This policy has been developed to provide a framework for the development and maintenance of print, electronic, and media content acquired (owned) by or accessed (leased) through Dexter Library.  Collection development and management includes the selection of new materials as well as the ongoing review and deselection of its existing collections and resources. The immense amount of available materials coupled with increased book prices and processing costs make it necessary that the Library has a written collection development plan that stresses wise materials selection. Such a policy also provides a document in hand if a selection decision is challenged. This policy is reviewed by the Library Advisory Committee on a regular basis and is open to systematic revision.


Dexter Library exists to serve the Northland College community; the library directly serves college students, faculty, and staff in support of their education, research, and work at the College.  As members of this academic institution, they require access to a professionally maintained library collection.

The collection development policy provides guidelines for the selector and, as such, will be regularly reviewed and revised as necessary. 

Dexter Library supports the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read Statement.  (See Appendix A.)

Goals and objectives


  1. To develop a collection that supports and reflects the college’s curriculum and present needs and interests of its patrons and to anticipate those of the future. Library resources should serve both research and general needs of its primary users: undergraduates, faculty, and, staff.
  2. To acquire and make available library materials for general information in subject areas not covered in the curriculum.
  3. To provide for cost-effective acquisitions and retrieval of resources.


  1. To anticipate and fulfill the information and library acquisitions requirements of each of the library’s primary user groups by actively seeking out and maintaining communications with these groups.
  2. To be aware of resources in all formats in the various academic subject areas and to acquire these materials as economically as possible.
  3.  To develop and maintain bibliographical resources in collection development.


Authority for materials selection rests with the Library Director and those to whom such authority is delegated. Selection is the shared responsibility of the library’s professional staff and the College’s faculty. The College budgets money to the library as a line item to be spent specifically on the acquisition of library materials (print or non-print). This money is then re-allocated to the various academic programs and to the library general account. Faculty are urged to encumber their allocations in regular intervals throughout the year rather than wait until the deadline to get orders in in order to guarantee that the funds will be disbursed within the fiscal year. No orders for the current year are accepted after the annual expenditure deadline is set. Faculty will be notified of the spring deadline each fall term.

Criteria for selecting

Materials selection is primarily made using reviews in library publications, standard bibliographies, interlibrary loan requests, and faculty requests. The selection of library materials is based on important factors that determine the materials’ value to the collection. In no particular order, selection criteria are:

  • appropriateness to the undergraduate curriculum of Northland College
  • high standards of quality in content, format, and/or literary merit
  • availability of other materials on the subject
  • weakness of the collection in a particular subject area
  • language of publication
  • authoritativeness of information
  • critical acclaim
  • current demand or popularity
  • format
  • regional availability of the item via the Northern Waters Library Service member libraries and availability to borrow via interlibrary loan (ILL) from another LVIS (Libraries Very Interested in Sharing) library
  • price
  • timeliness or permanence of the material

Additional guidelines

Multiple Copies

In order to provide the broadest possible range of materials for the support of the curriculum, the library will not normally purchase multiple copies of books, serials, or audio-visual materials. Requests for multiple copies will be considered individually, according to present needs and the value of the resource as a part of the library’s permanent collection. When a decision is made to purchase multiple copies, the additional copies will be acquired in the most economical format available.


Dexter Library recognizes that most textbooks, workbooks, and accompanying materials are generally introductory in nature and tend to become quickly outdated. For that reason and in order to extend limited funds, the library does not acquire such materials; exceptions include the acquisition of textbooks that are considered to be classics of their field.


In general, when there is an option between paper or cloth, the library will acquire the paper edition, covering the book with a laminate if the cover is not a sturdy paper. In some areas
of the collection (GEs for example) or with some authors, cloth editions will be purchased even when paper is available.

Lost or Missing Items

Librarians review the lost or missing item list on a regular basis, making a decision to replace or withdraw the title based on the title, the book’s importance to the collection, and its availability, among other factors.


The library primarily acquires current materials. Used and out-of-print (OP) are ordered only where there is a demonstrated need, no other copy is available, and there are sufficient funds.


All materials purchased with funds from the library will be housed in the library. Faculty or programs wanting to have a copy available in a location other than the library are required to use their own funds to purchase titles.


Criteria for deselecting

Deselecting, or weeding, is the thoughtful deacquisition of library material. The criteria used for selection are applied to materials already in the collection to determine whether they have outlived their usefulness and should be removed from the collection. The process involves both classroom faculty and librarians, but most often will be initiated by a librarian. Faculty are consulted when a significant and systematic review of a subject area is undertaken. Faculty are encouraged at all times to review parts of the collection for which they have selection responsibilities, identifying for removal any titles they think are no longer relevant or appropriate to the collection. Specific parts of the collection are targeted annually for weeding, usually during the summer months when there is more time.

While weeding should be an ongoing activity, there will be times when either special attention is being given to the collection by individual faculty or a department, or space constraints become an impetus for reducing the size of the collection.

For weeding, the following criteria are to be used in combination and no one characteristic has complete dominance over the others.

  • volume has not circulated in past ten years (three for media)
  • volume is in poor physical condition (after considering whether it should be rebound or replaced?)
  • the library has a newer edition(s)
  • information is outdated, inaccurate
  • collection has number of more recent books on the same subject
  • author is not recognized as a significant individual in the field
  • material is no longer relevant to the curriculum, not likely to be used for course research

Note: Materials will not be removed simply because the language or perspective is no longer considered to be politically correct.

Formats and types of materials

The Library acquires and preserves materials in various formats: print, microform, videocassettes, DVD, electronic resources, and web-accessible materials. Acquisition of materials is not denied on basis of format alone.

The Library acquires non-print formats:

1. When non-print formats are the only formats available.

2. When non-print materials may be added in lieu of the printed form

  • at the request of faculty,
  • to save space,
  • to save costs, or
  • to expand remote access.

Selection and scope

The library seeks to provide seamless and easy access to information, whatever the format. Value-added elements of electronic resources, such as immediate access or the capability to reach a wider constituency, are considered in the acquisition of materials.

Types of materials acquired

Nonfiction Dexter Library’s goal is to develop a collection adequate in depth and scope to support the College’s curriculum and respond quickly to changes in the academic program. Nonfiction for general reading is also acquired.

Fiction Dexter Library acquires fiction titles to support the general and leisure reading needs of its patrons.

Foreign Language Materials Dexter Library acquires a minimal number of materials in languages other than English. Selection of foreign language titles is the responsibility of the faculty.

Juvenile Works Dexter Library collects a limited number of juvenile materials, primarily to support the College’s Teacher Education Program. Critically acclaimed juvenile titles are acquired, including winners and honor titles of the following book awards: Randolph Caldecott Medal, John Newberry Medal, Michael J. Printz Award.

Serials Dexter Library acquires serials (periodicals, annuals, standing orders, databases, monographic series) to support and strengthen all subject areas, with particular emphasis in programs with a high student enrollment, in direct support of the college’s environmental mission, and in areas not covered by the print collection (maps, for example). Specific guidelines for serials collection development are the responsibility of the Library’s professional staff.

Newspapers Dexter Library acquires a minimal number of local newspapers (Duluth News Tribune, The County Journal, and Ashland’s Daily Press) and two national papers: the Wall Street Journal, and The Christian Science Monitor. Many newspapers are now available online or through one of our online database providers.

Leisure Reading Dexter Library maintains a small collection for leisure reading. Selected titles cover a variety of subjects, which include popular novels, mysteries, and historical fiction.

Reference Materials Dexter Library maintains a separate collection of reference materials, such as encyclopedias and bibliographies, to provide ready information and to identify sources of additional information.


Appendix A

American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and Freedom to Read Statement

Dexter Library supports the tenets expressed in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights and its Freedom to Read Statement. The library also complies with Wisconsin statute 43.30, which sets forth state law in regard to the confidentiality of library records. (See also the library’s Statement on confidentiality of library records.)

Appendix B

Relationship of Dexter Library with other area libraries

Dexter Library is a member of WiLS (Wisconsin Library Services), OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), and WAICU (Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities). Although no formal relationship exists between Dexter Library and Northern Waters Library Service and its member libraries, cooperation between them is encouraged to facilitate meeting the needs of both patron groups. Dexter Library welcomes and encourages the use of the library by residents of the Chequamegon Bay region. (see also Dexter Library general use policy.)

Appendix C

Gift materials

  1. Gifts of books and other materials are accepted by the Library and are administered according to guidelines set forth in the Dexter’s Gift Book Policy. Upon acceptance of a donation, it is understood that there are no commitments as to the final disposition of the materials and that they are not necessarily added to the Library’s collection. The same criteria used for the selection of all other materials will be used in evaluating gift publications.
  2. Federal law prohibits Dexter Library staff from making an evaluation of any gift to the College for income tax purposes. This is the responsibility of the donor. Please see IRS Tax Topics publication 506, which describes the procedures for deductions to charitable contributions, the forms that need to be filed, and the need for qualified appraisal. See also the IRS publication, “Determining the Value of Donated Property.” Book collections are discussed under “Collections.”
  3. The Library has the right to decide whether or not a gift should be added to its collection. In general, gifts should be limited to what the Library can use. The following types of materials are generally be excluded: materials not meeting collection development policy criteria, out-of-date publications, duplicate copies, materials in poor physical condition (poor binding, dog-eared pages, written in or highlighted), and textbooks.
  4. Dexter Library welcomes gifts from individuals, but no specific collection will be established or set aside for such gifts.

Appendix D


Dexter Library complies with the provisions in the US Copyright Law and its amendments. The library supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law, which permits and protects individuals’ rights to reproduce and make other use of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.  (See also Dexter Library Interlibrary Loan Policy.)