection Guidelines

In order to maintain a current and dynamic collection, which supports the changing needs of the University, the Library routinely and systematically evaluates the collection to ensure that all materials contribute to these goals. Useful materials are retained and materials which are no longer needed are withdrawn, using the following criteria.

  • No more than one copy of each item is retained, unless a subject specialist in that area indicates a need for multiple copies.
  • Older editions will be removed, unless a subject specialist suggests they be retained, or unless they are in the latest edition of Books for College Libraries.
  • Materials added within the last five years will be retained.
  • Materials with a copyright date within the last twenty years will be retained. In rapidly changing fields such as computer science, materials older than ten years may be removed.
  • Materials which have circulated in the last ten years will be retained.
  • Materials listed in the latest edition of Books for College Libraries will be retained.
  • Any material designated for retention by a subject specialist will be retained.
  • All material discarded will have at least one (and preferably two) source(s) for interlibrary loan in the state.

For audiovisual media, only media which can be viewed or run on current University equipment will be retained. Magnetic media such as videotapes and audiotapes have a shorter shelf life than books and may be removed more frequently.