- Library Objective
- Community Profile
- Responsibility for Collection
- General Collection Guidelines
- Selection Criteria
- General Selection Practices
- Government Documents
- Faculty and Special Collections
- Format Statements
- Collection Evaluation and Maintenance
- Deselection Criteria (weeding)
- Collection Locations
- Intellectual Freedom
- Challenge Statement
- Policy Creation
- Revision/Review History
The primary mission of the Sarah Lawrence College Esther Raushenbush Library is to collect, maintain, and preserve materials needed to meet the research needs of students and faculty, as well as to and support the undergraduate and graduate curricula.
Sarah Lawrence College is a private, coeducational institution located in Westchester County, New York, outside of New York City, with roughly 1,400 undergraduates and 300 graduate students. Although undergraduates do not select an official major, they are offered a wide range of courses in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Creative Arts, and Natural Sciences. Masters degrees are offered in Dance, Writing, Women's History, Human Genetics, Health Advocacy, Art of Teaching, Child Development, Dance and Movement Therapy, and Theatre The student-to-faculty ratio at the school is 9:1, ensuring that students will build close relationships with professors and other students in small classes.
The library has a collection development committee composed of staff members from the Access Services, Technical Services, Reference, Visual Resources, Music, and Interlibrary Loan departments. The committee meets once a month and is responsible for general oversight of the library's acquisitions and removal procedures
Presently the acquisition of new items for the library is divided among the staff based upon areas of subject specialization. These selectors utilize a variety of methods to build the circulating collection, including:
- publisher catalogs
- Choice cards
- reviews by academic librarians
- interlibrary loan requests
- patron requests
Sarah Lawrence College students, faculty, and staff may suggest items for purchase by filling out a brief form located on the main page of the library's website (library.slc.edu). Decisions will be made by the reference librarians based upon whether the item fits the collection's current needs. If a suggestion is unable to be purchased, the patron who suggested the item will receive a response from a librarian explaining the decision on the matter.
The College's Reference Librarians serve as the primary liaisons to the faculty, and work together to best meet student needs. The liaisons make it a point to keep in touch with the faculty in their assigned subject areas, as new developments in the field and/or program can signify alterations to the library's collection. Faculty input is highly valuable, and librarians make it a point to communicate with them regarding optimal library purchases.TheReference Librarians, in coordination with the Collection Development committee, are responsible for adding to and maintaining the reference collection, as well as the library's online databases.
The library bases its purchase decisions on whether it meets the main objective detailed above – support of the undergraduate and graduate curricula. According to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, Sarah Lawrence is a “Baccalaureate college of the Arts & Sciences,” and not a “research university.” As such, the Library collection reflects this status. While we also support faculty research needs, items are primarily purchased for faculty and staff if the library staff believes that the materials in question will benefit undergraduate and graduate students.
While the library will collect some popular or general interest materials as they relate to the research needs of students, its status as an academic library prevents it from maintaining a large collection of popular works typically found in a public library. Patrons are invited to visit the nearby Bronxville, Yonkers, or New York Public libraries, as well as to utilize Sarah Lawrence's Interlibrary Loan system to acquire materials not in the College's collection.
- Relevance to curriculum
- Authority (reputation) of creator
- Currency and enduring value of material
- Format of content (electronic vs. print, DVD vs. VHS, etc.)
- Strength of library's present holdings in the subject
- The library examines the college bookstore list for relevant items at the beginning of the semester
- Although the library will chiefly collect materials in English, items which support the curriculum of languages taught at the college will also be purchased
- Duplicates will only be purchased if deemed necessary for the Reserve collection
- Librarians will replace lost or damaged items as deemed necessary by usage statistics/continued relevance to patrons
- The library is currently ordering e-books for Reserves only
- Expensive items will be decided on by the entire Collection Development committee
The library was designated a selective depository of U.S. government information in 1969. Currently, 1662 item classes are chosen reflecting a selection rate of over 18%. Areas of emphasis include census statistics, health, education, labor, foreign affairs, and Congressional hearings. The collection, located on the lower level of the library, consists of both paper and microform materials and is arranged by the SuDoc Classification system. While much of the collection does circulate, the documents in the Reference collection do not. We are presently engaged in a project of replacing tangible items, particularly those in a micro format, with electronic equivalents. The library and its staff abide by the law governing depositories and follow the regulations and instruction issued by the Superintendent of Documents.
The library gladly accepts donations but cannot guarantee that the item in question will be added to the collection. Donations will be held to the same standards for inclusion as purchased items. If the item is not added to the collection, the library retains the right to handle the book in the manner that best fits its needs.
In order to showcase books published by tenured Sarah Lawrence College faculty, we maintain a special Faculty Collection on the main floor of the library. Books in that collection are kept in a locked glass cabinet and can be accessed by asking the staff member at the information desk for assistance. These items do not circulate, but can be used for research purposes in the library. There is a copy of every book in the faculty collection in the general circulating collection as well.
The library also maintains a small Special Collection consisting of expensive items, limited editions, fine bindings, and books susceptible to theft or damage. These volumes are also kept in locked glass cabinets and can be accessed by asking the staff member at the information desk. Items in the Special Collection do not circulate, but can be used for research purposes in the library.
The library is committed to collecting materials in the formats deemed most relevant to the college curriculum. In addition to print materials, the library will acquire microform, DVDs, audio, and any other formats as needed. The library will maintain viewing rooms furnished with the hardware necessary to utilize non-print formats.
At this moment, we are not collecting self-published works (excluding zines and those by tenured faculty), due to the additional work involved in processing them.
While we are happy when alumnae/i works match our selection criteria, we are unable to create a collection dedicated to the acquisition of all alumnae/i works at this time.
The library has begun to add small amounts of e-books to our collection through the vendor ebrary. Currently, e-books are only ordered if deemed necessary for Reserves. Single-user licenses are purchased by default unless faculty request a multi-user license for a book. However, not every publisher offers multi-user licenses, so we are limited in our choices.
The library has chosen to include a small amount of zines in its collection. “A zine is a self-publication, motivated by a desire for self-expression, not for profit.” (Barnard Library). We will focus on collecting zines related to Sarah Lawrence College, those by current students and also alumnae/i, but also will complement these with zines in areas that mirror student interest, such as zines on the environment, LGBTQ issues, music, poetry, DIY culture, feminism, disability, and minority interests.
Taking from Colorado College, “we define zines broadly to include almost any self published item that is produced in editions of multiple copies (i.e., not artists’ books or similar one-of-a-kind items).” Zines are currently located in the Periodicals Room and can be checked out like books.
In order to maintain a current and pertinent collection, the library staff frequently evaluates the collection to ensure that it continues to meet the user population's needs. Faculty are often consulted during these evaluations and offer useful input on discarding and replacement decisions.
- Physical condition
- Frequency of patron usage
- Duplicate copies
- Availability of newer edition or format (e.g. electronic)
- Outdated information
- Irrelevance to college curriculum
View floor maps of the library.
- The College Archives is located on the lower level of the Esther Raushenbush Library and is maintained by the archivist and assistant archivist.
- The main circulating collection is located on all three floors of the Main library.
- Current print periodicals are located on the main floor of the library in the periodicals room, while older print periodicals are located in the lower level.
- The Faculty Collection is located on the main floor of the library.
- Government documents are located on the lower level of the library.
- Microform collections are located in the lower level of the library.
- The William Schuman Music Library is located in the Marshall Field building.
- The Visual Resources Library is located in room 208 of the Heimbold Visual Arts Center.
- The reference collection is located on the main floor of the library.
- The reserve collection is located on the main floor of the library.
- The Special Collections is located on the main floor of the library.
- Sarah Lawrence theses are located on the main floor of the library.
- Zines are located in the Periodicals Room on the main floor of the library.
- DVDs, videos, and audiobooks are located on the main floor of the library.
- Oversized books are located on the lower level of the library.
Sarah Lawrence College pledges to uphold the tenets of intellectual freedom as denoted in the following documents of the American Library Association:
- Library Bill of Rights: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill
- Freedom to Read Statement: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement
- Freedom to View Statement: http://www.ala.org/offices/oif/statementspols/ftrstatement/freedomreadstatement
The library strives to cultivate a collection that recognizes and respects a broad range of viewpoints. As a result, it is possible that some materials might be deemed controversial and offend certain patrons. Patrons retain the right to register their disapproval of an item with the library staff. A challenge form is available at the information desk, which a patron can fill out and submit to be reviewed by library staff. Following the review the patron will be notified of the library's decision regarding the challenged item.
Created August, 2010 by Janet Alexander, Katelyn Angell, Kristina Bucher, Geoffrey Danisher, Angelica Freitas, Sharlene Prasad, Charlotte Price, Carl Reglar, and Bobbie Smolow.
Updated June, 2012 by Janet Alexander, Geoffrey Danisher, Angelica Freitas, Charlotte Price, Carl Reglar, and Bobbie Smolow.
The collection development policy will be reviewed on a yearly basis each summer by library staff and changes will be made as needed.