Collection Development Policy

Our goal is to provide material students need to complete their assignments, studies and explorations.

If we do not own the material or cannot provide electronic access to it, we can use document delivery, interlibrary loan or purchase it. Make suggestions about adding materials by contacting Kelly Jacobsma or completing the online form.

The Collection Development Policy will be revised as needed by the Collection Development Team, with the approval of the library director. Revision dates will be provided within each section of the policy.

Institutional Statement

Hope College is a distinguished and distinctive four-year, liberal arts, undergraduate college, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. Its religious heritage is expressed through a dynamic Christian community of students and teachers vitally concerned with a relevant faith that changes lives and transforms society.

The curriculum offers Hope’s students a variety of courses in 56 majors leading to a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Science, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The college has long been known for outstanding pre-professional training. Each year many graduates go on to further study in the leading graduate and professional schools in this country and abroad; others directly enter professions.

Hope College is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the American Chemical Society, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the National Association of Schools of Music, the National Association of Schools of Theatre, the National Association of Schools of Dance, the National League for Nursing, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Council on Social Work Education, and other agencies.

Last Revised October 2007

Library Mission

The mission of the library is to serve as a vibrant center of intellectual and cultural life at Hope College by assuming a significant educational role in a college community committed to excellence in learning and teaching.

To support that mission, the library will collect, organize, and provide access to information sources that support the college’s undergraduate liberal arts curriculum, and the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual growth of the Hope community.

Primary Clientele

As a college library, our primary clientele are the students, faculty, and staff of Hope College. Purchase suggestions from the wider community will be considered.

  1. Student Research

    Hope College is an undergraduate institution. As such, the resources to provide research materials are limited. However, the library will attempt to collect and provide access to those materials that support undergraduate research conducted at the college. The library will supplement its collections with interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

  2. Faculty Research

    The available financial resources will necessarily limit support of faculty research. The library will endeavor to provide relevant bibliographic tools so that faculty who are conducting research may be able to identify the materials needed to complete their work. Access to materials the library does not own will be provided through interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

Last Revised October 2007

Intellectual Freedom

The library generally follows the intellectual freedom guidelines as articulated by the American Library Association (see Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries). The library will seek to develop and provide access to a collection of materials — both print and electronic — representing a diversity of views. The library will ensure that the balance of the collection is maintained through preservation and replacement.

We also subscribe to the Library Bill of Rights.

Last Revised October 2007


Despite the quality of the selection process, occasional objections to library materials may be made.

  • All complaints to staff members shall be reported to the library director, whether received by telephone, letter, or in personal conversation.
  • The director shall contact the complainant to discuss the complaint and attempt to resolve it informally by explaining the philosophy and goals of the library and the nature of the materials selection process.
  • If the complaint is not resolved informally, the complainant shall be supplied with written information on the library’s instructional goals and objectives, on the materials selection policy, and on the procedure for handling objections. This will include a printed form which must be completed and returned before further consideration will be given to the complaint.
  • If the formal request for reconsideration has not been received by the director within two weeks, it shall be considered closed. If the request is returned, the reasons for selection of the specific work shall be re-established by the appropriate library staff.
  • Questioned materials shall remain on the shelves pending a final decision.
  • The library director, having received a completed objection form, will bring the issue before the bi-weekly meeting of the college librarians for their advice.
  • The library director shall notify the complainant of the decision in writing.
  • If the complainant is still not satisfied, he or she may ask the library director to present an appeal to the Library Committee, which shall make a final determination of the issue.

See the Challenge Form for Challenges to Library Resources.

Cooperative Collection Development

The library endeavors to develop its collections in cooperation with other libraries to limit duplication of effort and resources. Van Wylen Library seeks partners for cooperative collection development agreements to expand access for the academic community while being a good steward of the college’s resources. Journal titles and monographs which are requested via Interlibrary Loan will be considered for purchase.

  1. Western Theological Seminary

    The library staff pays particular attention to cooperative collection development with Western Theological Seminary. Van Wylen Library maintains its own religion collection to support undergraduate work. However, the college may legitimately rely on the theological collections of the seminary to support advanced research needs.

    Van Wylen Library duplicates some materials held by the seminary, but efforts are made to avoid duplicating expensive reference works, specialized works, standing orders, and selected journal subscriptions. Decisions to duplicate materials held by the seminary are made on an individual basis.


    The library participates in the Grand Rapids Area Union List of Serials (GRAULS). Members work together to maintain and share individual journal titles.

  3. Michigan Library Consortium

    The library is a member of the Michigan Library Consortium (MLC), the vendor of OCLC services in the state. MLC negotiates group purchases of materials and services from various vendors. The library works closely with MLC to take advantage of discount offers, especially of electronic databases.

  4. MeL

    The Michigan eLibrary, MeL, is a project of the Library of Michigan in contract with the Michigan Library Consortium. Through MeL, the library has access to a variety of databases and MeLCat, a statewide resource sharing project.

  5. Oberlin Group

    The Oberlin Group is a loose consortium of 75 college libraries which has negotiated a number of significant group purchase agreements. The Oberlin Group has established beneficial cooperative borrowing and lending agreements among its members.

  6. Occupational Information

    The library cooperates with Career Services in supporting the needs for occupational information. There will be overlap in materials collected (résumé, cover letter, and interview preparation) and possible overlap in particular titles. The library is willing to acquire access to databases and indexes that provide information on career opportunities. Resources concerning specific companies should first meet the selection criteria for supporting the curriculum. Test preparation guides for professional certification or entrance examinations for graduate schools (e.g., AICPA, GRE, MCAT, NCLEX-RN) will be selectively collected. Often, a copy will be placed on permanent reserve while another copy (not necessarily the same title but same exam) will be placed in Reference.

Last Revised October 2007


Collection responsibilities at the Hope College Libraries have historically been decentralized. The Library Director, the Head of Technical Services, the Head of Public Services, and the Collection Development Team share oversight of various collection responsibilities. The Humanities Librarian has special responsibilities for administering the National Endowment for the Humanities funds. Selection of materials is a joint responsibility of library faculty and classroom faculty at the college.

  1. Library Liaisons

    Hope College Libraries rely heavily on classroom faculty for the selection of materials to be added to their sections in the collection. Each department appoints a faculty member as a library liaison to oversee the selection of materials by their department. Ideally the liaisons have been teaching at Hope College for a few years before taking on this task so they have a working knowledge of the library and its collections. Also, the liaisons encourage their colleagues to submit orders and review them, helping to build a balanced collection. Each department is given a portion from the library’s book budget to spend, which they allocate within their departments in a variety of ways.

  2. Library Representatives

    Librarians act as library representatives to the departments and are available to help the liaisons in the selection of materials. The representatives may meet with liaisons and attend department meetings to help build a good relationship with the department. The representatives serve as contact persons for the department members when they have questions or suggestions regarding the library.

    From a collection development perspective, this program is a vital way for librarians and classroom faculty to work together to develop the library’s collection. It allows a formalized mechanism for librarians to consult with faculty about a number of collection development issues such as weeding, evaluation of the journal collection, and changes in the curriculum.

General Collection Guidelines

To support a progressive undergraduate liberal arts curriculum, the library collects materials on all geographical areas of the world and covering all time periods. Items for the collection will be purchased primarily in the English language and languages which support the modern and classical language curriculum. Normally we will not collect the following:

  • Materials aimed at high school or younger audiences, except for items in the Curriculum Library
  • Highly specialized, research-level materials, which may be accessed more cost effectively through interlibrary loan
  • Pamphlets and ephemeral materials
  • Textbooks (unless written by Hope College faculty or included in the Curriculum Library’s textbook collection for K–12 education)
  • Popular fiction and non-fiction more suitable for a public library, with the notable exception of materials in the Browsing Collection

Policy for Previewing Materials

Non-reference library materials which are suggested for purchase and cost more than $500 will be ordered for preview if possible or requested through MeL. Acquisitions staff will notify the library representative responsible for that individual department’s request. The library representative will work with the faculty member regarding the request and previewing procedures. If previewing is not possible, then the materials will not be cataloged and processed until they have been examined by the selector. Once the materials are received by the library, the selector will be notified. The selector will then determine whether or not the materials meet their needs and expectations for use. Once the decision has been made, the materials will either be cataloged and processed or returned to the vendor. If the materials are not previewed by the selector in a timely manner, the materials will be returned unless other arrangements are made.

$500 will serve as a guideline since there might be materials that cost less we might want to preview and there might be materials costing more which we would not need to preview.

General Selection Criteria

  • Relevance to curriculum
  • Appropriateness for our primary clientele (language, format, audience, reliability, etc.)
  • Favorable reviews in the professional literature
  • Recommendations by subject bibliographies/lists
  • Author/publisher reputation
  • Cost
  • Condition
  • Relationship to items currently in the collection
  • Importance to a field of study/discipline
  • Organization, indexing, scope, currency and accuracy


The library collects gifts that complement and expand the existing collection. Gifts for the circulating collection should support the curriculum of the college and generally follow the criteria for selection stated elsewhere in this document. Gifts are also the primary source of items for the Rare, Heritage, and other special collections.

The library will not accept as gifts:

  • Textbooks
  • Outdated material
  • Items in poor condition (including over marking or material that has been underlined)
  • Materials already in the collection
  • Paperback novels
  • Popular general interest magazines
  • Academic journals unless they fill a gap in the collection
  • Modern Bibles published after 1900 unless of unusual quality
  • Music scores that are accessible electronically
  • Vinyl records and cassette tapes
  • Hope College does not accept gifts simply for the purpose of resale or other disposal

The library reserves the right to review gifts to ensure that they are suitable for the collection and retains the right to refuse gifts that do not meet the needs of the collection or the curriculum.

“To insure maximum accessibility of library resources, restrictions regarding shelving access, or processing of gifts are not normally accepted. Once accepted, gift materials become the property of the college. The library reserves the right to dispose of gift materials in whatever manner best serves the interest of the college and the library. This means that unless otherwise arranged with the donor, and confirmed by the library in writing, books will be added to the collection, sold, or otherwise disposed of as appropriate.” (Adapted from: Oberlin College Policy on Accepting Gifts)

See Weeding Criteria and Guidelines.

A Donation Form should be filled out for all gifts, no matter how small.

Last Revised September 2009

Out-of-Print Material

When titles are determined to be out of print, the request will be passed on to the library representative for initial review to determine if a search should be initiated. The representative can choose to return the request to acquisitions, asking for a search to be initiated, or return the request to the departmental library liaison for final review. In either case, if an out-of-print search is requested, the representative or liaison should indicate the maximum price that should be paid for each item before resubmitting the order to acquisitions.

Requests for out-of-print material selected from dealers’ catalogs should be expedited to the Acquisitions Department accompanied by the catalog. Often the dealer has only one copy of each title, and these items are quickly sold.

Faculty Publications

The purpose of this collection is to make publications by the faculty available for use by the community. The library maintains the Cumulative Bibliography of Publications by Hope College faculty. It, rather than the Faculty Publications Collection, serves as a more complete record of the scholarship of the Hope College faculty.

The library seeks to obtain and keep any book by any Hope author (active and emeriti) including text books; edited works; novels; collected works of essays, poems, stories, etc. (by the faculty member); collected works with more than one Hope author; laboratory manuals; guides; computer programs; translations; bibliographies published separately; multi-media shows; video recordings; audio recordings; etc. Items in the Faculty Publications Collection will not circulate and will not be weeded.

Case-by-Case Decisions

One copy of works for which a faculty member is the editor or contributor may be purchased and added to the collection if appropriate for the curriculum. Series edited by and software designed by Hope faculty will similarly be purchased and added to the collection if appropriate.

The library will not normally purchase books or individual issues of a journal with single poems, essays, or stories by a faculty member. The library may accept gifts from the faculty member of such items for compilation of the annual Bibliography of Faculty Publications and eventual retention in the archives.

Decisions concerning the purchase of a second copy of a faculty publication for the library’s circulating collection will be made on a case-by-case basis using the general selection criteria.

If a faculty publication is lost, stolen, or damaged, a decision concerning its replacement will also be made on a case-by-case basis.

Last Revised March 2010

Material Formats Collected

The libraries are interested in collecting all information formats that are appropriate for the subject matter or for addition to its permanent collection. Equipment to use each format type must also be maintained. In practice, some formats of materials cannot be adequately handled or are poor investments of library funds. Presently the libraries routinely acquire these formats:

  1. Books
    • Language material (printed books) including textbooks only when they are for elementary or secondary education, or when they have been written by Hope College faculty
    • Manuscript language material (hand-written books) – through gift only
  2. Serials
  3. Visual Materials
    • Projected Medium – DVDs (preferred format) and VHS videocassettes
    • Two-dimensional Nonprojected Graphic (Microfiche and Microfilm)
    • Three-dimensional Nonprojected Graphic (Tools for elementary and secondary education: realia, puppets, manipulatives)
    • Kits, primarily as used in elementary and secondary education
    • All DVDs should be Region One compatable.
  4. Maps
    • Cartographic material
    • Manuscript Cartographic material – through gift only
  5. Scores
    • Printed Music
      • Scholarly editions, intended for the study of music
      • Performance editions, intended for use in the actual performance of music
      • Manuscript Music
      • Facsimile editions
      • Archival materials (through gift only)
  6. Sound Recordings (Nonmusical and Musical)
  7. Computer Files

Last Revised September 2009

Material Formats Excluded

Certain formats are not currently acquired because the libraries lack the necessary projecting, listening and/or reproduction devices, for example, 16 mm. films, laserdiscs, and filmstrips.

Some materials are generally not acquired because they cannot be readily handled in a library setting:

  1. College-level programmed texts, workbooks, answer sheets, or standardized tests
  2. Periodical article reprints
  3. Ephemera, defined as printed items with little or no permanent value, such as pamphlets, posters, press releases, leaflets, newspaper clippings, and transcripts, is not collected.
  4. The UNESCO definition of a book is a collection of 49 or more printed pages. A collection of fewer than 49 printed pages is considered a pamphlet and hence is not collected. Common exceptions include children’s books, music scores, plays, and art catalogs. Other exceptions may be made at the discretion of a librarian.
  5. Blu-ray.

Last Revised September 2009

Duplication of Materials

  1. Maximum Number of Copies

    Normally the library maintains only one copy of each title. The maximum recommended number of copies for any location (including Reserves) is two.

  2. When Duplication is Acceptable
    1. When material is authored by a member of the Hope College faculty
    2. When material is about local history
    3. When branch libraries need duplication of major reference sources
    4. When material is heavily used.
  3. Audio-visual

    If the libraries already own a title on VHS tape, request for the DVD version of the title will be considered if a reason exists for doing so, such as the inclusion of enhanced or added content in the DVD release, ease of use, general format flexibility, and content up-loading ability in accordance with fair use. Decisions regarding these purchases will be made by a librarian.

  4. Microform

    If the libraries already hold a title in microform, paper copies should not be purchased unless special need can be demonstrated. Items available in the Library of American Civilization microform collection may be purchased in paper copy format.

  5. Electronic Books

    Items available as electronic books may be purchased in paper copy format.

  6. Reserve Material

    One copy meets the needs of reserve usage for the normal class of 20–30 students. Some faculty place multiple copies of items they own on reserve.

  7. Serials

    The high cost of purchasing and maintaining serials requires that duplication of these may occur only in unusual circumstances.

Last Revised September 2009

Variant Editions

  1. Abridged Editions

    Unabridged editions are preferred over abridged editions. However, when the original unabridged edition is no longer available, or if the abridged edition has literary value, an abridged edition may be considered for purchase.

  2. Bibliographic Equivalents

    The library will only purchase one imprint of a book if it is published simultaneously in more than one place (for example, British and U.S. editions). If a new edition or foreign edition varies substantially, it may be considered for purchase.

  3. Paperbacks

    Hardback books are preferred, but due to price differences, paperbacks are frequently selected. Mass market paperback purchase is discouraged, unless it is the only available edition.

  4. Reprint Editions

    A reprint edition of a monograph is a new printing with substantially unchanged text. When selecting a reprint as the primary copy, several factors are considered:

    1. Price
    2. Content
    3. Reputation of the publisher
    4. Archival quality of paper
    5. Specific edition requested
  5. Spiral/Looseleaf Bindings

    Hardcover editions are preferred for purchase. However, if a spiral or looseleaf binding is the only available format, it may be purchased.

  6. Translations

    Translations from foreign languages into English may be purchased.

Last Revised October 2007

Standing Orders/Continuation Service

Standing order lists should be reviewed regularly for continued relevance to the library collection, because the needs of the collection can change, or a series can change its focus over time. Each academic department should review their standing orders, and the librarians should review general standing orders annually.

Standing orders take several forms. They can be:

  • Monographic series, published regularly and indefinitely
  • Monographic series, published irregularly and indefinitely
  • Monographic series of a fixed number of volumes
  • Continuations
  • Congress/Conference/Symposium proceedings
  • All the books published by a specific publisher
  1. Monographic Series

    A monographic series is a group of monographs, usually related to one another in subject, issued in succession, normally by the same publisher and in uniform style with a collective title. When the series lacks a consistent numbering system, its parts should be considered monographs.

  2. Continuations

    A continuation is a serial publication issued regularly in a frequency of less than twice a year, including annuals, biennials, etc. The library selectively acquires continuations that fill an ongoing need for information. Purchasing continuations periodically saves resources but remembering when to order a new edition may be difficult. Certain vendors allow orders of every other or every third edition when establishing standing orders.

  3. Congress/Conference/Symposium Proceedings

    Published proceedings of domestic or international congresses, conferences, and symposia will be collected when appropriate by subject matter. Publications containing programs with abstracts will be collected only if the published proceedings are not available. Publications containing only a list of participants will not be collected.

  4. All books published by a specific publisher:

    We occasionally subscribe to plans through which we recieve all of a publisher’s titles. These items are subject to the usual standards for retention and withdrawal.

Last Revised October 2007

Approval Plans

The Van Wylen Library has book approval plans from publishers such as ALA (American Library Association) and MENC (Music Educators National Conference). From time to time, the library evaluates whether or not slip approval plans with book vendors may benefit particular disciplines.


A serial is a publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.); the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc., of societies; and numbered monographic series. The library selectively purchases a wide range of serial publications.

Serials serve as a major source of current information in many academic disciplines and complement the library’s book collection. Because each periodical title involves a prospective long-term commitment of funds, and because of the increasing cost of periodical subscriptions, acquisition of new periodical titles requires serious consideration.

Development of the periodicals collection is a cooperative activity involving faculty and librarians, with final selection responsibility belonging to the librarians.

  1. General Serial Selection Guidelines

    The primary criterion used to evaluate and select a serial subscription is the title’s support of the educational program of the college. Efforts should be made to achieve a balance among the various departments in ordering serials, keeping in mind the differential reliance upon serial publications and their varying costs.

    Other considerations are:

    • Accessibility through indexing and abstracting services
    • Subscription price
    • Availability through interlibrary loan or other document delivery services
    • Use statistics (in-house use and interlibrary loan requests)
    • Holdings of comparable and/or regional educational institutions
    • Presence on a core-titles list for a department or an accrediting agency
    • Appropriateness for the level of study of the subject at the college
    • Positive reviews in professional literature
    • Serials with Hope College staff as editors or with other affiliations

    The collection will be examined regularly in order to evaluate its continued adherence to the above considerations.

    To initiate a request for a serials subscription, the requester must complete the Request for Serials Subscription Form. Specific requirements and procedures are indicated on the request form.

  2. Types of Serials
    • Periodicals

      A periodical is a serial appearing or intended to appear indefinitely at regular or stated intervals, generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which is numbered or dated consecutively and normally contains separate articles, stories or other writings. The library selectively collects periodicals in core and related subject areas. Because of the complexity of the selection process, specific criteria and procedures are provided in “General Serial Selection Guidelines” (above).

    • Newsletters

      A newsletter is a serial consisting of one or a few printed sheets containing news or information of interest chiefly to a special group. When substantive articles begin to outnumber news items, the title is generally considered a periodical. The library generally discourages the collecting of newsletters because of their limited audiences, lack of indexing and temporary nature. Newsletters are usually routed to academic departments.

    • Newspapers

      The library maintains current subscriptions to major national and international newspapers as well as to local and regional papers. Most newspapers are retained for approximately three months. The only newspaper titles permanently retained in print are Hope College publications. Electronic access is maintained for a large number of national and international titles.

    The library subscribes to newspapers to support the educational program of the college, and to support current awareness of activities in the West Michigan area. Effort is made to build a collection that balances geographic coverage and a variety of viewpoints. Selection criteria include availability of indexing and cost.

  3. Serial Format Selection Guidelines
    • Electronic

      In order to maximize access and minimize space constraints, the library subscribes to serial publications electronically if the electronic version of a title may be obtained through a stable, cost-efficient source.

      Scholarly journals that directly support the Hope College curriculum will be converted to an electronic format as long as access to journal content is deemed acceptable and cost effective. Whenever possible, a commitment to archival access is desirable.

      Some examples of accessing original content through acceptable electronic formats include but are not limited to:

      1. Access via the publishers website or an archival full-image aggregator such as JStor is preferred but access via a full-text database such as Gale OneFile may be acceptable.
      2. Full image in pdf format is preferred but full-text may be acceptable.
      3. Access to entire contents of a journal is preferred. Access to selected articles from a journal is not acceptable in most cases.

      Determination of using full-image vs. full-text will be made on a case by case basis depending on subject area requirements.

    • Print

      The purpose of our current print periodical collection is to support current awareness and trends in all disciplines. We will purchase print formats using the following guidelines:

      1. The content is general interest and representative of a discipline.
      2. The periodical is not available in an acceptable electronic format.
      3. The cost of the electronic format is too prohibitive.
    • Serial Microform

      Decisions to purchase microform are made by the librarians on a title-by-title basis. The following considerations contribute to that decision:

      • Publication frequency
      • Periodical is primarily text, with few illustrations
      • Illustrations, graphs and charts are easily reproduced on microform
      • Titles that cannot be bound due to heavy use in print
      • Titles that are not available electronically
      • Titles that are too expensive to purchase in print
      • The print format does not lend itself to binding

Last Revised June 2009

Electronic Resources

In this document “electronic resources” refers to materials that require computer mediation in order to access their contents. This policy covers materials acquired for the library’s collection that are available for use by patrons. Staff productivity software is not included in this policy.

  1. Types of Electronic Resources
    • Bibliographic indexes: These files contain information that leads the user to other material, rather than being an end in themselves. Often, these are electronic versions of existing print indexes.
    • Full-text and primary indexes: Unlike bibliographic indexes, these files contain most of the material referenced. Often they will be a combined bibliographic and primary index.
    • Journals: This includes those available directly through the publisher or an electronic aggregator.
    • Unsubscribed online resources: Various online resources undefined by the categories above may be added to the library’s collections through links to them in HopeCAT and/or library web pages.
    • Application software: This includes all other types of electronic resources including computer assisted instruction, interactive multimedia, and educational games.
    • Electronic books
    • CD-ROMs
  2. Formats

    Most of the resources do not physically reside in the library, but are accessed through the Internet. This type of access is most common for bibliographic and full-text indexes. The physical carriers and access methods for electronic resources are dynamic and will change quickly, making it imperative that the library maintain hardware and network infrastructures that make access to electronic resources possible.

  3. Selection Considerations

    In many ways, electronic resources are like any other library material and the same selection procedures (e.g., scope, authority, price, etc.) should be used. There are, however, some unique aspects to electronic resources that must be considered:

    • Performance/Access Speed
    • Compatibility: Does the product work with existing hardware and the network infrastructure? If not, what would be required to use the product? What effect will the product have on other software? Is additional software needed to use the product?
    • Licensing: What is the license agreement for the resource being considered? How will access be regulated (e.g., IP verification, login/password)? Is off-campus access possible? How many simultaneous users are allowed? Does the license allow the product to run over a network, or can it only be run on a stand-alone machine? Is the content purchased or subscribed? Are there any printing or interlibrary loan limitations?
    • Life of product: Many electronic resources become dated very quickly. Is this a product that will have lasting value to its users? Is the physical carrier or access method one that will likely be accessible for the foreseeable future? Is the data in a format that will likely be accessible in the future? Is there an archival mechanism in place for the data?
  4. Selection Considerations for Unsubscribed Online Resources

    The library staff may select freely available web sites for addition to HopeCAT and/or library web pages when a web site is recognized to provide searchable, accurate content from an authoritative source at no cost to the user.

Last revised November 2007

Special Collections

  1. Government Documents

    The Hope College Libraries are not part of a depository program for any government publications. Materials produced by any unit of the government (federal or state) are purchased “as appropriate.” Only those materials that support the academic mission of the college are selected.

    We increasingly rely on electronic resources to provide access to government materials that were previously provided in paper. The electronic resources are a combination of commercial products (e.g., LexisNexis) as well as information directly from government entities (e.g., Background Notes from the U.S. Department of State, Michigan Compiled Laws from the Michigan Legislature). Since many government publications are available for free via the Internet, the library may avoid purchasing a paper copy of such documents and simply provide access to them. These materials may also be listed in the library’s online catalog (e.g., Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals). Many federal publications can be identified through the use of GPO’s Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications (available via FirstSearch and at the Government Printing Office’s web site).

  2. Browsing Collection

    The Browsing Collection contains materials of current popular interest, which complement our regular collection. This collection is intended to support the general interest and recreational reading of the college community. The library’s budget includes funds for the acquisition of books for the Browsing Collection. The selection process for these books is completed by library staff and, occasionally, members of the faculty. The browsing collection is weeded annually. Items will be offered for review by all of the librarians to determine whether or not they will remain in browsing, be transferred to the stacks, or be withdrawn from the library collection.

  3. Curriculum Library

    The Curriculum Library collection contains selectively chosen resources appropriate for teaching subjects in grades K–12, and includes materials for students with special needs. Materials are chosen by both Education faculty and the library staff. The primary purpose of this collection is to support the undergraduate teacher-training program of the Department of Education. The library includes practical educational resources and materials on how to utilize them.

    The Curriculum Library collects:

    • Textbooks in all curricular subjects, grades K–12. Emphasis in the textbook collection is on materials published within the last 10 years.
    • Children’s and young adult literature, including a selection of award winners, honor books, and notable books.
    • Regional factual books (those that support the Michigan curriculum)
    • Idea and activity books
    • Puppets
    • Math manipulatives
    • Materials to support early childhood education
    • Sources about children’s and young adult literature
    • Selected teaching methods books
    • Books which teach students how to write behavioral objectives and prepare lesson plans
    • Selected children’s magazines
    • Curriculum guides
  4. Heritage Collection

    The Heritage Collection is a non-circulating monographic collection of the Hope College Libraries focusing on the history of Dutch American immigration to the United States; the development of Dutch, Hispanic, and other ethnic communities in the Muskegon/Grand Rapids/South Haven, Michigan triangle; the story of the Reformed Church in America; and the history of Hope College. The Heritage Collection complements the manuscript and other archival holdings of the Joint Archives of Holland.

    The professional staff of the Joint Archives will assist Van Wylen Library by recommending monographs for addition to the Heritage Collection. When appropriate, and with approval of the Library Director, the library will acquire two copies, one for the general circulating collection and one for preservation in the Heritage Collection.

    The Heritage Collection is accessible when the Joint Archives is open for research.

  5. Rare Books

    Rare books are not normally purchased. Gifts of rare materials are added to the rare book collection.

    Rare books are those items due to age, scarcity, provenance, value, or condition that may need to be housed apart from the rest of the collection.

    The library does not actively seek these items but welcomes gifts of appropriate rare books, and in unusual circumstances will purchase such materials. The library will attempt, by directed gifts, to build upon the existing strengths of the rare book collection. The rare book collection should reflect the curriculum of the college in those items accepted as gifts. Items not deemed appropriate may be directed to a more appropriate library or accepted and sold (with the consent of the donor). See Weeding Criteria and Guidelines.

    Current strengths of the rare book collection include Bibles, especially those in the Dutch language, Biblical commentaries, science and the history of science, Dutch history, art, and art history.

  6. Reference Collection
    1. General Purpose

      The Reference Collection supports the reference needs of a diverse clientele: undergraduates, teaching faculty, administrative staff, librarians, and to a lesser extent, alumni and members of the greater community. It brings together the handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, biographical dictionaries, general and subject-oriented indexes, bibliographies, abstracts, statistical compilations, and aids of various sorts, which are most often needed by both reference staff and patrons. Although most of the materials acquired support the instructional programs of the college, patrons have a wide variety of research interests, and therefore resources not necessarily related to the curriculum are provided. In general, reference materials are those that support quick information, background, and research referral needs.

    2. Format of Materials Collected

      Printed books and serials compose a large part of the collection, although an increasing percentage of material is now available electronically. The criteria for shifting traditionally print resources to electronic resources are the following:

      • Demand: Materials which are more heavily used by patrons are better candidates for converting to an electronic form. Often the cost cannot be justified if a source will only be used by a few patrons.
      • Coverage: Does the electronic version provide the same information as its print counterpart? Is information left out due to copyright agreements etc.?
      • Cost: While electronic sources are often more expensive than similar print sources, there should be a significant ‘added value’ to the electronic version. Added value can be in terms of ease of use, additional content, superior access, etc. Paying for information that the library already owns in print should be avoided unless it comes as part of a package that is reasonable in price.
      • Ease of use: Some materials are easier to use in one form or another. The ability to electronically access several years of an index (all at once) is a good example. Conversely, sometimes it is easier to look up something in a print source than to find it electronically.
      • Access: Can patrons access the material from anywhere on campus? Can authenticated users access the material from off campus? How many users may access the source simultaneously? Our preference is for campus-wide access based on IP recognition.
    3. Collecting Levels

      Almanacs, annuals and yearbooks: The latest editions are purchased. Previous editions may be retained in the Reference Collection, moved to the stacks (circulating collection), or withdrawn. The geographic and subject coverage of these materials reflects and supports the teaching and research trends of the college.

      Anthologies: A few anthologies reflective of and pertinent to the curriculum are maintained in the Reference Collection.

      Atlases: (See also Gazetteers and place name directories) A representative up-to-date collection of the major, comprehensive world atlases is maintained. A selection of regional and thematic (e.g., historical, economic and linguistic) atlases is also included. Most atlases are housed on the atlas shelves.

      Bibles: An extensive collection of Bibles representing various faith traditions and concordances is maintained. Most commentaries are housed in the stacks (circulating collection). Non-Christian religious texts are also collected.

      Bibliographies: General bibliographies on broad topics may be included in the Reference Collection. Those with a narrow scope, such as single author or subject bibliographies, are ordinarily not put into the Reference Collection. Exceptions are only occasionally made for major authors or for topics in great demand or of current interest. Since the library collects the most important discipline-specific databases, it is highly selective in purchasing print bibliographies.

      Biographical directories: Major universal and national works. Biographical dictionaries having a very narrow, regional, chronological or subject coverage are considered on their individual merits and on their potential usefulness in the Reference Collection.

      Business and commercial directories: U.S. and international business, trade, and commercial directories are collected in print selectively because this type of information is not heavily used by our students and is available on the Web.

      Career guides: Basic materials on career choice, job markets and resume guides are collected.

      City directories: The city directory for Holland and Zeeland is the only one purchased. Older editions are housed in the Archives.

      Census: Basic population census materials were collected until the 2000 cenus and are shelved adjacent to the Reference Collection. Most materials are now available on the Web.

      College catalogs: (see also guides to undergraduate and graduate study). The library subscribes to CollegeSource Online, a collection of college and university catalogs. Paper catalogs from institutions other than Hope College are not collected.

      Companions and specialized encyclopedias: The Reference Department maintains a collection of companions and specialized encyclopedias on a variety of topics that both reflect the curriculum and high interest topics. Multi-author or period companions go into the Reference Collection, but single author companions go in the stacks with some exceptions.

      Concordances: The Reference Collection contains concordances for major works, such as for the Bible and Shakespeare.

      Current awareness/contemporary topics services: Current awareness services that highlight contemporary topics such as CQ Researcher are maintained.

      Dictionaries, language: The objective is to acquire the most scholarly and authoritative dictionaries available. Juvenile, concise, and pocket dictionaries are generally excluded.

      Dictionaries, English language: An extensive collection of general, etymological, and specialized dictionaries of dialects, slang, synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations, and subject related dictionaries are collected.

      Dictionaries, Foreign language: For those languages taught at Hope or in which there is scholarly interest, a representative collection of general and etymological dictionaries is maintained. For other languages, a translation dictionary of the language will be collected as needed.

      Digests of novels, plays, etc.: Materials of this nature may be very selectively acquired to reflect the curriculum.

      Dissertation guides: The library has access to Dissertation Abstracts Online as a resource for identifying dissertations. Other bibliographies of theses and dissertations are not collected.

      Encyclopedias (general): The Reference Collection includes one edition of most of the major English language encyclopedias. Updated editions are published periodically. The library also purchases access to electronic encyclopedias.

      Major French, German, and Spanish language encyclopedias are also collected and updated as neccessary.

      Gazetteers and place name directories: (see also Atlases) Up-to-date comprehensive gazetteers and selected place name books of the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe are selected for the Reference Collection.

      Genealogy: Generally not collected.

      Government documents: Government publications are accepted into the Reference Collection on a limited basis as determined by demand, use, or control factors. Most government publications are available on the web.

      Guides to undergraduate and graduate study: (see also college catalogs) Numerous guides to undergraduate and graduate study are collected, as are several standard rating sources.

      Handbooks: Handbooks are collected only if organized so as to lend themselves to reference use.

      Heraldry: Several basic titles are kept in the Reference Collection.

      Indexing and abstracting services: General, interdisciplinary and specific subject area indexes and abstracts are collected. Most are no longer collected in print if an electronic version is available/affordable.

      Manuals and other publications such as bibliographic database guides and thesauri are collected for use in conducting online bibliographic searches.

      Periodical and newspaper directories: Several basic titles are kept in the Reference Collection.

      Quotation and proverb books: Most current editions of major English language dictionaries of quotations, proverbs, etc. are selected for the Reference Collection. Subject specific quotation books are selectively purchased.

      Scholarship, fellowship and grant materials: A basic collection of scholarship, fellowship and grant materials is maintained.

      Statistical Yearbooks: A wide range of national and international statistical yearbooks is collected for reference purposes.

      Style manuals: A selection of current style manuals which serve as standards for their respective fields is maintained.

      Trade bibliographies: The library maintains an electronic subscription to Books-in-Print and print directories for British materials.

      Travel guides: Selectively purchased to support the college’s off-campus programs.

Last Revised March 2010

Weeding Criteria and Guidelines

The Hope College Libraries collection continuously evolves to support the curriculum, college mission, and student needs. Periodically, items will be removed using the following criteria and guidelines: age, condition, online availability, relevance to the curriculum, and use. These items are addressed in detail below.

  • Age:
    Age refers to how old the work is as measured by date of publication. The latest imprint date will be used to determine age.
    1. Published since 1860: May have become brittle due to acid in the paper. Refer to the section on “condition” for instructions.
    2. Imprint date prior to 1900: Candidates for withdrawal or transfer to a special collection. No item in the collection should be withdrawn simply on the basis of age, but age can be a contributing factor in de-selection decisions.
    3. Obsolescence: Consider how quickly information becomes dated in a given discipline, and select candidates for withdrawal based on that period of obsolescence.
  • Condition:

    A complex set of factors should be considered when deciding the fate of a particular item. Selectors should remember that material can be treated in house, sent to a binder or replaced. If the text is valuable enough to keep, we will find a way to preserve it. If the text does not meet retention criteria based on appropriateness or age, condition may tip the keep-or-discard balance.

    1. Condition of paper: Brittle paper is the result of chemical impurities combined with the effects of heat, light, and air pollution. A simple test of paper strength is the three-fold test: fold an inconspicuous corner back and forth three times; if it breaks or tears the paper is too brittle for binding. Loose pages may be tipped in by our menders, but more than five pages per volume may be a problem.
    2. Markings and underlinings: Minor notations may not distract the user, but extensive highlighting, underlining, and commentaries can make the volume unusable because it may mislead the reader, or discourage thinking on their own. Marks in pencil can be erased. More extensive markings should be judged as damaging the text, and replacement should be considered.
    3. Condition of binding: Broken, torn, or worn bindings and covers can be repaired in house. Damaged items should be reviewed by the in-house mending staff for local vs. bindery decisions. If the decision to retain is based on the possibility of repair, check with mending staff first.
    4. Width of margin: If a volume is sent to the bindery, the inner margins will be reduced by either new sewing or gluing and trimming. Binders also trim the outer margins when rebinding. The text should be checked for sufficient margin on all pages, particularly illustration or map pages. In-house repair may reduce the inner margin but will not affect outer margins.
    5. Probable use: Placing a damaged item in a book box in order to protect it from further deterioration might make the book less useable, particularly in an undergraduate setting. Selectors will have to determine the value of the text vs. the severity of the damage. Severely damaged items still in print should be replaced.
  • Multiple Copies:

    Normally the library will own only one copy of an item. When deciding which copy(ies) to keep, consider condition, whether one or all have gift plates, and their use. Multiples should be withdrawn unless:

    1. There is a heavy use pattern.
    2. It is a gift item. We use great care in weeding titles with gift plates and use discretion in their disposal.
    3. It has DND (Do Not Discard) or Only Copy in MI GLCA (Michigan Great Lakes College Association) and the date inside the back cover. However, these items may still be considered for withdrawal given current conditions.
    4. Each copy goes in a different collection (i.e., Faculty publications). (Added July 16, 2009.)
    5. We generally do not keep multiple editions unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
  • Relevance to the Curriculum:

    While the primary principle guiding our collection development will be support of the curriculum, important secondary purposes include support of faculty research and of materials that enhance the college’s ability to educate the whole person. Books should be:

    1. Written at a level appropriate for Hope College students.
    2. Pertinent to issues discussed in current course offerings OR of significant interest for a specific discipline offered at Hope College OR of broad general interest OR appropriate to an existing special collection.
    3. Consistent with current approaches and values within a discipline OR of significant value as a “classic” in a field OR a primary source.

    Possible sources to consult:

    • Resources for College Libraries
    • Guide to Reference
    • Choice online database
    • MeLCat and WorldCAT holdings
    • Subject guides/bibliographies
    • Essay and General Literature Index
    • Usage statistics
    • Hope College course catalog
    • Faculty
  • Use:

    There are two ways to check if a book has been used. One is to use the online system; the other is to look at the checkout list in the back of the book itself. Each method has advantages and disadvantages.

    1. Checking Online:

      A library staff member can check usage information by accessing the public catalog in staff mode:

      1. Log in.
      2. Find the title to be analyzed.
      3. Choose the individual item record near the bottom of the record.
      4. Note: total checkouts (includes numbers transferred from DRA), ytdcirc (year to date circulations; this number is included in the total), and 1yrcirc (last year's circulations; this number is also included in the total).

      The DRA system ran from 1988 until 2003. The Innovative system was brought up in the summer of 2003. There are no online circulation statistics prior to 1988.

    2. Checking the Item Date-Due Slip:
      1. Remember that the slip may have been inserted recently. If there is no slip, the item probably has not circulated since 1988 when it was bar coded. Filled slips are not retained.
      2. Clusters of dates often indicate use by a class. Clusters followed by a period of inactivity may show that the information in the text is no longer useful, or may simply mean a particular class is no longer taught.
      3. Items on open reserve do not have date due slips, but are counted online as they are returned to the shelves.
  • Additional Criteria to Consider:
    1. Items that are exclusively owned by Hope College Libraries and not held by other MeL Libraries.
    2. Items containing “Do not Discard” notes.
    3. The director of libraries should be consulted when weeding items with gift plates or Hope connections. Hope connections are items that are written by Hope College alumni or Hope College publications such as the Milestone. These are identified by the word Hope after the call number.

Discarding Materials

Methods of disposal depends on the type of material being considered. Those methods include:

  • Offered for sale through a professional book dealer.
  • Offered for sale on campus.
  • Disseminated through no-cost international distributors.
  • Recycling.

Print journals duplicated electronically by a stable source committed to archival access for purchasers/subscribers will be discarded at the discretion of the librarians on a title-by-title basis after they are removed from the current periodicals shelving.

Revised March 2010