Collection development


The goal of the library is to support the mission of UWL by providing access to a collection of materials which best serves the classroom and research needs of the undergraduate and graduate students. The collection must provide resources to support and enrich classroom instruction for the UWL curriculum, and when financially possible, should provide some materials to meet the general and recreational needs of the University community. Faculty research efforts will be supported by providing access to information as well as making document delivery services available to fulfill specific information needs. The library recognizes the need for the active participation by the faculty in the development of the library collection.

The library collection includes all formats, i.e., books, periodicals, microforms, audio-visual materials, electronic resources, etc. The University Library upholds and promotes the following statements from the American Library Association:

  1. Bill of Rights
  2. Freedom to Read Statement
  3. Intellectual Freedom Statements


  1. To provide resources to support and enrich classroom instruction.
  2. To anticipate and fulfill the information and curricular needs of the primary user group (students and faculty) by actively seeking and maintaining communication through the faculty liaison program, purchase requests, and meetings with the faculty.
  3. To be cognizant of the resources in subject areas taught at UWL, and to acquire these materials as funds permit.
  4. To be aware of and responsive to the dynamics of curriculum change based on the course descriptions provided by the undergraduate and graduate curriculum committees.
  5. To maintain and develop current and easily accessible collection through judicious weeding or de-selection, plus continuously review the scope and depth for adequacy of support.  Whenever possible, qualitative and quantitative measures are employed in the evaluation (selection/de-selection) of resources.
  6. To budget the resources allocated to Murphy Library in order to best meet the instructional needs of each department.
  7. To emphasize the purchase of materials which correspond to the UWL mission statement.
  8. To subscribe to online information services related to the disciplines of each college.
  9. To acquire electronic and citation services which will support faculty research and scholarly work.
  10. To develop and support a number of services to provide faculty with access to information and research related to their research and scholarly work.

Responsibility for Selection of Materials

All materials acquired with library funds are university property available for the use of the entire campus community.

The collection development rationale is informed selectivity rather than comprehensiveness.

It is the responsibility of the library faculty with the advice of the departmental liaisons, to maintain a library collection which conforms to the collection development guidelines.

Librarians will consult with the faculty and departments in the selection of specific information services.

Scope, mission relatedness, annual fees, and startup cost will have a bearing on the selection process.

Faculty Liaison

Each academic department will select one faculty member to serve as its Library Liaison. The Liaison will maintain communication between the department he/she serves and the library by relating departmental needs and issues to the library's collection management librarian. As the library's communication resource within each department, the Liaison:

  1. will serve as the channel through which departmental requests for library purchases will be made;
  2. will review and clarify the category of each book purchase request;
  3. will respond to questions from the library on the status of departmental purchase requests;
  4. will receive reports from the library on the status of departmental purchase requests and budget allocations;
  5. will receive and circulate a periodic list of books received by the library as the result of departmental orders;
  6. will meet with the collection development librarian to discuss existing and evolving departmental needs.

The assistance of the teaching faculty is solicited in the selection process to assure appropriate strength in the subject areas of their teaching. The final responsibility for selection rests with the library.

Recommendations for purchase may be initiated by any member of the UWL academic community: faculty, academic staff, staff, or students.

New academic programs should be communicated to the library faculty so that acquisition of the needed resources may be accomplished in an orderly and timely way. Additional funds will be needed.

The library is committed to making diverse viewpoints fully and freely available. No material will be excluded because of social, political, cultural, or religious views expressed.

The library faculty carries the responsibility for the correction of imbalances and weaknesses in the collection. It is the library's responsibility to ensure the adequacy and quality of selection and the building of a balanced collection. The library has the ultimate responsibility for collection development and acquisition policies and for the co-ordination of resource development of the library as a whole.

Collection Depth

It is recognized that the requirements for library materials vary in different subject areas. The UWL catalog and the mission statement will be consulted to aid in establishing the selections. The faculty liaison will be consulted in determining the depth and breadth of the collection.

Definition of Levels of Selection:

  1. Minimal. A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works and reference sources. No course work is offered at UWL.
  2. Basic Information Levels. A collection of up-to-date general materials which serves to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. A basic information collection is not sufficient to support any advanced undergraduate course or independent study in the subject areas involved.
  3. Instructional Support Level. A collection that is sufficient to support undergraduate and some graduate instruction and research. A collection adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purpose. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, access to appropriate non- bibliographic date bases, and the reference tools pertaining to the subject.
  4. Research Level. A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. Older material is retained for historical research. UWL will not collect at this level.
  5. Comprehensive Level. A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms) in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This selection level is one that seeks to maintain a "special collection". The aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness. UWL will not collect at this level.

Guidelines for the Selection of Library Materials

The library requires that all purchase requests are categorized before submitting them.

  1. Essential - Needed at Library regardless of duplication around UWS.
  2. Desirable - To be purchased if funds are available, or must be readily available in another UWS library (delivery via Universal Borrowing).
  3. Remotely Accessible - available via interlibrary loan (or Universal Borrowing) and not likely to be purchased.

The library will not purchase:

  • Reprints of articles already in the library
  • Textbooks
  • Expensive and infrequently used materials

Multiple copies will be purchased only if heavy demand and continuous use as evidenced by circulation and verifiable patron request can be demonstrated.

Generally, library materials are acquired in those languages in which academic programs are taught. English language materials will predominate.

Faculty Publications

The library acquires faculty publications according to the collection policy that determines book selection in general, i.e., those works that are appropriate for an academic library are acquired.


Murphy Library welcomes donations of books and other library related materials as a way of enhancing our collections.

It is important to note that the scope and size of Murphy Library's collection is due in part to the generosity of past and present donors.

Materials are evaluated and accepted for inclusion in our collections based on their relevance to the university curriculum and research needs of library users as determined by the library's collection policies. Murphy Library reserves the right to decline or dispose of donated materials in a manner that best benefits it.

Conditions of Acceptance:

Please keep in mind that not all donations can be added to our collections. In such cases, gift materials are disposed of as follows:

  • Item transferred to other UW library.
  • Donations are sold in bi-annual book sale. Proceeds are used for library acquisitions, library programming, and staff enhancement.
  • Disposed/recycled in another way as deemed appropriate.

All donations become the property of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the State of Wisconsin, and may not be re-claimed at a later time. Murphy Library does not accept gifts on long-term loans or can we accept gifts where the donor places restrictions or limitations on use or disposal of such gifts. Generally, library policy dictates that gift material becomes integrated into the existing collections and is subject to the same conditions of use.


Murphy Library is prohibited by law from appraising donations for tax deduction purposes. However, the Library does provide letters of acknowledgment, which include a list of the donated materials.


If you are interested in donating materials to UW-La Crosse's Murphy Library, please contact:

John Jax

Karen Lange

- Policy written 7/18/95 (Gift Policy revised 9/10/2002)