Connecticut College Collection Development Policy

June 2024

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; a separate policy is maintained for the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives. 

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: Key Policy Points and Provisions

  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 Library Collections, Access & Discovery is responsible for day-to-day oversight and recommends decisions in consultation with the Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian, the Acquisitions Supervisor, Collections & Resource Management staff members, library liaisons, the faculty members of the IS Committee, and consortial 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 will endeavor to purchase one copy of the required textbooks for classes, with limitations as specified in Section VIII of this policy. The library does not purchase consumable materials, books designed for a single use, or materials that require the use of individual access codes or passwords. Non-textbook 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 access to numerous streaming video titles through a number of distributors, 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.

  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, and the faculty at large as appropriate. 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 or consortia that offer guarantees of persistent access.  

  10. The Director of Library Collections, Access and Discovery, along with the Librarian of the College, will review these policies regularly, 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

  1. Academic Excellence
  2. Diversity, Equity and Shared Governance
  3. Education of the Entire Person
  4. Adherence to Common Ethical and Moral Standards
  5. Community Service and Global Citizenship
  6. 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 2021–2024 Information Services Strategic Plan (available at ( provides additional information about the division’s current work and priorities. 

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 Instructional 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 outputs of the College’s work but are 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. Boston Library Consortium (BLC)

In 2023, Connecticut College became a member of the Boston Library Consortium, an organization with more than 20 member libraries, including some of the largest and most significant research libraries in New England. The BLC provides numerous services that help its constituent institutions to share resources, including a group subscription to Rapid ILL, which provides fast delivery of print and electronic materials within a defined network. Further, the College is participating with a subset of BLC libraries to implement a shared system called a “Network Zone.” This shared system — in part an outgrowth of the former CTW (Conn College, Trinity, Wesleyan) Consortium — utilizes shared bibliographic records to enable numerous shared services across front- and back-end library functions, including resource management, systems administration, fulfillment systems, discovery rules, and print and electronic acquisitions. The BLC also provides students, staff and faculty from member institutions with physical access to libraries through the use of a “BLC Card.”

B. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Resource Sharing

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. As noted above, the library subscribes to Rapid ILL, which enables the College to take full advantage of its memberships in the BLC as well as EAST (see below). in addition to connecting our users with materials from other BLC libraries (as noted above) — alsoallows Connecticut College to take full advantage of its membership in EAST (see below) by enabling quick delivery of EAST member institutions’ available print holdings.

C. Eastern Academic Scholars Trust (EAST)

Connecticut College maintains 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. Thus, membership in EAST potentially provides Connecticut College with the ability to deaccession some older and/or little used print titles, with the guarantee of perpetual access via interlibrary loan.

D. HathiTrust

In 2020 Connecticut College joined HathiTrust Digital Library, a not-for-profit digital collaborative of some 200 research and academic libraries. HathiTrust provides digital preservation of print materials with full download access to PDFs of nearly 7 million digitized items that are in the public domain, or that have been cleared for access through Creative Commons licensing. In addition, HathiTrust provides full-text searching ability for some 10 million additional in-copyright items. Membership in HathiTrust provides Connecticut College’s library users with additional means of access for millions of titles, and as with EAST potentially enables deaccession of older, little-used print titles given perpetual access through perpetual online, full-text access.

 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 consortial 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. 

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 among consortial partners
  • 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, items may be requested in print, either if the user specifically requests a print resource or if print is judged to be a more appropriate medium given the content or the potential use of the item.

b. Print

Single Titles

Single print titles may be purchased through selection by a liaison librarian, or upon the request of a faculty member. 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 library collections, access & discovery.

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 a consortial partner 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.

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. 


In order to improve equitable access to course materials, the library will endeavor to purchase one copy, either in digital or in print, of the required textbooks for each class, based on the criteria and limitations noted below. This policy is not intended to take the place of students’ purchasing their own copies of texts, whether through financial aid or their own means, or that of professors’ adoption of open educational resources (OER). (See the “Textbooks/OER” section under “Open Access.”) Rather, it is intended as a supplement that could provide backup assistance, for students who (for example) have forgotten to carry their book, who are awaiting the arrival of a book, or who may be facing financial struggles.

The library will spend up to $500 per course on either digital or print materials; see specific guidelines below.

The library does not automatically acquire copies of all course-adopted texts reported to the bookstore. Instructors who wish to place materials on reserve must do so using the library’s course reserve process each semester.

The library does not purchase consumable materials, books designed for a single use, or materials that require the use of individual access codes or passwords. These may include, but are not limited to, workbooks, homework systems, slide decks, quiz banks, study guides and individual datasets.

Additional criteria and limitations by type of material follow:

Digital Course Materials (excluding film/video):

  • Course material is required per the course syllabus
  • Library license is for an unlimited number of simultaneous users
  • Course material/platform is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and WCAG (Web Content for Accessibility Guidelines) compliant
  • Maximum cost of $500 per course
  • Course material is accessible through the College's established authentication protocols
  • Course material is not sold as part of a package, bundle or subscription

Print Textbooks:

  • The book is required per the course syllabus
  • Maximum cost of $300 per course
  • While the library does not automatically purchase new editions, staff will consider such requests if a publisher has made significant changes or updates to an earlier edition. The library reserves the right to withdraw superseded editions.  

The library will only purchase one copy of a course textbook, but will lend additional copies through course reserves if instructors/departments wish to make these copies available.

The intention of this policy is to support every request that falls within the above guidelines. However, purchases of textbooks may need to be limited based on available funds.

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 encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries, atlases and other materials.

Music Scores

Scores are chosen according to similar criteria as monographic materials, as detailed above. Additionally, performance considerations, including relevance to performance needs and performance level, are taken into account. The performing groups of the College (chorus, orchestra, band, other instrumental/vocal ensembles) will acquire and maintain their own libraries of concert performance scores and parts.

The following types of scores may be collected according to the selection criteria outlined in this policy, and/or as noted additionally below:

  • Reference scores consisting of complete works of major composers may be collected on a selective basis in consultation with the music faculty. 
  • Facsimiles (historical) may be collected on a highly limited basis.
  • Study and miniature scores are used for study and analysis rather than performance. 
  • Urtext performance editions will be given first priority in cases where a choice exists, and the basic selection criteria are met. Newer editions incorporating recent scholarship into the editorial policy may be collected even if the library already holds another urtext edition of the work by the same or a different publisher.
  • Performance editions of instrumental and vocal music may be collected based on the selection criteria and the applied music curriculum needs. Preference will be given to acquiring scores with parts rather than score alone whenever a choice is given, through the octet level (up to six performers). 
  • Piano scores: Scores of standard solo piano repertory are collected regularly.
  • Vocal scores of major works such as operas, oratorios, cantatas, musicals, and songs with instrumental or orchestral accompaniment are collected regularly. First preference will be given to complete scores of the work, but when necessary the library will purchase selections or individual songs.
  • Vocal ensemble music by major composers may be collected. 
  • Works for large ensembles by major composers may be collected. Parts will not be purchased.
  • Pedagogical materials (music intended for instructional purposes) may be collected for all instruments and voice according to the instructional and curricular needs of the Music Department. 

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.

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

On a case-by-case basis, 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. 

c. Electronic Packages

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 library collections, access & discovery. 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 an electronic monograph free of digital rights management should be exercised wherever 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 library collections, access & discovery. 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. See the section below under “Born-Digital Material” for more information.

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. Collections staff will work with liaison librarians and relevant faculty members to determine whether additions exist that are appropriate to add to the catalog. 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 range 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”). 

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.


The library does not generally bind print journals, only doing so on a limited, case-by-case basis. Not all print titles are retained; those that the library retains are shelved alphabetically on the library’s lower level. Bound journals available in the JSTOR electronic 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

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 canceled, if that appears to be warranted. 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.

As needed, the serials librarian and director of collections will meetwith 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 on a rolling basis. Recommendations for new titles may come from liaison librarians or from faculty members. In making a decision about a new title, library staff will obtain information about cost, coverage, relevance to the College curriculum and other detailed information. Librarians in consultation with faculty members in the requesting department may also attempt to identify a comparable journal in the same discipline that might be canceled. 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. 

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 library collections, access & discovery and the serials librarian will 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. 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. In evaluating whether to add open materials to the collection, 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.

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.

In addition to physical documents, as of 2018 the library maintains numerous streaming titles from a range of distributors. In general, the library should not purchase DVDs of materials that are available in streaming format; 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. Shain Library holds a legacy collection of sound recordings, including vinyl LPs, compact discs and audiocassettes, but additions to this collection are rare and only made on a case-by-case basis; exceptions may be made in the case of a specific faculty request; if a sound recording is part of a music score; or for accessibility reasons. The library maintains several subscriptions to music recordings databases. 

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. 

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 academic 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.

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 several data providers.

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 some atlases and gazetteers in the Reference Collections; new works of significance in these areas can 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.

IX. Gifts

In general, Shain Library does not accept gifts of books or other materials. Exceptions may be made in rare circumstances, particularly in instances where gifts may present a significant enhancement to the library collection. Any gift items received must meet the same selection criteria as outlined in the sections above. Duplicate copies received as gifts — or materials received that do not fit the criteria — will be donated to a book dealer. The library does not accept gifts of outdated materials, most backfiles of periodicals, or items in poor condition. Donors are 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.

Under no circumstances will the library appraise gifts for tax or inheritance purposes. 

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, the faculty members on the Information Services Committee, and (when appropriate) the faculty at large.

 Criteria for deselection include:

  • Older items that have rarely or never circulated
  • 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 partner libraries that offer guarantees of persistent access

XI. Reconsideration of Materials

As stated above in Sections II and IV, the primary mission of the library collections at Connecticut College is to support the College’s instructional program and undergraduate research. 

In order to select materials that best provide this support, the College’s libraries adhere to the principle of academic freedom as outlined by the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights (, as stated above in Section V. Two key provisions of the Library Bill of Rights state that, first, library resources “should not be excluded because of the origin, background and views of those contributing to their creation,” and second, that resources in the collection “should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” 

Members of the Connecticut College community — defined here as current faculty, staff or students — who wish to request the reconsideration of a resource that has been included in the College’s collection must follow the process outlined below. The library will not accept reconsideration requests from community borrowers, guests, or alumni who are not currently faculty members, staff members or students.

Upon receipt of a request for reconsideration of a material in the library, library staff will adhere to the following steps:

  1. The patron will be notified that they may schedule an optional meeting with the Director of Library Collections, Access & Discovery to discuss a possible request for reconsideration.
  2. Following such a meeting, if the patron wishes to submit a request, they must fill out a reconsideration request form ( (Note: Because a meeting with the collections director is optional, patrons may proceed directly to filling out this form without having first had such a meeting.)
  3. After receiving a completed reconsideration request form, the Director of Library Collections, Access & Discovery will contact the patron to confirm receipt of the form.
  4. Materials under request will not be removed from the collection while under consideration.
  5. The Director of Library Collections, Access & Discovery will review the request and convene a committee consisting of two other librarians. The committee will normally include the liaison to the most relevant academic department, as well as one or both of the Director of Research Support and Curricular Technology and the Director of Special Collections and Archives. 
  6. In considering the reconsideration request, the committee will take the following into account:
    1. The material taken in its entirety, with individual parts or passages taken into the full context of the work.
    2. Articles, reviews or other information about the work.
    3. The relevance of the material to this Collection Development Policy, the teaching mission of Connecticut College, and specific aspects or courses included in the College’s curriculum. For insight and context, the views of relevant faculty members may be sought.
    4. The principle that libraries should include materials that include diverse points of view.
    5. The ALA’s Library Bill of Rights and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
  7. Following the review, the committee will make a recommendation to the Vice President for Information Services and Librarian of the College in the form of a report. The report will indicate the following:
    1. The title and author/producer of the work
    2. A statement that every committee member has read or viewed the material in its entirety
    3. Any resources consulted to produce a recommendation
    4. The specific recommendation of the committee
    5. Signatures of committee members and dates of signing
  8. The Vice President for Information Services and Librarian of the College will consider the committee’s recommendation, make the final decision regarding reconsideration, and communicate this decision to the patron. Once this communication has occurred, the Director of Library Collections, Access & Discovery will document the conclusion of the process. Any actions regarding the material, such as withdrawal or relocation, will be taken at this time.

XII. 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. 

XIII. 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 Reviewed by the Information Services Committee, June 2024