Browsing Room Collection Policy

Collection names

The Musselman Library Browsing Room contains two separate but related collections: the Browsing Collection and the Cooper Collection.

Definition and purpose of the collection

Established in January 2003, the collections in the Browsing Room were established to encourage recreational reading as a means of personal discovery and self-education. These collections are selected for the cultural enrichment, educational enhancement, personal enjoyment, and avocational interests of the students, staff, and faculty of Gettysburg College.

Specifically, the two collections can be defined as follows:

Browsing Collection:

The Browsing Collection contains mostly contemporary and award-winning works of fiction, poetry, short stories, letters, graphic novels, and literary memoir. Selected, contemporary works of nonfiction, which are also award-winning or are of popular interest, may also be included.

The titles in the Browsing Collection are part of the permanent collection of Musselman Library. Therefore, duplication of titles in the general collection is not recommended.

Cooper Collection:

The Cooper Collection consists of a circulating collection of popular works and bestsellers, both fiction and nonfiction in nature. This collection is specifically designed to meet the pleasure-reading needs of the Gettysburg College community. Types of works in this collection includes popular fiction, such as bestsellers, mysteries, Westerns, crime fiction, romances, and science fiction; self-help and educational works; and bestselling nonfiction works on political science, history, art, music, and other topics.

Given the popular nature of the materials in the Cooper Collection, the majority of the works are generally not duplicated in the library's general collection. However, if a title is deemed suitable and of lasting value a copy may be purchased for inclusion in the Library's permanent collection.

Funding for the collection

Browsing Collection:

The Browsing Collection is funded by monies from Musselman Library's materials budget. As of FY 2004-2005, approximately $5,000 is budgeted for selections for the Browsing Collection. The Browsing Collection may also receive additional funding from the Baskerville Endowment, Cooper Endowment, and other library collection endowments that relate to the literary nature of the Browsing Collection.

Cooper Collection :

The Cooper Collection is funded by the library's Thomas Y. Cooper Endowment. Titles in the Cooper Collection are rented, rather than purchased. In FY 2004-2005, the library rented 300 titles for this collection, spending approximately $2,800 for these items.

Location of the collection

All titles featured in the Browsing Collection and the Cooper Collection are housed in the Browsing Room, located on the main floor of Musselman Library. The Browsing Collection is located on the east wall of the Browsing Room. The Cooper Collection is located on the center shelving units in the Browsing Room.

Level of collecting intensity

Collection levels employed by the Musselman Library are used both for policy development and for collection evaluation purposes. The collection levels are taken from the ¿WLN Collection Codes¿ as shown in the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd edition, 1996.

Because of the special nature of the Browsing Room collections, no one collecting level is entirely appropriate for these collections. However, the levels identified below may be useful for selectors, keeping in mind that some materials mentioned at the determined level (e.g., journals, dictionaries, etc.) may be out-of-scope for the nature of the collection.

Browsing Collection: Level 3, Study Level; Level 3b, Intermediate Study Level.

"A collection that is adequate to impart and maintain knowledge about a subject in a systematic way but at a level of less than research intensity. The collection includes a wide range of basic works in appropriate formats, a significant number of classic retrospective materials, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, access to appropriate machine-readable data files, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. At the study level, a collection is adequate to support independent study and most learning needs of the clientele of public and special libraries, as well as undergraduate and some graduate instruction. The collection is systematically reviewed for currency of information and to assure that essential significant information is retained.

The intermediate subdivision of a level 3 collection provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the basic or primary topics of a subject area. The collection includes a broad range of basic works in appropriate formats, classic retrospective materials, all key journals on primary topics, selected journals and seminal works on secondary topics, access to appropriate machine-readable data files, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. These materials are adequate to support advanced undergraduate course work. It is not adequate to support master's degree programs."

Cooper Collection: Level 1, Minimal Level.

A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works. A collection at this level should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information are withdrawn.

Responsibility for selection

The Browsing Room Collections Coordinator is responsible for the selection of materials for both the Browsing and Cooper Collections. Input for selection is offered by the Director of Collection Development, as well as interested library staff.

Sources for selection

Browsing Collection:

Selections for the Browsing Collection are made chiefly from a number of library literature and book review journals including, but not limited to, the following:

  • New York Times Book Review
  • New York Review of Books
  • Booklist
  • Publishers Weekly
  • Library Journal

Awards denoting literary merit are also used to select for the Browsing Collection. Winners and nominees for the following national and international awards are considered when selecting materials for the Browsing Collection:

  • American Booksellers Association Awards (Booksense)
  • Booker Prize
  • Lambda Literary Awards
  • National Book Award
  • National Book Critics Circle Award
  • Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Orange Prize
  • PEN/Faulkner Award
  • Pulitzer Prize
  • Whitbread Book Award

Cooper Collection:

Selections for the Cooper Collection are made from the McNaughton Company catalog, provided to the library monthly from the vendor. The catalog is shared with all library staff, requesting their input. Final selection is then made by the Browsing Room collections coordinator.

Formats of works selected

In general, both the Browsing Collection and the Cooper Collection are monographic in nature. Chiefly, only books are selected for these collections, although some works may feature additional materials in other formats (e.g., a book accompanied by a CD-ROM or audiotape).

As of FY 2004-2005, audiobooks (i.e., books on tape or compact disc) were being considered for addition to the Browsing Room collections. Audiobook titles will only be considered for the Cooper Collection, i.e., they will be rented rather than purchased. The selection criteria for audiobook titles meets that of other materials in the Cooper Collection. Titles will be selected on compact disk only.

Languages of works selected

Only works in English (American, British, Canadian, South African, etc.) are selected for inclusion in the Browsing and Cooper Collections. English translations of contemporary or award-winning foreign titles are also included.

Coordination with other subject areas

Browsing Collection:

As the Browsing Collection primarily consists of literature and literary works, coordination with selection for English is necessary, so as not to duplicate too many works in the Browsing Collection and the general, circulating collections. Some coordination with works selected in translation for Spanish, French, German, and Italian may also be needed for the same reason.

Cooper Collection:

As titles in the Cooper Collection are leased rather than purchased, there is less a need for coordination with other subject areas, as works in the Cooper Collection will eventually be returned to the vendor.

Chronological coverage and date of publication

Works housed in both Browsing Room collections shall not be limited by chronological coverage in subject (i.e., many different time periods may be represented in the materials selected for these collections).

As works in the Browsing Collection and Cooper Collection are contemporary in nature, the date of publication for works shall generally be within the most recent 2-3 years.

Geographical coverage and place of publication

In terms of subject matter, works selected may represent any and all geographic regions.

Number of copies selected

Browsing Collection Generally, only one copy of a title is purchased for the Browsing Collection.

Cooper Collection Generally, only one copy of a title is selected for the Cooper Collection. However, multiple copies may be selected, based on demand or interest.

Cooperative agreements impacting selection

None applicable.

Timetable for selection

Materials for the Browsing and Cooper Collections will be selected on an ongoing basis. One half of the monies budgeted for selection should be spent by December 31 and the other half by May 31.

Cataloging and shelving of materials

Browsing Collection:

Browsing Collection materials are fully cataloged by the Cataloging Department. Such materials are designated by the placement of a "Browsing Collection" spine label above the call number for ease of shelving.

Cooper Collection:

Cooper Collection materials are cataloged by the McNaughton Company, from whom the library rents materials for this collection. The books arrive with a green-colored spine label, complete with call number, which designates its inclusion in the Cooper Collection.

Circulation of materials

Materials in both the Browsing Collection and Cooper Collection circulate for 28 days ¿ regardless of library patron status. Titles can be renewed for an additional 28 days.

Evaluation and weeding

Browsing Collection:

Evaluation and weeding of the collection are undertaken as collection density and shelving necessitates, generally once a year. Upon evaluation, works in this collection may be transferred to the general collections or may be weeded. In general, materials should not reside in this collection for more than 2-3 years from the date of their addition.

The Browsing Room Collections Coordinator is responsible for the transferring or weeding of materials. Input may be sought by the Director of Collection Development or other library staff with appropriate subject knowledge.

When evaluating materials in the Browsing Collection, the following criteria may be applied:

Sustained interest in the book or subject, as reflected in circulation records, critical acclaim (positive reviews from respected critical sources), and/or critical success (e.g., prize-winning title)

  • Physical condition of the book
  • Number of copies of the title assigned to other locations in the collection
  • Time elapsed since addition of the title to the collection

Cooper Collection:

Because materials in the Cooper Collection are rented rather than purchased from the distributor, titles in this collection have a short shelf life. Items in the Cooper Collection generally remain in the library's collection for no more than two years from the date of addition to the collection. After two years, titles should be either returned to the vendor or, if deemed consistently popular, purchased for the general, permanent collection of the Library.

When evaluating materials in the Cooper Collection, the following criteria may be applied:

  • Sustained interest in the book or subject, as reflected in circulation records, critical acclaim (positive reviews from respected critical sources), and/or critical success (e.g., prize-winning title)
  • Physical condition of the book
  • Number of copies of the title assigned to other locations in the collection
  • Time elapsed since addition of the title to the collection

Preservation

Browsing Collection:

Works in the Browsing Collection are not considered rare or unique, thus they do not require that conservation measures be taken. However, some preservation efforts, namely routine maintenance such as mending, may be undertaken to preserve materials for future use. Nonetheless, works that become worn with use and age may be replaced by newer or better copies or may be weeded from the collection entirely.

Cooper Collection:

As works in the Cooper Collection are rented rather than purchased, worn materials may be returned to the vendor for replacement or for weeding.

Authors

  • John Barnett, Director of Collection Development, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College
  • Kerri Odess-Harnish , Reference & Instruction Librarian and Browsing Room Collections Coordinator, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College
  • Robin Wagner , Director, Musselman Library, Gettysburg College

Policy revision schedule

This policy statement will be reviewed every five years from the date of approval.

Date of approval

14 December 2004