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Library Policies: Collection Development Policy


The fundamental importance of strong and diverse library resources to a quality liberal arts education is self-evident. The library provides the fullest achievable range of information so that students and faculty alike may pursue knowledge beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

The range and depth of the library’s collections reflect the unique character, goals, mission, and resources of its parent institution. McDaniel College is a small, independent, liberal arts college, whose focus has traditionally been on undergraduate education and its library collections are strongest in the major and minor subjects taught at the college. Although masters level and nontraditional continuing education programs are of increasing importance, the library’s first collection priority remains support for student research. Support for highly specialized and post-doc faculty research is provided through interlibrary loan and, where possible, document delivery services rather than purchase.


  1. Responsibility

    Responsibility for collection development is shared by the teaching faculty and by college librarians. The faculty determines the college curriculum and faculty members select appropriate information resources to support present and anticipated courses and programs. College librarians are responsible for the development of the collection as a whole, particularly the selection of general and reference materials that support multiple disciplines and departments.

  2. Priorities

    The library’s most immediate priority is to meet the needs of students and faculty in preparation of their course work. Faculty, graduate, and advanced undergraduate research is supported by strong holdings in bibliography, by subscriptions and site licenses to online indexes, abstracts, and full-text services, and by reciprocal and consortial resource sharing relationships with other institutions. Advanced, highly specialized research materials are provided through interlibrary loan or document delivery rather than by purchase.

  3. Scope of the Collection

    The library selects materials in all fields of knowledge reflected in the college curriculum. The collection is intended to include historically established landmark works in each field and to reflect current trends in scholarship, new approaches, interpretations, and interdisciplinary relationships. Major reference works and standard, authoritative treatments are acquired and kept up to date. All information formats and media are within the scope of the library’s collecting activity.

  4. Censorship

    The library supports the full exercise of academic freedom and does not exclude materials from the collection because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

    Some of the items in the collections may be sensitive. McDaniel College and the Hoover Library do not endorse or pass judgment on materials in the collection. Materials contained in the collection do not represent the opinions of McDaniel College or the Hoover Library. While the collection may contain materials that could be considered prejudiced, stereotyped or offensive, it should be remembered that these are important resources in the academic study of contemporary and past cultures. 

  5. Discards

    As McDaniel College is a primarily undergraduate college (offering Masters degree instruction but not the Doctoral level), it is not intended that library collections expand indefinitely or support highly specialized research. As time permits and reflecting changes in the curriculum, it is appropriate for librarians in consultation with the members of the teaching faculty to analyze the collections in whole or in part and to withdraw and discard materials no longer of instructional or informational value. Criteria to be evaluated include relevance to the curriculum, timeliness and accuracy of content, physical condition, media format, demand, and authority.

  6. Selection Guidelines
    1. Single copy To provide the broadest possible coverage, library policy is to buy a single copy of each new title requested. Multiple copies may be acquired as necessary to meet unusually high demand. As a general rule the library does not duplicate materials readily available to the McDaniel College community because they are owned by another member of the Carroll Library Partnership, (i.e. any branch of the Carroll County Public Library system or Carroll Community College.)
    2. In-print materials Except in special circumstances the library does not engage in retrospective purchasing.
    3. Complete sets Since it is highly frustrating to users to discover that the library lacks one or more volumes of a multi-volume monographic set, the library will order complete sets whenever possible.
    4. Serial sets Although the library may on occasion order individual volumes of annual, serial publications, subscription purchase of future volumes is generally preferred.
    5. Current periodicals The library’s subscription list is under continuous review by college librarians and teaching faculty and subscription costs are reflected in departmental library materials allocations. As is the case with monographs, periodicals are selected on the basis of their relevance to the academic program and the mission of the library to support the curriculum but not highly specialized advanced original faculty research.
    6. Electronic indexes, abstracts, and full text databases Electronic materials are selected according to the same criteria governing all library collection, including relevance to the curriculum, scope, authority, projected use, and cost.
    7. Textbooks The library does not collect textbooks chosen by College faculty for current or anticipated course offerings. The library may add textbooks of significant critical or historical importance donated by the faculty or selected by faculty members for purchase within their departmental library materials allocation. Faculty may place copies of textbooks on reserve
    8. Language The library will not knowingly collect materials translated from English into a foreign language. The library does not actively collect secondary literature in foreign languages bearing on primary literature not represented in the collection.
    9. Dissertations The library does not systematically collect unpublished doctoral dissertations, masters’ theses, or honors’ theses from institutions other than McDaniel College or Western Maryland College.
    10. Consumables The library does not collect single-use, self-instructional workbooks that consist of exercises and assignments to be completed in the book itself.
    11. Multimedia The library will purchase video and audio recordings in any current standard format for which it has or can acquire playback equipment or facilities. For budgetary purposes, multi-media materials are considered to be the same as books, i.e., there is no separate materials acquisition fund for them. Existing materials in obsolete formats where playback facilities are not available may be candidates for digitization under individual circumstances.
    12. Microforms Microfilm or microfiche are acquired when necessary to preserve vulnerable materials, to acquire or extend backfiles of serials and periodicals, or to acquire materials not readily available in paper copy.
    13. Superseded editions Earlier editions of non-literary works may be considered for withdrawal from the collection if superseded by acquisition of a later edition.
    14. US Government Documents The library is a selective depository for materials distributed by the Superintendent of Documents and the US Government Printing Office. Documents received under the depository program are available to the general public.

Reviewed July 2021; May 2022


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