chat loading...
Skip to Main Content

Library Policies

A guide outlining basic resource and usage policies for Musselman Library.

Collection Policy

Musselman Library Collection Policy

It is common practice for libraries to have a collection policy, to give guidance for tasks and decision making toward the curation of a library collection which supports Bluffton University’s undergraduate and graduate academic and co-curricular programs. All phases of collection development require careful attention to ensure the best use of Bluffton’s resources. The policy is both a management document – to help deal with what is in the collection now – and a development document – to look forward at what may come to join the collection in the future.

Musselman Library’s collections include a variety of physical and digital resources: books and monographs, ebooks, periodicals, audiovisual, and three-dimensional objects. Bluffton faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to suggest for purchase publications from their research, professional reading, and reviews. Bluffton University is part of two large consortia, the Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL) and OhioLINK, which offer the reciprocal borrowing of over 44 million items from more than 100 libraries in Ohio. Membership in these consortia is a consideration in collection development.

The document details acquisitions and retention guidelines for Musselman Library’s circulating, reference, periodical/serials, and target audience collections (e.g. Career and Vocation, Curriculum Resource, Juvenile, and Teaching & Learning collections). Archives & Special Collections has a separate, similar policy which governs the management of those materials.


When discerning whether to acquire a work (a book, ebook, periodical subscription, or other published resource) for the library’s collection, the following questions can be considered:

  • Does the work support one or more components of Bluffton University’s academic and/or co-curricular programs?
  • Is the purchase price appropriate for the type of work under consideration and does the price align with budgetary appropriations and priorities?
  • Does the work connect to Anabaptist/Mennonite history, literature, theology, and/or culture?
  • Does the work represent diverse voices on matters of civic, intellectual, and/or cultural importance to which our campus community should have ready access?
  • Would the acquisition of the work retain, enhance, or disrupt overall collection balance?

Materials may be added Musselman Library collections in several ways, including:

  1. Purchase.
    1. The library has a budget for purchasing materials for the collection.
    2. The library director is the chief purchasing agent.
  2. Internal transfer. The library may transfer materials internally between collections.
  3. External transfer. The library may receive materials via transfer from other institutions.
  4. Gift.
    1. Relevant donations of materials to Musselman Library are welcome.
    2. All donations are reviewed by the Library Director, who will evaluate them for suitability, physical state, size of the collection, stipulations of the gift, research potential, and overall compatibility with existing library collections.
    3. Gifted items which are determined to be incompatible with library collections may be returned to the donor if requested or may be disposed of via existing methods (see Retention).


The library director and/or staff may withdraw an item from the collection if the item:

  • No longer has relevance to the mission of Bluffton University
  • No longer has relevance to Bluffton University’s academic and/or co-curricular programs
  • Contains inaccurate, obsolete, or superseded information [Scholarly work of enduring value may be retained if it provides necessary perspective for more recent developments in the subject matter.]
  • Is worn, badly marked, or otherwise damaged in a way that compromises the productive usage of the item
  • Is a duplicate copy of print or electronic information already in the collection
  • Exists in a format which is no longer accessible
  • Is used rarely and/or has not circulated in the last decade or longer

Items withdrawn from library collections may be offered to other consortia libraries (particularly if the item represents the last remaining copy in OhioLINK), internally transferred (as above), sent to resale, donated, recycled, or discarded.