You are here

Collection Development Policy

Marlboro College
Rice-Aron Library and Graduate Center Library

The Rice-Aron Library and the library at the Graduate Center further the mission of the College by collecting materials that support its curriculum and the disciplines taught at both the College and the Graduate Center. The libraries' goal is to develop, with the assistance of faculty, a well-rounded collection that reflects the diversity of scholarship and maintains an international perspective in order to serve undergraduate and graduate needs. The libraries also support, through collection development and services, student and faculty research.

General Collection

The libraries will collect, as much as possible, materials beyond the curriculum for the college community. The libraries will also develop those parts of the collection that reflect our institutional identity and in which we already have strength. For those materials that are not acquired for permanent addition to the library collections, but are requested by community members, we will borrow such materials on a temporary basis from other libraries via interlibrary loan.

Collection development is more than just adding items to the shelves; it also embraces an understanding of the access and use of materials in the collection and analysis of the overall quality of the resource. Librarians will work with faculty to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the collection as it is built, and will integrate collection development planning into general planning for programs and services of the libraries.

The libraries also support new programs and new faculty members' area of specialization in the curriculum, seniors on Plan at Marlboro College, and students working on their Capstone Projects at the Graduate Center. The libraries are responsible for building reference collections and working with departments to build and maintain a periodical collection that reflects curricular needs and will review requests on an annual basis. The librarians are responsible for building the collection in cross-disciplinary areas. When possible, the libraries should be a centralized access point for research materials -- books, journals, video recordings, sound recordings, and electronic resources, so that materials purchased on behalf of the Rice-Aron Library and the Graduate Center can be used by the entire college community.

Reference Collection

The Reference Collection is a non-circulating collection containing material that is not intended to be read in long stretches of time. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, statistical compilations, and indexes are examples of such materials and may exist in several types of formats. All are intended to serve the needs of the Marlboro College community.

Selection criteria will be the same as that for the general collection. Records will be kept indicating those items that are to be purchased annually, every second or third year, or less frequently. For very expensive items, special consideration will be given to electronic resources containing the same information at a more affordable price.

General bibliographies are located in the Reference Room. More specialized bibliographies are shelved within the general collection.

Generally, only the most recent edition of an item will be in the Reference Collection, with earlier editions either going to the general collection or being discarded.

The emphasis in foreign language dictionaries will be on those languages taught at the College, though an effort will be made to have language dictionaries for major world languages.

The Reference Collection will be systematically weeded. The entire collection will be weeded within a three-year period.

Research Tools (Indexes, Bibliographies, Abstracts, Databases)

In order to support the research needs of students and faculty, the libraries will provide means of identifying research materials for the disciplines taught at Marlboro College and the Graduate Center. In addition to basic indexes, the libraries will provide major tools for each discipline, via either print or electronic versions. Whenever possible, access to major tools will be provided in electronic format, and those of widespread interest will be made available through web access, both across campus and via remote access. Tools that receive little use because of expense and/or specialization will be provided in the most cost effective way. Preference will be given to end-user availability except in cases in which demand is low and mediated searching (through OCLC FirstSearch or another database vendor) is the most cost effective route. In such cases the libraries' database searching policy will provide mediated access at no cost to the end user.


Subscriptions to the scholarly publications of the disciplines taught at Marlboro College and the Graduate Center will be acquired. Every attempt, within the confines of budgetary restrictions, will be made to subscribe to the major journals within a given field as well as the sub-fields of interest within those disciplines. Additionally, subscriptions to major newspapers, the principal English language news magazines and some popular periodicals will also be carried. Acknowledging that contemporary written language does change, and supporting the international perspective of the curriculum, representative publications in the foreign languages taught at Marlboro College also will be acquired.

Duplication of print and full-text electronic journals will be addressed on a title-by- title basis.

Non-Print Materials

When appropriate, materials that meet the criteria for addition to the general collection will be purchased in DVD, compact disc, or other electronically accessed formats. These items, as well as discs that accompany books, will be cataloged and made available for circulation on an individual basis.

The purpose of the audio-visual collection is to make available to the community all films, videos and music which support classroom instruction and officially sponsored college programs or which demonstrate lasting contributions to the art of film making or music. DVD is the preferred format for visual materials, and will be selected first. However, VHS recordings will also be purchased if DVD is not available and if they meet the general collection development goals and criteria. Compact disc is the preferred format for audio materials.

Out-of-Print Materials

The libraries will regularly attempt to acquire out-of-print materials that are not automatically located or are canceled through the normal vendor processes. Searching for out-of-print materials is labor and time intensive, thus it will be carried out as time permits. The pursuit of such items will be coordinated by the Acquisitions Librarian who will judge acceptable price ranges for individual titles. Reprint editions will be substituted when available, unless the requester indicates that only the original edition is acceptable.

Collection Maintenance - Replacement Copies

Materials that are damaged beyond repair or are superseded will be evaluated for removal from the collection or for replacement as they come to the attention of the librarians. Every summer, the libraries will review collections to assess whether materials are superseded or require updating or replacement. Items selected for weeding from the collection will be reviewed by the librarians, and as appropriate, faculty will be consulted. Weeding should be conducted as part of an overall collection assessment program and should entail not just removal, but also the purchase of replacement and substitute copies as needed.

All library materials, print or non-print, which are lost will be reviewed on a title-by-title basis for replacement. Usually, a newer edition of the same work will be purchased. However, if a particular edition is noteworthy, or specifically requested by a faculty member, every effort will be made to acquire that edition for replacement. If an item is no longer available through the new or out-of-print vendors, a different work on the same subject, or, for example, as in the case with recorded music, the same piece with different instrumentalists will be substituted.

See also: the Gifts/Donations Policy

Revised June 2004