Library Materials Selection Policy


The Bryan College library is the primary information resource center for the support of the curriculum of the college. Although the library serves the community and various schools in the area, materials will be selected primarily with the curricular needs of Bryan College students and faculty in mind.
Information resources are currently provided in a variety of formats including, but not limited to:
  • On-line access to indexes, abstracts, and full-text articles.
  • CD-ROMs providing indexes, abstracts and full-text articles.
  • Books and periodicals in hard copy and electronic form.
  • Microform (books and periodicals).
  • Other: audio-visual equipment or resources to view/read library material.
Criteria for Selection
Many factors must be taken into consideration and balanced in the process of materials selection:
  • Cost of the materials.
  • Various departmental needs (for example, English, History and Bible departments generally need greater library resources than Science, Math or Accounting departments.)
  • Weaknesses of the various segments of the library collection in relation to departmental needs.
  • Level of collection development appropriate for each area (for example, the collection for Teacher Education should reflect much more breadth and depth than for Art, because Bryan offers a major in Teacher Education whereas there are only a few courses taught in Art).
  • Subjective evaluation of the value of the material (as determined by standard bibliographies (e.g. Books for College Libraries), reviews (Choice, LJ, etc.), faculty input, and librarian judgment.
  • Significance of the author in his/her field (e.g. Calvin, Luther, Hemingway, Tolstoy, Einstein, Darwin, Sartre, Kant, Dewey, etc.).
  • Quality of binding or physical condition in general.
  • Availability in electronic format
  • Size of potential user groups (some departments are considerably larger than others).
  • Age or obsolescence (for example, materials in science and computer science tend to be outdated much faster than those in literature and theology.)
  • Availability of materials via interlibrary loan (many reference works or AV materials are not available on interlibrary loan.)
  • The development of new programs.
  • Interlibrary loan demand, based on student/ faculty requests.
Not all of the factors are of equal weight, but all must be taken into consideration and balanced in the process of collection development. Primary considerations will be the material's relevance to the curriculum and needs of the students and faculty.
Faculty input is an important part of the collection development process and is strongly encouraged. However, since 1) the librarians are in the best position to observe the quality and balance of the entire collection as a whole, 2) the director is responsible for the quality and balance of the collection, and 3) the director is responsible for remaining within the limits of the library budget, the professional library staff retains final authority and responsibility for the selection and purchase of materials.
Periodical Selection
In addition to the general materials selection criteria listed above, a major consideration for periodical selection will be indexing. As a general rule, our library will only purchase periodicals indexed in one of the indexes we own or subscribe to. Periodicals that are requested by various departments but not indexed in any known index must be paid for by the department requesting the title.
For periodical selection, priority will be given to those periodicals indexed by one of our indexes. Indexes are usually the first resort for patrons who need information from periodicals; therefore, it is to our advantage to have current subscriptions to as many of the titles featured in these indexes as possible.
Since the quality of materials is not dependent on whether the materials are purchased or donated, the library welcomes donations. The same selection criteria used for purchases will apply to gifts as well. Gifts will be accepted only with the understanding that the library may keep or dispose of them as it sees fit. When someone wants to donate books, the library must first find out if the donor intends to take a tax deduction. If he does not, the library will accept the donation and later determine which books are to be cataloged and which are to be sold. The donor will not be given a record of the number of books donated. If the donor intends to take a tax reduction, he or she must first supply the Library with an itemized list of the intended donation. The library will check the online catalog and accept only those books that we intend to catalog. A list of those books will be kept on file for two years (see IRS form 8282).
Weeding is the process of removing materials that are no longer useful in support of the library's mission. There are numerous reasons why material may no longer support the mission:
  • It may be obsolete and with little or no historical value.
  • Even if not obsolete, it may have been replaced or superseded by more current material.
  • The classes for which the material was purchased may no longer be offered (this, however, does not mean that material would automatically be discarded without taking other factors into account).
  • The physical condition of the material may be beyond repair and no longer usable.

Weeding is an important part of the total acquisition process for at least two fundamental reasons. Materials acquisition requires that the collection be evaluated with regard to strengths and weaknesses relative to the college's curriculum. The process of collection evaluation requires that irrelevant and/or obsolete material be removed so that the evaluator is less likely to think the collection contains more useful information that it actually has.
Weeding is also important to the educational process. The library strives to present the most reliable, accurate information available. Even if a library has obsolete material, students are likely to use it, believing the material to be reliable, when in fact the information has changed or has proven to be inaccurate.
Some of the same criteria for material selection can also be used for de-acquisition (see "Criteria" above).
Intellectual Freedom and Censorship
The educational process demands that students and faculty have access to, and interact with, a wide variety of viewpoints. Intellectual honesty demands that scholars interact directly with primary sources and not rely simply on summaries, opinions or reviews of those sources. This being the case, it is essential that a quality academic library contain information from a wide variety of perspectives, even those considered to be controversial. Materials deemed necessary for inclusion will often represent political, moral and religious views that are in opposition to positions taken by Bryan College faculty and administration. Similarly, literary or artistic expression may contain written or graphic depictions that may be offensive to Bryan College faculty, administration, or constituents.
This does not mean, however, that all such material is necessarily appropriate to the educational mission of Bryan College. Complaints concerning library materials should be submitted to the director, who will review and discuss the objections with the patron based on collection development criteria and eventually make a determination.
If the director decides not to remove the material, and if the patron wishes to pursue the matter further, he or she will be invited to present his/her case before the library committee. The director will abide by the ruling of the committee.
If the library committee does not remove the material, and the patron is still not satisfied, the complaint should be appealed to the Vice President of Academics. While there is nothing to prevent the patron from pursuing the matter further to the president and ultimately to the board of trustees, the decision of the Vice President of Academics would normally be considered to be final.