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Collection Development Policy


Clarke University is a Catholic University of the liberal arts dedicated to faith and learning. It affirms that education is a foundation for leadership and service in church and society. The Nicholas J. Schrup Library supports the current and anticipated teaching, research and service needs of the university. It also contributes to the cultural and informational resources of the broader community, both that of the surrounding geographic area as well as of the off-site Clarke University community.

The collection development program contributes to the mission of the Library by directing the processes of acquiring and providing access to materials and information resources needed to support our academic programs and integrating them into coherent collections. It also directs the growth, maintenance and evaluation of these materials and information resources.


The Library is responsible for managing funds allocated for purchase of library materials and for the internal distribution of such funds. The Library Director is ultimately responsible for determining what is purchased with library funds, based on need, appropriateness and budgetary constraints. Interlibrary loan or resource sharing, particularly for materials outside of our primary collection areas is considered an appropriate option to purchasing. Demand, relevance, and cost are factors used in determining whether or not an item is ordered for purchase.

Selection of materials is a cooperative procedure involving librarians, library staff, and teaching faculty. It is the faculty who shares specialized knowledge with library staff and assures support of specific curricular needs. Student recommendations are given consideration if they meet general academic and / or curricular needs. Other requests may be considered at the discretion of the Library Director.

Selection Criteria


The scope of the collection is intended to:

  • support the academic and curricular needs of the university by collecting materials in a variety of formats and making them available for use
  • provide a balanced collection in all fields of knowledge relevant to the educational missions of the university
  • offer items of general educational and cultural enrichment which encourage the intellectual growth of student

Although the primary purpose of the Library is to support the curricular needs of the university, the Library is also sensitive to the research needs of faculty and administrators. Material needed for this purpose can be purchased if it is considered to be of general and continuing interest. Otherwise, every effort will be made to obtain it through Interlibrary Loan or to identify relevant resources in area libraries and information centers.

Relevance and appropriateness

The following criteria are applied to relevance and appropriateness for materials added to the library collection:

  • contribute to the instructional objectives of the university’s educational programs
  • permanence or timeliness of the material;
  • accuracy of the material;
  • authoritativeness of the material or author;
  • reputation of the publisher or producer
  • usefulness of the materials with respect to materials already in the collection.


The format of library materials is integral to its use by patrons, usefulness to the collection as a whole and support in the present and future. We recognize that as academic and institutional needs change and technology advances, the library will adapt to reflect those changes. The Library will therefore make every effort to acquire electronic resources over hard copy when possible.
For information regarding the acquisition of electronic resources, please see the Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy at the end of this policy.


English language publications are preferred for acquisition, however these exceptions apply:

  • Books that are primarily pictorial in content (art, photography, graphic design, architecture, etc.) may be purchased without language restrictions.
  • Foreign language materials may be purchased in other subject areas if there is sufficient demand by students and / or faculty.  Where foreign language programs exist or are added to the curriculum, materials will be acquired with the assistance of faculty from those departments.

Categories of materials not acquired or are selectively acquired

Textbooks: The library does not automatically purchase textbooks unless a faculty request is received in writing. Selected textbooks may be purchased if they are considered a standard work in our mission areas (e.g., Gardner’s Art Through the Ages.) Due to library space considerations and the nature of textbooks, only one copy will be ordered. Additional copies may be purchased if there is sufficient demand.

Audiotapes, Videos, Phonorecords (33 1/3, 78’s 45’s, etc): Audiotapes, videos, and phonorecords are not purchased for the collection. Existing collections of these material types will be phased out and replaced in CD/DVD format where applicable.

Selection of serials, journals and indexes

In the selection of hard copy periodical titles, preference is given to titles included in published print or electronic indexes. However, selectors may select non-indexed titles if supplementary to a specific discipline or is of general interest.

For reasons of space economy and preservation, retrospective periodical volumes or issues will be acquired in microform when possible depending upon length of run.  When possible, electronic versions of serials and journals will be subscribed to if possible.  In general, the library will retain back issues of hard copy journals for 5 years.

Autographed or Signed Copies

Autographed or signed copies of monographs or other materials will generally be added to Special Collections as long as the item meets one or more of the following conditions:

  • The author is determined to be of literary, artistic or historic significance, and has been or can be verified as authentic.
  • The work itself has increased in value due to the significance of the signature.
  • The work has been acquired specifically because of the presence of the signature.

Works that have been inscribed to an individual or individuals will generally be added to the main circulating collection unless the inscription is to a person of literary, artistic or historic significance. If there is a question regarding location placement of a specific item or items, each will be treated on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the appropriate selector and the Special Collections Librarian. Housing of these materials will be in a secured area of the technical services area.

Faculty Publications

The Library attempts to acquire and maintain, whether through purchase or donation, present and retrospective works by current Clarke full-time faculty in all formats for use by the college community and as a record of scholarship. These include, but are not restricted to: monographs (works/collections of essays, poems, stories, research), laboratory guides, textbooks, supplemental texts, audio, electronic and visual materials. Works by part-time faculty, visiting lecturers or full-time faculty with prolific publishing histories will be acquired selectively based upon input from the Department Chair and/or the individual faculty member.

Two copies will be obtained as appropriate; one copy for the circulating collection if it falls within the library’s collection development parameters, and a second for the University Archives, regardless of subject matter or reading level. Laboratory guides and supplementary materials will be added only to the University Archives.

Works in which a faculty member is an editor or contributor may be purchased on a case-by-case basis, depending upon its appropriateness for the main library collection. Single poems, essays, chapters, or stories appearing in books or journals will not be purchased or subscribed to unless the entire content falls within collection guidelines. A copy of the individual work is acceptable for placement in the University Archives.


Schrup Library is very grateful for appropriate gifts to its collection. Monetary gifts are handled through the Development Office of the University, while gifts of materials can be made directly to the library. When it is requested, memorial bookplates will be placed in gift items. Because the purchase price is only part of the cost involved in maintaining an item in the library, and in order to control the growth of the collection as a whole, books and other material gifts are evaluated in terms of the same selection criteria as library purchases. If an item is already well represented or for any reason is not appropriate for the collection, then an attempt is made to place the gift where it will be more useful.


Deselecting / Weeding

At appropriate intervals, the collection (or a selected portion of it) is reviewed and weeded of materials by applying selection policies in reverse. Materials judged of no relevance to the collection or value to library users are withdrawn. Help with weeding will be garnered from faculty if possible.


Items that have been officially declared missing (including long overdue materials) for more than one year or are damaged beyond repair may be considered for replacement. First priority is given to reserve requests, required reading from course syllabi and faculty requests. Other items (e.g., “high-use” titles) may be ordered according to the subject selector’s judgment.
If an item for replacement is no longer in print, the library will make every effort to acquire it if essential to the collection. If a copy is not available, selectors should seek alternative materials.


University Archives and Special Collections
Special Collections includes the Music Library, the Art Slide Collection, the Rare Book Collection, and the Instructional Resource Center.

Clarke University Archives contains primary source material of enduring value related to the university, its faculty, alumni. General and literary manuscripts are also acquired. Materials in the Archives include handwritten manuscripts, institutional records, personal papers, photographs, media and university memorabilia. The university archives is responsible for the identification and preservation of all official records of the university with permanent historical or administrative value, including university publications, and the records of administrative offices, academic departments, and of administrative and academic committees.  The changing campus is also documented through such material as photographs and building and landscaping plans. Other material that fills out the record includes posters, films, videos, and tape recordings of lectures, conferences, demonstrations, and special events as well as oral history interviews with faculty, staff, students, and alumnae. Faculty and alumnae publications and papers are also collected.

The librarians and archivist strive to maintain the physical integrity of the materials through preservation procedures such as proper handling and storage, environmental controls, and a security program. Development of a disaster planning program and ensuring appropriate insurance for the collections is also an ongoing priority. Internal content of materials is sometimes preserved by materials conversion. Assuring permanent future access to digital materials is also a component of the library’s preservation efforts. Conservation and corrective action for materials is done through treatments and procedures which attempt to maintain the original physical object. Restoration of materials is managed with professional assistance.

  • The Music Library is housed in Schrup Library but is maintained by The Music Department.
  • The Instructional Resource Center is managed with library resources and housed within the library building.
  • The Art Slide Library is housed in the Schrup Library but is maintained by The Art Department.

Intellectual Freedom Statement

A conscious effort is made to present all points of view; personal biases and censorship are avoided. Resources shall not be automatically excluded from the library because of the origin, background or views of those contributing to their creation.  Should an item or title be challenged for removal, the library will require a written response by the challenger along with a challenge form provided by the library.  The Library Director will determine if item will be removed.

Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy


The Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy is meant to supplement the Library’s current Collection Development Policy which governs the selection of library materials and information resources. For the purpose of this policy, electronic resources are defined as reference or indexing sources, whether full-text or citation only, which require computer access, and all other types of databases. The Nicholas J Schrup Library subscribes to electronic resources in support of the educational needs of students, faculty and staff of the university.


General Criteria

Subject matter covered is relevant to the Clarke curriculum and needs of primary users (students, faculty and staff)

  • Appropriate intellectual level, depth of coverage and quality of information for user population
  • Reputable, reliable, and authoritative producer
  • Information and updates are current, accurate and complete
  • Electronic format provides greater accessibility to information over other formats
  • Uniqueness of information
  • A significant number of students would benefit from having access to the resource (must have a significant amount of majors to justify purchase)


  • Citation/abstract databases
  • Full text article databases
  • Full text reference sources online
  • Graphics and multimedia files
  • Ebooks (selective)


The following are the preferred methods of access:

  • Delivery via the web
  • Authentication by IP address (rather than passwords or logins)
  • Compatibility with the Library’s existing proxy server and software

Cost Considerations

  • Cost-effectiveness (including the availability and cost of updates and backfiles when appropriate)
  • Ability to sustain cost for the foreseeable future
  • Potential usage and/or uniqueness of information justifies cost

Technical Considerations

  • Meets usual and customary technical standards in the industry
  • Allows for local customizations via system administration access for the Library
  • Product is compatible with the Library’s existing and/or future hardware
  • Product is compatible with standard web browsers if accessible via the web
  • Usage statistics are readily available in a user-friendly format

Special Considerations for Online Reference Sources or Subscriptions to Individual Online Journals

Subscription to or purchase of an individual online reference or journal title will be considered if:

  • The electronic format offers value-added enhancements to make it preferable over, or a significant addition to, its print equivalent. Examples of such enhancements include wider access, flexibility in searching, and frequent updates.
  • It contains or covers the equivalent information compared to the print format.
  • Acquiring the electronic version is cost-effective (e.g., the cost differential is justified by demonstrated or expected increase in use) and provides greater access to users

If an electronic resource is acquired in the electronic format, especially with perpetual ownership rights, the appropriate person (Director or Acquisitions Head) should determine if the print equivalent should be cancelled.

License Agreements

The Schrup Library purchases access to or data from publishers who require signed license agreements. When negotiating license agreements, the Library keeps the interests of the user in mind and refrains from purchasing products where use restrictions would seriously impede research or be impossible to enforce. The Library Director coordinates the review of license agreements and submits the signed license agreement as part of the ordering procedure. The Library will consult with General Counsel to amend vendor license agreements on a case-by-case basis to ensure use is granted to the fullest extent possible.

Decision Making Process

Requesting New Subscriptions/Acquisitions

All new electronic acquisitions must be requested through the Library Director

  1. In consultation with faculty, liaisons, appropriate library staff and others (as needed), the Library Director will consider whether or not the product meets the selection criteria outlined in the Electronic Resources Collection Development Policy.
  2. The Library Director will request pricing for the product and investigate consortial purchase options.
  3. The Library Director will request a trial of the product. In consultation with faculty, liaisons, the library staff and others (as needed), the Library Director will solicit feedback and evaluate the product based on the trial.
  4. The Library Director will consult reviews of the product.
  5. The Library Director will consult other subscribers to the product.

Based on cost, perceived need, usage, and the degree to which the electronic resource meets the selection criteria, the Library Director will: 1) decide whether or not to acquire and 2) if a decision to acquire is made, prioritize its purchase in relation to other electronic resources requested within budgetary constraints.

Review of Electronic Resources for Cancellation

A subscription to a product may be cancelled by the appropriate Library personnel if:

  • Usage statistics are consistently low over a significant period of time.
  • The product is no longer cost-effective
  • The content provided is no longer meeting the needs of Clarke University users.
  • A competitive or better product becomes available.
  • The vendor fails to hold up their end of the agreement and/or provides poor service.
  • A product’s price inflates such that it no longer is considered affordable.
  • The product’s content is found to duplicate content in another database.
  • A new vendor can deliver a superior product, including a more user-friendly search interface, providing greater and more reliable access at a reasonable cost, or meet other key criteria no being met by current database provider.

Some resources, by their format, are not readily supplemented by resource sharing opportunities. Thus the development of a strong on-site collection is recognized for specific formats such as slides and digital images, films, videotapes, and other audiovisual media. Materials requiring specific equipment for use will not be purchased unless the Library has the necessary equipment available for users.

This policy will be reviewed and amended if necessary every year.