Walker Library

Collection Development Policy

Library Materials Budget
Collection Levels
Selection of Materials
Replacement and Withdrawal of Materials
Government Documents
Reference Materials
Curriculum Collection
Special Collections
Library Bill of Rights
Diversity Statement

The Collection Development Policy of the James E. Walker Library clarifies the general policies of the library in regard to the principles that guide the building of the library collection within the library and access to resources available online, both in general and with respect to specific types of resources. It should be carefully reviewed on a regular basis.

Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is one the Tennessee Board of Regents universities, a major public institution of higher learning dedicated to serving the people of Tennessee, as well as out-of-state and foreign students who qualify for admission. The role of the Walker Library is to assist in fulfilling the mission and objectives of MTSU. The library is charged specifically with the responsibility of serving the reading, reference, and research needs of the university, its faculty, and its students. In order to carry out this charge, the library provides a collection of materials and services that support student and faculty research and advanced study, as well as recreational reading materials and other information as needed. The library also seeks to cooperate with other academic libraries in the sharing of specialized information and materials. Therefore, the purpose of this collection development policy is to guide the building of a collection that will best serve the objectives of that clientele both now and in the future.  Although we aim for an excellent collection, we realize that it may not be possible, to fully meet this goal, so the library will observe the following general guidelines in developing the in-house and online collections.

Guidelines for Collection Decisions
Priority of purchase

  • When lack of funds limit acquisitions, current publications of lasting and scholarly value will be given priority over older and out-of-print materials and recreational reading items.
  • Publications in the English language will be given priority over non-English language publications, except for the acquisition of materials for the Foreign Language Department or materials of demonstrated need.

Format and duplication

  • Materials will be acquired in suitable format (e.g. print, electronic or microform) based on careful consideration of user needs and pricing.
  • If the library holds materials in one format, duplication should be avoided. In some cases it may be advantageous to provide additional formats. In these cases, based on careful consideration of user needs balanced with cost considerations, duplication should be subject to review.
  • Duplicate print materials will be purchased only to meet expected heavy or continued use.
  • As of 2008, the preferred format for journals is online.  New journal subscriptions or continuing subscriptions will be purchased in print when it is the only format available or if it meets a specific need of faculty or students.  


  • The library will make no effort to collect textbooks and workbooks, but an exception is made under certain circumstances.  The library will purchase supplemental textbooks at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters for General Education Classes.  These books will be placed in Reserves until they are no longer used in classes.  They will then be sent to the main collection.  When funding permits, the library will also add the primary textbook for a specific General Education Class upon student or faculty request.  This textbook will also be placed in Reserves until it is no longer adopted for the course; then it will be withdrawn.

Library Bill of Rights

  • The Library Bill of Rights* applies without exception to all purchases of library materials. The sole test of a controversial item will be its contribution, direct and indirect, to the academic program of the college and to the needs of the students. If the nature of the material makes theft probable, accessibility can be safeguarded through placing the item in Special Collections.

Research purchases

  • The library will not purchase extensive in-depth materials for specific thesis topics of graduate students or for research projects for faculty members beyond the level of the graduate programs offered.
  • Faculty members and students who need in-depth materials in areas not covered by the collection will be encouraged to utilize the library's interlibrary loan services, or make use of the resources available at other institutions in the area.
  • The purchase of research materials solely for individual faculty use will be subordinated to the adequate fulfillment of acquiring resources for the undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Major investments in materials primarily of sophisticated research value will be almost exclusively directed toward areas with substantive graduate programs.

Major requests

  • In considering major requests, virtually exclusive emphasis will be on the purchase of materials that will make a substantive long-range contribution to resource development. Thus, requests for expensive blocks of materials, which may constitute fragments of a larger body of materials, will be evaluated in terms of the extent to which they are viable entities in themselves. Some criteria that will be used in evaluating requests for expensive research materials or a block of general material are the following:
    • Will the requested body of material continue to be useful as an entity over a period of at least ten years?
    • Will it continue to be useful, and used, after the faculty member initiating the request has left the university?
    • Will it make a contribution to the objectives defined in this statement?

Library Materials Budget
The university administration is responsible for the amount approved and allocated each year for the library budget. The Dean of the Library, as fiscal agent for the library, is ultimately responsible for the expenditure of all library funds, including the funds utilized for the purchase of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and other materials.

Librarians for Monograph and Serials Acquisitions and Collection Development are responsible on a daily basis for the purchase of books and serials both print and online.  The Electronic Resources Librarian is responsible for the expenditures of funds for online databases and other online resources.
Funding for Electronic Resources is from the library budget and from student technology access fees.

The major part of the book budget is reserved for academic departments.  Each department is allocated a portion of the budget for the purchase of books based upon such criteria as total funds available, library materials essential for the instructional needs of each department, number of faculty in each department, number of courses taught (graduate and undergraduate), new courses offered, deficiencies in the existing collection, number of students enrolled, and the average prices of books and other materials in the subject areas. It should be remembered that the actual funds reserved for use by the academic departments are not transferred from the library budget to the budgets of the academic departments. They are merely reserved by the library for the purchase of materials requested by the academic departments and remain, at all times, a part of the library's budget.

The book budget also funds continuations, reference resources, materials for Special Collections and the Curriculum Collection.  Microtext collections and back files for journals may also be purchased with funds from the book budget.  A small portion of the book budget is expended for the purchase of best sellers and books about timely issues and current interests.

The serials budget is the largest portion of the library budget for materials. Faculty may submit a request for a new journal title to the Serials Librarian or the Collection Development Librarian.  Priority is given to journals needed for new programs.

All materials purchased with funds allocated to the library become library property, available for the use of the entire campus community. It is inappropriate to use library funds to acquire materials for the exclusive use of any group or individual. Laboratory, departmental, or personal office collections should be bought with the funds of the department or person using such collections.

Collection Levels
Requirements for library materials vary in different subject areas. The library attempts to follow current and projected degree programs in meeting the needs of the various academic departments. The university catalog will be utilized to document the intensity of collection development on five levels.

Graduate Levels 1 and 2
On these levels the collection will support fifth and sixth year graduate degree programs including materials containing research reports, new findings and scientific results. It should also include all important reference works, a wide selection of monographs, serials, and microforms.

Level 1
Includes those fields in which the Doctorate or Specialist degrees are granted. Collection development in these areas is intensive to provide for research in limited areas.

Level 2
Includes fields in which a Master's degree is offered, as well as subject areas in which a minor is offered at the graduate level. However, if a graduate degree is not offered, collection of research materials is not intensive.

Undergraduate Level 3
The collection on this level is adequate to support instruction in undergraduate course work and/or independent study. It is a collection that is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes of less than research intensity. It includes a broad range of materials incorporating a complete collection of the works of important writers, a selection of representative journals, and reference tools.

Basic Level 4
On this level no degree is granted, but courses are taught. It includes a highly selective collection of important works, historical surveys, basic reference works, and a few major periodicals.

Minimal Level 5
This level is for subject fields in which no courses are offered and the collection is limited to few selections beyond the basic reference tools.
The following academic departments meet the required levels indicated below:





Master of Science degree

Level 2


Master of Science degree, Aviation Administration
Master of Education, Aerospace Education

Level 2


Master of Science, Horse Science

Level 2


Minor offered at graduate level

Level 2


Master of Science
Master of Science in Professional Science

Level 2

Business Administration

Master of Business Administration

Level 2

Business Communication and Entrepreneurship

Master of Business Education

Level 2


Master of Science
Doctor of Arts (admission closed)

Level 2
Level 1

Computer Information Systems

Master of Science in Accounting and Information Systems

Level 2

Computer Science

Master of Science

Level 2

Criminal Justice

Master of Criminal Justice

Level 2


Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

Level 1

Educational Leadership

Specialist in Education
Master of Education in Administration and Supervision
Master of Education in curriculum and Instruction

Level 1

Electronic Media and Communication


Level 3

Elementary and Special Education

Specialist in Education
Master of Education
Master of Education in Advanced Studies in Teaching and Learning RODP

Level 1

Engineering Technology

Master of Science

Level 2


Master of Arts
Doctor of Philosophy

Level 1

Foreign Languages and Literature

Master of Arts in Teaching

Level 2


Certificate program and graduate minor

Level 2

Health and Human Performance

Doctor of Philosophy in Human Performance
Master of Science in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Sport Management
Master of Science in Exercise Science

Level 1


Doctor of Philosophy in Public History
Master of Arts

Level 1



Level 3

Literacy Studies

Doctor of Philosophy in Literacy Studies

Level 1

Management & Marketing

Offers courses in the Master of Business Administration

Level 2

Mass Communication

Master of Science in Mass Communication

Level 2

Mathematical Sciences

Master of Science in Mathematics
Master of Science in Teaching

Level 2

Military Science


Level 3


Master of Arts

Level 2


Master of Science in Nursing through RODP
Master of Science in Professional Science in collaboration with Biology and Mathematical Sciences program

Level 2

Physics and Astronomy

Minor at graduate level

Level 2

Political Science

Minor at the graduate level

Level 2

Philosophy and Religion


Level 3

Professional Science

Master of Science in Professional  Science
(Biostatistics, Biotechnology, Health Care Informatics)

Level 2

Professional Studies

Master of Professional Studies (RODP)
( Strategic Leadership)

Level 2


Specialist in Education
Master of Arts
Master of Education

Level 1

Recording Industry

Master of Fine Arts in Recording Arts and Technologies

Level 2

Sociology and Anthropology

Master of Arts

Level 2

Social Work

Master of Social Work
(Joint partnership with TSU and APSU beginning Fall 2009)

Level 2

Speech and Theater

Minor at the graduate level

Level 2




Selection of Materials
Selection of library materials is the joint responsibility of the teaching faculty and the library faculty. It is the prerogative of every faculty member to participate in the selection process in areas of his/her expertise. Many of the academic departments are assisted with selection of library materials by library faculty that act as liaisons to the department.  The ultimate responsibility for all of the collection development directions and policy decisions rests with the Library which is responsible for the development of a balanced library collection.

All library resources, regardless of format, should be evaluated with regard to the integrity of the information provided including its accuracy, currency, authoritativeness, and scope of coverage. Additionally, selections should adhere to the chronological, geographical, and language guidelines.

A variety of selection aids or tools are used in the selection process. Several vendor products assist teaching faculty and library faculty in selecting resources.  Both Yankee Book and Blackwell offer online selection and printed forms for book selection.  Choice reviews are also available online and in the monthly printed issue of this journal.  Reviews from Library Journal and Publishers’Weekly are used on a regular basis for the acquisition of new library resources, as well as, publishers’ catalogs.   

Besides the reviews and information provided in the above mentioned selection aids, library faculty frequently consult Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books in Print, and OCLC’s Worldcat for a more comprehensive view of what is available for academic subjects or programs.  These and other online sources  are particularly useful for ordering replacements or out-of-print resources.
Audio-Visual Materials

The library does not collect audio-visual materials such as films, filmstrips, audio and videocassettes, or sound recordings. Collection of this material falls within the purview of the Learning Resources Center, Center for Popular Music and the Music Library.

Electronic Resources

Electronic resources such as online databases, Internet web sites, e-books, e-journals, and CD-ROMs, are subject to the same selection criteria as other library resources. The library is dedicated to providing the best resources and the widest access to materials that our budget can possibly afford. We give preference to electronic resources because of the following advantages over print format.

  • Information is easy to find in a database with highly functional searching features.
  • Simultaneous users may access the product.
  • The product is available at all hours and is accessible to the off-campus university community.
  • The information is more current than print with regular updates.


The same selection criteria apply to collecting microforms as to other library resources. However, many of the decisions relating to the purchase of microforms involve administrative problems such as coping with limited stack areas or the need to replace aging paper materials, rather than the usual collection criteria. Duplication in different formats should be avoided.
Pamphlets and other free or inexpensive materials are not collected unless they are of sufficient importance or provide material not available in another format. In this case, the same selection criteria apply to collecting pamphlets as to other library resources.

Replacement and Withdrawal of Materials
Funds are allocated each year for the replacement of book titles.  Circulation personnel pull damaged or worn books on a regular basis from the collection and send them to Collection Management for a decision of replacement, repair, or withdraw.  Titles that are dated or no longer appropriate for the collection are withdrawn.  Those titles that are beyond repair, but still relevant and circulating are replaced with a new or used copy. 

Weeding book titles is done as needed and usually in consultation with academic faculty. Books are withdrawn that are out-of –date or duplicate copies that are no longer needed. 

Lost books are reported to Collection Management on a regular basis by circulation.   Each title is reviewed for possible replacement.  

Donations to the library

The Walker Library welcomes gifts of appropriate materials or funds for the purchase of materials that strengthen the Library collection. Donated materials are expected to meet the same standards of quality and relevance to the collection as new titles. They should support the curriculum and the mission of the Library as well as meet the collection development guidelines and policies, in regard to physical condition, format, language, etc. (http://library.mtsu.edu/collectionmanagement/cd_policy.php) Donated works by faculty and/or alumni authors are always welcome and will be added to the collection, unless these works are inappropriate for an academic library.

Donation process  (Note separate section governing donations to Special Collections)

1.  Individuals wishing to donate money or materials to the Library should contact the Library’s external relations specialist (Kristen Keene ; 615-898-5376 ; Kristen.Keene@mtsu.edu) who will serve as the initial point of contact and handle donor relations, donation arrangements, and associated paperwork.

2.   Collection Management personnel are responsible for reviewing the donation of book materials, determining whether or not the Library will accept the gift. Final decisions on the retention and disposition of book material gifts are the responsibility of librarians in Collection Management and the Dean of the Library. 

3.  Donations of materials are usually limited to printed resources such as books and journals. Textbooks are welcome if they are currently adopted for classes at MTSU or if they are MTSU faculty publications.

4.  Book donations should be in good physical condition, free from mold, mildew, bugs, etc.  Books that are heavily underlined or marked will not be accepted. 

5. Donations of materials that have tax implications or special significance may be considered gifts-in-kind to be handled in accordance with policy and procedures governing such donations
( http://www.mtsu.edu/~devofc/pdf/Gift-In-Kind%20Packet.pdf).

6. The Library reserves the right to make decisions about the disposition or location of gifts. The Library also reserves the right to dispose of any gift materials that do not meet the Library's collection needs and policy guidelines. Gifts not retained by the Library may be given to academic departments, other libraries, state agencies, or sold at book sales, or discarded.

7. The monetary worth of the gift is determined by the donor.  In accordance with Internal Revenue Service policies and guidelines of the Association of College and Research Libraries Statement on Appraisal of Gifts, the Library does not appraise or attach monetary value to any gift title or collection. An appraisal, if desired by the donor, should be conducted by an authorized appraiser prior to the presentation of this material to the Library.

8.  Individuals who receive book donations on behalf of the Library will inform the External Relations Specialist of such donations. The External Relations Specialist will send an acknowledgment letter from the Library with the number of titles donated. If requested, a gift plate can be attached to the donated material.


Policies That Specifically Apply to Special Collections Gifts

Donors may wish to contact Special collections directly (615-904-8501).  In general, gifts of books or collections should reflect Special Collections’ existing holdings.  These holdings include:

The Early Tennessee Imprints Collection.  Tennessee imprints produced between 1791 and up to and including 1866) as well as print or print-related ephemera from the same period.

The Dimensional and Artists’ Books Collection.  Fine letterpress books, artists’ books, miniature books, and pop-up or otherwise movable books.

Books on the Civil War.  More specifically, American imprints published ca. 1850-1920 reflecting or concerned with the causes, experiences, results, and impact of the war; Confederate imprints (books and other print objects produced in the South during the war); and modern studies of the Civil War.  (NB:  the Ragland Collection comprises the core of this collection.)

The University Collection.   Various publications produced by or about MTSU including yearbooks, newspapers, etc.

Additionally, Special Collections will consider accepting the following gifts:

Books and collections as well as other bibliographic or print objects that have obvious historical, cultural, bibliographic, or monetary value. 
Books and collections as well as other bibliographic or print objects that represent potential collecting areas for Special Collections (these should represent research and educational values that will endure shifts and changes in scholarly trends).

The Librarian for Special Collections should, if appropriate, discuss these potential gifts with the Librarian for Acquisitions, the Librarian for Serials, or the Coordinator of Collection Management.

2.  In general, Special Collections is not set up to store and administer archival materials.  Archival materials are generally the domain of the Albert Gore Research Center.  Under some circumstances, however, archival materials may be accepted as gifts.  These should either be pertinent to existing collections in Special Collections or should represent an obvious value to Walker Library. 

3.  Special Collections cannot honor behests to expand gift collections or maintain subscriptions of serials that accompany gifts unless the donor provides an adequate endowment to cover costs now and in the future. 

4.  Because rare book collections may represent significant monetary values and, thus, significant charitable deductions on federal income taxes, donors of such collections are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with IRS form 8283 and its instructions, and to consult with tax and legal professionals for any questions they may have.  Library staff can explain the general nature and common usages of the 8283 form, but cannot interpret IRS policies, provide advice on tax law, or respond to questions about a donor’s tax and filing situation. Gifts of materials to Special Collections often qualify as gifts-in-kind and must be handled in accordance with policy and procedures governing such donations
( http://www.mtsu.edu/~devofc/pdf/Gift-In-Kind%20Packet.pdf).

5.  Although Walker Library cannot appraise the monetary value of gifts, the Library can agree to fully or partially pay for a gift’s appraisal for exceptional gifts.  However, donors must formally agree to present the gift to the Library before the gift is appraised and the Library must be able to select the appraiser. 

6.  Special Collections cannot hold gift books and collections on a “held-in-perpetuity” basis.  Special Collections must have scope to sell, replace, exchange, transfer, or otherwise dispose of its holdings in response to administrative or academic needs. 

7.  Donors of Special Collections materials may not serve as University-paid curators of their donated collections.

8.  In selecting rare books for its holdings, Special Collections prizes books in a “right from the shop” physical condition-- books in their original, historical form, appearance and structure.  Accordingly, the Library does not stamp, mark, or alter our accessions, and this extends to bookplates pasted into editions.


Statement on appraisal of gifts

[Developed by the Committee on Manuscripts Collections of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section. Approved by the ACRL Board of Directors on February 1, 1973, in Washington, D.C. This statement replaces the 1960 policy on appraisal (Antiquarian Bookman, v.26, December 19, 1960, p. 2205).]

1. The appraisal of a gift to a library for tax purposes generally is the responsibility of the donor since it is the donor who benefits from the tax deduction. Generally, the cost of the appraisal should be borne by the donor.

2. The library should at all times protect the interests of its donors as best it can and should suggest the desirability of appraisals whenever such a suggestion would be in order.

3. To protect both its donors and itself, the library, as an interested party, ordinarily should not appraise gifts made to it. It is recognized, however, that on occasion the library may wish to appraise small gifts, since many of them are not worth the time and expense an outside appraisal requires. Generally, however, the library will limit its assistance to the donor to: (a) providing him with information such as auction records and dealers' catalogs; (b) suggestions of appropriate professional appraisers who might be consulted; (c) administrative and processing services which would assist the appraiser in making an accurate evaluation.

4. The acceptance of a gift which has been appraised by a third, and disinterested party, does not in any way imply an endorsement of the appraisal by the library.

5. An archivist, curator, or librarian, if he is conscious that as an expert he may have to prove his competence in court, may properly act as an independent appraiser of library materials. He should not in any way suggest that his appraisal is endorsed by his library (such as by the use of the library's letterhead), nor should he ordinarily act in this fashion (except when handling small gifts) if his institution is to receive the donation.


Pamphlets and other free or inexpensive materials are not collected unless they are of sufficient importance or provide material not available in another format. In this case, the same selection criteria apply to collecting pamphlets as to other library resources. The library does receive some federal documents in pamphlet format.


The Walker Library is rapidly making the transition from a collection of print journals to providing access to    electronic journals. The criteria for acquiring both print and electronic journals are to support the curriculum, provide research materials for faculty and students. Cost/benefit considerations are also applied when selecting electronic journals in an effort to provide the most content to the widest audience. While print materials are still acquired, preference is often given to ordering the electronic version, especially if access can be made available to the entire University community.
Because of the wide availability of online newspapers the Walker Library is no longer acquiring print newspapers except for the regional papers the Tennessean and the Daily News Journal. The library still acquires some newspapers in microform.
Recommendations for new journals are welcomed from faculty members with the understanding that new acquisitions depend upon adequate funding to support these additional journals on a yearly basis. Regular departmental journal reviews to insure the continued relevance of the journal collection are encouraged and should be coordinated by the faculty liaison with the cooperation of the Serials Librarian.
Donations of print journal issues are also welcome for backfiles, missing or incomplete volumes and/or for titles supporting the curriculum and research for which there is no previously existing subscription. Retention and disposition decisions are made at the discretion of Collection Management librarians.

Government Documents
The Walker Library's collection of federal documents includes materials in print, microform and electronic formats. In addition to FDLP's Basic Collection, selection of depository materials is based on the recommendations listed in the FDLP's Core Collection for academic libraries with attention paid to the selection of items appropriate to the curriculum of the University, as well as the general usefulness to the University community and the needs of the local populace. The Walker Library federal documents collection is becoming more online in nature. Tangible materials are being deselected when an online version is deemed a valid substitute.  Access to online documents is made available through the library's catalog and website. Selection of new items is transacted according to an annual cycle ending in late July. Items selected by the July deadline will be sent after October 1 (the beginning of the federal fiscal year.)  Faculty suggestions regarding selections and deselections are encouraged.

Federal documents not received through the depository program can also be ordered as part of the general acquisition process. Criteria for purchasing government documents are the same as other library materials. The List of Classes, the Core Collections and the GPO Bookstore (all available online) can be consulted for item selection in additional to the selection tools used for other materials such as Choice Reviews and Library Journal.

Reference Materials
The library's reference collection will meet the basic information, verification, and research needs of the University community. Reference works are also in a transition from print format to online access, with online access given preference over the print format to provide 24/7 access to our patrons, especially those in distant education or enrolled in online classes.

 Reference works will support academic disciplines in the University curriculum, other subject areas of current interest, and general information reference sources. Materials may also be placed in reference because of popularity, or high frequency of use.

The growth of the collection in size and scope is influenced by changes in enrollment, curriculum, and fiscal restraints. Changes in enrollment and curriculum serve as guidelines for the development and depth of coverage in the academic disciplines within the collection. A significant number of titles for reference are continuations or standing orders. A separate budget for the collection, above what is spent on continuations and standing orders, insures the equitable and appropriate growth of this collection.

Requests are welcome from faculty, students, and staff for titles to be purchased for the reference collection. It is the prerogative of the User Services Librarians to participate in the selection process in areas of his/her expertise. The responsibility for overall development of the Reference collection is with the Acquisitions and Collection Development Librarian. Decisions concerning major purchases may be made in consultation with the Collection Development Committee. All order requests are sent to the Collection Management Department for review and purchase.

Curriculum Collection
The Curriculum Library collects materials that primarily support teacher education courses. There are three main areas of emphasis within this collection: Library Service materials, textbooks for grades K-12, and curriculum materials such as activity guides, games, etc.

The Library Service collection provides a representative selection of fiction, nonfiction, and award winners in children’s literature  that are found in elementary and school libraries. This collection serves as a tool in the training of school librarians and students in elementary and secondary education classes.  Items include lesson plans, unit plans, and projects. The Library Service professor is responsible for the selection, weeding, processing and cataloging of this collection.

Since 1984, the Curriculum Collection has been designated a textbook depository by the State of Tennessee Department of Education. There are ten depositories in the state. Each year the Department updates textbooks in one of six areas. As part of the bidding process, publishers are required to send materials to the depositories. Then members of the Department’s committee evaluate them for adoption. After this process is completed, the textbooks become the property of the depository, the Curriculum Collection, and are added to the collection.
The Curriculum Librarian is responsible for the processing and cataloging of the collection.

Another area of emphasis is the collection of curriculum materials. Curriculum guides published by the State of Tennessee Department of Education are on their website and are available to students via computers located in the area. A large collection of activity guides and bulletin board idea books are also included. These materials assist the teacher education students in completing their class assignments and provide resources to facilitate a successful student teaching experience. Other materials such as posters, puzzles, big books, flip charts, puppets, games, etc. are also in this collection. The Curriculum Librarian is responsible for the selection, weeding, processing, and cataloging of the Curriculum Collection.

An inventory of the Curriculum Library is completed every five years, with approximately one-third of the collection inventoried each year. The Curriculum Librarian is responsible for this inventory. Items over twenty years old are sometimes withdrawn from the collection unless they cover a subject not covered by more recent materials.

Special Collections
Special Collections chiefly consists of several collections of rare, unique, and historical books. These collections are as follows:

  • The Early Tennessee Imprints Collection consists of book and other print materials produced in Tennessee between the years 1791 and 1866 (that is, between the year the first printing press operated at Rogersville and the first year after the Civil War).
  • The Dimensional and Artist’s Book Collection is an eclectic collection that explores the nature and boundaries of the book. The collection encompasses examples of fine letterpress printing, as well as artists' books that alter, question, or play with the conventional experience of reading or otherwise using the book. Additionally, the collection includes miniature books as well as pop-up and movable books. We have especially strong holdings in works by Julian Wehr (1898-1970), the American master of animated children's books.
  • The Robert Allen Ragland Sr. Memorial Civil War Collection includes nineteenth and twentieth-century books and other materials that cover various aspects of the Civil War. The collection has numerous materials that focus on Tennessee and the Battle of Stones River.
  • The University Collection consists of MTSU theses, yearbooks, institutional publications, and similar items.
  • Special Collections also has a reference collection consisting chiefly of books and periodicals on printing, publishing, American imprints, and other bibliographic topics.

Library Bill of Rights*
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  • Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.
  • A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries, which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve, should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

*Adopted June 18, 1948, Amended February 2, 1961, June 27, 1967, and January 23, 1980 by the American Library Association Council.

Diversity Statement
The James E. Walker Library is committed to the mission of the Middle Tennessee State University to promote the education of a student body that is becoming more diverse culturally with increasing numbers of minorities and foreign students.  In our shrinking world it is necessary for all students to understand ideas and issues from other cultural perspectives and multiple points of view.
Diversity for collection development will be defined according to the definition of the University. 
Diversity means difference.  It is inclusive and can embrace innate characteristics (such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, physical appearance and/or abilities, and sexual orientation), and acquired characteristics (such as education, socio-economic class, religious beliefs, work experience, language skills, geographic location).

Furthermore, the Walker library and all those involved with Collection development endorse the following statement by the American Library Association.   Adherence to this statement and the Library Bill of Rights has resulted in a library collection that already reflects multiple points of view and cultural awareness.   For many years, we have actively collected resources reflecting diverse and minority points of view.  A look at the databases purchase in the last ten years includes collections such as African American Music Reference, African American Poetry, Black Thought and Culture, CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online),  Culturegrams  Online, Ethnic Newswatch,  Gerristen Collection: Women’s History Online, Global Researcher, In the First Person, Index Islamicus, Informe, Latino Literature, North American Women’s Letters and Diaries, Opposing Viewpoints, Points of View, Twentieth Century African American Poetry, and Women in Social Movements.

Diversity in Collection Development:
An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights
Throughout history, the focus of censorship has fluctuated from generation to generation. Books and other materials have not been selected or have been removed from library collections for many reasons, among which are prejudicial language and ideas, political content, economic theory, social philosophies, religious beliefs, sexual forms of expression, and other potentially controversial topics.

Some examples of censorship may include removing or not selecting materials because they are considered by some as racist or sexist; not purchasing conservative religious materials; not selecting materials about or by minorities because it is thought these groups or interests are not represented in a community; or not providing information on or materials from non-mainstream political entities.

Librarians may seek to increase user awareness of materials on various social concerns by many means, including, but not limited to, issuing bibliographies and presenting exhibits and programs. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in collection development and in the provision of interlibrary loan. Access to all materials legally obtainable should be assured to the user, and policies should not unjustly exclude materials even if they are offensive to the librarian or the user. Collection development should reflect the philosophy inherent in Article II of the Library Bill of Rights: “Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” A balanced collection reflects a diversity of materials, not an equality of numbers. Collection development responsibilities include selecting materials in the languages in common use in the community the library serves. Collection development and the selection of materials should be done according to professional standards and established selection and review procedures.

There are many complex facets to any issue, and variations of context in which issues may be expressed, discussed, or interpreted. Librarians have a professional responsibility to be fair, just, and equitable and to give all library users equal protection in guarding against violation of the library patron’s right to read, view, or listen to materials and resources protected by the First Amendment, no matter what the viewpoint of the author, creator, or selector. Librarians have an obligation to protect library collections from removal of materials based on personal bias or prejudice, and to select and support the access to materials on all subjects that meet, as closely as possible, the needs, interests, and abilities of all persons in the community the library serves. This includes materials that reflect political, economic, religious, social, minority, and sexual issues.

Intellectual freedom, the essence of equitable library services, provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause, or movement may be explored. Toleration is meaningless without tolerance for what some may consider detestable. Librarians cannot justly permit their own preferences to limit their degree of tolerance in collection development, because freedom is indivisible.  Adopted July 14, 1982, by the ALA Council; amended January 10, 1990.

Guidelines for Collecting and Selecting Diversity Resources

Selection of diversity resources is subject to the same criteria as other library resources, such as accuracy, timeliness, format, ease of use, and cost.

For example, an Encyclopedia on prominent African American Leaders may not be added to the collection if reviews indicate flawed scholarship and inaccuracies in data.

Selectors must insure that all sides of issues and opposing viewpoints are represented in library resources. 

For example, the library should have books on evolutionary theory, creationism, and intelligent design. If you order books from the Brookings Institute, you should balance this by books published by American Enterprise Institute.  Journals must also represent divergent viewpoints.

Selectors must not shy away from controversial materials of merit and may have to select resources which are personally offensive to their views or religious beliefs

For example resources in the subject areas of sex and gender should not undergo “selective” censorship.

Selectors should be responsive to the individual or group requests for library resources that reflect the needs of a specific diverse group of the academic community.

For example, the library in the past has ordered a Braille version of the MLA style sheet for disabled students.  On other occasions, we have purchased specialized dictionaries and current newspapers from foreign countries, etc.

Selectors should actively search for resources for the library collections for diverse individuals and groups on campus, responding to present needs and anticipating future needs.

For example, as the population of the U.S. is changing, resources on the Latino perspective should be actively collected, as well as current literary works.  As the world shrinks, global interests are more important and the library should insure that resources are available for the study of other cultures.


Comments to Collection Development Committee, Chair, Rachel Kirk, Rachel.Kirk@mtsu.edu

August 2009