/ Library

Special Collections

  1. Government Documents

    The Hope College Library is 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by all of the librarians to determine whether or not they will remain in browsing, be transferred to the stacks, or be withdrawn from the library collection.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 Library 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.)