Pew Learning Center & Ellison Library

Warren Wilson College






A. Purpose

This policy provides guidance to the librarians and faculty responsible for resource selection, acquisition, maintenance, and retention.  It also communicates collection development guidelines to the College and the broader community by defining the clientele served, the collection boundaries, the levels of collection support, and other relevant information.  Because the Library and the College it serves are dynamic entities, no policy can remain static and unresponsive to change.  Therefore, this policy will be reviewed and revised periodically as appropriate. 


B. Mission of the Library

The Pew Learning Center and Ellison Library participates actively in the educational mission of the College through learning partnerships with faculty, staff, and students.  The Library provides quality information resources, a service-orientated staff, and a welcoming environment. 


C. Library Goals

The Library implements its mission through programs and activities that strive to achieve the following goals:

1)      Develop and maintain a collection of quality information resources that supports the College curriculum, represents a variety of viewpoints, and promotes breadth and depth of understanding in its users.

2)      Provide reference services for students and faculty, as well as a program of instruction that will help students obtain and evaluate information effectively and become life-long learners.

3)      Provide methods for accessing information resources owned by the Library or maintained by other information providers.

4)      Provide a library facility with physical environment and ambience that is inviting and conducive to the housing, use and preservation of information resources.

5)      Collect, house, and preserve information resources of historical significance about the College; facilitate their use; and educate the college community about Warren Wilson College history and the archives.

6)      Provide a work environment for student crew that fosters responsibility and welcomes leadership in an environment that promotes contribution to the common good.

7)       Develop and maintain close working relationships with other units (faculty, Work Program Office, Student Life, Service-Learning Office, Computing Services, Writing Center, bookstore, administration) on the campus that shape the learning environment for students.

8)      Maintain a work environment within the library that is built on collaboration and shared governance.  

9)      Provide staff development opportunities that facilitate awareness of new developments in librarianship, information management, and services, and that prepare staff to continue to deliver effective library services and operations.

10)  Enhance the Library’s collections and services by fostering collaborative relationships with local, state and regional information partners (Appalachian College Association Central Library MCLN, NC LIVE, SOLINET).


D. Description of the College    

 Institutional antecedents of the College include the Asheville Farm School founded in 1894 by the Presbyterian Board of National Missions in order to give mountain boys vocational training and classroom study and the coeducational Warren H. Wilson Vocational Junior College and Associated Schools (a 1942 merger of the AFS and the Dorland-Bell School for girls).  After graduating its final high school class in 1957, Warren Wilson remained a junior college until 1967 when a junior year was added.  The first senior college class was graduated in 1969.  During the 1973/74 academic year, the College became an independent institution governed by a Board of Trustees.  Although the College has remained primarily an undergraduate residential college, in 1981 it added a graduate program (transferred from Goddard College in Vermont), the low-residency Master of Fine Arts Program for Writers. 


The mission of Warren Wilson College is to provide an education combining liberal arts study, work, and service with a strong commitment to environmental responsibility and experiential opportunities for international and cross-cultural understanding in a setting that promotes wisdom, spiritual growth, and contribution to the common good.


 Today (academic year 2003-04) the College has an endowment of $30 million, a student body of 775 undergraduates and about 70 graduate students, and a full time faculty of 63, including five librarians.  Undergraduate majors include art, biology, business and economics, chemistry, creative writing, education, elementary education, English, environmental studies, global studies, history and political science, humanities, integrative studies, mathematics, outdoor leadership, philosophy, psychology, religious studies, social work, sociology/anthropology, Spanish, and women’s studies.  Minors include Appalachian studies, art, biology, business, chemistry, computer science, creative writing, economics, education, English, environmental studies, French, history and political science, intercultural studies, Latin American studies, mathematics, music, outdoor leadership, philosophy, physics, psychology, religious studies, sociology/anthropology, Spanish, theatre, and women’s studies.  The graduate program focus is creative writing, poetry and fiction.  For current statistics and academic programs, see the Warren Wilson College Catalog and College Fact Book.




E. Library Profile/Description

The Library is a member of SOLINET (Southeastern Library Network), ACA (Appalachian College Association) Central Library, NC LIVE (North Carolina Libraries in Virtual Education), NCICU (North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities), and MCLN (Mountain College Library Network).  The Library particularly serves the campus community, members of its Friends of the Library, and those holding MCLN borrowing cards; however, the general public is free to use in-house resources.


Library personnel includes five library faculty, 1.75 paraprofessionals, one half-time archivist, one full-time volunteer professional librarian, and .4 other volunteers.  The student work crew numbers about 22. The most current statistics (academic year 2002-2003) indicate physical volumes, excluding bound serials, in the collection total 97,000.  About 1,900 books are added yearly. Another 40,000 electronic books are available. The Library subscribes to over 130 electronic databases.  In addition, there are 9,251 unique full text periodicals.  Total book circulation, including in-house use, is 25,610.  The library is a net interlibrary loan borrower.   For updated statistics, see the annual College Fact Book.


The Library collection is housed in a two-story (plus mezzanine) building expanded and entirely renovated during the summers of 1998 and 1999.  College archives and special collections are contained within the building in the Arthur S. Link Archives and Elizabeth Shepard Special Collections area.  The Library building allows for collection growth and features a library instruction room, a 24-hour study room, group study rooms, and a variety of study spaces.  Other collections (education, music and career resources) exist on campus, but they are administratively unconnected to this library.


The Library’s web page is the gateway to its collection and services.  The online public access catalog, which is shared by five other MCLN libraries, is available electronically on campus and remotely. 


F.  Intellectual Freedom

The Library subscribes to the principles of intellectual freedom in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights (, its Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries (, its Freedom to Read Statement (, and its Freedom to View Statement (  The College is a community of scholarship devoted to freedom of inquiry; consequently, the Library will collect materials representing diverse views on many subjects.  A person challenging the appropriateness of library material must request reconsideration in writing to the library director and provide personal identification information, specific details about the material in question, and clear reasons for objection.   The library director, in consultation with the Library staff will consider the request.  If  the Library staff cannot resolve the request for reconsideration, the Academic Policies and Planning Committee of the Faculty Body will serve as the appropriate body to receive the complaint and questioned material, to study the concern, and make recommendations.  Its written report will be sent to the president, the vice-president and dean of the college, and the library director.  The library director will notify the person requesting the reconsideration of the decision. 





A. Levels of Collection Support

Level 1 The major collection focus is curricular support within the following priorities:

1)      majors with research emphases

2)      other majors (including the graduate creative writing program), minors, and concentrations

3)      other programs including service, work, Warren Wilson WorldWide, and academic support

4)      special topic courses and independent studies

Level 2 The Library will collect to a lesser extent in subject areas outside the scope of the   

           curriculum but within the framework of liberal arts studies.

Level 3 The Library will minimally collect materials to support popular and recreational 

           interests of the college community.


B. Responsibility for Selection of Library Materials

The College librarians, faculty, and program staff share responsibility for developing the library collection within the framework of the Library’s purpose, policies, and budgetary restrictions.  Faculty and program staff are strongly encouraged to support their current and planned courses/programs through relevant library selections, to monitor their professional literature for appropriate library acquisitions, and to advise the acquisitions/collection development librarian of material most useful for course requirements and research needs.  The librarians are equally committed to the academic program and utilize their professional expertise in selection by taking note of publishing trends, reviews in library literature, and cross-disciplinary and general interest needs as well as drawing on their reference and library information instruction experience.


The acquisitions/collection development librarian oversees the acquisition process for books and audiovisual materials and alerts appropriate faculty and staff to new titles and collection weaknesses.  The librarians collectively decide on serial and electronic acquisitions. 


Other members of the College community are encouraged to suggest titles that are reviewed by the same standards as are requests from all other sources.


C. Selection Tools, Guidelines, Procedures

Selection Tools.  They include standard review sources (Choice, Library Journal, etc.), pre-publication and professional literature, subject-specific journals, core collection or        
”best of” lists, bibliographies, publisher catalogs, and interlibrary loan requests.



Selection Guidelines.  Selection decisions involve consideration of some or all of the following criteria:

available reviews

budget impact

expected use

suitability of format

relation to levels of collection support

reputation/significance of author/publisher/database provider

appropriateness of level of treatment

currency in tandem with lasting content value

historical significance

use pattern/demand

technological capacities

value for price and availability through consortial agreements

licensing model

quality, depth, and permanence of intellectual content


Procedures for Books and Audiovisual Media.   Purchase submissions can be delivered to the acquisitions/collection development librarian in person or by written request, marked publisher catalogs, or email.  That librarian will set appropriate deadlines for requests to be submitted and encumbered by the end of the fiscal year.  Requests unfilled during the fiscal year will be retained and considered for ordering during the subsequent fiscal year.  Requesters will be contacted about the status of their requests if problems arise concerning fulfillment and will be notified when their orders are available for use. 


 Procedures for Periodicals.  Librarians review submitted Periodical Request Forms throughout the academic year and select new titles based on indexing access, levels of collection support, budget considerations, electronic full-text options, interlibrary loan activity, and MCLN availability.  (See Section II.D. Periodicals for more details.)


Procedures for Electronic Resources.  Librarians consider information available in electronic format for purchase as needs arise, requests are received, and consortial purchase opportunities are presented.  (See Selection Criteria under Section II.D. Electronic Resources.)


D. Types of Materials/Formats Collected. 

Monographs.  Monographs are selected according to the general collection development policy (see Section II.A.-C.).  The Library acquires primarily English language books except for materials to support the modern language curriculum, materials where the primary interest is not the text, and materials essential to a subject unavailable in English.  The Library does not purchase multiple copies of a work without demonstrated need.  When there is an option of paper or hardback format, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of content, and cost differential.  The Library will try to honor requests for out-of-print materials.


Reference Collection.  The Library’s reference collection consists of standard and interdisciplinary publications as well as sources supporting the curriculum in formats (dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, statistical compilations, directories, bibliographies, etc.) typically assigned to such collections.  Electronic sources augment the collection.


Fiction.  The collection includes American and international fiction of critical importance.  Southern, Appalachian, and local works are selected as well.  The Library acquires popular fiction selectively.


Juvenile Collection.  The Library maintains a separate juvenile collection in support of the Education Department’s children’s literature requirement.  Mainly Education Department faculty recommend new titles for the collection.       


Dissertations.  The Library acquires the dissertations of current regular faculty, administration, and staff for the circulating collection.


Textbooks.  Textbooks currently used at the College are not purchased by the Library.  A textbook is added only when the title represents the best source of information on the particular subject.


Government Documents.  The Library is not a government depository.  Selected world, national, state, and local government documents are added to the collection or made accessible by electronic links when appropriate to levels of collection support.


Faculty/Staff/Alumni Books.  The Library collects books by these authors to be housed in Archives.  Books by faculty, administration, and staff authors will also be added to the circulating collection.  Books by Master of Fine Arts faculty and MFA alumni authors will usually be acquired for the circulating collection only.          


Theses & Student Papers.  Graduate theses from the Master of Fine Arts Program are deposited in Special Collections and are cataloged in the library’s public access catalog.  Undergraduate theses, Natural Science Seminar papers, and other selected student papers are deposited in Special Collections and are listed in its finding aids. 


Artists’ Books.  A modest collection of artists’ books is housed in Special Collections to provide samples for relevant art classes.   


Periodicals.  Paper subscription requests are carefully considered by the librarians  because of the continued expense involved and possible electronic duplication.  Priority is given to titles that support the academic program, strengthen current holdings, respond to demonstrated needs, and are covered by available indexing sources.  Other selection factors include checking reviews in Magazines for Libraries and availability in MCLN.  (See Electronic Resources Relationship to Other Formats below for electronic/paper periodical considerations and Section II.C. Procedures for Periodicals for other details.)


Alternative Press Collection.  The Library maintains this periodical collection to offer a browsable, current array representative of a variety of viewpoints outside the mainstream.  Title selection is informed by listings in Annotations:  A Guide to the Independent Critical Press, Magazines for Libraries, the Alternative Press Index, and other resources covering the independent press. 


Newspapers.  Print newspapers are provided for selective local, regional, and national coverage.  Limited backfiles are retained for ready consultation.  Many newspapers are available electronically.


Microforms.  Monographic microforms are not usually collected.  Periodical microforms are purchased to fill collection gaps, to save shelving space, and to avoid binding costs.


Sound Recordings.  The Library collects spoken recordings to support curricular needs when the recordings serve as primary sources (speeches, oral history, etc.) or enhance literary works.  Music recordings collected primarily support curricular needs, particularly in Appalachian music.  Compact discs are the preferred format for sound recordings.


Video Recordings.  The Library collects video recordings to support curricular needs primarily.  DVDs are preferred over videocassettes when both forms are available.   


Electronic Resources.  The Library remains committed to a strong on-site, physical collection but, in light of a rapidly evolving curriculum, the emphasis in collection building is shifting towards access to online information in the forms of full-text databases and, more slowly, to electronic book collections.  Reference materials in print format are more and more augmented and sometimes replaced by online information resources.


Formats.  The Library will collect all formats of electronic resources (resources that require computer access) appropriate to its collection levels and not duplicated by Computer Services or other campus computer laboratories except for the following categories:

    1.  networked CD-ROMs (because of difficulty in maintaining the server) unless this is

         the only format available for direct academic support

2.  GIS software

3.  applications productivity software

4.  entertainment software


Access.  Electronic resources will be accessible through links from the Library home page and/or the Library online catalog.  The Library will provide the widest level of campus and remote access to electronic resources that campus technology will allow. 


Relationship to Other Formats.  For books, the preferred format is paper.  Online reference works will usually replace rather than duplicate the equivalent paper titles.   The Library will not routinely purchase paper copies for titles already available as e-books in its collection; however, it will consider explicit faculty requests for paper as the preferred format over electronic.  The Library will usually not subscribe to electronic journals separate from an aggregated database.   Journal titles that are available full-text in a database to which the Library subscribes and expects to be able to subscribe in the future will not be duplicated in paper unless the online version is not a satisfactory replacement of the print journal.  The Library continues to withdraw backruns of those journal titles whose archives are available online and are expected to remain so (as in the JSTOR commitment, for example).   


Selection Criteria.  Electronic resources are selected, as much as possible, like other Library resources, but the criteria also include other unique considerations:

        any value-added enhancements

        appropriate software/hardware support

        requirements of licensing agreements

        vendor reliability and support

        user-friendliness of platform and documentation

        range of level and mode of access

        availability of trial period


Selection Process.  Preference is given to online databases and electronic book collections offered through consortial arrangements; however, in any case, library staff review resources in terms of academic program support, collection need, affordability, as well as the unique considerations of the format itself.  Trials are requested when available.  Subscriptions are reviewed again during academic program reviews and before renewal.  Faculty and students may suggest resources as well.


Copyright and Licensing.  The Library will comply with copyright regulations and electronic licensing agreements. 


Categories not Collected:  photographs, genealogical materials, individual maps, test and training materials, and vertical file materials.


E. Gifts

The Library welcomes gift materials.  They are reviewed for addition to the Library collection according to the same criteria used for purchased materials.  The Library reserves the right to dispose of materials not chosen for inclusion in its collection through its book sale, its free book offerings, or other methods as it sees fit. The acquisitions/collection development librarian will make such decisions in consultation with librarians and/or faculty as appropriate. 


Prospective donors should consult with that librarian and complete the Donor Gift Form which will alert the donor to pertinent regulations and provide the Library with information about the nature and size of the donation as well as donor contact information.  The Library does not accept restricted gifts (with “strings attached”) or those in poor physical condition.  Gift materials requiring continuing library obligations will not be accepted without serious consideration of the Library’s ability to meet such obligations.  Appraisal of gift materials is the responsibility of the donor, not the Library or the College.  The College Relations Office will thank donors and provide official acknowledgement of the number of items received, however.  Gifts will be distinguished by an appropriate bookplate that acknowledges the donor. 


The Library also welcomes monetary gifts to purchase library materials or equipment.  The donor may suggest a subject area appropriate to the Library collection, but the Library reserves the right to choose the specific items to be purchased.


All gift materials and those purchased through monetary gifts are subject to the same deselection criteria and procedures as other library materials.


F. Collection Maintenance

Deselection.  Part of the collection development process is identifying materials in the collection that should be removed because they compromise the intellectual integrity and credibility of the collection.  Such deselection also increases the availability of stack space for collection growth and offers a higher proportion of materials of interest to library users.  The acquisitions/collection development librarian initiates systematic reviews of the collection in tandem with the schedule of academic program and department reviews required by the Academic Affairs office.  Appropriate faculty and staff are alerted to books tentatively designated for deselection or “weeding” from the collection due to publication date and infrequent circulation.  From these books, they will recommend titles to be withdrawn from the collection because the materials are obsolete, no longer appropriate, little used, or in poor physical condition.  Before final withdrawal decisions are made, the faculty at large and the librarians are invited to examine the titles designated for withdrawal for possible reconsideration by the acquisitions/collection development librarian and others, as appropriate. Reference books and bound periodicals are weeded by librarian consensus and through faculty consultation, as needed.  Materials withdrawn from the collection may become part of the Library book sale inventory, offered as free items, discarded, or destroyed.


Inventory.  A current inventory is desirable now that the Library has had some experience with its new (fall 2003) online public access catalog.  The Library staff will investigate the feasibility of an automated inventory within the next two years.


Replacement.  The acquisitions/collection development librarian in consultation with librarians and faculty, as appropriate, will decide whether or not to order replacements for lost, missing, or damaged materials based on general collection development criteria, circulation history, availability, cost, and expected future use.


Preservation, Restoration, and Conservation.  The Library maintains an appropriate setting for the preservation of Library materials through proper handling and storage, environmental controls, and a security program.  Library personnel reinforce paperback books and cover dust jackets of hard cover books before they become available for circulation.  They also perform minor in-house repair of damaged materials and repackage nonprint materials for secure circulation.


G. Archives and Special Collections

The Arthur S. Link Archives and Elizabeth Shepard Special Collections area has a separate policy.


H. Budgets and Allocations

The Library book budget supports book and sound/video recording (titles under $75) requests.  Budget allocations reflect the levels of collection support (see Section II.A.) and provide two-year grants for new continuing full-time faculty and new courses whose developers have expressed a need for library resources in their regularly-approved course proposals.  The allocations also allow for student requests, contingency needs, and special projects.  After College budget allocations have been received, the book budget is developed by the acquisitions/collection development librarian in consultation with the library director; then it is approved by the librarians.  Funds not spent in academic library allocations by deadline will be expended by the acquisitions/collection development librarian to maintain progress toward development of a balanced collection.


Gift funds and book sale revenues are also available to supplement regular library budgets for materials.


DVDs and videocassettes have a separate budget line.  Each fall academic departments are notified of the budget for these items and the deadline for title nominations.  Departments submit written nomination of titles priced over $75 to the acquisitions/collection development librarian.  The nominations include departmental priority ranking and anticipated use within the department or across disciplines.  Although there are not specific department and program allocations, the acquisitions/collection development librarian orders titles according to these priority and use statements and in keeping with the overall video recording collection and budget limitations. 


Two separate budget lines, electronic resources and electronic journals, support such purchases.  Funds are not allocated to individual departments and programs.  The budgets are administered by the library director and serials coordinator. (See Section II.D. Electronic Resources for selection details.)


All materials purchased with Library funds or gifts received by the Library become Library property, available for the use of the entire College community.  Departmental or personal office collections should be acquired with non-Library funds.


I. Assessment, Review and Evaluation

Although this statement of collection development is informally reviewed by Library staff as concerns arise, it will be formally examined at least every two years to ensure it reflects current direction and practice.  Ongoing objective and subjective measures used may include holdings statistics, circulation statistics, usage data, standard lists, user opinion, library staff experience, library materials/services allocations and expenditures and their trends, curriculum changes, academic program review activities, interlibrary loan requests, inventory and weeding programs, college library standards, consultants, collection policies at benchmark libraries, and direct collection examination.


J. Policy Approval

This policy has been developed and prepared by the Library staff during the 2003-2004 academic year.  It replaces the previous policy dated July 1992 and amended September 1994.



Submitted to the Academic Policies and Planning Committee of the Faculty Body on     __________________(date)


Approved on ____________________(date)