Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Collection Development Policy

Library Mission

The mission of Snowden Library is to support the faculty, students, and staff of Lycoming College by providing a learning environment essential to the liberal arts through instruction, services, and collection access.

Library Philosophy

As the academic crossroads of our residential campus, the library partners with faculty to offer a collaborative instruction program that teaches the formulation of research questions; the information discovery process; effective research skills; the synthesis of diverse information; and the evaluation and responsible use of information. The library provides access to carefully managed print and electronic collections, with appropriate technologies to support their use. Through programming and resources, Snowden Library invites the college community to engage in the ongoing intellectual dialogue that provides the foundation for an informed and productive life.

Selection Responsibility

Ultimate responsibility for developing and maintaining the library's collection rests with the Associate Dean and Director of Library Services. The Head of Collection Management and Systems is responsible for coordinating and administering collection development procedures and policies. All requests for materials are reviewed for adherence to the selection guidelines in this policy. Librarians provide liaison services for departmental subject areas and solicit selections from faculty in their respective areas of expertise. Students and staff requests for acquisition of materials are also welcomed and encouraged, and are reviewed using the same standards that apply to requests from faculty.

Fund Allocation

The materials budget is allocated in broad categories to fulfill collection development needs. The Snowden Library is the primary library for the College, and does not support acquisitions for departmental collections.

Specific amounts of the library materials budget are not formally allocated to individual academic departments. Materials are purchased primarily to support the curriculum rather than to build individual research collections for faculty research. Faculty are asked to prioritize their requests from the most important to the least important. The liaison librarians monitor faculty ordering in subject areas, review the book selection literature, and order materials to supplement faculty requests. Identified through faculty input, the highest priority in times of budgetary stress is to maintain access to databases and the journal literature.

Selection Guidelines

Materials are evaluated for selection based on the quality of content and the extent to which they support the undergraduate curriculum at Lycoming College. Criteria used in selecting individual items include some or all of the following:

  • Lasting value of the content
  • Appropriateness of the level of treatment
  • Strength of the present holdings in the same or similar subject areas
  • Cost
  • Suitability and usability of format for student and faculty use including print, e-book, electronically accessed full-text, and other emerging information formats as appropriate
  • Anticipated use as indicated by faculty recommendation

Other Guidelines and Exceptions

  • Textbooks are not normally purchased. The exceptions are those titles that are recognized as classics in their field, or a textbook that is the only or best source of information on a particular topic.
  • Duplicates are purchased only under unusual circumstances as approved by the Head of Collection Management and Systems or the Director.
  • When there is a choice among formats such as hard copy, electronic access, microform, the choice is based on expected use, consultation with the appropriate academic department as to assignments given, and appropriateness of the technological format for teaching and student access. Microforms are considered only in exceptional cases.
  • Lost or stolen materials are evaluated for replacement based on the same criteria used for selection of new titles.
  • Materials are acquired in the English language except for materials that support the modern and biblical languages studies curriculum.
  • The library primarily purchases in-print, current materials. Out-of-print materials are purchased when necessary to support new programs, new courses, or to supplement heavily used sections of the collection. These purchases are coordinated with the appropriate faculty members.
  • Children's literature acquisitions are generally limited to the major award and honor books, such as the Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King and Orbis Pictus recipients.
  • Faculty research is generally not supported within the mission of the library and financial constraints but is supported through document delivery/interlibrary loan.

Reference Collection

Reference materials support general reference, the college curriculum, and the instruction program. Resources are selected, updated, and retained based on their immediate usefulness for faculty and student information needs. Electronic delivery with campus-wide and authenticated remote access is the preferred format for abstracts and indexes.


Because journals, periodicals, newspapers, and cataloged serials represent an ongoing financial commitment, the procedure for budgeting and selection is more restrictive than for books. Each new journal subscription request is evaluated using the following criteria:

  • The library's current journal holdings in the subject area.
  • The journal's relevance to the undergraduate curriculum.
  • The journal's inclusion in full-text publisher collections or availability through services that gather full-text articles from different journals or publishers.
  • The availability of content in electronic format and need for archival access
  • Cost
  • The availability of indexing for the journal.
  • Online only is the preferred format for receipt.

Video Collection

The Video Collection supports the undergraduate curriculum and academic programs at Lycoming College. To that end, within a defined budget allocation, Snowden Library will:

  • Purchase DVDs that are directly related to classroom use or co-curricular/enrichment activities.
  • License streaming video through established platforms configured for institutional access.
  • Prefer DVD or streaming video as the format of choice for purchases; VHS tapes will not be purchased.
  • Purchase/license with public performance rights (PPR) where available. (Snowden Library cannot add items to the collection unless they are produced in compliance with copyright law.)
  • Purchase only formats for which there is viewing equipment readily available on campus.

College Archives/Local History Collection

Most materials for the College Archives are acquired by donation. A small number of items that were originally published by Lycoming College or relate to the early years of the college are purchased each year.

Selected items relevant to local history are purchased and maintained in the Historical Collection located in the College Archives. Rare books are not actively purchased.

Lycoming College Institutional Repository

The Lycoming College Institutional Repository provides online open access to Lycoming College student and faculty scholarship, institutional publications and materials from the Humanities Research Center (HRC). Materials are submitted by students with faculty approval and by faculty and staff.

Gift Materials

Gift materials are reviewed according to the same standards used for purchased materials. Departmental faculty are generally consulted and invited to evaluate gift materials in their subject areas before final decisions are made. Gift materials not acceptable for the permanent collection are usually sold at library book sales or through third parties.

Collection Maintenance and De-selection

De-selection of titles is based upon the continuing need of the library to support an undergraduate curriculum with appropriate, current, and course-related materials. When materials are deselected, they are done so in cooperation with faculty from that particular subject area and the entire faculty is invited to review the deselected items before permanent withdrawal of the items.

Cooperative Networks and Consortia

The library belongs to three consortia based on geographic area, the Associated College Libraries of Central Pennsylvania, PALCI (Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc.), and the Susquehanna Library Cooperative. The College has a responsibility to support borrowing and lending within these cooperatives through current purchasing.

Intellectual Freedom

In the selection of materials, the Snowden Library adheres to the principles of American Library Association's Bill of Rights:

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. 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.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Adopted June 18, 1948. Amended February 2, 1961, June 27, 1967, and January 23, 1980, by the ALA Council; inclusion of "age" reaffirmed January 23, 1996.


In all acquisitions transactions, the Snowden Library strives to adhere to the Statement on Principles and Standards of Acquisition Practice of the American Library Association's Association for Library Collections and Technical Services:

In all acquisitions transactions, a librarian:

  1. gives first consideration to the objectives and policies of his or her institution;
  2. strives to obtain the maximum ultimate value of each dollar of expenditure;
  3. grants all competing vendors equal consideration insofar as the established policies of his or her library permit, and regards each transaction on its own merits;
  4. subscribes to and works for honesty, truth, and fairness in buying and selling, and denounces all forms and manifestations of bribery;
  5. declines personal gifts and gratuities;
  6. uses only by consent original ideas and designs devised by one vendor for competitive purchasing purposes;
  7. accords a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions;
  8. fosters and promotes fair, ethical, and legal trade practices;
  9. avoids sharp practice;
  10. strives consistently for knowledge of the publishing and bookselling industry;
  11. strives to establish practical and efficient methods for the conduct of his/her office;
  12. counsels and assists fellow acquisitions librarians in the performance of their duties, whenever occasion permits.

Developed by the ALCTS Acquisitions Section Ethics Task Force; endorsed by the ALCTS Acquisitions Section and adopted by the ALCTS Board of Directors, Midwinter Meeting, February 7, 1994.

Snowden Library, Lycoming College 03/01

Policy revised and approved by the Faculty Library Advisory Committee, 9/06, 9/30/2010, 9/26/2013. 5/27/2017.