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Library Policies

Collection Development

Collection Development

About the policy: 

This is a guideline for acquiring and maintaining materials for the library collection to support undergraduate and master’s programs. The goals of the collection should be quality over quantity, and direct support of the curriculum. Increase in costs of publishing and the demand for information in different formats, requires careful selection to ensure the best use of financial resources.

Defining the collection: 

Ritter Library’s collection is defined as the variety of physical and digital resources. These include journals, books, ebooks, and multimedia materials. The faculty contribute to the vitality of the collection with respect to disciplines defined by academic departments. Faculty members are encouraged to suggest new book titles and publications from their professional reading and reviews. Librarians also play an important part in selecting items for the collection and each librarian has a dedicated list of liaison departments. The librarians will communicate regularly through email, meetings, and other appropriate means to suggest new materials to faculty.


Baldwin Wallace University is part of two large consortia, the Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL) and OhioLINK.  The Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL) consortium offers more than one million titles and three million individual items to the patrons of 24 Ohio academic libraries. All are also members of OhioLINK, a statewide initiative offering a shared union database and the reciprocal borrowing of over 46 million items amongst 88 libraries in the state.  Each consortium requires large membership fees. Being part of those consortia is a consideration in collection development.

Requesting an item: 

Faculty, students, and staff can request items using the “Request An Item” tool located on the library's website.  Every effort is made to purchase the item or obtain the item via interlibrary loan.

Item Consideration: 

When selecting new titles to purchase, the library should consider local needs versus availability of other copies in the OhioLINK central catalog. If the item is not in any OPAL or OhioLink library and it is a current, relevant, and important work; the item will be purchased immediately.  If the item is in other OPAL and/or OhioLink libraries (e.g. 10 or more copies available) then the item will be requested via interlibrary loan.

Requests for new journal subscriptions can be submitted via the “Recommend a Purchase” link under Services < For Faculty.  Re-evaluation of journal subscriptions is an on-going practice and weighed against the availability of articles searchable through the electronic databases. Since database technology is providing so much, it has become policy to opt for what is easily available in full text in the databases, over print/hard copy editions.

Format Consideration: 

Consideration must be made as to format (e.g. ebook, book, streaming video, DVD, print and electronic journals).  It is important to recognize that electronic formats offer the greatest access.  To that end, Ritter Library will make every effort to consult with the requestor if there is a question with regard to format.  Journal titles will be electronic unless there is no electronic version. It is preferable to have various books on a subject, therefore only single copies will be purchased. Class sets will not be purchased. Textbooks are not purchased, with the exception of K-12 textbooks for the curriculum center. 


A fixed amount is allocated annually for the one-time purchase of resources; there is no funding allocation per department.  A set amount is set-aside for purchase of A-V materials, especially instructional videos. Some departments may easily exceed funding that would be allocated using typical distribution models.  Some departments rely solely on electronic database subscriptions.  Therefore, departments should request resources they feel they need, regardless of cost. The library staff is responsible for allocating and managing the budgetary resources.  If there are any issues regarding budget, communication will be made back to the requesting department.  Recurring costs (e.g. database subscriptions) are drawn from other accounts and may need to be requested through the BW budgeting process.  Communication to the requestor will indicate if an item cannot be purchased immediately and if the request will be held until the budget request process.  Consideration is given when implementing new programs or courses, with an awareness of an additional cost when planning the budget.


The Library welcomes donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Financial gifts help the library buy books, media, and online resources; sponsor events for students and the public; and enhance the library environment. In addition to monetary gifts, the library accepts book donations as well as memorial and tribute gifts.  Donations of books and other physical resources are accepted with the understanding that the library disposes of, or adds them to, the collection at the librarian’s discretion. The decision to add items follows the guidelines outlined above and using the criteria for purchasing.


Withdrawal and Disposition of Materials

On-going evaluation of the Library's collections, an integral part of collection development and management, normally results in the withdrawal of materials from our collections. The process, performed by the reference librarians assigned to the respective fields, entails awareness by them of the teaching and research use; a familiarity with the bibliography and literature of the respective fields, and a familiarity with the relevant portions of the Library's and consortia collections.

I. Withdrawal

Materials in the following categories are most often subject to systematic withdrawal:

  • Materials containing inaccurate, obsolete, or superseded information (e.g., older encyclopedias, or superseded volumes of indexes and abstracts).
  • Materials contained in electronic databases such as JSTOR and the Electronic Journal Center.
  • Worn, damaged, or badly marked items when readily available elsewhere through interlibrary loan, or, if heavily used, through replacement.
  • Duplicate copies of bound and unbound materials available electronically.
  • Rarely used materials (e.g. not circulated in the last decade).

II. Disposition

The notion of disposition assumes an adequate withdrawal mechanism. Procedures for the disposition of Library materials are subject to such factors as potential value beyond the Library, the prospects of cost recovery, the costs of the disposition to the Library, the Library's contractual obligations, the potential for replacement if needed, and the manner in which materials were acquired. The following sequence is suggested:

  • In instances where it can reasonably be expected that libraries in the OPAL or OhioLINK system may be interested in acquiring withdrawn materials, a list of appropriate materials will be periodically provided to them, indicating a closing date.
  • In instances where it can reasonably be expected that dealers may be interested in purchasing withdrawn materials—normally when there are sufficient number of items with resale potential—quotations shall be solicited for purposes of sales or trade-in allowances.
  • Materials not sold will be recycled or offered to charitable organizations who solicit books for book sales.