Collection Development Policy

The Wyndham Robertson Library collects, organizes, and delivers a rich and diverse set of resources
across a variety of formats that match Hollins’ broad liberal arts curriculum. The curriculum and courses developed by HU faculty, and the subsequent academic needs of students in those courses, are the primary driver of the library’s collection building efforts.

The library’s collection encourages and enhances the productivity of faculty scholars and artists, both through the provision of local resources and by connecting seamlessly to materials that are not locally accessible.

The collection also reflects the values embodied in the Hollins University and library mission statements.

  • The library “champions reading and lifelong learning” to create a community of readers at Hollins.
  • The library facilitates independent inquiry and the exchange of ideas by collecting wide-ranging and diverse resources that reflect multiple points of view.
  • The library encourages and values diversity and social justice by collecting materials that represent the socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and gender demographics of our community and the nation.
  • The library is committed to intellectual freedom, particularly in regards to defending academic freedom at Hollins, and rejects censorship of the collection.

Befitting a liberal arts college library, the library does not attempt to be comprehensive in its coverage of any academic discipline. As a women’s college library, the library has a particular emphasis on issues as they relate to gender. In disciplines where Hollins offers a master’s degree, the library provides extra funds to gain greater depth of coverage. In other areas of curriculum, the library determines funding based on indicators of interest in that field, such as the number of majors, the number of faculty, and the number of courses.

This collection development policy is written to encompass the complete range of materials acquired by the library, from books to zines, in all potential formats, from print to digital. [See Types of Materials]

Liaison Librarians and Purchasing Materials

Liaison librarians are responsible for collection development at the Wyndham Robertson Library. The organizational structure designates a liaison librarian for each academic subject (encompassing several departments). Among other benefits, this structure better supports teaching faculty in the identification and selection of materials for the Library collections. Librarians build discipline-specific library expertise to support the needs of their departments and to focus their attention and efforts in a more manageable way as the universe of available resources shifts and expands.

  • For books, films and other single-item purchases, academic faculty and liaison librarians serve as the primary selectors of materials for their disciplines. As part of the dialogue between the library and the community about services and resources, library liaisons recommend titles and solicit faculty orders for new materials to be added to the collection. The library also welcomes and strongly considers recommendations from students, staff, and other members of the Hollins community.
  • For journals, databases, and other ongoing subscriptions, librarians select resources after consultations with faculty. Librarians ultimately guide these decisions because of the higher cost and the continuing impact of these choices on the library budget.

In considering the quality of potential materials for acquisition, library selectors consider a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Reviews in professional library publications, such as Choice, Library Journal, and the Charleston Advisor
  • Reviews in scholarly journals, trade journals, and other discipline-specific publications
  • Reviews in media publications such as The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books
  • Assessment of the reading level and importance of books by YBP.
    YBP, the library’s primary book supplier, has bibliographers profile books as appropriate for certain levels of students, as well as whether books should be part of “core” collections.

The library obtains materials for its community via a variety of models, including:

    • Purchase of materials
    • Digital access subscriptions, with no permanent rights to the materials

  • Short-term loans of materials to single users, from other libraries or through temporary or token access provided by publishers or other distributors
  • Gifts (Note that the library may establish moratoriums on gift materials; see Gift Policy for more information).

Sharing of Materials

The library shares its collection with Roanoke College and has expedited Interlibrary Loan protocols in place with the members of the Virtual Library of Virginia, the consortium of academic libraries in the state. The consortial arrangements enable the library to spread its funds further, and still guarantee the HU community access to needed materials.

  • The library will not purchase materials when a hardcopy has been previously acquired by Roanoke College, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
  • Library selectors will consider the number of academic libraries in VIVA who have previously acquired a title when evaluating whether to purchase a book.

Evaluation and Deselection

The library’s collection is a stable but not permanent resource. As Hollins curriculum, faculty and community change, the library must constantly re-evaluate the currency and relevance of the collection.

Maintenance of the collection’s currency and relevance to the Hollins community includes:

  • Yearly reviews of usage of e-resources, and associated cost-per-use
  • Analysis of each call number range for deselection considerations at least once every ten years
  • Reviews, at least once every five years, of usage of other types of materials, including reference
    books, and periodical subscriptions

Following the timelines outlined above, the library sometimes deselects material and/or ends subscriptions to print and digital content. These decisions are based on the following factors:

  • Usage
  • Cost
  • Relevance to the current curriculum
  • Duplication
  • Importance to the discipline(s)
  • Holdings of other libraries
  • Availability in a stable digital resource (e.g, HathiTrust)
  • Faculty recommendations

The library evaluates its level of success in achieving its goal of a “rich and diverse set of resources… that match Hollins’ broad liberal arts curriculum” through open communication with its community of users, which takes place at all levels of the library. For example:

    • Liaisons maintain ongoing conversations with academic departments and individual faculty.
    • The Information Literacy and Outreach librarian meet regularly with a student advisory board.
    • The University Librarian monitors faculty needs through a presence at faculty meetings and as a consulting member of the Academic Affairs Council.
    • The Circulation and Interlibrary Loan Coordinators track trends in usage so they may act to meet needs and share information across the library.

  • Reference and instruction librarians work with students on a daily basis in consultations and in the classroom and use student needs to guide collection choices.
  • The library conducts a Hollins-wide survey every five years, which includes a section devoted specifically to questions about the collection.

Types of materials

Scholarly books

  • No preference is given in regards to digital vs. print book acquisition. Selectors make decisions
    on individual titles based on price and the preferences of potential users of that title. The library also provides aggregated collections (where there is no title by title selection) of academic books through online databases.
  • No preference is given to hardback or paperback in the book acquisition process. Selectors make decisions on individual titles based on price and expected long-term value for the collection.
  • Whenever possible, materials should be purchased through YBP, the library’s primary book supplier.

Scholarly journals

  • Preference is given to journals in digital format, though exceptions for certain types of periodicals may be made. (Usage data has shown the HU community’s preference for articles in online format.)
  • The library also provides aggregated collections (where there is no title by title selection) of academic journals through online databases.

Popular magazines and newspapers: The library maintains a small print browsing collection of these resources as part of its commitment to champion reading and lifelong learning. Access to digital versions of these resources is available in a number of aggregated subscription databases (where there is no title
by title selection), to support both scholarly work and general intellectual inquiry.

Audiovisual resources: The library provides both a collection of physical audiovisual materials (preference is given to BluRays over DVDs) primarily to support the academic curriculum, and digital A/V materials, provided mostly through aggregated databases.

Required course materials: As part of its commitment to student success and connecting students with resources that advance scholarly and creative work, the library is dedicated to ensuring access to required texts, whenever feasible, for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Librarians work with faculty to identify a wide variety of materials that may be made available at zero cost to students, including openly accessible materials, library-subscribed materials, and materials for which the library can purchase unlimited access at a reasonable cost. The library will also order print copies of required materials that will add lasting value to the library’s collection, such as novels, ethnographies, and more. However, purchasing traditional textbooks for the collection is unsustainable for the library and Hollins because of their high cost and accelerated publishing schedule. The library welcomes inquiries from faculty about possible purchases to support Hollins courses. See how the library is partnering with faculty to identify open educational resources and library-subscribed resources that may be used as required course materials, in place of traditional expensive textbooks.

Reference books: Liaison librarians are allocated funds to select new reference materials, relevant to their academic departments, which will assist in developing student understanding of academic disciplines and research.

Juvenile books: In support of the children’s literature graduate program at Hollins, the library collects a representative sample of children’s books for all ages to support courses and research in this program. The library works closely with the public library to ensure on-campus students also can gain access to their more comprehensive collections of current children’s materials.

Curriculum materials: In support of the master’s in teaching degree at Hollins, the library collects materials that can enhance curriculum development in K‐12 schooling.

Zines: The library collects a small and varied sampling of printed zines, usually self-published and small-circulation materials, to enhance the diversity of viewpoints in its collection.

Special Collections: Refer to the Special Collections and Archives collection development policy for more detail on materials included in this collection.

Open Access materials: The library believes in the open dissemination of research and scholarship
whenever possible, to spread knowledge and allow that knowledge to be built upon. The library
supports the Hollins community in making materials open access through the creation and maintenance of institutional repositories, and also financially supports third parties who curate open access resources that will be of use to the Hollins community. (The library includes thousands of such open access resources in its discovery system and course guides). Read how the library is supporting Open Access.

Policy created: February 2016

Last updated: January 5, 2024 at 8:41 am