Acquisitions Policies

Collection Development Policies

The A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center (SLC) supports the mission and goals of Southwestern University primarily by providing a balanced, accessible library collection to meet the research and reading needs of the university’s undergraduate students and to support the teaching preparation of the university’s faculty.

The collection also contributes to the general education and broad intellectual interests of students with core works that represent the best of current and historical thought and writing.


  • The Library prioritizes the acquisition of:

    • Materials needed to support current undergraduate research and study.
    • Materials that support faculty in the preparation of lectures and other teaching activities.
    • Standard reference works and other quality materials of importance to the core collection of any undergraduate liberal arts and sciences library.
    • Materials that encourage wider intellectual exploration and a love of reading.

    High-quality interlibrary borrowing and document delivery services and TexShare privileges are the primary routes the library provides for faculty and others whose information needs include more specialized materials.

  • Main Collection

    Includes books, video, and audio recordings that support the curriculum and the intellectual curiosity of our students, faculty, and staff. 

    Digital Collection

    The library’s digital collections are important and growing. Ebooks,  online journals, reference sources, streaming video and audio, and bibliographic databases are accessible via the library’s website.

    Reserve Collection

    Located at the InfoDesk, this collection is composed of library materials, professors’ own copies of books, and photocopied articles and audiovisual materials set aside for short lending periods to maximize availability and accessibility. 

    Reference Collection

    These works support specific academic programs of the university or that are core titles in any undergraduate liberal arts and sciences university collection are purchased in print or digital formats, as appropriate.

    Periodicals Collection

    Periodicals and Journals support the academic program of the university. Selection is based on appropriateness for undergraduate use, cost, availability, language, intellectual value, academic need, availability of indexing, and format.


    The library has a small collection of single-sheet maps located in Special Collections. A representative collection of general and specialized atlases is kept in Reference.

    Alcove Collections

    The library’s five special study alcoves are all furnished with subject collections designed to invite further exploration.

    • The Melville Alcove includes works by and about Herman Melville as well as works of his contemporaries.
    • The Dobie Alcove includes works by and about J. Frank and Bertha Dobie.
    • The Enduring Legacies Alcove serves to showcase a few of the library’s most generous donors and their gifts to Special Collections.
    • The Women’s Studies Alcove collection includes works by and about women, with most titles recommended by university Feminist Studies faculty.
    • The Lynne Brody/Writer’s Voice Alcove highlights the work of Southwestern faculty authors.

    Curriculum Collection and Children’s Literature Collection

    The Curriculum Collection includes materials to support coursework and practice teaching of the Education Department. The Children’s Literature Collection also supports the academic program of the Education Department.

    Special Collections and Archives

    The Special Collections Department holds a number of large collections, including

    • the Edward A. Clark Texana Collection
    • the papers of Senator John Tower 
    • the J. Frank Dobie Collection
    • the Brown Collection
    • the Jackson-Greenwood Collection

    There are also many works related to Methodism as well as numerous Bibles and hymnals. Materials for Special Collections include rare books, manuscripts, photographs, artifacts, and the papers and memorabilia of prominent individuals who are related to the university or that enhance existing collection strengths.

    Special Collections also houses:

    • University historical records
    • University catalogs and publications
    • Student yearbooks
    • Photographs
    • Student publications
    • Records of early literary societies.
    • Papers and memorabilia of some past university administrators and professors.
    • Zines
    • Comics
    • The archives of the Alpha Chi Honorary Society, which was founded at Southwestern University.
  • Donation of Rare Books and Archival Materials

    Special Collections houses the University archives, developed entirely by deposit or donation. 

    Special Collections is interested in acquiring:

    • special and rare materials in Texana
    • early British and American literature

    Donors wishing to give the library rare or archival materials should contact Megan Firestone, Head of Special Collections and Archives, at firestom@southwestern.edu.

    I have a lot of books/videos/materials I’d like to donate to the library. Will you take them?

    At this time, the library is not accepting other donations (such as books, CDs, DVDs, or newspaper, magazine, or journal issues). 

    Donation of Alumni-Authored Books

    Books authored by SU alumni should be donated to the alumni collection maintained in the Schrum Alumni Center. To donate, alumni authors should contact the Office of University Relations-Alumni and Parents
 at 512.863.1410
 or alumni@southwestern.edu.


    Gifts, once accepted, become the property of the university and subject to library policies as they change over time. Potential donors must know that this includes the possibility of disposal by gift or exchange with other libraries, by sale, or by any other appropriate means, including recycling as a last resort.

  • The library gratefully accepts donations of funds at any time.

    Building a quality library collection is expensive. For example, a standard printed academic book costs about $40, and annual database fees range anywhere from $600 to $20,000.

    The Library currently has an extensive wishlist of titles identified by faculty, librarians and students as essential to the undergraduate curriculum.

    The most efficient and direct way you can help with student and faculty research is to:

    make a financial donation in any amount

    Please select “Library Acquisitions Fund” from the Campus Needs and Organizations pull-down menu on the form.

    Your donation will allow the Southwestern librarians to immediately purchase the materials most needed by our students and faculty members.

    Donating Specific Titles

    If you would like to donate a specific title from the wishlist, please contact Amy Anderson at andersoa@southwestern.edu or 512-863-1639.

    Large Gifts

    Individuals considering larger gifts or naming the library as a beneficiary in their estate planning should contact Susan Stubbs at susan.stubbs@southwestern.edu or 512-863-1211.

  • In all collection development decisions, the principles of intellectual freedom are upheld.

    All subjects that are appropriate to the collection are treated without prejudice or censorship, and varied points of view are included to the greatest extent possible.

    Collections are developed within the limits of collection purpose, budget, and space constraints.

  • Librarians and teaching faculty select many of the print and audiovisual materials that the library acquires. Students are strongly encouraged to request materials be added to the library’s collections through the Get It! page. 

    Faculty are encouraged to consult with the library’s liaison for their department or the Director of Library Resources when questions arise.

    Electronic resources are selected by librarians in consultation with faculty.

    Faculty members are asked to notify the library when their own publications are available and one copy is generally acquired.