Mission and Collection Development Policy


The Roberta A. Smith University Library is a welcoming space where friendly and approachable staff provide guidance to resources as well as education that equips individuals to access, evaluate, and synthesize information. The library actively engages in and contributes to the teaching, learning, and research needs of the Muskingum University community by providing access to information resources in line with the university mission.

Collection Development Policy

The Muskingum University Library Collection Development Policy is designed to explain and illustrate how the library adds, maintains, and weeds items from its collection to make and keep it a vibrant, living collection that best supports our students in their curricular research needs.


As a member of two consortial organizations, which allow access to a total of approximately 50 million titles within 4-5 days, the Muskingum University Library Collection is not a stand-alone collection, but one that relies upon access to over 120 libraries within the State of Ohio. To that end, our purchasing and retention decisions must take into consideration the holdings within the two consortial organizations, and our collection must not become redundant with the collections easily and quickly available within OPAL and OhioLINK. We have a responsibility, within the consortial groups, to make purchasing decisions that not only support our curriculum, but that add new titles to the collective catalog as a whole to the benefit of the whole.

The Muskingum University Library has limited shelf space with no ability to add more shelving. Because of that, we must consider our available space at all points in our collection development process: retention, acquisition, and weeding.

Weeding & Retention

Our shelf space is limited and we can no longer keep copies of books that do not regularly circulate as “just in case” titles if there are sufficient copies in OhioLINK. We follow the OhioLINK standard of keeping 5 circulating copies of a particular title within the OhioLINK collection. To that end, if our copy of X has not circulated in a determined number of years, and there are at least 6 circulating copies in OhioLINK libraries, we can remove that book from our collection. Given the number of books that are being digitized, whether or not a book is readily available in a digital copy is also a consideration for weeding. In this case, the books must be in the public domain (pre-1923 copyright) and the organization sponsoring the digitization and location of the documents is considered. This is our standard operating procedure, but there will always be exceptions, as determined by the library director and staff.


As a predominantly undergraduate, liberal arts institution, our collection should reflect the current curriculum in support of our students’ research. It is the responsibility of the librarians to order books and other library materials, utilizing their education and training, considering:

  • Choice, Library Journal, etc., sources that review books and indicate the appropriateness of the work for an undergraduate institution

  • How many copies of the same work are available via OhioLINK and OPAL

    • also considered: how many copies are currently checked out

  • The courses and subjects taught within those courses, including popular research topics

  • What has been ordered by our students via OhioLINK and ILL on a particular subject

    • Would it be advisable for our library to purchase the book or subject for our collection?

  • Cost and out-of-print status

  • Books already available electronically via OPAL and OhioLINK will not be purchased in hard copy

Faculty input in Collection Development

  • Faculty are asked to assist in our weeding process by reviewing the weeding lists provided by the librarians and making suggestions of what to keep and what to weed

  • Acquisition requests from faculty are encouraged to reflect new courses, new research in the field appropriate to curricular and undergraduate-level research, and known common research topics.

  • Faculty are encouraged to consult with the appropriate library liaison when considering materials requests.

  • Materials requested for sole support of faculty research will not be purchased, however, the library staff will work to help faculty acquire research materials via OhioLINK and ILL.

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