Connecticut College Collection Development Policy

May 3, 2019


I. Introduction and Purpose

The library collections at Connecticut College support, and provide a vital basis for, the College’s teaching and research activities. The purpose of the Collection Development Policy is to establish principles and direction for the development and management of the College’s library resources. It is intended to guide librarians and library staff in their work to build and maintain collections, and to serve as a key communication tool for library staff members to work with students, faculty, staff, administrators and other user groups. This policy covers Charles E. Shain Library; separate policies are maintained for Greer Music Library and for the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives. 

The Collection Development Policy is further intended as a document to help provide stewardship of collections and resources amid an environment of constant and rapid changes to the ways that the scholarly record is produced and disseminated. In the decade prior to 2018, publishers have offered new purchasing models for monographs as well as serials, including numerous and ever-evolving methods for patron-driven acquisition. In addition, the push toward open materials — “author-pays” models for journal articles, archiving preprint articles in institutional repositories, the creation of open and/or digital textbooks — complicates and disrupts traditional means of subscription and purchasing. This policy is designed to take such disruptions into account, and to incorporate newer methods of purchasing, licensing and disseminating scholarly research into the collection management process.

All policies in this document are created to reflect and support the academic goals of Connecticut College, the information needs of the College’s users, and the College Mission.


II. Executive Summary

Prior to the 2018-19 revision, the Connecticut College Collection Development Policy had not been revised in more than a decade. Since that time, numerous and disruptive changes in the collection landscape have occurred; consequently, the policy was thoroughly overhauled. The changes leading to this revision are described below.

  • The popularity and availability of e-books has increased, and the options for their acquisition have diversified. These changes required more emphasis to be placed on these materials than there had been in the past.

  • Similarly, there is now the capability for patron-driven acquisition of monographic materials, primarily e-books. This change complicates, and often challenges, the role of librarians as “selectors.”

  • Whereas in the past, journal titles were subscribed to individually, many titles are now purchased through packages or bundles, also known as “big deals.” These packages bundle large amounts of material at a price that is less than the cost of the sum of the individual subscriptions.

  • Concomitant with the above changes, there has been a shift in focus in the work that librarians do, from collection/selection activities to provision of services such as research and technology instruction, and many forms of research support.

  • Many materials can now be ordered and processed very quickly, through electronic means or through expedited delivery from Amazon.

  • Whereas in the past, most book and journal titles could be traced to specific departments, many titles are now interdisciplinary — as is, increasingly, the College curriculum. Therefore, trying to find exchanges (whereby a new serial title is added only if a similar title in the same discipline can be cut) has become problematic.

  • Budget pressures have created an ever-present need to find cost savings, and have influenced collection decisions and processes.

  • New options for subscribing to streaming video have become extremely popular; physical materials such as DVDs are becoming much less prominent.

  • Open access materials have expanded the collections landscape and prompted collection development staff members to examine ways to make these materials accessible.


Key Points and Provisions of the 2018-19 Collection Development Policy Revision:

  1. The primary mission of the College’s library collections is to support the College’s instructional program and undergraduate research. As such, the library primarily collects materials at the Instructional Support level. As a library supporting undergraduate work, comprehensive research collections are beyond the capacity of the library.

  2. Collection development is a shared task, with the Librarian of the College holding final responsibility for all collections decisions. The Director of Collections & Resource Management is responsible for day-to-day oversight and recommends decisions in consultation with the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, Collections & Resource Management staff members, library liaisons, the faculty members of the IS Committee, and CTW partners.

  3. The library maintains a carefully balanced mixture of print and electronic monographic materials and collects packages of monographs in both categories. In making choices about a format, the library considers available space, costs, functionality, the needs of users, the availability of the material, and the library’s broader mission.

  4. The library collects a substantial portion of its monographs through automatic means: either through a print approval plan or through various patron-driven ebook packages. Many additional titles are purchased upon the request of a faculty member. Librarians may still select additional individual titles, but should exercise a great deal of discernment and caution when doing so, and should purchase such titles with gift funds whenever possible.

  5. The library does not acquire textbooks that students would normally purchase for classes, nor does it acquire supplementary materials, such as workbooks, related media or teacher’s guides. Monographs required for courses may be purchased if they meet the library’s selection guidelines for monographic materials as outlined in the policy.

  6. Collections staff will work with liaison librarians, faculty members, and I.S. Committee members to make decisions about possible acquisition and cancellation of serials (databases and journals). In doing so, staff will weigh possible acquisitions and cancellations holistically with the libraries’ ongoing budget considerations, balancing emerging needs against resources that have declined in usage and/or have high costs per use. Where possible, new subscriptions will be balanced by a comparable cancellation of another subscription in the same subject. Major additions or cancellations will be reviewed by the faculty members on the I.S. Committee each year.

  7. Materials that are openly available (“open access”) may be collected if they meet the same criteria as materials that are available for licensing or purchase. In making decisions about whether to collect openly available materials, library staff will consider numerous factors, including quality, authority, objectivity, duplication, currency, functionality, stability and open access status.

  8. The library maintains a subscription to a provider of streaming video, and this medium has now replaced a significant portion of DVD acquisition activities. DVDs are still acquired selectively and may be purchased to support research and teaching, and/or to maintain a collection of notable films for academic or general viewing.

  9. Collections staff will regularly assess the collection in order to maintain its ongoing vitality and relevance. If and when a deselection project occurs, librarians will consult with relevant faculty members, including those on the IS Committee. Criteria for deselection can include older items, items that have never or rarely circulated, duplicate copies, items superseded by newer editions, items in poor physical condition, items with dated or inaccurate information, and/or materials that do not support the curriculum. Additional criteria might include the availability of candidates for deselection in trusted electronic sources or from partner libraries that offer guarantees of persistent access.   

  10. The Director of Collections and Resource Management, along with the Librarian of the College, will review these policies annually, and work with the IS Committee to approve any necessary changes.


III. Connecticut College and Information Services

As stated above, the Collection Development Policy is designed to support and reflect the mission of Connecticut College as a whole, along with the mission of its Information Services division.


A. Connecticut College Community

Connecticut College is a highly selective, coeducational, private liberal arts college located in New London, Connecticut. The College was founded in 1911 and primarily serves undergraduate students; its typical enrollment is approximately 1,850 students. The College community also comprises more than 175 faculty (for a 9-to-1 student–faculty ratio) and 500 staff. Library patrons also include local alumni, area residents, local teachers, nearby Williams School students and faculty, Williams College–Mystic students and faculty, Coast Guard Academy students and faculty, and Eugene O’Neill Theater Center participants. The College is particularly distinguished by its Connections curriculum, which includes extensive advising, an Integrative Pathways program through which students structure course work around an interdisciplinary focus and an animating question, a major course of study, and a capstone experience. Students can also choose to pursue certificates from one of five interdisciplinary centers: the Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology, the Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Goodwin–Niering Center for the Environment, the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, and the Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts.

B. Connecticut College Mission Statement

Connecticut College educates students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens in a global society.

C. Connecticut College Values

a. Academic Excellence
b. Diversity, Equity and Shared Governance
c. Education of the Entire Person
d. Adherence to Common Ethical and Moral Standards
e. Community Service and Global Citizenship
f. Environmental Stewardship

D. Information Services and Its Mission

At Connecticut College, the libraries are part of a merged Information Services division that also includes instructional and information technology services. The division is led by the Vice President for Information Services and Librarian of the College, and its mission is to partner with the College community “to provide innovative reliable and universal access to information resources in support of academic and administrative endeavors.” The 2017–2020 Information Services Strategic Plan (available at outlines the five following focus keys, around which the division’s work is structured:

• Enrich the student experience
• Create and maintain an innovative environment
• Promote excellence in research and scholarship
• Enhance effective discovery and use of data
• Provide a secure and robust technical infrastructure

By providing guidelines for building library collections that optimally serve the College’s research and teaching needs, this Collection Development Policy is designed to address each of these focus keys.


IV. Goals of the Collection

A. Curriculum Support

The primary mission of the College’s library collections is to support the College’s instructional program, which includes the aforementioned Connections curriculum. As such, the library’s goal is to collect materials at the nstructional Support Level, as defined by the Library of Congress ( Library materials are collected to enable students to complete assignments, undertake independent research projects, and develop new insights.

B. Faculty Research

As a library supporting undergraduate work, comprehensive research collections are beyond the capacity of the library. However, faculty research and publication are not only key intellectual output of the College’s work but is also an important driver of the College’s curriculum. As such,  the libraries work to provide needed materials for faculty research and publication through responses to requests and through interlibrary loan and combined consortial resources. (See Section V, “Consortial and Resource Environment,” for more detail.)

C. Bibliographic Access

To facilitate discovery of materials and resources — including those that Shain Library has not purchased or subscribed to — the library committed to providing as much bibliographical/discovery access as possible. The library will therefore make every effort within its budgetary abilities to subscribe to databases that cover all disciplines represented in the College curriculum. Further bibliographic access is provided by the OCLC Worldcat database and through the Primo discovery interface.

D. General Non-curricular, Staff and Administrative Support

Within the limits of the materials budget, the library will maintain a selection of current literary fiction, poetry, play scripts and popular nonfiction for the use and enjoyment of its patron groups. For these materials, the library will select materials that are judged to have lasting artistic or literary value, or that represent key voices in documenting current events. Further, the library will attempt to provide materials needed by the College’s administrative personnel to meet their professional responsibilities — with the caveat that the library’s first priority is always to provide materials that support Connecticut College’s curriculum directly.

V. Intellectual Freedom

Charles E. Shain Library adheres to the principle of academic freedom as outlined in:




VI. Consortial and Resource Environment

In addition to the resources that Shain Library directly purchases or licenses, the library also draws from numerous means of resource sharing and consortial collection development in order to support the College’s research and teaching mission.


A. CTW (Connecticut College, Trinity, Wesleyan) Consortium

Since 1985, the Connecticut College libraries have been a part of the CTW Consortium, which also comprises Trinity College and Wesleyan University. The CTW Consortium provides numerous services that help its three constituent institutions share resources. The CTW institutions share a catalog and fulfillment network by which library patrons from each campus can discover materials and borrow reciprocally from the other two institutions; each work day, materials are sent among all CTW campuses. Further, in 2017 CTW jointly chose and implemented an Ex Libris integrated library system: a front end (Primo) and back end (Alma). The CTW catalog exists as a facet on each institution’s Primo discovery platform, which enables users to switch easily from local searches to searches of the CTW holdings. The CTW consortium also convenes a collections group, chaired by the CTW librarian for collaborative projects, who is employed jointly by the three institutions. This group makes decisions about collaborative collection development projects, the most prominent of which is the shared print approval plan. Under this plan, print titles from key academic publishers are automatically purchased by the three institutions on a rotating basis, with the intention that these titles are to be understood as shared materials. Other projects of the CTW collections group include participation in e-book acquisition programs, as well as group consideration of many major collection development decisions.

B. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Resource Sharing

Beyond the reciprocal borrowing program available through CTW, Connecticut College provides an interlibrary loan service that is available to all faculty, students and staff. This service draws from the rich regional resources available in Connecticut and New England, as well as the national and international network of libraries. Materials available through ILL include monographs; journal, magazine and newspaper articles; theses and dissertations; and audiovisual materials. Further, a number of articles to unsubscribed journals are available through GetItNow, a document delivery service of the Copyright Clearance Center. In 2018, the library joined a service called Rapid ILL, which provides fast delivery of journal articles and other materials within a defined network.

C. Eastern Academic Scholars Trust (EAST)

All CTW institutions, including Connecticut College, maintain a membership in the Eastern Academic Scholars Trust (EAST), a consortium of some 60 institutions in the eastern United States. EAST’s mission is to foster retention of rarely held print materials, requiring specific commitments of member institutions to retain specific materials so that these resources remain available and accessible to users via interlibrary loan.


VII. Responsibility for Selection of Materials

Collection development is a collaborative process and shared responsibility, with the Librarian of the College holding final responsibility for all collections decisions. The Director of Collections & Resource Management is responsible for day-to-day oversight and recommends decisions in consultation with the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, Collections & Resource Management staff members, library liaisons, the faculty members of the I.S. Committee, and CTW partners.

Library liaisons communicate and consult with faculty stakeholders to foster the acquisition of monographic titles, and to provide feedback and consultation on major acquisition and de-acquisition decisions. Finally, a group of faculty drawn from the Information Services Committee meets with collection development librarians at least once a semester, to discuss and make recommendations about possible cancellations and/or acquisitions.


VIII. Selection Criteria

As discussed in the above sections, Shain Library provides high-quality materials that serve the curricular, teaching and research needs of Connecticut College. A further important guiding factor is found in Section II of the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights: “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” 

A. Overall Criteria

The following general, overall criteria are considered in making selection decisions:

  • Relevance to the teaching curriculum of the College
  • Lasting value of the content
  • Reviews in the professional literature
  • Reputation and professional background of the author/publisher
  • Appropriateness of the level of treatment, format and language
  • Availability within the CTW consortium
  • Strength of present holdings in the subject area
  • Importance, or potential importance, to the literature of a given discipline
  • For periodicals, indexing in a product owned or licensed by the library
  • Full-text searchability, if applicable to the particular resource
  • Licensing arrangements for electronic resources that enable printing, downloading and interlibrary loan
  • Archival arrangements, for electronic resources
  • Cost


B. Monographs

a. Print versus Electronic

The library maintains a carefully balanced mixture of print and electronic materials, adding packages of automatic acquisitions in both categories. Both formats have their advantages. E-books can be beneficial because they provide the ability for highly detailed and granular searches of materials; greater and more immediate accessibility; and, perhaps most significantly, the ability to select materials on a patron-driven basis, thus purchasing only those materials that are most needed. E-books also do not create requirements for physical library space. The emergence of ebooks that are free of digital rights management restrictions (i.e., “DRM free”), and thus can be downloaded or printed as needed, adds to their possibilities. At the same time, the library must remain mindful that e-books are frequently subject to licensing restrictions rather than being owned outright; as such, interlibrary loan possibilities are limited. In addition, many users express a preference for print monographs in order to better study and use the material.

The library therefore considers library space, costs, functionality, the needs of users, the availability of the material,and the library’s broader mission in making choices about format. If a decision is made to purchase a monograph, generally the preferred method is electronic. However, item may be requested in print, either if the user specifically requests a print resource or print is judged to be a more appropriate medium given the content or the potential use of the item.

b. Print


As part of the aforementioned CTW Print Approval Plan, the library purchases new titles automatically from select university presses on a rotating basis, with the understanding that such titles are shared among Connecticut College, Trinity College and Wesleyan University.

Single Titles

Single print titles not part of the above approval plan — or not part of an electronic book package (see the section on Electronic Monographs below) — may be purchased through selection by a liaison librarian or by the director of collections, or upon the request of a faculty member in a given discipline. Because many relevant titles are purchased through automatic print or e-book acquisition, or through direct faculty request — and because both library space and acquisition budgets are ever tighter — liaison librarians should exercise judgment and caution when acquiring print monographs that have not been directly requested. Whenever possible, gift funds should be used to acquire titles that have not been specifically requested for a course or by a faculty member. Individual titles costing more than $200 require approval by the director of collections.

Duplicate Titles

The library will not acquire multiple copies of single titles unless, in rare circumstances, more than one title is needed for course reserve. Further, for scholarly monographs, duplication among single titles already held by Trinity or Wesleyan should be avoided except where a faculty member has specifically requested an item to go on reserve, for a specific class. One exception to the latter policy is for contemporary poetry, fiction, plays or nonfiction books relating to current events; for these materials, duplication among CTW libraries is permissible, and the Connecticut College library may purchase one copy for on-campus users.

Format (Paper vs. Hardcover)

When possible, Shain Library orders materials in paper in order to maximize limited collection funds. When they arrive, paper materials are not bound or laminated; binding of these materials only occurs if they are judged to have been damaged by use. Laminate covers are only applied in very rare circumstances. When paper is not available or feasible, the library receives materials in hardcover, and hardcover is the preferred material for reference titles or for major scholarly sets.


Shain Library does not acquire textbooks that students would normally purchase for classes, nor does it acquire supplementary materials, such as workbooks, related media or teacher’s guides. A book required for courses may be purchased if it meets the selection guidelines as outlined above, and/or if it provides critical information in the field that is not otherwise available.

Recognizing the financial burden that textbooks present for many students, the library will create access to open educational resources that meet the criteria as outlined in the specific section below (see “Textbooks/OER” under “Open Access”).

Reference Books

Print reference books of all kinds are collected very sparingly, and only in those cases when librarians determine that the material’s content is needed specifically in print. The library maintains a collection that includes a broad range of encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries of many kinds, atlases, published bibliographies and other materials.

Juvenile Books

The library maintains a small collection of juvenile books and teaching materials for grades K–8, in support of the curricula of the Education and Human Development departments. These materials are typically bound with laminate covers.

Theses and Dissertations

The library will attempt to obtain via interlibrary loan those theses or dissertations that are needed by faculty members or students writing an honors thesis. Librarians or library patrons may also obtain these materials through the institutional repository where the thesis or dissertation was produced. If a thesis or dissertation is otherwise unavailable and is judged to be necessary for a faculty or honors research project, the library will attempt to purchase an electronic copy of the thesis through ProQuest.

Faculty Publications

Shain Library will acquire a print copy of all scholarly monographs produced by College faculty for the general circulating collection, as well as a copy for the College archives.

Alumni Publications

Shain Library may acquire and add to the collection those materials written by College alumni that conform to the collection guidelines as noted above.

Standing Orders

The library does not arrange for new standing orders for print monographic sets. As of 2018, there are some ongoing, legacy standing orders, but these are in the process of being phased out.



c. Electronic


The library collects numerous packages that provide access to electronic materials, either on a subscription, demand-driven or evidence-driven (e.g., titles purchased according to usage) basis. In evaluating package acquisitions and subscriptions, the library considers numerous factors, including:

• Cost
• Ability to print or download materials (i.e., “DRM free”)
• Ability to search materials in a granular way
• Ability to discover materials in multiple platforms
• Ownership over access
• Access to a wide range of materials from a wide variety of publishers

Not all factors need to apply to each package subscribed, but the overall suite of e-book packages should reflect all of the above.

Single Titles

The library maintains similar guidelines for the purchase or licensing of single electronic monographs as it does for single print titles. Electronic titles not otherwise acquired by the library may be purchased by direct selection; as with print monographics, librarians are urged to use a high level of discernment in purchasing titles on a speculative basis. Individual titles costing more than $200 require approval by the director of collections. Because access options vary widely among products and vendors, liaisons will work with the acquisitions supervisor to determine the maximal balance between broad access and cost efficiency when a book is purchased. The option to purchase a electronic monograph free of digital rights management should always be exercised when possible.

Electronic Reference Titles

Single electronic reference titles may be considered for purchase under the same circumstances as other materials. See the above sections for overall monographic guidelines and for guidelines regarding electronic monographs. As with other materials, purchases costing over $200 must be approved by the director of collections. Where possible, outright purchases are preferred over ongoing serial commitments; further, it is preferable to avoid ongoing access fees for reference titles.

Open Access

1.     Monographs

Open access (OA) monographs added to the catalog must conform to the criteria of scholarly work outlined above. The library frequently receives or learns of offers to add open access monographs to its catalog, and collections staff will evaluate such offers on a twice-annual basis, determining whether they meet the scholarly criteria necessary for collecting them, and whether duplication with purchased or subscribed materials exists. See the section below under “Born-Digital Material” for more information on selection/ingestion criteria. In conjunction with other staff members, the director of collections will continually evaluate whether collection of any open access materials can create the possibility of cancelling or reducing package subscriptions.

2.     Textbooks/OER

The library is also committed, where possible, to collect and/or make discoverable open educational resource (OER) materials that might ease the financial burden on students. On a twice-annual basis, Collections staff will investigate possible resources to determine whether additions exist that are appropriate to add to the catalog, consulting with liaison librarians and/or faculty members as needed. See the section below under “Born-Digital Material” for more information on selection criteria.



C. Serials

a. Journals, Periodicals and Newspapers

Shain Library maintains a selection of electronic and print journal subscriptions to help support the research and teaching needs of the College. As stated above, this collection is augmented by interlibrary loan.

Format Considerations

In general, the library will only pay for one journal or periodical format (print or electronic); the library would only maintain subscriptions to both formats if electronic access is included as part of a print subscription, or vice versa. The preferred format for academic journals is electronic; print will only be chosen when specifically requested by faculty and approved by the serials librarian. The most common reason for the choice of a paper subscription would be when an electronic version diminishes the ability to access and read the content. Further, the library may opt for paper subscriptions to consumer-oriented journals because they can be browsed and read with greater ease.

Journal Packages

Many journal subscriptions are licensed as part of large package deals with vendors, i.e., not at the title level but as a package of titles. While such packages have enabled access to a broader of materials, the packages are costly, and the library has been challenged to continue these subscriptions given tight budgets. Any consideration of further licensing of journal packages is subject to the highest levels of scrutiny, as outlined in the process below (see section d, “Acquisition Process”). At minimum, package acquisitions must be approved by the director of collections and serials librarian, and be reviewed by the faculty I.S. Committee members.

In addition to packages that are directly purchased, the library makes a considerable amount of journal content available through its database resources and through its Primo interface.


The library maintains subscriptions to several daily and weekly print newspapers, and provides electronic access to national newspapers through subscriptions to databases.


Scholarly print journals, along with a selection of periodical subscriptions, are bound on a regular schedule that varies according to the frequency of publications. Bound journals are shelved alphabetically on the library’s lower level. Not all print titles are retained and bound. The library maintains a relationship with the Five Colleges’ Depository, and routinely deposits materials in that facility. Bound journals that are available in the JSTOR archives are not retained in the physical collection.

b. Databases and Indexes

The library prioritizes bibliographic access to materials, and as such provides a wide range of databases that directly support teaching and research at the College. As stated above, the library will therefore make every effort within its budgetary abilities to subscribe to databases that cover all disciplines represented in the College curriculum. Further indexing is provided by the library’s subscription to Worldcat and through the Primo interface. Database acquisitions must strictly adhere to the guidelines stated in section d (Acquisition Process) below.

c. Cancellation/Withdrawal Process

Subscription prices for serials increase each year, and as of 2018 library budgets have been either flat or reduced for the past 10 years. This situation necessitates a review of serials, along with probable cancellations, each year.

In the fall of each year, the serials librarian will work with the director of collections to develop both a budget projection for the following fiscal year as well as a list of resources that might be cancelled. In developing this list of resources, the primary criterion will be usage in the prior three years; the lower the usage, the higher the possibility that a resource will appear on the list. Cost per use will be another key factor; the higher the cost per use, the more likely the possibility of cancellation. Other criteria will include overlap with other resources, and continued relevance to the College teaching and research needs. As appropriate, the serials librarian will work with liaison librarians and members of the faculty to refine the list.

Each semester, the serials librarian and director of collections will hold a meeting with the faculty members on the I.S. committee to discuss the budget decisions — cancellations and/or serials acquisitions — that must be made, what further information might be needed from the faculty at large, and how and/or when to communicate any cancellations that might be needed.

d. Acquisition Process

In conjunction with the cancellation process as outlined in the section above, acquisitions of new titles will be considered each semester. Recommendations for new titles may come from liaison librarians or from faculty members. Following a recommendation for a new title, the appropriate librarian will fill out a form provided by the serials librarian in order to obtain information about cost, coverage, relevance to the College curriculum and other detailed information. In deciding whether to add the resource, librarians in consultation with faculty members in the requesting department will attempt to identify a comparable journal in the same discipline that might be cancelled. Possible acquisitions may also be weighed holistically with the libraries’ budget considerations, balancing emerging needs against resources that have declined in usage and/or present a high cost-per-use scenario. The twice-annual consideration of new serials resources will take place in conjunction with the I.S. committee faculty meetings regarding budget decisions.

Possible new resources may undergo a trial prior to consideration for acquisitions. Trials will be arranged by the serials librarian following provision of specific information by the librarian or faculty member regarding the reasons for the trial, the cost of the resource, the possible need and/or relevance to the curriculum of the resources, and the follow-up plan for evaluation of the trial.

e. Open Access

As with monographs, the library may choose to collect journals that conform to the scholarly guidelines set for other materials. The director of collections and serials librarian will continually evaluate whether open-access journals can replace subscribed resources, and/or whether it is financially advantageous for the College libraries to participate in “offsetting” programs, whereby subscription access to paywalled content is combined with support for open access materials. Consideration of new resources will take place twice a year, in conjunction with acquisitions/cancellation decisions and conversations with I.S. committee faculty members. See the section below under “Born-Digital Material” for more information on selection criteria.

D. Born-Digital/Open Access/Web Materials

Materials that are openly available, either directly as websites or downloadable through a site’s search engine, may be collected if they meet the same criteria as materials that are available in tangible formats for licensing or purchase.

Librarians or faculty may request that open materials be collected. Following the completion of a request form, collections staff will consider requests twice a year, typically during winter and summer break. In evaluating all such requests for open materials, collections staff will consider all of the following criteria, with special attention given to the fact that the resources are freely and openly available:

• Quality: There is evidence that the information is accurate, complete, and high quality in look and feel;
• Authority: The authorship and credentials of the materials are clear, and linked to a recognized and respected source of information;
• Objectivity: The information is nonproprietary in nature;
• Duplication: Ideally, the material does not duplicate resources that have already been licensed or purchased;
• Currency: The information is reasonably current, and clearly and/or recently updated;
• Functionality: Citations and links are in working order; no additional software beyond a web browser is needed for viewing;
• Stability: There is evidence that the platform hosting the material is stable and will provide lasting access; and
• Open Access Status: The material is open and does not require fees or subscriptions for access.

In addition to monographs, journals and open educational resources (all of which are addressed in previous sections), the library may choose to collect websites and/or digital or emerging forms of scholarship. This includes resources that integrate text, video, animations or working computer code, and/or that incorporate a flow of ongoing user comment. The conversations in the library profession surrounding the collection, description, management and discovery of these materials are only in the early stages. Nevertheless, in the spirit of responsible stewardship of the scholarly record, Connecticut College’s libraries will closely observe trends in this area and take appropriate action so that to whatever extent practicable, the College’s researchers can access and discover born-digital materials. Further, in recognition of the overlapping interests in the area of digital materials, Collections staff will collaborate with Digital Scholarship and Special Collections staff to better understand which materials to collect and make discoverable, and how best to do so.

E. Media

Shain Library maintains policies for the following media formats:

a. Video

Shain Library maintains a collection of video materials in DVD and VHS format. Materials in VHS are no longer being collected. DVD recordings are still acquired very selectively, and may be recommended for purchase by a liaison librarian or a faculty member. DVDs may be selected to support research and teaching, and/or to maintain a representative collection of notable films for either academic or general viewing.

In addition to physical documents, as of 2018 the library maintains a subscription to Kanopy, a provider of streaming video. Kanopy provides a wide selection or documentaries and features films, and has replaced a significant portion of the DVD acquisition activities. In general, the library should not purchase DVDs of materials that are available in Kanopy; exceptions may be made in the case of a specific faculty request and/or if streaming is not feasible or available for a particular screening.

b. Audio

The library does not routinely collect audio materials for its collections. Exceptions may be made in the case of a specific faculty request for an audiobook, or for accessibility reasons. Greer Music Library does maintain a collection of audio music recordings; see the section on Greer Music Library below.

c. Microforms

In general, Shain Library does not collect microforms, although it does maintain a legacy collection of newspaper, periodical and other materials in microform. A digital reader and printer is available in Shain Library for accessing these materials. The library may accept microform materials as gifts if librarians deem these materials to have highly significant value for research and teaching.


d. Slides

Shain Library does not collect or hold slides.


F. Government Documents

Shain Library is classified as a small selective depository for federal government documents and complies with all federal regulations governing this status. The library receives 7 percent of the documents available to depository libraries. It also collects Connecticut state documents. More than 95 percent of these documents that the library receives are now available electronically. The library maintains a guide ( to help users access these materials.

G. Software

Primary responsibility for the acquisition and/or cancellation of software for campus use rests with the IT Procurement and Asset Manager, a member of Information Services’ Enterprise & Technical Systems Team. In addition, many software decisions are made in conjunction with instructional technologists from the Research Support & Curricular Technology Team. The IT Procurement and Asset Manager is included in conversations with I.S. committee faculty members about acquiring or cancelling major resources on an annual basis.

H. Data

At present, the library does not routinely acquire data sets, although such materials deemed useful to research and teaching at the College may be collected as part of a request to add born-digital materials (see above section on “Born-Digital Materials”). As of fall 2018, the library maintains subscriptions to two data providers, Data Planet and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR).

I. Maps

Shain Library collects maps through items received through the U.S. Government depository system and through a subscription to National Geographic magazine. The library holds a variety of atlases and gazetteers in the Reference Collections; new works of significance in these areas may be added through the monographic processes described above.

J. Special Collections & Archives

The Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives holds more than 50 collections of rare books, manuscripts and artworks, as well as the Connecticut College Archives. The Lear Center maintains its own collection policy. 

K. Institutional Repository Materials

Digital Commons, Connecticut College’s electronic archive, houses published as well as unpublished work by Connecticut College faculty, staff and students. The archive holds faculty works that are submitted in compliance with the College’s Open Access Policy, adopted by the faculty in 2013. This policy seeks to make manuscript versions of faculty works available in Digital Commons, unless prohibited by a licensing agreement. Digital Commons also holds copies of senior honors theses, syllabi and numerous other academic and administrative documents. A separate collection policy is maintained for institutional repository materials.

L. Greer Music Library

Music materials, including scores, music monographs, audio recordings and video materials, are selected by the music librarian. A separate policy is maintained for this collection.


IX. Gifts

Shain Library welcomes gifts of scholarly and rare materials as long as they are appropriate to the collection. In evaluating whether gifts will be added to the collection, librarians will apply the same selection criteria as outlined above. Duplicate copies received as gifts — or materials received that do not fit the criteria — may be offered to CTW partners, or sold or donated to a book dealer. The library does not accept gifts of textbooks, outdated materials, most backfiles of periodicals, or items in poor condition.

Under no circumstances will the library appraise gifts for tax or inheritance purposes. Donors are fully responsible for arranging appraisals and for any costs involved. In most circumstances, donors are also responsible for transporting materials to the library for receipt. Upon receipt of the gift, the library will send an acknowledgment letter with a description of the gift.

Monetary gifts to the library provide an important source of revenue to supplement the annual materials allocation from the College. The library encourages such gifts and acknowledges them upon notification of receipt. Library staff will mark print books purchased with gift funds with a bookplate that indicates the source of the gift and/or a memorial message.


X. De-acquisitioning

Shain Library’s print and electronic collection will be continually re-evaluated in order to maximize usefulness and relevance to the College’s teaching and research needs. Provisions for serials de-acquisitioning are outlined above. Collection staff, in conjunction with liaison librarians, will also regularly assess the collection in order to maintain its vitality and relevance. If and when a deselection project occurs, librarians will consult with relevant faculty members and the faculty members on the Information Services Committee.


Criteria for deselection include:


  • Older items that have rarely or never circulated (the principal criterion)
  • Duplicate copies of infrequently used materials
  • Items superseded by newer editions
  • Items in poor physical condition
  • Items with dated or inaccurate information
  • Materials that do not, or no longer, support the curriculum
  • The availability of candidates for deselection in trusted electronic sources or from partners libraries that offer guarantees of persistent access


According to the Memorandum of Agreement among the aforementioned CTW Consortium, final copies of physical materials — including monographs, print journals, media and microforms — will be made available to the other members of the consortium when they have been selected for deaccessioning. Once such items are ready for deaccessioning, Collections & Resource Management staff will notify their CTW counterparts, and, if a response is received within 30 days, arrangements will be made to transfer the item(s). This procedure only applies to final copies of materials; materials that are duplicated by one of the other CTW partners may be deaccessioned without notice to the other CTW institutions.



XI. Preservation

As stated above, print books are generally not bound or laminated unless they have been damaged. Several members of the Collections & Resource Management Team have been trained to do basic book repair. Collections staff maintains a manual and equipment for handling materials that have been damaged by fire or water. Major preservation, conservation or restoration projects will be outsourced as necessary.

In the case of damaged or lost materials, the library will use its established selection criteria to review titles for continued relevance to College teaching and research needs. The library will make every effort to replace materials that are not already held within the CTW Consortium.


XII. Policy Revision

The policies contained in this document are intended to provide general guidelines for the development and management of the Shain Library collections. They are intended to be flexible enough to allow for changes in the College curriculum and research needs, and in the quickly changing and evolving patterns of scholarly communication. The Director of Collections and Resource Management, along with the Librarian of the College, will be responsible for annually reviewing this document and updating it as needed, with approval by the I.S. Committee.




** Policy Adopted by the Information Services Committee, May 3, 2019