F&M College Library

Collection Policies

Purpose of the Reference Collection

The primary purpose of the Reference Collection is to support the curriculum of F&M.

Responsibility for the Reference Collection

All librarians are responsible for developing, maintaining, and assessing the collection. Research Services is administratively responsible for overall management of the collection. 

Target Audience(s)

The primary users of the Reference Collection are F&M students, faculty, and staff.  Users who are not affiliated with the college are welcome to use the print reference collection.

Selection Criteria

General factors (in no particular order) to be considered when selecting materials for the reference collection include:

  1. Relevance to the curriculum
  2. Currency
  3. Uniqueness of coverage  [Priority is given to resources that contain a substantial amount of information that is not already present in the Reference Collection.]
  4. Appropriate intellectual level
  5. Authority of the author and/or publisher
  6. Accuracy
  7. Preferred language(s) [he preferred language for materials in the reference collection is English, with the exception of materials intended to assist in learning and using other languages taught at F&M.
  8. Costs: one-time or continuing.
  9. Positive reviews in standard reviewing sources
  10.  User/faculty/department requests as satisfy other criteria
  11. User-friendly format
  12. Format of source is appropriate to support the curriculum.  Exceptions may be made as requested by faculty and approved by the liaison librarian.   [Examples of formats not appropriate: directories, travel guides, test preparation guides, plot summaries, bibliographies for narrow topics, etc.]


The print Reference Collection is non-circulating, with the exception of faculty who are able to check-out reference volumes for a one-week circulation period.

Preferred Format

 IP authenticated access to online content is preferred.  However, the print format may be purchased if online access is unavailable, cost prohibitive, etc.

Purpose of the Reference Collection

The primary purpose of the Reference Collection is to support the curriculum of F&M. 

Budgeting and Funding

Research Services is administratively responsible for managing the reference budget line.

Selection Aids

The following resources are recommended for consultation to inform purchasing decisions.  Research Services will provide copies of reviews to liaison librarians.

  1. Booklist
  2. Library Journal
  3. Choice
  4. Charleston Advisor --launching a collaborative resource with Choice in 2017
  5. Resources for College Libraries  --we subscribe:  http://rclweb.net


Duplicate copies of selected print reference materials may be purchased to be placed in both library buildings, as necessary (e.g., style guides).

Maintenance, Assessment and Weeding

Research Services is administratively responsible for maintaining the Reference Collection.

Policy Review and Revision

The Reference Collection Development Policy will be reviewed every 3-5 years, and revised as necessary. Research Services has administrative responsibility this process.