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Winthrop University

Library Collection Development

A high-level overview of the ordering process, liaison roles, and collections policies.

Materials and Formats Collected: Overview

Materials are selected in the formats which best support each academic program; the library is committed to providing context-sensitive support for each program of study. Consideration is given to the needs of Winthrop’s faculty and student body. Electronic resources are desirable for off-site access for faculty course preparation and research, off-campus access for students, hybrid courses, and post-traditional students who are coordinating off-campus adult responsibilities with course and assignment schedules.

Materials Collected

Printed books form the traditional core of the scholarly monograph collection, augmented by a growing pool of scholarly ebooks acquired through subscriptions and evolving perpetual license purchasing models.

The Library avoids duplication of books, except in areas where heavy use necessitates additional copies.

Periodical literature is largely acquired in aggregate databases accessible to Winthrop users from on- and off-campus; print subscriptions provide access to current journals unavailable in databases.

The library avoids duplication of subscription titles in multiple formats, with two exceptions:

  1. Important journals’ full-text inclusion in online subscription databases is delayed owing to publisher embargo periods.
  2. Archival access for important newspapers prone to physical deterioration and for important journals.

Media are added when they provide unique support for instructional and curricular needs and the library owns the equipment needed to use the resources. Online streaming media are preferred as they can be embedded in course-related materials and offer equipment neutrality. 

Cartographic materials including maps, atlases, and globes are collected to the extent to which they support Winthrop’s curriculum.


The library collects college textbooks:

  1. When the textbooks are the only form of material available to present the needed subject matter.
  2. Current textbooks for Winthrop classes with at least 50 enrolled students. These purchases are kept on Textbook Reserve at the Information Commons.

Because textbooks rapidly go out of date, the library does not purchase textbooks except in the cases above, as funding permits.

Out of print materials

Although the Library’s focus on recently published materials reduces the need for out-of-print materials, several factors warrant out-of-print purchases:

  1. Publisher are trending toward continually smaller print runs. Smaller print runts accelerate the pace at which even recent materials go out of print, thereby increasing the need to find desired items in the out-of-print market.
  2. Replacement of classics lost or damaged beyond repair.
  3. Adding works of importance to support new academic areas as part of broader Library curricular support initiatives.