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About Lipscomb: Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Philosophy

Books and library materials are among our greatest instruments of freedom.  They are a means for making available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience.  They are the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth.  They are essential to the extended discussion which serious thought requires and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.  Therefore, the Lipscomb Library of Randolph College affirms its belief in the following basic tenets which govern the collection of the College library.

The following statements are from The Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read statement of the American Library Association which Lipscomb Library endorses:

Books and other library materials are selected for values of interest, information and enlightenment of all the people of the College community.  Library materials are never excluded because of the race or nationality of the authors or their social, political or religious views.

The Library provides books and other materials presenting all points of view concerning the problems and issues addressed in the curriculum; no library materials are proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.  In the interest of the College community, librarians make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those which may be unorthodox or unpopular.  Librarians do not necessarily endorse every idea or presentation contained in the materials made available.

Censorship is challenged by librarians in the maintenance of their responsibility to provide information for study and enlightenment.

Librarians are charged with giving full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression and by exercising that responsibility affirmatively.

Collection Development Policy

Acquiring materials which directly aid the curriculum is the primary objective of the selection process.  To this end, the library’s collections are developed to support the educational programs of the college and to provide materials which will satisfy the general informational needs of the community.  The acquisition of resources for support of faculty research is desirable and such resources are purchased when funds are available.  The library does not censor any subject or viewpoint.

The Lipscomb Library has developed a fine collection through the joint efforts of the faculty and library staff.  By mutual cooperation, every effort is made to balance the collection in relation to the needs of the college.  Students and other members of the community are encouraged to recommend materials for acquisition by the library.  The library encourages the use of reviews from authoritative resources in the selection process.

When considering monographs for the library’s collection, the following points are evaluated:

  • usefulness of the book to the educational program
  • strength of existing holdings on the same or similar subject
  • comprehensiveness
  • scholarship of the author
  • timeliness or permanence of the work
  • accuracy of the information provided
  • quality of the writing
  • cost in relation to use or enhancement to the collection

Textbooks and manuals are not purchased or added to the collection unless they have earned a reputation as classics in their fields or are the only or best sources of information on a particular topic.

The policies regarding the selection of serials conform with the policies governing selection of all materials, i.e. the title is directly related to the educational program or of general interest to the community.

Among the criteria used to consider the selection of serial titles are:

  • full-text availability through electronic resources including the consideration of embargos imposed by the publisher and the availability of perpetual access
  • coverage of breadth and depth suitable to undergraduate study
  • strength of existing holdings on the same or similar subject
  • indexing and abstracting in resources available to library patrons
  • cost of ownership compared to cost of access of the material through interlibrary loan
  • quality of scholarship and editing

These criteria are also used to determine the continuation and retention of current subscriptions and serials backfile. 

Electronic Resources
The criteria used in the selection of electronic resources adhere to the same policies used in the selection of all library materials; in particular, the information provided by the resource should be directly related to the educational curriculum.

Among the criteria used to consider electronic resources are:

  • coverage of breadth and depth suitable to study at Randolph College
  • overlap with existing electronic resources
  • quality of indexing and abstracting provided by the resource
  • cost
  • availability through state and national cost-sharing consortia
  • reviews in reputable resources

These criteria are also used to determine the continuation of current subscriptions. 

Media materials conform to the same selection process as printed materials.  The library will only purchase physical DVDs in Region 1 and Region Free formats. Packages of on-demand streaming services will be obtained through those vendors authorized to license videos to academic libraries. 

Replacement of Missing Books
The library ordinarily waits four years before a missing or lost book is officially replaced or withdrawn.  The library recommends replacement of lost books and materials if:

  • the item is of a special nature and enhances the collection in a unique way.
  • the item is one volume in a set and the set itself is important to the collection.  If the set is determined to be of marginal value, the entire set is withdrawn.
  • the item is needed for Reserve.
  • gaps in the collection have been created by numerous missing items from a given discipline.

The deselection of titles from the collection is done by library faculty.  Systematic weeding with regard to duplicate copies, old editions, little used material, physical condition and obsolescence helps to maintain a useful and vital collection.  The purpose is to provide a collection suitable for an undergraduate curriculum and student body.


For additional information, please contact the Director of the Library.

Reconsideration Policy

Lipscomb Library curates collections that are appropriate for the curriculum at Randolph College and an adult audience.  An essential part of supporting intellectual freedom within our community includes providing access to materials, even if they may be controversial or offensive to some.  The library will not exclude materials because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

Once selected, library materials will only be removed upon review by Lipscomb Library faculty members.  Formal challenges to items in our collections will be handled on a case-by-case basis and may only be made by currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff of Randolph College.  Lipscomb Library reserves the right to make the final decision on the deselection or retention of all items within our collections.

Any challenges or complaints about items in the library's collections should be made to the Director of the Library, who will assess the validity of the challenge in light of the collection development policies and practices and will formally respond to the challenger.