Collection Development Policy

Washington and Lee University Library Collection Development Policy

I. Purpose of the University Library

II. Relationship with other libraries

III. Purpose of a collection policy

IV. Collection development responsibilities

V. Selection criteria

VI. Relationship with Interlibrary Loan

VII. General guidelines for selection

  1. Foreign language publications
  2. Approval plan for university press titles
  3. Retrospective purchases
  4. Duplicates
  5. Gifts
  6. Weeding

VIII. Types of materials

  1. Books / E-books
  2. Serial and Electronic Resources Subscriptions
  3. Print Newspapers
  4. Maps and Atlases
  5. Music
  6. Manuscripts
  7. Audio-visual Materials
    1. Videorecordings
    2. Audiobooks
    3. Recorded Music
  8. Microforms

 IX. Collections

  1. Reference
  2. Government Documents
  3. Special Collections
  4. Institutional Repository

X. Revision of collection development policy

XI. Appendixes

A. List of librarians with their collection development responsibilities

B. University Library gift policy

C. Weeding policy

D. Government Documents collection policy

E. Special Collections & Archives collection policy

F. Digital Archive collection policy


I. Purpose of The University Library

As stated in the Mission Statement of the University Library, the library collections and services exist to provide access to information reflective of Washington and Lee University’s mission. The Library “aims to be the physical and digital center of academic life [at] Washington and Lee”, a liberal arts institution of approximately 1,800 undergraduates and 400 law students. To support this role, the Library “enables innovation and exploration in teaching, research and learning” with its collections, expertise and sophisticated infrastructure. Although Washington and Lee is primarily a teaching institution, the faculty and students engage in significant research, which the Library supports with resources in all formats designed to meet the needs of undergraduates.

II. Relationship with other libraries

The University Library is comprised of the James Graham Leyburn Library and the Robert Lee Telford Science Library, with a small collection of periodicals and print reference resources in the Journalism Department. The Science Library’s collections are subject to the same selection and weeding criteria as those housed in Leyburn Library. Science Library materials are primarily intended to support teaching in the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Engineering, and Psychology. Titles are also added in the area of general science, to support general browsing and science literacy. In general, all materials with the Library of Congress classifications BF 1-799 and Q – TP are shelved in the Science Library regardless of the department requesting the title.

The Law Library is administered by the School of Law. The online catalog for the law and undergraduate collections is integrated; students and faculty are welcome to use both collections. In addition, Washington and Lee, The Virginia Military Institute, and Southern Virginia University have reciprocal borrowing privileges.

III. Purpose of a collection policy

This document will provide guidelines for the selection of materials, descriptions of individual collections, and general information about the development and maintenance of the University Library collections. This policy is a planning and communication tool for the Library and the user community. It should also guide selectors to make the best use of limited resources.

IV. Collection development responsibilities

The University Library has developed a fine collection through the joint efforts of the faculty and the library staff. The ultimate goal is to continue to build a collection that supports an advanced undergraduate curriculum, including independent study, and faculty research. There is currently no departmental or subject allocation of funds. Each member of the library faculty has responsibility for specific subject areas, and the library faculty has final responsibility for actual additions to the collection. Staff members review new requests, evaluate them against the present collection and university programs, and consult with the requestor about items that do not meet stated selection criteria. This procedure assumes a knowledge of the present collection, curriculum, and research needs on the part of both the teaching and library faculties and a willingness of all parties to work together to achieve the fairest allocation of funds. Expenditures by academic department are published annually in the University Fact Book. A list of librarians and their departmental responsibilities is appended (Appendix A).

V. Selection criteria

In consideration of the acquisition of library materials the following points are considered:

  • The support a selection gives to the curriculum as stated in the catalog and usefulness to the community the Library serves
  • Authority of the author
  • Reputation of the publisher
  • Timeliness or permanence of the resource
  • Quality of the writing or production
  • Accuracy of the information
  • Language of the publication, with English preferred except where the material is to be used in support of one of the languages taught at the University or where an English-language version of an essential resource is unavailable
  • Relation of the material to other resources in the collections
  • Price (both purchase price and costs of maintenance and storage); Availability of the same or similar material in the Law Library; Implications for preservation
  • Format

We do not normally acquire: Multiple copies of single titles, juvenile and young adult literature with the exception of certain titles for Special Collections, cookbooks except those illuminating the culture of a country or area, popular craft, antique-collecting and how-to books, workbooks and teaching aids, especially those consumed through a single use, and vanity press publications.

The Library also does not generally acquire textbooks, defined as information that is written particularly for use by students to introduce a subject. Textbooks typically incorporate such characteristics as surveying or giving an overview of the subject, containing excerpts from other literary works, listing review questions at chapter endings, etc. Exceptions will be made upon specific, justified, requests.

We purchase for the circulating collection works of authors who are nominees and winners of the major book awards such as the Nobel Prize for Literature, National Book Award, Booker Prize and Booker shortlist, PEN/Faulkner Award, Pulitzer Prize, and Nebula. In addition, the librarians apply mindful selection to current topics of general interest and contemporary fiction and poetry, as reviewed in such media as Library Journal and similar sources.

The Friends of the Library provide a small, leased, collection of popular fiction, including mysteries, for recreational reading. At the end of the lease period, the Head of Technical Services reviews these books and purchases individual titles at a discounted price for the permanent collection.

VI. Relationship with Interlibrary Loan department of Access Services

The University Library’s Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department of Access Services supports the instructional, research, and scholarly activities of the Washington & Lee community by borrowing library materials from other institutions in Virginia, the United States, and throughout the world. In turn, this service lends our library materials to other institutions worldwide.

Interlibrary Loan periodically receives book and audiovisual requests from students and faculty for material published/released in the current year. Following recommended best practices from other Oberlin Libraries, the University Library will purchase-on-demand (POD) current imprints when requested through Interlibrary Loan. The goal of the University Library’s POD program is to meet the immediate needs of our users while adding potential high-use titles to our collection. The POD program criteria includes: current year imprint, price of item less than $100 (prior to shipping), and not already expected through the Approval Plan.

VII. General guidelines for selection

A. Foreign Language Publications. The Library acquires materials in the foreign languages taught in the University to support those courses. These materials normally include literary works, selected newspapers and magazines, dictionaries, encyclopedias and indexes. We purchase materials in the English language to support other courses, unless we receive a specific, justified request for an exception to this guideline.

B. Retrospective purchases. The Library will make retrospective purchases as needed. Additional screening of such requests must include such factors as other editions held by the Library or available through the marketplace and the condition of older volumes proposed for purchase.

C. Duplicates. The general library policy is to purchase one copy of a title. Requests for 5 multiple copies or departmental library duplications are considered by the subject librarian, the head of collection services, and requestor on an individual basis. Works by Washington and Lee faculty and alumni and those of local authors are generally purchased for both the circulating collection and Special Collections.

D. Gifts. Gifts are subject to the general selection criteria for library materials. The specific University Library Gift Policy is appended (Appendix B).

F. Weeding. Librarians will periodically examine items in their subject specialties and identify materials to be withdrawn from the collection. Candidates for disposal will include superseded editions, duplicate copies no longer needed, alternative formats, out-of-date works, and material in poor condition. The University Library Weeding Policy is appended (Appendix C).

VIII. Types of materials

Materials purchased with library funds will be suitably housed in the Library and will be subject to the Library’s circulation and use policies for each format.

A. Books / E-books. The selection criteria outlined in Section V apply for books in print or electronic format. The acquisitions staff decides to purchase cloth or paper editions on the basis of the price differential, the expected use of the title, availability, and the recommendation of the requestor. Most paper bound volumes are reinforced in-house before they are cataloged. Expensive e-book requests are typically meant to serve as reference resources for the university community and may require approval by the Electronic Resources Committee before purchase.

B. Serial and Electronic Resource Subscriptions. The Library holds subscriptions to print and electronic periodicals and continuations (i.e. annuals, monographic series, or sets for which the Library has a standing order) as well as various electronic databases and journal collections. Selection criteria stated in Section V apply to subscriptions, with preference for electronic format, based on cost and availability. Electronic subscriptions must also include acceptable licensing and access conditions and vendor-supplied technical support. The Library maintains an arrangement with Portico, a digital preservation and electronic archiving service, to ensure that electronic backfiles will be permanently and reliably available. Purchasing, renewal and/or cancellation decisions regarding continuing electronic resources are made by the Library’s Electronic Resources Committee.

Since subscriptions involve a continuing expenditure made more critical by progressive price increases and maintenance costs, requests for new subscriptions should be accompanied by a written justification for the purchase including relevance to the curriculum (with specific courses named), to research projects, to the Library`s collection, or the needs of the University community. A helpful guide to the potential usefulness of a serial title is its indexing. In general, preference will be given to serials in electronic format, but current periodicals acquired in print form are usually retained and bound. Requests for new electronic resources should be submitted after trial access can be arranged. All requests for new subscriptions are received by the head of collection services, reviewed by the library staff member responsible for the subject area involved. The complete list of library subscriptions is reviewed periodically department by department.

C. Print Newspapers. The Library subscribes to regional print newspapers as well as a few foreign print titles. The News-Gazette is also kept in microfilm even though not indexed. Newspaper subscriptions come under the serials budget and control systems. New subscriptions must be justified by the requestor in the same manner as any other library subscription

D. Maps and atlases. The University Library does not maintain a print map collection as such. Maps of local historical interest are purchased from time to time and housed in the map case in Special Collections. Atlases, when purchased, are usually shelved as part of the general reference collection.

E. Music. Purchases of sheet music or scores are subject to the general selection criteria (Section V) and cataloged into the general collection and shelved in the stacks or in Special Collections if appropriate.

F. Manuscripts. Manuscripts are cataloged into Special Collections. Manuscripts important to the Washington and Lee heritage or history of the area are purchased as funds allow. The acquisition of manuscripts, whether by gift or by purchase, is approved by the Library Director in consultation with the Special Collections Librarian, and other faculty and library faculty members with knowledge and expertise in the subject area involved.

G. Audio-visual Materials. Audio-visual materials are selected for the Library’s collection using the same criteria as for print materials. These items are paid out of a separate budget line. Due to the smaller allocation for these materials, audio-visual materials will undergo the following additional scrutiny:

1. Videorecordings. Videorecordings will be purchased or rented in a format suitable for use on the Library’s equipment. The acquisitions staff may pursue preview or rental opportunities for expensive videorecordings that faculty need for single use sessions.

2. Audiobooks. These materials will be purchased as necessary and as appropriate to the Library’s collection policy. Special consideration will be given to the unique use and storage needs of each format. We rely on the Tucker Multimedia Center to purchase and maintain language-learning audio-visual materials including all foreign language audio tapes, and we do not acquire such for the Library collection.

3. Recorded music. Since recorded music is primarily designed to enhance and support the academic programs of the University, priority will be given to requests for material needed for specific courses or academic purposes. The Library’s recorded music collection is to be an eclectic and highly selective one. Representative works of artists and groups appearing at Washington and Lee will be included as will works of local performers and composers (those living or working in Rockbridge or neighboring counties) and of Washington and Lee faculty, students and alumni, which will be acquired for Special Collections as well as for the circulating collection. Children’s music will be included only if by a local group or artist or if it has a specific Washington and Lee connection. Currently, the circulating collection is in compact disc format and through a subscription service. Access to each title in the subscription service is provided through the bibliographic record in the library catalog. Audiorecordings are acquired for Special Collections archival purposes as necessary. The Department of Music’s laboratory collection of audio tapes and compact discs is not included in the Library’s collection.

H. Microforms. Microform materials will be purchased as needed to obtain otherwise unavailable material. Consideration will be given to the format of the microform, the type of equipment available for effective use in the Library, and the archival suitability of the production process used for the particular item.

IX. Collections


The reference collection of the University Library contains encyclopedias, indexes, directories, handbooks, bibliographies, dictionaries, and other materials in both print and electronic form. These works are generally not meant to be read consecutively but rather to be consulted for definite items of information. The greatest concentration is placed upon those needs which arise from study and research activities directly related to the undergraduate curriculum. However, an attempt is also made on a case-by-case basis to acquire basic or standard reference works. The Library also selects a limited number of sources in such non-scholarly areas as employment and consumer information. Reference materials are chosen collectively by the reference librarians with assistance and suggestions from subject specialists on the library staff, faculty member, students, and others.

Decisions regarding the acquisition of materials for the reference collection are made on the basis of several criteria:

Format: Is the work in print form and/or in electronic form? In general, preference will be given to reference materials in electronic format.

Relevance to the Library’s needs: The reference librarians take into consideration both the undergraduate curriculum and past demand for information, usually made evident at the reference desk.

Quality of the work

Purpose: Reference works are intended to be consulted, rather than read through.

Authority: Are the publisher and the author reputable?

Scope: The scope of an item should not be so narrow that a researcher is likely to need to make extensive use of it. For example, a bibliography of criticism of William Faulkner’s writings should be in the stacks, while bibliographies of criticism of American literature could be in reference.

Intended audience: Consider level of education, language in which work is written, etc.

Current information: Though some reference materials are timeless, it is important for the item to be current and up-to-date.

Organization: Reviews and other communications can describe the usefulness of the manner in which information is presented.

Price: Is the price of the work in keeping with the quality and quantity of information it provides?


Leyburn Library, along with the Law Library and VMI, is a selective depository for Federal publications distributed by the Superintendent of Documents. Most of these publications are maintained in a separate collection, arranged by the Superintendent of Documents (Sudocs) classification system. New series are selected, and the collection is weeded, by the documents librarian in accordance with the Instructions for Depository Libraries. Specific documents are ordered as separates, upon request, and are fully integrated into the collection. Publications of other governmental bodies (state, local, and international) are subject to the same selection criteria as non-governmental publications. A comprehensive documents policy is under Appendix D.


The Washington and Lee University Special Collections & Archives department collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials supporting the diverse teaching and research needs of our students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. The responsibility for determining what materials shall be housed in the department resides primarily with the Head of Special Collections & Archives in consultation with the University Librarian. A collection development policy for Special Collections & Archives is under Appendix E.


The Washington and Lee University Library has long sought to preserve and make available the historical record of the University, its students, its faculty, and the local area. The printed collection of these materials is housed within the library buildings and researchers can access it during library working hours. The Library seeks to preserve and expand access to these materials via the University’s Digital Archive. A collection development policy for the Digital Archive is under Appendix F.


X. Revision of collection development policies

The policies will be reviewed regularly and revised as needed.


Appendix A – Departmental / Subject Liaison Responsibilities

Mary Abdoney, Instruction Coordinator & Science Librarian: Biology, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Cognitive & Behavioral Studies, Education, Environmental Studies, French, Geology, German, Mathematics, Neuroscience, Physical Education, Physics and Engineering, Science (General), Sociology and Anthropology, and Women’s and Gender Studies

Jeff Barry, Associate University Librarian: Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Literature in Translation, Middle East and South Asian Studies, Politics, and Russian Area Studies

Mackenzie Brooks, Digital Humanities Librarian: English and Digital Humanities

Tom Camden, Head of Special Collections and Archives: Special Collections and Archives

Emily Cook, Research and Outreach Librarian: Arabic, Classics, East Asian Languages and Literatures, East Asian Studies, History, Italian, Music, Philosophy, Religion, Russian, Spanish, and Writing Program

Paula Kiser, Digital Scholarship Librarian: Africana Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Jason Mickel, Director of Library Technology: Computer Science and Journalism & Mass Communications

Kaci Resau, Electronic Resources Librarian: Environmental Studies and Poverty & Human Capability

Elizabeth Teaff, Head of Access Services:  Art, Art History, Film Studies, and Theatre & Dance

John Tombarge, Business Librarian:  Accounting, Business Administration, Economics



Appendix B – Gift Policy

Fall 2020 – Our gifts policy has temporarily been altered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Please see our current gifts policy for details.

Appendix C – Weeding Policy


Collection development is often considered the process of adding new materials to the Library to benefit the university community. Weeding (or de-selection) of materials in the collection is another component of collection development and serves to maximize the usefulness of the Library collection. Weeding the collection provides space for new materials and increases the value of the collection by removing outdated/unwanted material or items in poor condition.

The collection will be periodically examined for material to be withdrawn, usually under the direction of the librarian in charge of the subject to be weeded. Candidates for disposal will include superseded editions, duplicate copies no longer needed, alternative formats, out-of- date works and material in poor condition. Procedures will include consultation with faculty and selectors and, in some cases, consultation with Special Collections. Certain subject areas will benefit from comparison of holdings with the Law Library. In addition, all materials to be withdrawn will ultimately need to be handled by the Technical Services Department. Therefore, it is best if the selector maintains steady dialogue with the Head of Technical Services when weeding material from the collection.

The University Libraries currently use several methods for weeding materials:

On-going Weeding – these methods provide weeding opportunities as a result of an immediate issue or problem with the material(s) in question

  1. As new editions are purchased, selectors are prompted to make decisions about retaining or withdrawing older editions.
  2. Withdrawal decisions regarding serials on subscription are usually determined by the selector and the Head of Technical Services when the subscription begins. As a result, some serials are automatically replaced when they are superseded.
  3. Items in poor condition or missing pieces that are returned to the Circulation Desk are routed to the Head of Technical Services for a decision about replacement, rebinding, repair or withdrawal, with input by subject specialists.
  4. Items that are declared lost (either through Circulation routines or stacks inventory) are routed to the Head of Technical Services for possible replacement, with input by subject specialists.16

Systematic Weeding Projects – these methods require preliminary work on the part of the Subject Specialist and typically involve larger amounts of materials from individual areas of the collection. Thus, these methods are project-level and are more likely to involve broader librarian and faculty involvement. Special formats may require additional consideration beyond the methods listed below.

  1. Multiple copies or multiple formats that are no longer necessary should be withdrawn. Historical examples include a project to weed duplicates in the American History (LC Class #E) and United States Local History (LC Class #F) sections, as well as individually weeding print book titles that have been replaced by an electronic book format. In addition, as formats for audiovisual materials change, the Library has weeded the older format (e.g. VHS videotapes weeded in favor of DVDs).
  2. Subject areas are examined by subject specialists for research value within the subject area. Typically, this type of weeding removes outdated, inaccurate or irrelevant material and is closely aligned with usage, age of publication, and checkout statistics. Historical examples include weeding in Law (LC Class #K), Social Sciences – General, Statistics, Economic Theory (LC Class #H-HB), and Psychology (LC Class #BF). More general subject area weeding occurs in Reference and Government Documents on an annual basis.
  3. Periodically, the Library conducts a serials review to make sure that the Library is providing faculty and students with the materials that are critical to Washington and Lee University’s academic program. While the purpose of this review is not strictly cancellation, it is important to make sure that resources for serials are devoted to materials that are essential to the university community. In cases of cancellation as part of a serials review, the Library has not traditionally withdrawn retrospective print serial holdings from the collection.

The complex nature of systematic weeding benefits from consistent use of procedures by the library staff, listed in the next section, as well as regular dialogue between the Subject Specialists and the Head of Technical Services.

Procedures for Systematic Weeding of Multiple Copies or in Subject Areas

1. Preliminary work must typically be completed by subject specialists prior to removing titles from the collection. This work includes: informing the Head of Technical Services about the project; informing librarians and the appropriate faculty of the proposed project; gathering library statistics related to age, duplication, and/or circulation of items; and pinpointing titles in poor condition.

2. Millennium can be used to create lists that indicate multiple copies or publication dates, etc. Just about anything in the bibliographic and item records can be used to create a weeding list. The list can then be used in print or electronic format to guide the weeding project with call numbers, titles, etc. Creation and output of the weeding list benefits from some knowledge of MARC codes; the Subject Specialist will benefit by asking Technical Services for assistance with these codes.

3. Selecting a publication date cut-off as a weeding criteria requires the Subject Specialist to communicate with the Head of Technical Services to avoid future issues (e.g. withdrawing older material that has just recently been added). Due to the commitment of the Library to purchasing titles for long-term scholarly pursuit, weeding should not include items published within the past ten years, with few exceptions.

4. The Subject Specialist should determine how s/he will mark or situate each item selected for weeding so that it can be reviewed by faculty. The specialist will also need to indicate to faculty how they may remove a title from the weeding project.

5. The Subject Specialist will have to determine the duration of faculty review for materials to be weeded. Typically, a large weeding project in a subject area should allow faculty at least one term for review.

6. After candidates for weeding are pinpointed, the Subject Specialist should make an attempt to keep faculty informed about the schedule for the weeding project.

7. Once the weeding deadline has been met, the Subject Specialist will notify the Head of Technical Services regarding the approximate number of titles that will be weeded (as a courtesy for workflow considerations). The Head of Technical Services will work with the Subject Specialist to select a date for the material to be re-located to Technical Services for withdrawal and disposition.

8. All items selected for withdrawal through subject weeding will be reviewed by the Head of Technical Services before any are disposed.

Cautions, Restrictions and Safeguards for Systematic Weeding

The Technical Services Department will handle disposition of materials that have been weeded by channeling suitable material to the annual book sale, then remainders to the Library’s third- party bookseller. In general, the university discourages giving university property away after it has been deemed “surplus”, and so other alternatives must be considered carefully.

In general, items that are withdrawn must be recycled if they are gift-plated. It is good to be somewhat selective in the number of gift items that are weeded. Otherwise, potential bad publicity from withdrawn gifts could damage our credibility regarding future gifts.

Subject Specialists should avoid weeding parts of a numbered set, and should be sensitive to items that might qualify for Special Collections. These items include for example: faculty and alumni publications (if known), Washington and Lee University, Virginia and local area interests, and imprints pre-1850. The Subject Specialist should seek consultation with the Special Collections Librarian for materials that fall within these categories. In addition, items that were selected for Reserve at some point may require additional consideration. Finally, during the de-accessioning process, the Cataloging Unit may determine that we are the only library that holds the item, or that we are one of a very few institutions holding it. In these cases, the item may be returned to the Subject Specialist to verify withdrawal.

Materials that are held in more than one location warrant additional consideration (e.g. items that are held in Science and Leyburn or the stacks and Special Collections, etc.).

Regular communication to the appropriate faculty and/or department regarding the status of a weeding project is great public relations for the Library and is highly encouraged.

prepared by Julie Kane, Fall 2016


Appendix D – University Library Government Documents Collection Policy

The Washington and Lee University Library collects, organizes, maintains, and
provides public access to selected publications of the United States Gov
ernment. Most of these publications are received through the Depository Library System and are maintained in a separate collection, arranged by the Superintendent of Documents (Sudocs) classification system. Other Federal publications may be acquired through other means.

Depository Collection

The University Library has been a selective depository for Federal publications distributed by the Superintendent of Documents since 1910. Our primary collection development mission is to select publications which support the teaching and research needs of both students and faculty, while at the same time attempting to be responsive to the information needs of the constituents of our Congressional District, in accordance with the Federal Depository Library Handbook (Introduction; revised May 2009: ).

Selection of Federal materials through the Depository system is based upon item numbers, each representing one or more series published by the Government Printing Office (GPO). A list of available item numbers is issued annually (normally in the spring), and changes in the library’s choice of item numbers may be made at this time. In addition, GPO occasionally issues “surveys” of both reclassified (i.e., a change in issuing agency) and new documents series, offering the opportunity for selection of these items.

Note: Items may be “de-selected,” that is, removed from the library‘s Depository profile at any time. This is now done by electronically, using the form Amendment of Item Selections from the FDLP Web site: ). However, items may be selected, that is, added to the Depository profile, only on the occasions of the annual updates and the periodic surveys.

The subject matter of a Federal Government publication and its relation to the information needs of the library’s clientele, as mentioned above, is the primary factor taken into consideration when assessing the suitability of that publication for the collection. However, other factors also are taken into account:

Format. Much of the information provided by the Federal Government is now made available in electronic form on the Internet, usually without charge. We continue to collect and provide in paper form those materials which may be in significant demand by our users and/or which would require extensive sustained use for practical access. However, at the same time, we actively seek out and make available in the W&L Web site and/or in the library catalog any Federal sites, publications, or collections likely to be of value to our user population. Every attempt is made to avoid collecting materials in microfiche or microfilm formats.

Multiple titles in item.  GPO’s item number system groups publications by both issuing agency and type of publication. An item number may include one specific title or a number of individual, usually related, titles. When an item includes several titles, one must exercise some discretion in weighing the desirability of one or more titles against others within that item that are of marginal use or are particularly troublesome to maintain. In some cases, when the desire for one title necessarily requires the receipt of one or more decidedly undesirabletitles in the Item grouping, electronic (Web) access to the needed title may well suffice.

Local availability. Both the Washington and Lee Law Library and the Virginia Military Institute Preston Library are selective Federal Depository libraries. Each of these institutions has a clientele with particular interests and each of the libraries tends to serve those interests. However, the three local selective Depository libraries (W & L, Law, and VMI) do attempt to coordinate collection development to try to reduce unnecessary duplication and to expand coverage as much as is reasonably possible.

Weeding the Depository Collection

From time to time, the library may find it necessary or advisable to remove from the Depository collection materials which are of little use to the clientele. Such weeding is affected by several external factors.

A significant constraint on the library’s ability to deselect or discard from the collection is the requirement, stated in 42 U.S.C. sec.1911, that Depository materials must be retained by the library for a period of five years from the date of receipt.

Materials to be removed from the collection must first be offered to the Regional Depository at the University of Virginia, in accordance with Virginia Federal Depository Library Offers Procedures (available on the UVa Web site:

Weeding also should be coordinated with the other local Depository libraries (Law and VMI) , since their selection profiles are, in part, based upon the availability of titles in Leyburn Library.

Non-Depository Acquisitions
Federal publications which either are (1) not Depository items or which are (2) De
pository items, but not part of our profile, may be added to the library’s collection. Requests for the acquisition of Federal publications may originate with the documents librarian, with members of the library staff, or with any patron of the library. The documents librarian is responsible for monitoring review sources and other sources for information about new Federal publications. Requests from patrons may come directly to the documents librarian or may be referred from the acquisitions librarian. An increasingly-important method of maintaining awareness of new U.S. Government publications includes the announcements in the GOVDOC-L listserv and other electronic mailing lists.

Subjects of Particular Interest
Due to the nature of the W
& L curriculum and the demands of our patrons, the publications of the following agencies appear to be of greatest interest: Bureau of the Census, Congress, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Defense, Geological Survey, Executive Office of the President, Department of State, Smithsonian Institution, Congress, Environmental Protection Agency

This list is only the roughest generalization. Materials which are of wideranging value, as reference tools or sources of political, social, and economic statistics, are consistently of interest. As needs change and as relevant titles are published by various agencies, it is incumbent upon the documents librarian to maintain an awareness of both demand and potential supply. The easy accessibility of information in agency Web sites has made it much easier to check on the “possibilities,” while simultaneously raising expectations.

prepared by Dick Grefe, Fall 2016


Appendix E – University Library Special Collections & Archives Collection Policy

  1. Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Photographs

The great diversity of subjects found within our rare book, manuscript, and photographic holdings is analogous with both the university’s mission of liberal arts education and departmental mission in support of the university and the greater research community. Consequently, we seek to further enhance the collection by being responsive to the suggestions and needs of our faculty, students, and general patronage by acquiring and making accessible unique primary and secondary resources needed to optimize research, course development, and class experience. Within this greater acquisition formula, there are specific acquisition goals. We seek to acquire the following:

  • Books from the libraries of  Washington and Lee University’s predecessor institutions
  • Resources that include Washington and Lee University in their subject content
  • Resources about or owned by prominent individuals associated with the history of Washington and Lee University, such as George Washington and Robert E. Lee, books to include fictional works
  • Books about Washington and Lee University alumni
  • Resources pertaining to literary figures who have been published in Shenandoah, Washington and Lee’s literary magazine
  • Washington and Lee University faculty and alumni publications
  • Resources supporting fields of the Humanities
  • Resources pertaining to United States and World History with a focus on the American Civil War, Slavery and African – American History, Reconstruction, the American South, Geography, and Classical Studies
  • Southern Literature
  • Books of unusual consideration because of size, format, condition
  • Books of unusual aesthetic value – rare binding, illustrations, typography, etc.
  • Rare first and limited editions
  • Early American and European imprints
  • Resources pertaining to the history, economics, art, people, culture, and geography of Virginia and its localities, with a focus on the Shenandoah Valley and Rockbridge County
  • Nineteenth century newspapers of western Virginia with a particular focus on Rockbridge County and neighboring counties
  • Books on regional genealogy and family histories
  • Books about prominent individuals associated with the history of Rockbridge County including the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista, and neighboring counties including and fictional works
  • Books by local and regional authors
  • Imprints from regional presses
  • Books with a direct connection to manuscripts in our holdings
  • Reference books supporting research pertinent to our holdings

In addition to the active collection categories specified above, we will periodically accept as gifts the following additional categories:

  • When appropriate and significant, books and personal papers from prominent individuals associated with the history of Washington and Lee University. These can include administrators, faculty, students, donors, alumni or others with a significant W&L connection.
  • Books not in any other category with a significant monetary value

W&L Special Collections & Archives acquires materials by bequest, gift, purchase, intra-campus transfer, and deposit/loan.

           2. University Archives

The W&L Special Collections & Archives department is responsible for collecting, preserving, and making accessible the records created or received by Washington and Lee University and its predecessor institutions. The University Archives includes such collections as president’s papers, university publications, W&L Board of Trustees’ minutes, faculty and alumni publications, and student honors theses. University Archives materials consist of a range of physical formats, audio/visual materials, and electronic records. University Archives records are organized within unique record groups. Some materials within record groups are subject to departmental retention schedules and are retained only for a designated period of time.

III. Additional statements

  • We house on permanent loan the manuscript, photograph, and ledger collections of the Rockbridge Historical Society (RHS). Additions to these collections are made through the RHS.
  • We do not seek to collect artifacts (three dimensional objects). Responsibility in this area lies with W&L University Collections of Art and History (UCAH). However, we periodically receive artifacts accompanying archival collections and use our discretion as to whether or not to accept and/or transfer such items to UCAH.
  • Multiple W&L Special Collections & Archives endowment funds are used for purchasing items of significant value. Of the available endowment funds, some may also be used for conservation and preservation of selected items.
  • W&L University Special Collections & Archives Department may use its discretion when considering whether or not materials are suitable for acquisition and in regards to retention of redundant or duplicative materials.

prepared by Tom Camden, Fall 2016


Appendix F — Digital Archive Collection Development Policy

We collect the following in digital format when possible:

  • Special Collections and Archives materials
    • Washington and Lee University manuscript collections and prints and photographic collections
    • Rockbridge Historical Society manuscript collections and prints and photographic collections
    • University records
  • Faculty and staff scholarship such as:
    • Pre-print, post-print, publisher versions of journal articles, books, or book chapters as allowed by copyright law
    • White papers
    • Conference proceedings
    • Digital captures of live performances
    • Web-based projects
  • Student scholarship such as:
    • Honors Theses
    • Capstone Projects
    • Summer Research Scholars projects
    • Pre-print, post-print, publisher versions of journal articles as allowed by copyright law
    • Web-based projects

We do not collect:

  • Data sets
  • Materials about Washington and Lee University that are not owned or created by the university or its faculty, staff, and alumni

We encourage faculty, staff, and students to contribute their data sets to an existing appropriate trusted open-access repository designed for this purpose.  In cases where faculty, staff, and students have already deposited their works into such a repository, we will create an entry in our Digital Archive that describes and links to the content.


Last updated: September 2016