Library Policies

Collection Maintenance

Under development. Revised 3/24/08; 6/26/2017 ACRC


Books or other collection items that are lost, or that are damaged beyond repair, are not automatically replaced. A judgment will be made by a librarian as to whether the title's continuing value is sufficient to warrant replacing with another copy, or whether an alternative title should be acquired to cover the subject matter. If the title is out of print, efforts to obtain a second-hand copy may be made, depending on the assessment of continuing value and weighing also the effort involved and the price and condition of available copies.

In the case of lost periodical issues or volumes, replacement efforts are not undertaken routinely, due to the effort and potential cost involved, but may be pursued at the discretion of the Library Director. Opportunities to replace lost periodicals through gift or exchange may be utilized.

Preservation and Conservation

The library's Collection Management Services department maintains supplies, tools, and skills necessary to perform basic repairs on damaged or worn books and other materials. Glue-in binders may be installed in-house on pamphlet formats or very flimsy books and musical scores. The best care for books is to use them gently with clean hands. 

In the case of items in Special Collections, or items in other collections likely to be candidates for eventual transfer to Special Collections, long-term preservation and, in many instances, maintenance of the item's physical or historical integrity (for example, the desirability of preserving an original binding) will be the dominant consideration and may dictate a minimalist approach to short-term preservation.

Specialized and expensive conservation measures by outside experts will be undertaken only in rare cases for items of exceptional historical, monetary, or other value, restricted usually to Special Collections.

Regarding the de-selection of main collection items: The Whitworth Library houses a living collection of materials that support both the pedagogical teaching needs of our faculty--and thus the research needs of our students--as well as the innovative scholarly research needs of Whitworth faculty and students. Our team of professional faculty librarians actively engage in collection management and curate our holdings based on a variety of factors. Annually and rotating between subject areas, librarians assess physical holdings in the library, covering the full scope of the collection every five to ten years. During this process of collection management, librarians look for use of the item (including checkouts and browse-counts), persisting significance of the item, consideration of if we are the last holder of the item in our region, among other factors.  As a rule of thumb, if you as a patron wish to ensure the longevity of a physical book in our main collection, please check out the book and enjoy it with love and care.