University of Southern Indiana

Collections & Resources Mission

Collections & Resources Mission

The David L. Rice Library supports the mission of the University of Southern Indiana by assisting the instruction efforts of the university's faculty and the research efforts of the university's students through the provision of appropriate collections and services. The selection, cataloging, management and evaluation of information resources is undertaken to support present and future programs of the university. Ongoing review and evaluation of Library resources and services are carried out in collaboration with the university community to determine the nature of information resources and services needed.

Collections & Resources Statement of Philosophy

A collection development statement is intended to help in building a quality collection that meets the needs of the University's goals, objectives and programs by aiding in communication among students, faculty, academic administrators and librarians. It should serve as an aid in supporting present and future programs of the University by providing guidelines and information about the priorities of collecting, areas of responsibility, and as a tool to help balance available funds with collection strengths and weaknesses, user needs and available materials.

Selection/Retention Responsibilities

The responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the combined efforts of the teaching faculty and the librarians. Faculty members are encouraged to recommend materials that serve to support the courses they teach and which supplement the general library collections appropriate to their disciplines and specialties. Librarians are responsible for selecting materials that develop a strong collection, overseeing the growth and maintenance of the collections and seeing that new acquisitions reflect the needs of the students, the faculty and the goals of the institution. Their duties include screening materials received, evaluating collections, selecting relevant titles, working with faculty to achieve a balanced collection and coordinating the resource development of the library. The librarians will attempt to acquire through interlibrary loan those materials needed for research by students, faculty, or staff which cannot be secured through purchase or which fall outside the collections guidelines. Responsibility for coordinating the efforts of the individuals involved in selection rests with the Assistant Director for Collections and Resource Management and the Director of Library Services.


Budgetary constraints impose the use of priorities in determining the order in which materials are considered for purchase. Those priorities in order are support of undergraduate instruction; providing resources that cover broad, rather than narrowly specialized, areas; upper-class and graduate program support, specialty areas; new programs, and supporting faculty research. Within these parameters criteria are used to make choices among the materials on a particular subject. These criteria include the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection in the subject area, the academic programs served, the relationships with other fields, the importance of the topic in the curriculum, the currency, popularity, and timeliness of the topic, the anticipated importance of the topic in the future, favorable review/s, the author's qualifications and reputation and the quality of other works by that author. Other criteria are the work's publication date, its cost, the language of the work, its format and the library's ability to provide the tools to use the format. Also taken into consideration are the academic level of the material, and, if a textbook, the appropriateness of including textual material in the field in the library's collection.

Intellectual Freedom

Materials are selected for and added to the library's collection based on the criteria listed in this collection development statement. Some of the items added to the collection may seem controversial to some individuals or groups. Items are selected based on the needs of the curriculum and do not imply approval or endorsement by the librarians or the university. An attempt is made to provide material explaining or supporting the various facts and diverse opinions on a broad range of issues.

American Library Association statement on intellectual freedom:

Intellectual Freedom
Intellectual freedom is a basic right in a democratic society and a core value of the library profession. The American Library Association actively defends the right of library users to read, seek information, and speak freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment

USA PATRIOT Act and Intellectual Freedom 

Library Bill of Rights


A serial is a publication issued in successive parts, each bearing numeric or chronological information identifying it with its series. Periodicals (journals, magazines and newspapers), annuals and indexes are all serials. Formats may vary and include paper, electronic, digital, audio, and film. A subscription to a serial usually implies a long-term commitment, an assumption that each renewal will be for an increased cost, and a greater chance as faculty and programs change that current interests may not be reflected over time.

Electronic formats

The library provides materials in electronic formats to the extent that technology and financial resources allow under the same guidelines as other formats. Electronic databases/publications enhance access to collection on and off campus but raise questions about duplication, ownership vs. licensing, and long-term availability of materials contained in databases. Pricing models vary due to a number of factors. Some publishers require the purchase of a printed copy in order to subscribe to the electronic version and pricing for electronic access frequently is substantially higher than for the print product. Also, most publishers price their products based on FTE or total population count which brings up issues with part-time course load, non-credit and certificate students and other special populations. Leasing contracts frequently limit use of the product such as denying provision of interlibrary loans.


Because of the direct impact on the purchase of other materials, unnecessary duplication is avoided. Exceptions will be considered for titles on undergraduate or graduate reserve, titles that have received three or more holds, and titles on subjects of current interest (hot topics) that are in areas of high usage and/or theft or mutilation. Duplication is for support of required instructional needs and not for the convenience of individuals, the library, or academic units. Print subscriptions are rarely maintained for journals available full-text in a database.

Textbooks and Workbooks

Again, because of the direct impact on the purchase of other materials, textbooks and workbooks used in courses at USI are not purchased unless there is an unusual and clearly defensible need. The appropriateness of including other textbooks in a particular subject area of the library collection is considered when making a purchase decision.


Evaluation and maintenance of the collection must be a continual process to avoid deterioration of the collection both physically and qualitatively.


Many books are and have been published on paper with acidic materials that cause the paper to self-destruct over time and with exposure to air and light. Others become worn due to use or misuse and become outdated. During the ongoing process of evaluation, decisions must be made on mending, binding, discarding, replacement of older with newer editions, and replacement by other materials on the same or similar subject. Decisions are based on the condition of the book, the current usefulness of its content, availability of replacement copy, cost of mending vs. replacement or binding. Issues considered are obsolete and superseded editions, wearing, mutilation, marking or mildew/mold, duplication of same or similar titles, currency of topic, accuracy of information and usage of titles. Decisions are made by the librarians who, when appropriate, consult with members of the faculty.


The same criteria are used for serials as for books. In addition, serials have some unique issues. A serial should be indexed in standard indexing tools received by the library to provide access to its articles.


High priority is given to materials that primarily support instructional programs. Specialized materials in a faculty member's research area, but not supporting instructional need, will be purchased only after other needs of the subject field have been satisfied. Interlibrary loan support will be offered when the item cannot be supplied otherwise. Purchases are made for materials in languages other than English normally only to support foreign language courses. Programs with large numbers of students and faculty are given more financial support than smaller programs. Usually, allocations are intended to maintain established area of collection strength unless funding has been granted to support development in new areas. New courses or programs will be given significant funding only if funds have been allotted for them and only to the amount allotted. Requests for additional funding should be submitted when the course or program is requested and should include bibliographies of necessary library materials and a schedule for acquiring them after funding is received. No simple formula exists to provide the optimum level of support in all subjects and the present level of library funding is insufficient to meet any but the most basic needs in any area. Annual allocations generally remain fairly stable but fund shifts may be made to support areas that have been under-funded. In order that book funds may be distributed responsibly and intelligently, it is essential that librarians work closely with faculty and students in the selection of materials and strive for reasonable compromise.


Each department has a librarian assigned to serve as a liaison. Faculty and their liaison are not exclusive selectors for the collections. Many faculty members, other staff members, other librarians, and students participate in this function. Questions and suggestions regarding library collections should be directed to your Library Liaisons, the Assistant Director for Collections & Resources Management or the Director of the Library.

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