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Collection Policies: Collection Development Policy

Watzek Library Mission/Vision/Values

The Aubrey R. Watzek Library supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights, its Intellectual Freedom Statement, and its statement on Challenged Resources. The library endeavors to provide access to a broad range of materials for the purpose of critical inquiry. All subjects and points of view will be considered without prejudice or censorship, within the guidelines laid out in this policy. In keeping with its commitment to equity and inclusion, the library actively collects works that highlight the voices and perspectives of historically marginalized and underrepresented groups. The library advocates for accessibility, open access, and user privacy.

Collection Development Objectives

In order to prioritize expenditures and collecting practices, the following hierarchically-arranged objectives will be utilized:

  1. Provide access to information necessary for the instructional programs offered by Lewis & Clark College.

  2. Provide access to information required by the students, faculty, and staff of Lewis & Clark College for their intellectual inquiry.

  3. Satisfy all relevant collection standards issued by governmental agencies, professional associations, or other accrediting bodies.

Selection Responsibility

Final responsibility for the development and management of the collection rests with the Library Director, who delegates all organizational and operational responsibilities to the Assistant Director for Collections and Access and Acquisitions & Collection Development Librarian. The Library Director assigns librarians responsibilities for specific subject areas, for which they act as selectors. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to submit purchase requests, which are evaluated using the selection criteria below. Requests for serials, databases, and other resources that require an ongoing financial commitment will be reviewed on a regular basis by the Library’s Collection Development and Management Committee. Highly specialized materials for faculty research that fall outside of the current curriculum will be acquired as funds allow, and only after the fulfillment of immediate curricular needs. For cost-prohibitive items or items with limited campus use, funds may be pooled between the Library and applicable departments, provided the latter understands the materials will be housed in Watzek Library or in electronic access systems under the Library’s control.

Evaluative Criteria

While the Library’s Mission provides the broader framework for the collecting process, operational decisions on the acquisition/deselection of materials must use specific evaluative criteria to gauge value to the College community. A given item need not meet all of these criteria, but they should be used as general guidelines to arrive at an informed decision on selection/retention.


  • Relevance to needs of the College's curriculum

  • Scope and content

  • Enrichment and support of the existing collection

  • Underrepresented voices or topics

  • Physical quality and durability

  • Usage

  • Currency and timeliness

  • Price

  • Language

  • Coherence of series

  • Acceptability based on professional selection tools

  • Program accreditation requirements

  • Literary merit or artistic quality

  • Presentation of alternative viewpoints

  • Exclusion of “vanity” press titles

Additional Criteria for Electronic Resources:

  • Coverage and the timely availability of material

  • Enhanced contents and additional functionality of electronic as compared with print

  • Cost-effectiveness, e.g. subscription savings, lower processing costs, number of simultaneous users included in license terms

  • Cost-effective replacement for existing sources

  • Publisher/Vendor commitment to web access to a permanent archive of back-issues

  • Availability of usage statistics by vendor in useful and manipulable format

  • Stability of software or platform

  • Logical and accessible user interface

  • Method of delivery


  • The library aims to include all required texts in its course reserve program.

  • Final purchasing decisions are at the discretion of library liaisons, and titles may be excluded when they are cost-prohibitive or fail to meet evaluative criteria.

  • While ebooks are generally the preferred format for course reserves, ebook access is governed by the publisher’s license terms. Ebooks sold to individuals through the campus bookstore and other retailers are not necessarily available for purchase by the library. When possible, the library purchases ebooks that allow multiple simultaneous users. However, some ebooks can only be used by one reader at a time.

Other Considerations:

  • Duplicates are purchased only in expectation of an item's heavy and sustained circulation.

  • Superseded titles may be retained if they serve as cultural artifacts from a particular historical period pertinent to research.

  • Lost or stolen materials are evaluated for replacement. For older imprints, difficulty of obtaining replacements through the out-of-print marketplace should be considered.


Overall the criteria used for selection and/or retention of a given serial are identical to those used for monographs. However due to escalating publication costs, limited funds, and the prospective long-standing commitments involved, new serial subscriptions carry substantially more weight than new monograph acquisitions. Faculty wishing to add new serial titles to the collection should submit requests through their Library Liaisons. These requests are reviewed periodically by the Collection Development and Management Committee, with 1) annual cost, 2) alternative modes of access, and 3) broad support across the curriculum being the primary determining factors for filling new subscriptions. Extended back runs of qualifying serials or journal subscriptions are purchased only as deemed necessary and as the budget permits. See Donation Policy for Gifts for additional information on serial donations.

Electronic Access vs. Physical Ownership:

In much the same fashion as serials, the decision whether or not to purchase a resource electronically or physically depends on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, cost differentiations, projected usage, contractual stipulations, space concerns, consortial availability, pre-existing but incomplete ownership (for serial runs), archival/preservation issues, and the research necessities of the discipline(s) utilizing a particular resource. In some instances, full-image will be required over full-text due to the latter's absence of charts, diagrams, and other graphical data to which the text directs the researcher's attention.

Simultaneous print and electronic access may exist if:

  • Electronic access is available only to print subscribers

  • Content coverage is not identical to that of the print version, or the text or illustration format of the print and electronic versions is not of the same quality

  • Electronic publication lags behind the print edition

  • Publisher has no commitment to archiving the electronic version, nor are they offered via an aggregate vendor.

See Special Consortial Arrangements section below for additional criteria related to the Orbis Cascade Alliance.

Audio-Visual Material:

New video materials are obtained at point-of-need. For titles not already held on DVD, streaming licenses are considered first. If streaming is unavailable or cost-prohibitive, DVDs are acquired, or Blu-Ray in rare situations. International video formats such as PAL are collected only when no version exists in NTSC. Evaluation, deselection, and replacement of audio-visual items follow the same procedural guidelines as for monographs. Audio materials are acquired on CD and only by request.

Dissertations and Theses

For research needs involving dissertations and theses, interlibrary loan will be the primary mechanism for acquiring materials. Those items unobtainable via ILL may be purchased for the collection following review and approval by the subject selector(s) in that particular area. Depending on clarity of content, the subject selector may, at their own discretion, solicit additional information from the requestor before deciding upon its acquisition.

Special Collections

Special Collections maintains its own set of distinct acquisition priorities developed in accordance with its overall mission. Their collection development policy can be found here.

Donation Policy

Because of limits to storage space and staff capacity for processing materials, unsolicited donations of books, journals, and other materials are generally not accepted for the library’s collection. Donations of rare books, personal papers, and unique materials are directed to Special Collections which maintains its own Accession Policy.

Collection Maintenance/Deselection

Selectors are expected to undertake periodic assessments of their assigned subject areas to ensure ongoing relevance to the instructional and research needs of the College. Selectors regularly withdraw materials that are outdated or no longer relevant. The Collection Development and Management Committee maintains a list of criteria used for this purpose, which is adjusted depending upon the needs of the project. Collection Management Services may help facilitate this process further by gathering statistical reports and assisting in the removal of materials flagged by the selector. Faculty are encouraged to report any outdated or inaccurate materials in their areas of expertise. Final decision on withdrawal rests with the respective librarian subject selector.


Preventative measures will be enacted to reduce the risk of exposure to elements which may devalue or damage the physical collection. These include, but are not limited to, consistent temperature and humidity regulation, periodic sweeps for damaged bindings, and occasional shifts to ensure adequate space for shelving. Any materials showing signs of mold and/or insect damage will be quarantined or discarded to minimize the risk to surrounding titles. Formulation of preservation procedure and policy will be the responsibility of the Collection Development and Management Committee, with recommendations brought before the Library Director for any further action. For large-scale incidents, the Library's Disaster Plan outlines explicit responses to scenarios such as earthquakes, water leaks, etc.

Materials that cannot be bound or repaired due to narrow margins, fragility, etc. may, at the selector's request, be replaced with used copies acquired from out-of-print book dealers. Unique materials should be preserved in their original form whenever possible.

Government Documents

Watzek Library has been a member of the Federal Depository Library Program since 1967. This status provides our users with valuable information resources and is further enhanced by our consortial borrowing arrangements within Orbis Cascade. The documents collection primarily consists of current or contemporary information and is therefore not an archival collection. While most documents are usually retained for only 5 years, several subsets are kept for longer periods of time. Based on past usage statistics, the following subject areas will serve as the focus of the government documents collection:

  1. American Culture & Life

  2. Education

  3. Environmental Studies

  4. Economics

  5. International Affairs

  6. Political Science

Consult the Government Documents Department Manual for comprehensive coverage on other policies and procedures.

Boley Law Library

Paul L. Boley Law Library is an autonomous institution of the College and maintains a collection development policy independent of Watzek Library.

Special Consortial Arrangements with Orbis-Cascade

  • "Last Copy" Guidelines
    When considering an item for withdrawal, library staff should consult Summit to determine if the copy is the last one held in the consortium. If the copy is found to be unique to the consortial collection, reasonable efforts should be made to retain it. If it is still removed, it should be offered to other Summit libraries through consortium email channels established for this purpose.

  • Distributed Print Repository Project
    The Orbis Cascade Alliancemaintains a distributed print repository for select journals available in JSTOR. These titles must be retained for 25 years from the date of signed agreement.


Updated Fall 2021