In keeping with the Christian, Catholic, Benedictine and liberal arts character of the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University, education at both institutions is value-oriented. Students are challenged in the course of their studies to confront a broad range of human issues through open and honest dialogue and to formulate their own responses.
In this context it is a particular concern of the libraries to foster the habit of responsible inquiry. The libraries, therefore, provide materials which present the full spectrum of opinion on current and past issues.
Two goals guide the selection of materials for the libraries.
In meeting both goals, the emphasis is on the selection of materials which are of high quality.
It is important to recognize that the availability of materials in the libraries does not necessarily represent an endorsement by either institution or by the library staff of the ideas or opinions they contain.
This policy is intended to help librarians collaborating with faculty to work towards defined goals in shaping the library’s collections, making use of the limited funds with wisdom. It is also intended to inform the community, including administrators, library users, and the general public as to the scope and nature of existing collections and the plan for its continuing evolution. It is a document that should be reviewed regularly and updated accordingly to reflect the current policies relating to collection development in the libraries.
The libraries serve a cooperative partnership of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University at the undergraduate level, the School of Theology and Seminary at the graduate level, and are also used by affiliated collocated programs and centers of learning. Both primary institutions have missions, visions, and commitments or values statements which define our raison d'être. All of the work done in developing our library collections must ultimately reflect back upon these parent institutions.
We exist in the community founded by Benedictines in the middle of the 19th century. Although the monastic communities are now administratively distinct, they share our library collections and services and inspire the intellectual and spiritual life of the community.
The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (“HMML”) is a separately funded and administered library at Saint John’s University. It operates in cooperation with Alcuin and Clemens Libraries. Materials in HMML are available to faculty, staff and all visitors to campus, although many materials are only available for use on-site (“reference”). HMML holds over 90,000 manuscript facsimiles on microfilm, about 45,000 manuscript facsimiles in digital format, and about 20,000 reference works. Materials acquired for the reference collection are intended to support the use of the manuscript facsimiles. HMML also administers the rare book and manuscript collections at Saint John’s University.
The library administers the institutional repository called Digital [email protected]/SJU that is hosted by BE Press. Through this project the library curates and showcases locally created scholarly and creative works that reflect the intellectual and cultural life of our institutions. It also serves as a way to share video recordings of important events and speakers who come to campus.
We partner with the CSB/SJU academic community and other libraries to support the curriculum and further the institutional missions. Through our facilities and services we enhance learning, teaching, scholarship, and creativity within our Benedictine communities.
The information environment in which we operate has been shifting rapidly since the invention of the Internet, and some of the role that libraries provided in the past has been superseded by the use of freely available online information sources. Suffice it to be simply stated that we acknowledge this to be the case, and that unlike our forebears before us who maintained the collection without the context of the Internet, we must look at our holdings in light of the existence of a global network of incredible complexity and richness. However, this free Internet is not a complete picture of the information landscape in an academic environment. We proceed under the conviction that a rich liberal arts experience requires combining judicious use of both the freely available and library-provided resources. Some of these resources will be directly available in print and locally housed in the library. Others are electronic databases or subscriptions that are licensed on behalf of the members of the institutions. Beyond the locally available print and electronic resources available to our users, we obtain additional materials from partner libraries in one of the many library networks with whom we cooperate.
We operate two physical libraries and one joint library service that serves the students, faculty and staff of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University. This trinity of users make up our primary clientele. We also serve affiliated guests and collocated programs and centers of learning in an on-site environment, but this does not extend to remote access to licensed databases.
The main emphasis of our collections and library services more broadly is on student learning, although as a secondary effort we support the research of faculty as we are capable given our financial limitations. The use of Interlibrary Loan in particular is most often used for the support of faculty research beyond what our local collections can provide.
The library follows the intellectual freedom guidelines as articulated by the American Library Association (see Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries ). Our institutions come from a Catholic and Benedictine liberal arts background, and the library attempts to develop and provide access to a collection of materials representing a diversity of views. Indeed it is often the analysis that occurs within this diversity of views which forms the crucible to generate knowledge in a liberal arts experience.
In the event that somebody has an objection to library materials, this complaint may be reported to the Collection Development Librarian by telephone, email, or in a personal conversation. The Collection Development Librarian will work to determine the nature of the selection process for the item in question and attempt to resolve the issue, however the material will remain available on the shelf until a final determination has been made by the Collection Development Librarian or Library Director, if necessary.
No library is an island, and in the 21st century as in the 20th it is impossible for any library to have all the materials wanted by its users. We support the principles of cooperative collection development in which libraries work together to attain together what is impossible individually. There are several networks that we partner with to achieve this outcome.
Collection development responsibilities extend from the Collection Development Librarian to the Library Liaisons to particular departments out to Library Representatives in the departments, and ultimately out to all of the faculty, staff and students in our organization, all of whom may recommend purchases of materials.
We adopt primarily a departmental approach to satisfying needs, as often the requirements of one discipline differ from those of others. Therefore a Library Liaison (a professional librarian) has been assigned to each academic department. This Library Liaison’s responsibilities are to ensure that the needs of the department are heard inside the library, and that requests are channeled to the Collection Development Librarian appropriately. Likewise, the Library Liaisons communicate out to the departments when matters of interest to them need to be shared.
From the departmental perspective, the chair may nominate a Library Representative to be the key point of contact with the library, or the chair may fill this role.
All materials added to the library whether print or electronic ought to support the curriculum or otherwise engage the primary clientele in a meaningful way that contributes to the intellectual, spiritual, or cultural development or enrichment of the community member.
The primary language of instruction is English, and most materials will be expected to be in English, with the exception being made in the case of languages taught here and in the area of theology.
The general audience is that of an adult learner, and with the exception of the Juvenile/Young Adult collections at Clemens Library, materials will be aimed at adults.
Under normal circumstances, highly specialized research-level materials outside of theology will only selectively be added if related to the curriculum.
Classroom materials such as textbooks and workbooks are not generally added to the library collection, as they are expensive, frequently updated, and maintaining such a collection would not be sustainable or even necessary as students are expected to buy or lease the necessary textbooks for their courses. The exception to this would be textbooks donated or written by faculty members, or in other special circumstances.
For the purposes of clarity there are several categories of material selection criteria which reflect the differing situations according to type of material. These are: Books (print and electronic), Theology, Subscriptions, and Reference Materials. Though there can be overlap and particular items could occupy multiple categories, these are the primary distinctions drawn up in this policy.
Note that depending on intended use, a print or electronic book may be selected. We collect primarily in print format for firm orders of books, although this might evolve according to local reading preferences, availability from vendors, and acceptability of licensing terms.
The following will be considered in the selection of books:
The books we buy are typically used to support the undergraduate study level. To a lesser extent we may buy some books to support faculty and student research, although Interlibrary Loan should be the recognized means by which we support low-demand areas.
The library supports initiatives which foster long-term sustainable approaches to eBooks in academic libraries. We signed onto the Macalester College “E-Book Rights Advocacy” document, and support the Oberlin Group Statement on Ebooks & Libraries.
The library had traditionally received monies from the Saint John’s Abbey for purchase of titles of interest to Benedictine heritage. Now that these funds are no longer available, the library must allocate money towards maintaining this special focus central to our institutional identity.
The library supports efforts to create open access to scholarly information, and to the extent that it is able will encourage our faculty to do so as well.
The following are possible criteria used to identify books that ought to be housed in a rare book collection:
The library seeks to own any book by any author affiliated with either College of Saint Benedict or Saint John’s University, and especially faculty publications.
The library generally purchases one copy of academic works, in order to stretch our budget further. With our rapid (daily) delivery between campuses, this has become a practical way to blend two collections without total duplication of materials. There are a few notable exceptions to this duplication rule:
Theology has always been a primary focus of collections at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, due to the Catholic, Benedictine nature of the institutions, and the existence of the School of Theology and Seminary at Saint John’s University. We also support an undergraduate population which has two theology classes as part of the required curriculum, as well as a theology major/minor.
Therefore, unlike in all other academic areas, in the area of theology we operate as more of a research library. We define research level to include all the important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs as well as an extensive collections of journals and indexing and abstracting services. Traditionally, we have collected the following areas at a research level:
Additionally, there are several areas in which we have collected materials at an advanced study level, appropriate for graduate and advanced undergraduate course work. This level includes a selection from currently published basic monographs both current and retrospective, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, representative journals, and and the reference tools and indexing/abstracting necessary to study at this level. We have collected the following areas at this advanced study level:
In many ways the standard paradigm of collection development based upon a “buy it just in case” philosophy is unsustainable for the 21st century. The needs of the modern scholar are different than they were years ago. We have now a wide availability of online sources, the ability to rapidly fill Interlibrary Loan requests, and the explosion of publishing in multiple forms combined with inflation and declining budgets. This confluence of factors has rendered this approach less than practical, and certainly unaffordable.
The primary direction our collection must evolve in the coming years is to develop an ability to directly respond to user needs, and a “just in time” delivery model is to be incorporated to supplement our historical “just in case” paradigm. The library has experimented with ebrary and JSTOR for demand-driven acquisition of eBooks, but we should be open to exploring alternatives for demand-driven purchase of print as well. One such way that we have already implemented includes a “purchase on demand” through Interlibrary Loan, by which books matching certain criteria are purchased rather than borrowed from other libraries.
This section provides a usable framework to inform decisions regarding subscriptions to databases, journals, and other licensed information sources provided by the Library. Although there are a variety of types of resources that fall under the general term “subscriptions” they are similar enough to warrant a general adherence to the principles described below.
This section provides an overview of how the library’s print and electronic reference collections are managed and developed. The document outlines general responsibilities of library staff.
The mission of the library is “to support the curriculum and further the missions of our institution. Through our facilities, collections and services we enhance learning, teaching, scholarship, and creativity within our Benedictine communities.” (Library Mission Statement, 2012) The reference collection must enhance and engage our students in their learning activities either at the undergraduate college or in the graduate school.
We define reference materials to include informational tools that are consulted in the research process, but not the primary sources used in scholarship (such as books and journals, which are more likely to be read from beginning to end).
The factors to be taken into account when selecting materials for the reference collection include:
Generally, reference materials will be collected in English, except where appropriate to support the specific needs of departments instructing in other languages, such as:
Responsibility for selection of library reference materials rests primarily with the liaison librarians assigned to serve specific departments, in consultation with both faculty and the collection development librarian. Additional selection may be done by the collection development librarian for materials of interdisciplinary interest, or in areas where there is no assigned subject liaison.
Due to the uniqueness of the two-campus arrangement, electronic reference materials are generally preferred to print, to ensure the widest possible access. Additionally, electronic resources provide support to the large numbers of students active in study abroad programs. Efforts should be made to enhance discovery and usability of the reference collection, given available technologies. Exceptional cases, where print is the only option, or where cost is prohibitive, may lead to instances of print being selected, however this should be fairly rare, except for in the case of theology, where we are developing comprehensively.
Library materials may become damaged. Damaged materials will be reviewed by the Collection Development Librarian for further action. Criteria to consider may include: usage stats or expected demand, uniqueness and appropriateness of the material to the collection, and scarcity of the item. Materials may either be replaced, withdrawn, or repaired. Repaired books may be done in-house or sent to a bindery.
The library collections are evaluated on a regular basis, subject area by subject area. In the process of these evaluations, some materials will be withdrawn. The withdrawn materials may be offered for sale, either to book dealers, to the general public, or to a 3rd party such as Better World Books. Under no circumstances will library materials be withdrawn and sold apart from the formal collection evaluation process.
The following is our joint library weeding policy for the monograph collections in our libraries. In order to make room for new acquisitions and to keep our collections current, worn-out and dated materials are removed from the collections of the joint libraries on a regular basis.
Short descriptions of each distinct print collection illuminate the diversity of the library’s holdings.
The main collections at both Clemens and Alcuin are large, reflecting an inclusive view of the liberal arts, i.e., the notion that library users from a variety of disciplines generally want a browseable single stream of materials arranged by subject. Therefore, unless given a very good reason to do otherwise, books normally find their way into the main collections at each library as opposed to being added to a different collection of materials.
Alcuin has approximately 300,000 titles in its main collection, and Clemens almost 170,000. Differences that are related to discipline should be noted: at Clemens we generally consolidate the subjects of nursing, nutrition, chemistry, and women’s studies, while at Alcuin we consolidate computer science and biology, and maintain theology at a graduate level.
The three collections comprise approximately 11,000 print titles, of which about 5000 are in Arca Artium, about 5,000 are in Saint John’s Rare Books and about 500 are in the HMML Rare Book Collection. Each collection also includes several manuscripts. The Arca Artium collection also holds about 6,000 to 7,000 works of art, as well as a reference collection of about 15,000-20,000 volumes.
Musical scores, while having a virtual “collection” in our library ILS are in practice interfiled with the main collections at both Alcuin and the BAC Music Library.
This collection of children’s books at Clemens Library is maintained primarily to support the Education Department’s instructional program. A secondary use of the collection is for children of faculty and staff, as well as community members. In 2012 we began using Junior Library Guild as an approval plan for selected types of books, and this is augmented by selections of award-winning books as well as other materials which fit our goals to support an elementary education teacher education program.
This collection was created to maintain materials of interest to upper middle school and high school students, as well as college students interested in (primarily) fiction for young people. It is fairly selective and does not maintain young adult fiction at the level of a public library, for example, but is also using a combination of Junior Library Guild, award-winning book selections, and review- and recommendation-based growth.
The library owns some government documents from its many years as a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program. This collection is maintained in support of the curriculum and is integrated into the regular collection.
Media Services maintains a growing DVD and a legacy VHS collection. While not growing as fast as in previous years, DVDs represent a cost-effective way for the library to share both educational film and entertainment with the community it serves. This collection largely grows through requests by our students, faculty, and staff.
The library maintains a collection of CDs as well as a legacy LP collection. As in movies, with the advent of streaming music, the growth of this collection has slowed, but it represents a cost-effective way to maintain an intentional and targeted collection of recordings for use primarily by our music program.
While Clemens Library largely removed the print reference collection, Alcuin still maintains a small set of reference books in print. Primarily used by theology students, there are a number of other frequently consulted materials such as style manuals and dictionaries/encyclopedias which are available for in-house use only.
The print periodical collections have experienced dramatic changes in the past decades, including the removal of many titles available online in archive sites such as JSTOR. That said, both Clemens and Alcuin house a fairly substantial run of back issues of many printed journals and magazines, as well as microfilm/microfiche in selected titles. At Clemens there is an integrated back-file, but at Alcuin the back-files are split between 1985-current and pre-1985. The current plan is to integrate these files and have one stream of periodicals, but to maintain two separate reading rooms for current general interest titles and theology.
Since we no longer generally purchase microfilm of any format, print is the preferred non-digital way of archiving important materials, and so these legacy collections should be maintained as long as they support learning and research, or in cases where they represent an important part of our cultural heritage and identity as Catholic, Benedictine institutions.
Alcuin has maintained a separate collection of materials, largely current popular fiction, but with some nonfiction mixed in. This collection represents the current five years, and materials which are older are evaluated on the basis of use and other merit to determine whether they should be moved to the main collection or sold after they exceed five years old.
The artists’ book collection will support the present and anticipated instructional and research needs of the College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University. The collection will reach across disciplines and serve a broad range of interests. As such, the collection will represent artists’ books and their historical development.
Primary areas for the collection include artists’ books from the 20th century that are significant based on the artist or publisher. The collection will consist of books that represent artists from the 20th Century, but every effort will be made to collect the books of highest quality. The collection will include a range of types of artists’ books including fine press books, one-of-a-kind artists’ books, avant-garde books, conceptual art, photographic volumes, limited editions, handmade papers, among others. Where possible, facsimiles or rare books prior to the 20th century will be collected to complement the teaching aspect of the collection.
The CSB Artists’ book collection will include work appropriate to undergraduate students and basic faculty research.
No geographical area will be excluded from the collection; however, particularly St. Joseph, Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota and the United States as a whole will be important for collection purposes.
Chronological periods covered will primarily consist of the 20 and 21st century.
Special subject and other emphases:
Artists’ books by women and books dealing with issues related to gender will serves as an important component to the collection.
Books that are created by artists who have some connection to the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University or the surrounding area will likewise be an important part of the collection.
Artists’ books that have been commissioned by the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University will be collected extensively. Artists’ books commissioned by Gray Wolf Press or fine press books sponsored by or supported by Gray Wolf Press will be collected extensively. Other possible books published by Gray Wolf Press that might be appropriate to this collection will be collected selectively.
Types of Collections:
The collection will include artists’ books of all types: unique bindings, limited editions and unique artists’ books, among others.
Trade books and reference books, museum catalogs and other monographs will not be collected as part of this special collection.
The Archives of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University collect, preserve and make available materials that illustrate the history, activities, programs and culture of the institutions [including SJP, HMML and the Collegeville Institute] which have enduring and significant historical or research value. These materials, which may be print or digital, include the records of administrative offices, academic departments, faculty, administrative and student committees, and faculty and student clubs; institutional and student publications; images (photographs, slides, and audiovisual materials); and memorabilia and other ephemeral materials.
Types of records include: Policy statements and decisions, accreditation reports and supporting documentation, annual budget and audit reports, agenda and minutes of meetings, annual reports, committee and task force reports, subject files concerning projects, statistical summaries, press releases, correspondence and memoranda, and materials created in the process of the institutions’ carrying out their mission.
The Library/Media Center at the Prep School contains a collection of books which may be requested by patrons of CSB/SJU using a book form on the web site. Their collection is cataloged in WorldCat.
This collection will serve as a complement to the rare books collection of St. John’s University which includes illuminated books and manuscripts, books on book illustration, binding, printing and books on the history of printing.
The University of Minnesota maintains a large off-site storage area for books called MLAC, and CSB/SJU has given approximately 50,000 volumes to this space. When requests are made for materials housed in MLAC we retrieve the item and then it is cataloged in our library. So materials requested once are returned to Alcuin or Clemens.
The Institutional Repository of our community functions as a showcase and warehouse for locally created scholarly and creative works. Included currently are book galleries, publications series, lectures series, and a few specific journals. The intent is for current students, faculty, and staff to be able to contribute their works and share them on the global stage.