Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy Sections:


Musselman Library’s collection empowers our community of learners to discover and engage with the world’s collected knowledge, to explore creative and intellectual pursuits, and to actively participate in research and scholarship.

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Purpose and values

The purpose of the collection is to support the liberal arts curriculum of Gettysburg College. The collection must also reflect the library’s core values including open access publishing, diversity, equity and inclusion, resource sharing, privacy and intellectual freedom. To the extent possible, the library will support open access collections giving preference to initiatives that are both sustainable and/or seek to transform the scholarly publishing landscape.

The collection will feature materials that reflect a plurality of viewpoints emphasizing historically marginalized people and topics as well as geographically underrepresented populations. Collection decisions will also consider learning differences and format accessibility. When practical, the library will build shared collections and develop retention partnerships with consortia to promote greater access, resource sharing, and preservation of the scholarly record. In accordance with American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics, the library will challenge censorship and protect privacy.

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Responsibility for selection

Collection development and assessment are managed by the Collections and Technical Services Department. The library approval and standing order plans help to ensure that current and high-quality materials are added to the collection; the plans’ profiles are updated regularly to align with the Gettysburg College Curriculum and the library’s strategic collection priorities. Librarian liaisons also select materials for the collection and/or on behalf of their assigned academic departments or faculty. Faculty members are strongly encouraged to select materials for the collection. Employees and students are also welcome to recommend materials for the collection. The library leadership will review requests for all major purchases and recurring subscription expenses exceeding $2,500 annually.

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Collection guidelines

Acquisition of collection materials will support the Gettysburg College Curriculum, co-curricular programs, emerging liberal arts disciplines, and creative and intellectual recreation. Materials will reflect the diversity of our user community and will be inclusive of marginalized perspectives. Materials purchased with library funds will become the property of Gettysburg College and made available to the campus community. The library will not acquire materials for the exclusive benefit or use of any group or individual. Departmental or office collections should be bought with department or designated Provost monies or by the individual.

Collection materials will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Authority and purpose of creator
  • Accuracy of the information
  • Reputation of publisher, quality
  • Currency
  • Audience
  • Enduring curricular and/or scholarly value of content
  • Access or ownership
  • Scope, comprehensiveness, and depth of treatment
  • Relation to the existing collection

Restrictive criteria:

  • The library does not collect dissertations and/or theses
  • The library is not a depository for U.S. or state government documents and only purchases government publications that support the collection guidelines outlined above.

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Collection and formats


The preferred format for monographs is print. Ebooks may be purchased at the discretion of the selector. Considerations for ebook purchases may include: accessibility, course reserves, unlimited user access, off-campus access, and/or immediate access.

Periodicals & Journals

The preferred format for journals is electronic; however, print may be preferred for journals with artistic or graphical content or for the browsing journal collection. Retention of print journals will be established on a case-by-case basis and in consideration of overlapping electronic access


The preferred format for newspapers is electronic. If electronic is not available or if the electronic facsimile limits readability, print newspapers may be acquired and retained based on frequency and/or in consideration of overlapping electronic and/or microform access.


The preferred format for film is digital streaming. If digital streaming is not available, is cost prohibitive, or lacks desired features, (e.g., closed captioning, commentary, interviews, or languages), DVDs or analog formats may be purchased.

Sound recordings

The preferred format for sound recordings is digital streaming. If digital streaming is not available, CDs or analog formats may be purchased.

Special Collections & College Archives

Special Collections & College Archives includes manuscripts, artifacts, rare books, ephemera, maps, artwork, College history materials, and more. Selection is at the discretion of the Director of Special Collections and based on relevance to College history, curriculum and in accordance with Special Collection’s policies.

College Authors

The library will collect one copy of current faculty, administrator, staff, and/or student scholarship. If the scholarship constitutes a minor portion of a larger work (e.g., an encyclopedia article), the library reserves the right to decline purchasing a copy and may elect to purchase the article or chapter. Publications by College Authors and scholarly and creative works by Gettysburg faculty, staff, and students are collected in our open access institutional repository, The Cupola: Scholarship at Gettysburg College.

Alumni Publications

Alumni of Gettysburg College are encouraged to donate copies of their works to the library. Please note, the library will only add alumni publications that support the collection guidelines enumerated above.

Textbooks & Course Materials

In so far as our collections budget and availability of digital licenses allow, we endeavor to support instructors who wish to reduce or eliminate the cost of textbooks and other required course materials. Requests should be made via the Course Materials Request & Reserves form and will be considered on a rolling basis. Requests may be prioritized based on the number of students impacted, the frequency of the course being offered, etc. Not all course-adopted materials are available for library purchase. For more information, please see our Textbook and Course Materials Purchasing Policy.

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Collection evaluation

Library staff continually evaluates the collection to ensure that it meets the information needs of our users. Librarian liaisons may consult with faculty during these evaluations for input regarding retention and/or deselection decisions.

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Preservation and retention

The library may preserve in print the library’s legacy monograph collections as well as materials of enduring value to the curriculum or the scholarly record. The library will also support preservation initiatives by retaining print monographs according to commitments with the Eastern Academic Scholar Trust (EAST) and/or other resource sharing consortia. Because the preferred format for serials, periodicals, and newspapers is electronic, the library will not retain paper copies unless the electronic facsimile omits graphical content, illustrations, and/or ephemera; or if the electronic facsimile is not available or is cost prohibitive.

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Gifts to the library

Musselman Library is pleased to accept donations of books, journals, multimedia resources, and other materials that enhance its collections and support the curricular and research needs of the College. Such donations make significant intellectual contributions to the Library's holdings. Any item donated to the library will be evaluated for inclusion using the same criteria outlined in this policy. Prospective donors should review the Library Donations Policy for more information.


Adopted June 1, 2018. Updated June 6, 2023.

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