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Library Policies: Selection Policy

Materials Selection Policy

Materials Selection Policy

Table of Contents


The underlying goal of the library’s selection of materials is to build a quality collection that supports the school’s curriculum. A number of principles guide the selection process:

  1. Selection of materials is a joint effort. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to recommend materials to be added to the library collection and to share in evaluating materials being considered for purchase whenever possible.
  2. The library director is charged with the ultimate responsibility of selecting materials for purchase so that the university community’s information needs are met equitably within the framework of the budget.
  3. The library provides materials that stimulate growth in factual knowledge, ethical standards, and social concerns.
  4. The library provides materials that enable students to make intelligent judgments in their daily lives.
  5. The library provides materials that present the spectrum of opinion on current and past issues so that students may develop the practice of critical thinking.
  6. The library provides materials that allow a student to learn more about him/herself.
  7. The library collects materials in print and non-print formats.
  8. Other commonly accepted criteria for intellectual content are applied:
    • It should be of contemporary significance and/or permanent value.
    • It should fall within the scope of the academic collection and meet the curricular and/or recreational needs of the university community.
    • It should relate to works existing in the collection.
    • It should consider the scarcity of material on the subject.
    • It should consider the reputation of the publisher for producing materials in the various subject areas.
  9. Consideration is given to the accessibility of requested materials through resource sharing.

Allocation of Funds

The Director of Learning Resources is responsible for the expenditure of all library funds. A portion of library funds for books and other materials is divided among the teaching departments of the university. The remainder of funds are reserved for the purchase of standing orders, reference materials, materials of general interest, etc. The allocation of funds takes into account the number of faculty members in each department, the number of students majoring in each subject, and the number of courses offered by each department (with upper-division courses weighted more heavily than lower-division courses). Consideration is given each year to departments offering new courses, new programs, new majors, and new degrees.

Special Collections

Jennewein Collection
The Jennewein Collection consists of Western literature and history, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as papers and photographs. Though the library has limited resources, this collection aims at comprehensiveness. Because of the attempt at comprehensiveness for this collection, some of the above stated “principles” may not be applied as strictly as they normally would when selecting materials.

Jennewein Collection Selection Criteria (approved 6/26/2012)

  1. History and Literature of the Middle Border region through 1975

  2. All American Indian materials through 1975
    • "All" includes from the east coast to the west coast of the United States and Canada plus Latin America

  3. All South Dakota related material
    • Except fiction where the only connection is that the author is from South Dakota (e. g., SD authors who write fiction set in NY won’t be added)

  4. Indian Literature—by or about
    • Subject headings usually include one or more of the following
      • Indians of North America (or Latin America or Canada)—Literary Collections
      • American Literature (or Latin America or Canada)—Literary Collections
      • Indian Literature—North American (or Latin America or Canada)
      • Indians in Literature

Margaret Teufel Children's Collection
Through an endowment left to DWU, McGovern Library has funds available that are restricted for the purchase of children’s materials. This collection includes fiction and non-fiction works for children. These materials are collected in a variety of formats including print, electronic formats, video recordings, and sound recordings. The age range of this collection spans mainly grades K-8, but materials for grades 9-12 are considered for purchase.


Ongoing subscription costs, storage costs, and the high rate of inflation for periodical subscriptions require greater selectivity in journal acquisition. Priority is given to periodical requests that meet definite curricular needs (especially in areas of known or anticipated program growth). Reviews and faculty evaluations are carefully considered. Because library users usually identify periodical articles using citation tools strong preference is given to periodical titles included in the indexing and abstracting tools available through the library.

Although periodical requests may be submitted at anytime, new periodical titles will be approved and ordered when it is time to renew other periodical subscriptions. The first three years of a new subscription will be charged to the fund allocation of the teaching department requesting the new title. Thereafter, the subscription cost will be covered by the library’s periodical budget.

Electronic Resources

McGovern Library is committed to providing its users information resources in electronic format. The public services staff provides training to educate faculty and students in the use of these resources. In general, the same selection criteria used for print materials apply to electronic resources. Replacement of print resources by electronic ones is determined by a number of factors including ease-of-use, search capabilities, cost, and available hardware. The cost of new equipment is weighed when considering titles for selection.

Audio-visual Resources

Audio-visual materials are a component of the resources provided by the library in support of the curriculum. Audio-visual (AV) materials can develop perceptions, present ideas, and relay other types of information that are not readily transmitted through print. General selection criteria apply to AV resources. Additional selection criteria include quality of sound, photography, color reproduction, etc. It is normal library policy to preview AV materials before purchase.

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