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Principle 5: Collections

5. Libraries provide access to collections sufficient in quality, depth, diversity, format, and currency to support the research and teaching mission of the institution.

5.1 The Library provides access to collections aligned with areas of research, curricular foci, or institutional strengths
5.2 The Library provides collections that incorporate resources in a variety of formats, accessible virtually and physically
5.3 The Library builds and ensures access to unique materials, including digital collections
5.4 The Library has the infrastructure to collect, organize, provide access to, disseminate, and preserve collections needed by users
5.5 The Library educates users on issues related to economic and sustainable models of scholarly communication
5.6 The Library ensures long-term access to the scholarly and cultural record


The Library has made concerted efforts to provide the best collections possible to support the research and teaching mission of Bloomsburg University, and the Library personnel are generally pleased with the results of these efforts. Library faculty continue to work closely with subject faculty to create accurate profiles that guide the acquisition of books through the Library’s approval plan and to acquire additional materials using designated departmental funds; these collaborations, in addition to Library faculty subject expertise, ensure that the Library’s collections are aligned with the curricular focus of the institution. Although always a work in progress, access to unique materials in the University’s Archives and Special Collections has improved over the review period, largely due to the digitization of a number of unique materials. Currently there is a good representation of archival materials freely available online, as well as good access to physical materials in this collection that are valuable to University public relations, many alumni, and those with regional research interests.   


The Library provides access to Library collections in a variety of print and electronic formats to students, faculty, and all members of the BU community, and this access has been maintained over the review period.  The majority of the Library’s resources can be accessed anywhere and used by students both on and off campus.  


The Library’s infrastructure that supports its ability to collect, organize, provide access to, disseminate, and preserve collections, is sometimes challenged but generally sufficient.  Library personnel have engaged in workflow experiments that have resulted in some improvements and will continue to try out ways to make collections available.  The current approval plan works well, and Library personnel will continue to monitor it for significant changes in the curriculum. Library personnel have made efforts to educate students and subject faculty regarding sustainable scholarly communication and fair use.  Students, faculty, and administrators have a greater understanding of the impact of publishing costs.  Subject faculty chose Open Educational Resources (OER), saving more than $240,000 for students in 2019. 


The Library has worked to maintain long-term access to a variety of materials through the digitization of materials in Archives and Special Collections, through attention to license agreements for electronic resources, and through preserving physical materials. 


Overall, the Library is proud of the accomplishments it has made during this review period and will continue to work towards balanced, well-organized Library collections that are aligned with the University curricula, and that can be easily accessed by students in physical or online environments.  

5.1 Collections Align with Reserach, Curricular Foci, or Institutional Strengths

5.1 The Library provides access to collections aligned with areas of research, curricular foci, or institutional strengths.


Most of the collections budget goes to subscriptions (databases of journals, articles, media, ebooks) with limited funds going to one-time purchases.  Most materials are in electronic form.  In a given year subscriptions are about 90% or more of the collections budget. 



The majority of book titles added to the Library’s collections are acquired through an approval plan and e-book database subscriptions.  Each department participated in developing a profile with their Library liaison and the Library’s primary book vendor that, based on agreed-upon criteria in their profile, delivers weekly notices of newly-published titles.  Led by the Coordinator of Collection Development, the Library works with subject faculty to adjust the profile as the respective curricula demand.  That is, if a new minor is offered by a department, the profile can be adjusted, if funds allow, to include subjects in support of a new minor. 

Furthermore, the Library utilizes an allocation formula for “firm orders,” which assigns funds for faculty-requested book and media purchases proportionately to each University department and program offering at least a minor, as well as other selected programs such as Gender Studies and Academic Enrichment.  The formula is based on weightings for the following criteria: number of enrolled students, majors and graduate majors, average book cost in the discipline, and number of faculty in the department.  Over time the allocations are adjusted according to previous buying patterns and anticipated needs.  Spending decisions are made with the students’ study and research needs having priority because Bloomsburg University is principally a teaching institution.  

Librarians have been responsive to faculty suggestions for new information resources, especially streaming video, to support new programs and courses.  For example, some newly acquired resources include AVON (streaming video replacing Films on Demand), SWANK (streaming video), Kanopy (streaming video), Primal Pictures: Communications Disorders Package, and WestLaw (replacing NexisUni).  The last two databases were acquired largely due to input from faculty in their respective areas who are using the programs in their curriculum. 

As part of keeping the collection aligned with curricular foci and areas of research, the Library faculty review the general and reference collections as they are able.  Bound journal volumes will continue to be deselected as owned/perpetual access online content becomes available. Selected areas, including nursing and computer science, in the print collection have been reviewed as well.  Green Glass, a collection review software, was used to identify areas of growth and need.  The Government Documents Coordinator continues a thorough de-selection process, involving subject faculty and Library faculty.  

The Library acquires materials for several specialty collections, including Juvenile, Curriculum, Reference, the University and Special Collections, and Government Documents. 

The Library provides two specialized collections primarily for students who are training to become teachers. The Juvenile Collection provides a large number of fiction and nonfiction books written for children and young adults. The Curriculum Collection provides future teachers with practical, hands-on teaching materials that include educational methodology books, K-12 textbooks with teacher’s editions, curriculum guides, ‘big books’ for shared reading, educational kits, and software.  The Juvenile and Curriculum Collections have grown due to increased budget and use of more diverse vendors. 

The Reference Collection includes resources for topic selection, time series data, summary information, reference fact-finding, etc. The physical collection has remained approximately the same size as it did at the end of the last 5-year review, with periodic withdrawals and additions.  The Research librarians have, generally, prioritized gaining online reference titles over physical editions. 

The University Archives serves as a depository for all records of historical value relating to the history of Bloomsburg University. Material in the Archives consists of non-current University records, regardless of medium, generated by University officials, faculty, staff, and students in conducting the business of the institution. This material includes office files, minutes, photographs, films, correspondence, artifacts, and memorabilia, publications, scrapbooks, blueprints, oral history tapes, and manuscript collections.  The Harvey A. Andruss Library Special Collections at Bloomsburg University consists of books that are set aside for a number of reasons, such as early imprint date, uniqueness or scarcity, local value or interest, or relationship to existing collections; books relating to art exhibitions, covered bridges, and juvenile award winners; as well as unique materials, including radical labor publications, photographs of the local trolley system, the records of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Revolutionary War diaries, and photographic negatives from the Morning Press newspaper, a predecessor of the contemporary local newspaper. 

Andruss Library is both a Federal Depository Library Program Library and a Pennsylvania State Documents Depository Library, curating both print and online government documents.  Like the Reference Collection, online Government Documents are prioritized over physical copies.  The Government Documents Collection is actively promoted, and is primarily used by the departments of Political Science, History and Environmental, Geographical, & Geological Sciences. 



While a library can never have all of the resources necessary to fill every educational and research need, students, faculty, and other patrons have had access during this review period to collections sufficient to support their educational and research needs.  For needs that go beyond local holdings, researchers turn to Interlibrary Loan.  

For the first four years of this review period, the funds allocated for firm orders and approval books have been appropriate and sufficient; slight adjustments have accommodated increased demand in some areas and lessening demand in others.  While the high cost of many subscription resources (journals and databases) has made budgeting challenging, students and other patrons have had access to a satisfactory collection as a result of two extensive reviews/cancellations of subscriptions, plus additional University Technology Fee monies for the first four years of this review period, and continued cost-savings through the KLN and PALCI library consortia. The Library collects requests from faculty for new long-term subscription access to article indexes, journals, and other information sources.  These requests have been reviewed annually, with student research and study needs in mind and with resources added as funding allows. Students and other patrons hold Interlibrary Loan in high regard and use it to meet their more specialized needs. Each year there is a review of the materials budget, with an eye to budget constraints and curricular needs.  In light of the recent significant budget constraints and the potential absence of Technology Fees monies for spring 2020 onward, the Director and Library faculty continue an in-depth review of journal and database subscriptions to cover the budget shortfalls anticipated for academic years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and beyond. The Provost and other University administrators are exploring a budget model that may prove more sustainable. 

Students, student teachers, and community members use the Juvenile collection frequently. Future and current teachers rely heavily on the Curriculum collection to help them create lesson plans for their assignments and to enhance their student teaching experiences.  Students’ needs for a variety of media, including kits and manipulatives, are met with satisfaction. 

Campus patrons, including administration, Marketing & Communication Advancement, Alumni Relations, students, alumni, and community residents are regular users of the University Archives.  Students and professors in a broad range of disciplines, especially History, use Special Collections regularly. 

5.2 Collections Incorporate Resources in Varying Formats

5.2 The Library provides collections that incorporate resources in a variety of formats, accessible virtually and physically.


The Library acquires materials in formats appropriate to the subject matter and mode of study, and within its means. The Library holds over 376,000 physical titles (379,000 in 2015), and over 484,000 volumes of books (476,000 in 2015), bound journals, and print government documents; over 2,000,000 items in microform; and 613,556 digital titles, including ebooks, (owned and subscription), digital documents (mainly primary source documents), and online Government Document (excluding subscription serials). The Library provides access to over 86,290 electronic journals through subscriptions to individual journals, journal packages, and aggregator databases; of these, 9,487 are for individual journal subscriptions and journal packages. The Library also provides access to over 28,000 streaming videos. 

For ease of searching and remote accessibility for all students and professors, the Library has been invested for many years in online access to electronic collections of journals, books, and media and to indexing/abstracting databases. Major article indexes are online, with a selection of print historical indexes retained.  The Library provides standard academic e-journal collections, such as JSTOR. The great majority of subscribed journals are online. From the last Departmental review in 2015, the Library’s accessible ebook collections have grown from 258,000 titles in subscription collections, two patron-driven acquisition collections, and various owned subject collections to over 374,000, including Evans Early American Imprints and Afro-Americana Imprints, and individual e-titles.  Over the last five years, the Government Documents Coordinator has continued to receive most government publications electronically.  

The Library continues to acquire print and other analog media materials for their ease of use and storage, familiarity, and comparatively low cost.  The Library retains well-used, unique, and exclusively print resources, for which there are no online counterparts, since many scholarly works are only published in print.   

Articles from print or microform journals, chapters from print books, and analog media can be requested via Library’s Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery service (ILLiad).   Electronic copies are delivered to patrons within an average of 20 hours (during this review period, but not during COVID-19 affected semesters).   



Students and professors on-site and in remote or online programs are able to access needed materials, in a variety of formats, from the Library’s own collections or borrowed from elsewhere.  

5.3 Access to Unique Materials

5.3 The Library builds and ensures access to unique materials, including digital collections.


The Bloomsburg University Archives preserves the historical record of the institution through the preservation of materials in all formats.   

The Andruss Library Special Collections contains material of research value to students, faculty and the general public in subject areas aligned with the curricula and topics of local interest.  

Where permissible and feasible, the Library digitizes material of likely interest to alumni and researchers of the region and of immediate usefulness for University offices and departments.  Items from the University Archives that have been placed online include yearbooks, course catalogs, the student newspaper, alumni magazines, directories, newsletters, magazines, published histories, postcards, photographic negatives, and scrapbooks.  Selected books from Special Collections are also online, as well as maps and local newspapers from the Library’s microfilm collection.   

Student scholarship in the form of graduate theses on archival paper has been carefully retained for many years.  For greater access to this scholarship a pilot project for an institutional repository is underway, using masters theses and doctoral projects for the initial deposit.  This pilot includes software and staff from the KLN and PALCI library consortia, the BU School of Graduate Studies and individual departments. 



University offices and departments, as well as students, faculty, and the general public, use the University Archives for public relations, academic, or personal research.  Through combined analog and digital collections, researchers have access to a large historical repository of information on the University and the local area. 

Courtesy of the Library’s digitization of primary, unique materials, researchers have greater access to University Archives and Special Collections.  The digitized material can be accessed online and is keyword-searchable, making research far more efficient. Future researchers are helped by the digitization effort because it provides access and enables the Library to preserve the original artifact.   

Student scholarship will continue to be retained, and, as a result of the institutional repository, will be more accessible.  Individual students can refer potential employers and graduate schools to their work.  University recruitment efforts will be enhanced. 

5.4 Infrastucture to Collect, Provide Access and Preserve Collections

5.4 The Library has the infrastructure to collect, organize, provide access to, disseminate, and preserve collections needed by users.


While a library can never have all of the resources necessary to fill every educational and research need immediately, for the most part, the Library has had, over the first four years of the review period, stable and sufficient monies, personnel, space, established workflow, and equipment to collect, organize, provide access to, disseminate, and preserve collections needed by users.   


There have been challenges. The processing of gift materials puts pressure on available time in Cataloging. The organization of complex materials strains the available expertise and time. Workflows however have become much smoother since the last review.   Commitments to consortium-wide activities, while important and necessary to the consortium’s, and ultimately to the University’s, long-term benefit, take time and expertise.  Where there have been challenges, Library personnel have identified and participated in experiments that have resulted in some improvements, including referring a large uncatalogued backlog to a PASSHE counterpart, cross-training among staff, reassigning work, and setting of priorities.    

Library faculty are responsible for working with subject faculty to identify and address areas of need in the collections. The Library holds regular Collection Development meetings to address emerging trends and standing issues, decide on policies, assign priorities for budget allocations, and make decisions for special circumstances.  Access Services staff and the Director meet weekly to address ongoing needs.   



The vendor approval plans assist with regular, consistent, faculty-advised collection activity.  Firm order allocations are set aside for all subject areas and for several specialty areas such as Government Documents and Juvenile collections and to address needs not met by the approval plans.  In addition, online patron request forms and automatic ebook purchases triggered by patron usage supplement the collection.  COVID prompted increased purchases of e-books and streaming videos. 



Physical materials are consistently described and organized according to national and international cataloging standards for resource description, subject terminology, and classification.  Vendor-provided bibliographic data is obtained for government documents, and large microform and digital collections, such as AVON.  Vendor-supplied authority control ensures current, consistent terminology over time.   

External cataloging services have been utilized when existing staffing levels proved inadequate for the volume of backlogged gift and purchased materials and in the face of local and consortial priorities that required attention.  There is an ongoing in-house project to update print and microform serial holdings information in both the catalog and the international OCLC database in order to provide accurate information to both patrons and other libraries needing to obtain journal articles.   

Provide Access and Disseminate 

The Library provides a point of service during all building hours for researchers to check out materials, including Course Reserves, Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan.  When patrons need new items right away, these items are rush-processed.   

The Library has microfilm scanners to enable patrons to read and transfer microforms to file format for storage and/or dissemination by the patron.  Research Librarians and Access Services staff aid patrons in accessing the collections, often assisting patrons in retrieving needed volumes by escorting them to the correct location within the Library building. Staff retrieve books from the collections upon request. 

Links to electronic subscriptions are mostly kept up to date, and connection problems are addressed as promptly as possible.  Links inside the Library’s catalog are easier to keep up to date, thanks to the new library system implemented during this review period, which makes such maintenance easier.  The Library’s website offers easy navigation and easy login to online resources.  The Library subscribes to a discovery search layer (Ebsco Discovery Search) that offers access to almost all of its collections within one search.  The Library also subscribes to a link resolver (Full Text Finder) to link researchers immediately to most electronic materials amongst the Library’s databases.  The Library participates in Google Scholar’s Library Links program so that University-provided materials are accessible both on and off-campus.   

The Library provides access to items not immediately available through both Document Delivery and Interlibrary Loan.  For materials sought by BU researchers, fill rates remain high and turn-around times have become faster in comparison to the previous review period.  With changes in the discovery layer made in 2015, BU researchers are first directed to local materials with the secondary option to request materials from elsewhere; this change has prompted a significant decrease in requests for materials from other libraries compared to the previous review period.  Infrastructure in place for Interlibrary loan and Document Delivery is ILLiad, which allows users to place requests for all types of items, whether locally owned or not.  Staff distribute requests behind the scenes; patrons only need to deal with one system. 

Document delivery provides students and faculty researchers with electronic scans of items owned in Andruss Library’s print or microform collections—approximately 125 per year, filled in an average of 20 hours.  With the advent of Alma/Primo ILS in Spring 2017, ILL and circulation staff began processing holds placed by patrons for items in our stacks, a service not available with previous Voyager system.  [Statistics were not kept on this service until July 2020.]     

The total number of Interlibrary Loan requests received per year has remained steady during this review period at about 26,000 per year.  Requests from our own researchers have fallen steadily, from about 7,000 at the start of the review period and bottoming out at only 2,335 requests received during 2019-20 – a 66% decline from the last review period. This is anecdotally attributable to a search filter being placed on our discovery layer in September 2015, which limited results to materials purchased or subscribed to by the Library. This was done to increase awareness and usage of these materials by inexperienced searchers. To find items not owned/accessible by BU, researchers must remove the local collection filter.  The remainder of our requests are from other libraries. Continued participation in RapidILL has yielded turnaround times averaging 9.6 hours with a 96% fill rate for articles and chapters via RapidILL for our users.  In October 2018, we began participating in Rapid-R (Rapid-Returnables), which streamlines book borrowing and lending among participants via quick turnarounds and speedy shipping methods.  Numbers thus far have been low, with 339 items lent and 98 items borrowed via Rapid-R during the review period.  Books requested via our consortial E-ZBorrow system average 3.9 days from request to arrival with a 96% fill rate.  Regardless of the mechanism used to fulfill patron requests, staff distribute those requests behind the scenes; patrons only need to use one system. 


The Library has a Disaster Plan in place, which has created a level of preparedness that was needed on multiple occasions when water leaked through the ceiling of the fourth floor from the roof.  Book shelving was covered with plastic until the leaking ceased and wet books were frozen and then slowly dried.  Many were only slightly damp and could be saved and kept in the collections.  

Humidity monitoring, pest control, and fire suppression systems are in place. Low humidity remains an issue. 

Worn, damaged, or lost materials are bound, replaced, or withdrawn as appropriate in order to preserve useful materials.  Digitization projects preserve the information of the originals.   




Students and other researchers have access to a wide array of current and relevant resources in multiple formats. 


Students and other researchers have access to organizational schema that allow them to follow patterns of thought within scholarly and other pertinent literatures. 

Provide Access and Disseminate 

Students and other researchers have reliable and moderately easy access to a wide array of current and relevant resources both through local holdings and other libraries.  


Students and other researchers have continued access to the information contained within valuable originals.  The status of collections is monitored, protected, and preserved.

5.5 Economic & Sustainable Models of Scholarly Communication

5.5 The Library educates users on issues related to economic and sustainable models of scholarly communication.


In small settings, such as academic department meetings with faculty and administrators, librarians share information on the costs associated with subscribing to journals and databases.  The Director keeps her supervisors informed about the impact on what the Library is able to secure for students and other patrons. In addition, topics such as cost-effectiveness in collection development and resource-sharing are occasionally discussed in information literacy instruction sessions and in communications with subject faculty. 

In this review period in particular, Open Educational Resources (OER) have been a focus.  Library faculty have encouraged subject faculty to familiarize themselves with these free course materials and to adopt them where suited to the student learning goals for a course.    

The Library includes freely available and academic Open Access resources in its article link resolver.  These journals, however, are not separately promoted to users as Open Access journals.  Conversation has begun about Open Access and other scholarly communication issues campus-wide. Librarians have given presentations during the last review period on topics such as copyright, OER, and publishing in non-predatory journals.  They created an Open Access Journals guide and a “Where Should I Publish My Article?” guide. 



Those students, subject faculty, and administrators who engage with these issues express a more realistic understanding of the Library’s policies and choices in regards to acquisitions and subscriptions.   

Because of faculty adoption of OER textbooks and course materials, there was a savings to students of more than $240,000 in 2019, the first year for which such data has been available. 

Faculty have identified appropriate journals for publication with the help of librarians. 

Faculty have reached out to BU librarians for guidance in applying fair use to their use of video, electronic and print resources. 

5.6 Ensures Long-Term Access

5.6 The Library ensures long-term access to the scholarly and cultural record.


The Library is diligent in following up on concerns about the integrity of the building to protect the physical materials.  It participates in a consortium, or pays vendors, to back up electronic holdings. 

Generally, the Library prefers long-term subscriptions, when appropriate, for resources in support of research in the curricula.  Physical journal volumes relevant to the curriculum are retained unless access is provided through multiple databases, owned content, or perpetual access license coverage.  Replacement or binding and repair of physical volumes is undertaken for those items deemed useful for long-term study and research. 

University Archives and Special Collections provide the proper facility, resources and environment for the long-term access and preservation of rare, unique and fragile research materials related to the historical records of the University and historical artifacts of the region, including community newspapers and records of the local theater ensemble.  Long-term access and preservation is also aided by the digitization of items.  Sufficient space for current and future physical collections is a concern, however, as after 22 years in the Library building, the growth of the collections has led to difficulty in finding space to house the material.   

The Library preserves at least one copy of BU faculty’s print book publications.  Student theses are routinely collected and made available. Planning for implementing an electronic institutional repository has taken place and resulted in access to the Islandora interface.  As the software is learned, digitized materials and born-digital publications will be placed in the repository.   



Students and other researchers have long-term access to the scholarly and cultural record of the University and community

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