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Waidner-Spahr Library

Collections Guidelines: Home

Collections Guidelines

The Waidner-Spahr Library of Dickinson College exists to enhance the educational experience of students, and to facilitate the teaching and research activities of faculty members. Materials purchased for the library collection are supportive and inclusive of our rigorous liberal arts curriculum, and encourage student learning beyond the minimum requirements of the classroom. To that end, the Library staff will continually assess the usefulness of the Library’s collection and make improvements based upon curricular enhancements, usage trends, and budgetary considerations. These collections guidelines will steer the Library’s purchasing habits; help the Library plan for the future of the collection; make judicious use of the budget; communicate purchasing considerations to faculty, administration, and students; and help promote a collection that serves all academic departments and majors. 

Use the tabs at the top to find information about specific collection categories.  We will periodically add information to this guide regarding policies and procedures for building and maintaining the library collection (for example, as new formats of information emerge).  Questions regarding library collections may be directed to Theresa Arndt, Associate Director for Library Resources & Administration (

Balancing Access and Ownership: A Sustainable Approach

The diversity of the curriculum and interests of Dickinson’s students, faculty, and staff generates demand for an equally diverse array of information, delivered in myriad formats.  Managing the costs associated with the information needs of our users each year has thus become increasingly challenging within budget constraints.  Staff at the Waidner-Spahr Library have developed a sustainable approach to collection development that balances access with ownership to meet our users’ needs.
Our collection development philosophy is based on four key principles. 
1. Maintain core library collections within the budget
2. Facilitate discovery of information sources not available immediately available through the library (e.g., through WorldCat, other databases)
3. Provide fast, convenient, cost-effective access options
4. Support long-term preservation of scholarly literature and open access publication
Staff routinely incorporate analysis into daily workflows to make important purchasing decisions based on what will bring the College the best value for its money.  “Core” resources – those most central to the current curriculum - are subscribed to or purchased to enhance a focused collection of highly used materials.  Library staff provide research tools that present information options beyond what is owned by the library, including the JumpStart discovery service, WordCat, and Google Scholar.  Interlibrary loan staff continuously explore unmediated options and cultivate local, state, national and international consortia relationships to provide fast access to materials not owned by our library.  With our consortia partners, we participate in long-term preservation of scholarly output. 
The library supports and facilitates open access publication through the Dickinson Scholar institutional repository, various consortial initiatives, and through direct funding of faculty open access publications through a partnership with the College Research & Development Committee
By following these clearly defined principles, the Waidner-Spahr Library has been able to fulfill our mission to Dickinson scholars while demonstrating responsible stewardship over valuable Dickinson assets.

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