Acquisitions Policy


Broadly stated, the goals of Coulter Library are to assist our students and our colleagues in the search for understanding, to serve as an oasis for lifelong learning, and to nourish and protect our students' love of learning. Consequently, our primary purpose in acquiring library materials is to facilitate learning, particularly learning that is keyed to or sparked by the curricular interests, personal needs, and growing awareness of each member of the community we serve.

General Principles

Library books, periodicals and non-print media will be acquired in accordance with the following priorities, ranked in descending order of importance.

  1. Materials that are directly related to currently offered courses and curricular programs.
  2. General reference works, and works in fields not directly related to college programs but which are of such importance that they belong in Coulter Library.
  3. Materials needed by faculty and administration for research, or for personal or professional growth, or for other serious purposes.
  4. Materials needed to maintain and develop a limited number of special collections; to form a foundation collection in a specific subject in anticipation of future programs of the college; and to acquire appropriate varieties of recreational library material, as funds permit.

As a general rule, the library will not acquire textbooks that are required reading in any particular course. While duplicate copies of heavily used materials may be acquired when genuinely needed, duplication is generally discouraged.

As long as the requests for new materials from administrators/faculty/students remain within our annual budget, the library will consider all requests. Under all circumstances, librarians have full responsibility for the selection and priority of purchase of library materials.

Types of Materials

Books: When a book is available in both hardcover and paperback editions, it will be acquired in paperback if there is a significant difference in price and if the anticipated use of the book will not be extremely heavy.

Out-of-Print items: When a book requested is found to be out-of-print, the order will be returned to the originator to determine if s/he wishes it searched. Although the library will search any title when requested, it must be borne in mind that it can never be anticipated that any out-of-print work will be available at a price judged to be reasonable by the Acquisitions department.

Government Publications: The library selects for purchase appropriate state and federal government documents. These documents are either catalogued and placed in the general collection or simply placed in the pamphlet file.

Gifts: Materials received as gifts will be evaluated by the same criteria as materials purchased; nothing will be added simply because it is "free" (all items generate processing and storage costs). Everything donated to the library becomes library property, to be used as the library staff deems appropriate; unneeded items will be disposed of by exchange, donation or discard. All gifts are formally acknowledged by the College Foundation. The materials must be in good useable condition. The library will not accept the following items; textbooks, mass market paperbacks, Book Club editions, magazines, journals and outdated audiovisual formats.

Replacements: Each year following the inventory of the book collection, the Acquisitions librarian will review the list of titles that have been lost, and re-order according to the principles listed above.

Intellectual Freedom

The librarians of Coulter Library are committed to the principle of intellectual freedom. We also consider ourselves defenders of the American Library Association's 'Library Bill of Rights' and the 'Freedom to Read'. Therefore, the library will not itself censor any subject or viewpoints, and will vigorously resist any censorship attempts from outside.