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Library Policies

Collection Development

Ritter Library 

Baldwin Wallace University 

Collection Development Policy 

Purpose Statement 

Ritter Library’s collections should serve the needs of the Baldwin Wallace University community either through ownership of items, consortial sharing agreements, or electronic access.  This policy establishes standards and criteria for acquisition, maintenance, and retention of materials, whether by purchase or gift, and provides a basis for consistent collection development from all library staff and the Baldwin Wallace community of users engaged in that work.   



Ritter Library’s collection policy is informed and framed by the library’s mission and strategic plan as well as the University's mission.  The collection development policy and practices are intended to be flexible enough to accommodate changes in BWU curriculum and the larger technological advances in the delivery of information.  All decisions should make the most effective use of budget resources for the greatest number of users according to the priorities established by this policy. 

As an academic library, we strive to balance historical research with modern criticism and content, encouraging robust discussion and exploration of topics from a variety of perspectives.  The library holdings may include materials which are a representation of the era in which they were created and consequently may contain offensive language, images, negative stereotypes, or recordings.  



Ritter Library is an active member of both the Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL) and OhioLINK consortia so consortia standards and requirements will take precedence over other considerations.  Membership in consortia such as OPAL and OhioLINK allows Ritter Library to maximize our allocated budget and expand our reach in terms of access and accessibility, while allowing us to support other Ohio institutions, both public and private, by granting them access to our resources as we receive access to theirs.   



The Director of Ritter Library submits a budget request for library funding for the fiscal year to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).  The library is obligated to fund our memberships in the OPAL and OhioLINK consortia as these two groups provide our library services platform (software), our shared knowledge base, library technical services and systems support, electronic resources/platforms and print resource sharing.  Every effort will be made to request adequate funds to provide resources over and above those from OPAL/OhioLINK.  Departments may request resources during the year and if funds are available and the item meets the standards as outlined by our collection development policy, it may be acquired; if funds are not available, the department should resubmit the request in the next budget cycle.  

When new programs are proposed for the university, consideration should be given to providing additional funding for appropriate resource acquisition.   


Collection Standards    

Ritter Library strives to collect materials that support the current and near-future curricular and research needs of our students, faculty, and staff.  Material included in the library’s collection should represent a variety of viewpoints, perspectives, voices, and experiences.  No materials should be excluded from the collection based on race, creed, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political views, or ethnicity.   

The Ritter Library collection attempts to encompass the BWU curriculum.  Depth of collection is determined by liaison librarians as appropriate to support curricular emphasis, research topics, and overall breadth of each associated academic program.  Since curricular and research needs drive our collection development, these decisions are made on a situational basis by each liaison librarian with support from their department faculty. 

Content levels appropriate for consideration include general, professional, basic academic or advanced academic depending upon the program being supported. 

Inclusion of particular resources in the library does not constitute an endorsement or advocacy for the ideas or statements found in them. 


Selection criteria 

Collection development is shifting toward an emphasis on access to a variety of electronic resources including databases, electronic serials and electronic books.  The acquisition of print monographs and print serials is on a downward trend.   

For all materials, selectors should consider the comprehensiveness, consortial holdings, cost, currency, quality of scholarship, relevancy to the university’s academic programs and curriculum, requirement or recommendation for accreditation, and scope.   

For electronic resources, additional criteria to be considered include availability of backfiles, ease of use, licensing and contractual terms, quality of user interface, and vendor support.  


Specific considerations for various content formats 


Along with the above selection criteria, selectors work to build a core collection while recognizing the print and electronic resources available through resource sharing including OPAL, OhioLINK and Interlibrary Loan.  Materials are purchased for curriculum support.  Current acquisitions are focused on current, newer materials and primarily obtained in e-book format.  If we own an e-book, we will not purchase a print copy. 


Annually, the library shall review the serials collection.  Where possible, electronic access, or electronic access with print, is preferred to print only.  At this time, the library does not attempt to archive electronic journals for future access but relies upon other sites to provide access to journal archives.  Perpetual access rights to subscribed content should be sought to allow for future archival access. 

Along with the general selection criteria, additional considerations for serials acquisitions includes whether the print or electronic version is the version of record or if the content is equivalent in both, inclusion of full text in and comprehensiveness of coverage by a database, online functionality, and availability of the item through other currently held online sources of collections.  We will not purchase subscriptions to any serials held in OPAL or OhioLINK packages. 

Society or other memberships will only be considered if the membership includes campus-wide access without a password to a journal subscription.  The library strives to maintain as complete a collection for all subscriptions as possible, within the limits set by our subscription periods and publisher availability.  


Media is reviewed carefully with considerable attention paid to the cost and license restrictions associated with streaming and DVD content.  The librarians will evaluate future media purchases as formats for media materials evolve.   

Electronic Resources 

Consortial agreements with OPAL and OhioLINK provide the resources available to the BW (Baldwin Wallace) community and must be considered in developing the local collection. 

Any web-based or electronic resource may be considered for inclusion in the general collection; these may be indexing and abstracting resources, reference materials, or full text or numeric databases.  The library does not duplicate access locally in any format to databases that are identical, similar, or equivalent to OPAL or OhioLINK databases. 

In addition to the general selection criteria, additional factors must be taken into consideration: access through IP recognition, availability of usage statistics, compliance with the most current WCAG standards and review of associate VPAT, licensing compliance with BW/Ritter Library standards and inclusion of public performance rights when possible, requirements or recommendations for accreditation, and stability of information (URLs and publisher).  

Baldwin Wallace University Community-authored materials 

Faculty, staff, or alumni-authored materials, when purchased or donated, should be autographed.  These items will be catalogued with at least one copy being sent to Rare Books.  Acquisition of second copies, for circulation, is preferred in instances where the faculty, staff, or alumni are the sole or co-author of the entire work.  In cases where faculty, staff, or alumni authored only a portion of a book or worked as an editor for a book, the purchase of a second copy will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  


Ritter Library does not purchase traditional commercial textbooks in print or electronic format for the library’s collection or for course reserve use.  This includes manuals that accompany textbooks, workbooks, or other auxiliary materials.  Ritter Library will accept for consideration donations of textbooks, published within the last three years, that support the teaching and learning needs of BW faculty and students.  Outdated textbooks or textbooks that do not align with current curricular standards will be systematically removed from the collection. 

Faculty wishing to make a required text available should be encouraged to place a personal copy on course reserve, or make selected chapters available, as permitted by US copyright law and fair use guidelines.  Library staff are not responsible for scanning items for faculty or students. 

Additional formats 

Additional formats, such as non-book items, will be considered at the librarians’ discretion using the selection criteria outlined above. 


Special Collections / Archives 

The Paul & Josephine Mayer Rare Book Room of Baldwin Wallace University includes those materials that - because of age, scarcity, uniqueness, or value - are stored separately from the general collection and do not circulate.  Information related to the collection development policy of the Rare Book Room can be found on our website: Ritter Library Homepage>About>Rare Books and Special Collections>Donations (   

The Baldwin Wallace University Archives exists as a repository for all non-current, inactive official records of all BWU administrative offices and academic departments.  The BWU Archives collects, maintains, and preserves records to chronicle the historical development of the University.  More information regarding the Archives policy can be found on the Ritter Library website: Ritter Library Homepage > About > Archives > Policies  


Intellectual Freedom / Reconsideration 

Ritter Library adheres to the American Library Association’s (ALA)  

And ACRL’s Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries to guide our behavior, frame our belief system, and establish the basic principles that govern our service work.  

In the event of an objection to any library resource, the complainant may request that the item be reconsidered.  The complainant must email and provide the following information: 

  • Complainant’s full name and complete contact details to allow for a direct reply. 

  • Author, title, and publisher of the resource. 

  • Statement regarding the nature of the concern, including quotes, page numbers, and other explanatory details. 

  • If your statement is about breach of your own copyright or other intellectual property rights, please also confirm that you are the rights owner or are authorized to act for the rights owner. 

Librarians will meet to review completed reconsideration requests and consult with university stakeholders as they deem fit.  Materials will remain in the collection during reconsideration.    

Baldwin Wallace University’s accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), asserts: 

  • Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct 
    • 2D: The institution is committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression in the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning. 
  • Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support 
    • 3D: The institution provides support for student learning and resources for effective teaching.  
  • Point 4: The institution provides to students and instructors the infrastructure and resources necessary to support effective teaching and learning (technological infrastructure, scientific laboratories, libraries, performance spaces, clinical practice sites and museum collections, as appropriate to the institution’s offerings. 

HLC Assumed Practices 

A: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct  

Point 4: The institution establishes and publicizes clear procedures for receiving complaints from students and other constituencies, responding to complaints in a timely manner, and analyzing complaints to improve its processes.  The institution does not retaliate against those who raise complaints. 


Collection Maintenance 

The library follows a collection maintenance plan on a rotating basis to ensure the collection is reviewed frequently.  This review is coordinated by the Access Servies Librarian.  Decisions regarding the deselection, retention, and further development of library collections rest with the librarians.  Collection maintenance allows the library to manage the physical size of the collection and assess the condition of items to identify those which may need repair or replacement. 

Deselection is an essential element of collection maintenance and when paired with careful selection of new items, results in a library collection that meets the needs of the BW community.  Deselection is a way of maintaining relevancy in the collection by removing outdated materials so they can be replaced by more current materials.  Exceptions may be made for seminal or influential works or items that are foundationally relevant for BW programs and curricular needs.   

Items removed from the collection may be sent to a resale partner (such as Better World Books) to generate funds for future collection acquisitions.  Removed items may also be given away freely to members of the BW community or recycled.   


We will accept replacements for lost or damaged books on a case-by-case basis.  Contact the Access Services Librarian when a replacement situation arises. 

Duplicate copies 

Duplicate copies may be considered on a case-by-case basis or for literary works in various editions. 

Gifts-in-Kind Donations 

Ritter Library conforms to BW guidelines and federal laws regarding the acceptance, tracing, and processing of donations.  All gifts become the sole property of Ritter Library to use or dispose of.  All items must comply with Ritter Library’s Collection Development policy and will be evaluated by those criteria.  We will consider donation materials which support the University’s current or anticipated curriculum.  Ritter Library reserves the right to refuse any donation brought without prior agreement with the Access Services Librarian or Library Director.   

Appraisal of Gift Materials 

Federal law prohibits Ritter Library, as recipient of the gift, from appraising any donation. Furthermore, the Library will not pay for an appraisal used for the donor’s tax purposes. If you require an appraisal for tax purposes, you must obtain one at your own expense prior to donating your materials to Baldwin Wallace University’s Ritter Library.  For additional information, contact the Center for Philanthropy & Engagement: (440) 826-2104.   


  1. Please contact the library to arrange the donation transfer.   The donor may be responsible for paying for any expense incurred by the library during the donation's acquisition.  

  1. When possible, provide an itemized list of items being offered to assist us with assessing the donation. 

  1. Please contact The Center for Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement at (440) 826-2104 for a gift acknowledgement for your gift-in-kind valued at $250 or more.