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Collections Stewardship Projects

Purpose of this Guide

This guide provides important information about the Davidson College Library's evaluation of materials within the general collection. Our goal is to provide a central access point for stakeholders to engage with the library in collaborative, collections-based stewardship initiatives.

Collections under evaluation as part of this guide:

Dewey Circulating Collection (2022-2024)
Dewey Reference Collection (2022)
Library of Congress Reference Collection (2022)
Library of Congress Circulating Collection (TBD)
Microform Collections (i.e. microfilm, microfiche - excluding Government Documents)
Print Serials

Collections not under evaluation as part of this guide:

Audiovisual
Archives
Davidsoniana Collection
Electronic Resources (except in cases of format duplication)
Government Documents
Music Library
Rare Books
Special Collections

Our Guiding Principles

The library’s collections are designed to facilitate access and serendipitous discovery by employing a deliberate approach to collection development and assessment of materials. Working closely with campus partners, librarians and archivists strive to evolve the collection in a way that reflects the diverse research needs of Davidson’s community. To help make thoughtful choices, the following guiding principles for the selection and retention of Library materials are employed: 

Promote the College’s Mission

The Davidson College Library provides collections and resources that foster student learning and advance campus research. In doing so, the library directly contributes to the college’s broader goal of “assist[ing] students in developing humane instincts and disciplined and creative minds for lives of leadership and service.” The library’s mission clarifies the relationship between library collections and this institutional goal:

We advance the College’s purpose in developing disciplined and creative minds by providing expertise, space, resources, and services for research and access to information [...and...] serve as an inclusive campus space for thoughtful deliberation and dialogue across differences, the exercise of creativity and imagination, and the development of intercultural competence.

The library’s collections provide materials for course-integrated or course-related student research projects, joint faculty/student research initiatives, independent studies, and other college-sponsored student research activities. The library also creates and maintains a core collection of resources that are essential for the study of the liberal arts. 

Increase Educational Impact and User Engagement

The library builds and curates collections to ensure maximum educational impact. Rapid changes in higher education, information technology, and publishing, along with ever-increasing costs and budgetary constraints, demand that the library align its information resources with the college’s vision and institutional goals. In this way, the library assists the college in reimagining the liberal arts as it continually evolves, responds to, meets, and anticipates student and faculty needs and interests.

Benefit from Shared Responsibility

Working together, faculty, librarians, and students create a library collection that meets the academic needs of the Davidson community. The college has vested the faculty with responsibility for the selection and use of library materials. Faculty bring disciplinary expertise and deep knowledge of the learning outcomes in their courses. Librarians bring expertise in their discipline as well: a global understanding of the information resources available and how best to access and curate them, a wide perspective on students’ information needs that comes from working with students in all disciplines, and empirical knowledge of how information is used. Students, through their course-related projects and independent research, also have opportunities to make contributions to the curation of the collection. 

Provide a Broad Range of Resources

Information lives outside library collections, and ownership is no longer the only means of access to information resources. In addition to the acquisition of print materials and digital resources for the collection, the library provides access to information via interlibrary loan, document delivery, direct borrowing arrangements with other libraries, and related services. The library purchases digital databases in accordance with the evolving scholarly publishing ecosystem and subscribes to digital resources including streaming video when purchasing is not available or feasible. As research is being published in a primarily digital space, and with the ease of primary source databases and related materials, digital resources allow for greater accessibility and draw from a broad range of diverse voices from around the globe. The advantages of the digital knowledge environment provide new opportunities to develop meaningful print collections which work in concert with digital resources.

The library affirms the American Library Association’s commitment to equitable access to information, “ensuring that all library resources are accessible to all overcoming technological and monetary barriers to access,” and that such work is essential to democracy and freedom. The ever-evolving publishing and higher education landscapes require an increased emphasis on the importance of Open Access initiatives. With this in mind, the library continues to expand the funding of Open Access publishing while aiding faculty and students with identification of open access alternatives and other freely available information sources. This includes faculty-student research collaborations, especially those which result in the creation of open access resources. This work is further supported by the implementation of new technologies to facilitate adoption of Open Access materials and Open Education Resources for use in the classroom.

Highlight Distinctiveness and Provide Balanced and Diverse Resources

Through its collections, the library strives to reflect the campus community, including historically marginalized voices, in concert with global communities of the past and present. While areas of emphasis are leveraged through the existing strengths of the collection, the library recognizes the need to evolve our collections as academic disciplines expand and new opportunities for exploration emerge. Additionally, the library seeks to document and preserve the history, culture, and operations of Davidson College and the surrounding community.  

In fulfilling its mission to provide information resources that enable students, faculty, and staff to pursue their research goals, the library endorses the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and strives to build and maintain a balanced collection of resources representing diverse perspectives and points of view. 

Evolve Over Time

The library’s collections are dynamic and librarians continually adapt them to internal and external changes and requirements. At any point in time, these collections reflect current, and to a lesser extent, past curricular and research needs. The library strives to be deliberate in this work, partnering with faculty and administrators to consider information resource needs, costs, and opportunities as the college creates new departments, programs, and majors. Librarians provide information to the college administration about the ability of the library budget to accommodate new courses of study, and, when necessary, the library formally requests additional funding to acquire resources to support classes, faculty, and research in these new areas.

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