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Faculty Guidelines for Selecting and Ordering Library Materials

This document has been prepared to encourage faculty participation in the library's resources development process by explaining the various policies and procedures relating to selecting and ordering library materials.

Table of Contents

People and Responsibilities

Contact People
Larry Onsager, Dean of the Libraries 471-3549
Sallie Alger , Head, Bibliographic Services 471-6215
Bernard Helms, Periodicals Librarian; Acquisitions Librarian 471-3208


Your Role as Selector

While the library has the ultimate responsibility for collection development and expenditure of allotted funds, a partnership between librarians and departmental faculty in the selection of library materials is highly desirable in order to build a strong and well-balanced collection relevant to the needs of both students and faculty.

Materials such as software or audiovisuals you intend to keep in your department need to be purchased from your departmental budget, not library funds.

In an effort to ensure that faculty have reasonable opportunity to guide the expenditure of allocated departmental funds, the library's acquisitions policy works this way:

  • Announcement of Allocations: Using an accepted formula, the Library Dean will announce the departmental allocations of the library materials budget to the deans and department chairs.
  • When to Order: Because the fiscal year now ends in April, you must submit requests during the first six months of the fiscal year (July to December). Items ordered after January may not be received and credited before the end of the fiscal year.
  • Monthly Reports: Selectors will receive Order Status Reports after an order has been submitted and New Library Items after an item is received and cataloged. Each department will receive a Monthly Department Financial Report with information on budget expenditure.
  • Discuss Needs: Throughout the resources development process, faculty are encouraged to discuss their resource needs, including special needs or projects, with their Liaison Librarian and direct questions concerning order status to the Head of Bibliographic Services.
  • Approval Plan: Some vendors have a service in which they suggest items for purchase according to a profile set up by the library and the department. The department may then approve or disapprove of the item. If you wish to have this service, contact your Liaison Librarian.


Selection Guidelines for Books & Audiovisuals

  1. Establish a system for ordering each academic year to prevent gaps in coverage.
  2. Strive for geographical, chronological, and/or topical balance within your subject area. Try not to allow individual interests to dominate selections.
  3. Balance elements such as importance of the material to the field with its likely use by students. In undergraduate areas particularly, general works are more likely to be used than specialized monographs. Also, balance cost of the item against its importance and likely use.
  4. Choose trade paperback editions, if available, when the work will likely not be heavily used. (Books in Print and can help you determine what is available)
  5. If you discover that the library does not have major works published in the past, order them if they are still available. Gaps in the collection need to be filled, if possible. (Books in Print and may be used to determine if the books are still in print.,, may be used to determine if out of print books are available. DO NOT order from these sources yourself. Refer your Liaison Librarian to these sources.)
  6. Select works that the library should have, but which do not fall within the assigned areas of department members and, therefore, may be overlooked. Alternately, bring them to the attention of your Liaison Librarian for purchase from general library funds.
  7. Some over-ordering is appropriate because we tend over-estimate the cost of materials and some materials are never received for various reasons.
  8. Monitor the status of orders by looking over the reports sent to you by the library.
  9. Priority for ordering from "departmental allocations" is given to faculty in the respective departments. The Liaison Librarians will work with you in making appropriate selections. They will also spend general and reserve library funds for works that are needed in academic library collections and/or for special projects.
  10. If your department is introducing new courses, plan to order materials by March of the previous year to facilitate their arrival in time for fall semester.


How to Submit Orders for Books & Audiovisuals

  1. Check with your Departmental Representative to learn special procedures unique to your department.
  2. You or your Departmental Representative should send requests to your Liaison Librarian, who approves them for purchase. Choice cards, marked catalogs, advertising or professional reviews are all acceptable. Please mark items clearly. Your orders should include the date, your name and department, and pertinent ordering information such as author, title, publisher, price, and ISBN. After your Liaison Librarian processes them, they are sent to the Bibliographic Services Department where all requests are entered in the Library Catalog (JeWeL) and the paper request discarded. If your request cannot be processed for any reason, you will be notified.
  3. Mark RUSH on those orders which are needed immediately for use by a class. The library will interpret this to mean: Do this immediately using the quickest possible method, regardless of cost. Because of the higher cost involved and because library staff can only handle a limited number of such requests, we ask that this method be used only when needed.

Special Video Procedures

  1. Videos are purchased from the same budget as books. All video requests are to be channeled through your Liaison Librarian who will send the request to Bibliographic Services for duplicate checking and ordering. In general, the library purchases audiovisual material with a copyright date within the last five years. Please include as much information as possible-such as the phone number and address of the video producer/distributor.
  2. Every video must be previewed before it is added to the collection. Upon arrival, videos go to The Multimedia Center for administration of previewing. You should be prepared to preview the video within three weeks, or it will be returned.



Reports are available from the Liaison Librarian each month showing the amount of the department's allocation, amount spent to date, orders pending, and funds available.


At any time you may look in the Library Catalog (JeWeL) to determine the status of any item you have requested. Status will be indicated by one of these statements:

  • UNDER CONSIDERATION Item is being considered for addition to the collection. May be ordered as funds are available.
  • ORDERED Item has been ordered.
  • BEING PROCESSED Item has arrived but is being processed. If the item is urgently needed, fill out a RUSH CATALOGING REQUEST form at Circulation or Reference and the process will be expedited. Cataloging personnel will do their best to catalog and process the material within a reasonable time period, but it may take a day or two.
  • NEW BOOK Item has been processed and is in the New Book area near the Circulation desk. The status changes to available when the book is taken from the New Book area.


A periodical subscription is a long-term commitment which includes ordering, cataloging, binding, claiming, replacing lost issues, shelving and circulation. Due to budget constraints, the high inflation rate for periodicals, and the increase in periodical titles available electronically, we reserve the right to limit the number of titles we add to the collection. Therefore, all periodicals requests are reviewed by the Periodicals Committee. If a new periodical subscription is needed you may send a completed Periodicals Request Form to your Liaison Librarian who will approve it and send it to the Head of Periodicals. Periodicals Request Forms are available from your Liaison Librarian or the Head of Periodicals. Professional journals indexed in available sources are given highest priority. Newsletter subscriptions are not usually accepted because they are ephemeral in nature, difficult to handle and rarely indexed. Periodical subscriptions generally run from January to December. Subscription renewals and new orders are usually made in August. Please submit your requests by August 1 to ensure a start date of January 1. You will be notified when your order has been placed and when the first issue is available in the library.

If You Do The Buying

We respectfully request that faculty members go through the regular acquisition procedures for items to be added to the library collection. However, we realize that occasionally you may pick up materials at a conference or store. If this happens, follow these procedures:

  1. Bring the item to the Acquisitions Associate and it will be delivered to the appropriate Liaison Librarian for evaluation, using standard resource development policies.
  2. Upon approval by the Liaison Librarian it will be added to the collection. However, since the library does not pay invoices for items it has not ordered, please do the following after receiving notification that the item has been accepted: Submit a completed expense report with a copy of the invoice or receipt to the Acquisitions Associate. The library is unable to reimburse for items not accompanied by an invoice or receipt. Statements are not acceptable. Statements and "receipts" written on scraps of paper are NOT acceptable. The business office will refuse to reimburse from such items.You or your department will be reimbursed through the normal expense report channels.
  3. If the library does not add the item to the collection, it will be returned to you. Call the Head of Bibliographic Services (ext. 6215) with any questions on ordering procedures.

Updated June 5, 2018