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Waidner-Spahr Library

Please see our Library Services Updates: Fall 2020 website for the most up-to-date information about using library services remotely.

Collections Guidelines: Books

How do I recommend a book for the collection?

Faculty may recommend books for the library collection by contacting their liaison librarian.  Please allow 6-8 weeks for the library to acquire books for which no "date needed" is specified.  Books being ordered from outside the U.S. may take longer.  Please note that the library does not routinely purchase course required books or workbooks, these should be ordered through the Bookstore.

Please provide the following information (web links forwarded to us often do not work):

  • title, author, publication year
  • preferred format (print, e-book)
  • any special version requests (e.g., specific edition)
  • optional: date needed, if request is time-sensitive (date of availability cannot be guaranteed)

Faculty may opt to receive alerts of newly published books in their field, from which they may select recommendations for the Waidner-Spahr Library collection.  Contact your liaison librarian and ask about setting up a "Gobi alert".  

E-book collection strategy

Our e-book strategy allows us to make available a very large number of scholarly titles at an affordable cost and with access 24/7 from on or off campus.

  • Two subscriptions to large interdisciplinary scholarly e-book collections provide unlimited access to over 200,000 scholarly monographs, made affordable through our the PALCI consortium membership.
  • Other subscriptions provide access to a large number of online reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.)
  • With our “demand-driven acquisition” program, we add approximately 125 records to our catalog each week for newly published scholarly e-books. The titles are selected using a librarian developed profile (through our book vendor Gobi) which covers all disciplines taught at Dickinson.  Users logged into JumpStart have instant access by clicking on the link in the record.  If a title is never used, the library pays nothing.  For the first three uses we “rent” the e-book, paying a percentage of list price.  On the 4th use of an e-book the library purchases it.
  • Specific e-books not available through the demand-driven program or our subscriptions, or which are desired for the permanent collection, are purchased in e-book format upon recommendation of faculty or liaison librarians.  These purchases follow the same guidelines as those for print book purchases.

Print book collection strategy

The library typically purchases approximately four to six thousand books per year.

  • The library has a selection profile set up with our main book vendor GOBI.  The profile is based on the Library of Congress Classification system, and helps us identify those newly published books that are most likely to be relevant to the current College curriculum.
  • The library purchases books based on faculty recommendations of specific titles. Faculty may indicate a preference for print versions of books.  Alerts of newly published books, from which faculty may choose, have been set up for many departments and individuals. These alerts are based on a librarian developed profile which covers all disciplines taught at Dickinson. Faculty who wish to receive book alerts may contact their liaison librarian.
  • Liaison librarians also select books for purchase, typically based on their knowledge of the curriculum, on reviews, or on proactive searching to identify books on specific relevant subject areas.
  • The library also proactively purchases titles issued as part of a limited number of book series identified as highly relevant to the curriculum.