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About Grace Library

Collection Development & Deselection

Grace Library is committed to building and maintaining a collection that supports the information and research needs of Carlow University's students, faculty, and staff. Our collection policy is based on the following principles:

  • Collection Scope & Objectives
    • Grace Library will collect materials that support the educational, research, and informational needs of the Carlow University community, with a focus on materials that support the curriculum and programs of study. The library will also collect materials that promote intellectual inquiry, creative thinking, and problem-solving skills.
  • Selection
    • The library will use a variety of sources to select materials for its collection, with a focus on faculty-driven requests as well as reviews, subject bibliographies, and professional literature. Selection criteria include relevance to curriculum, quality and authority of the content, and cost-effectiveness.
      • The library will prioritize the acquisition of materials in electronic format over print resources. As a standing rule, the library will not purchase print versions of titles held in electronic format.
      • Dictionaries and encyclopedias are often expensive and do not offer the depth of coverage appropriate for students doing research. Additionally, the information offered in a significant majority of these resources is readily available via electronic resources. If a request is made in a specific subject area, the Director will review the request and have final approval.
      • The purchase of new editions of existing titles will be based on past usage.
      • In keeping with the standard practices of academic libraries, Grace Library does not purchase or provide textbooks. Exceptions are those which are categorized as important works in a subject or are the best source of information on a topic.
  • Access
    • The library is committed to providing easy access to its collections for all affiliated users. The library will ensure that its catalog is up to date and accurate, and that users have access to the materials they need. The library will also work to provide access to its collections for historically underrepresented and underserved students.
  • Resource Allocation
    • Grace Library strives to allocate its resources in a responsible and suitable manner. The library will work to balance the acquisition of new materials with the maintenance and preservation of existing collections. The library will also consider cost-effectiveness and the impact of its purchasing decisions on the environment.
  • Assessment
    • Grace Library will continually assess its collection, its policies, and its procedures to ensure they align with the library and CTRL's mission, values, and goals. The library will seek feedback from its users and adjust its collection and services as needed.
  • Deselection
    • Grace Library recognizes the importance of weeding its collection to ensure its relevance and currency. Materials that are damaged, outdated, or no longer relevant to the collection's scope and objectives will be deselected according to established library policies and procedures. Items within the collection that have low use or circulation statistics will also be evaluated for deselection based on the following criteria: condition, age, rarity, and availability in digital format.


Grace Library does not accept donations of print materials toward its collection. An exception to this policy may be made for materials relating to Carlow University history or the Sisters of Mercy. Depending on age, rarity, scope, and provenance of the material, it will be evaluated to be added to either the Mercy Heritage collection or to the University Archives. Materials will be accepted only when they are in good condition or better, with unmarked pages. To inquire about donating materials that meet these conditions, please reach out to the library at

Journals, Databases, & Other Subscription Services

As part of Grace Library's responsibilities, it purchases, maintains, and provides access to numerous subscription services, including print and electronic academic journals, research databases, and other resources necessary for faculty, staff, and student research. These resources will follow the general collection development policies outlined above, with the following additional considerations:

  • Selection
    • Grace Library will purchase and manage subscriptions to journals and e-resources that support the University's academic programs and curriculum. These subscriptions may include individual digital or print journal titles, research databases, online eBook collections, and more. The same considerations regarding relevance to curriculum, quality and authority of content, and cost-effectiveness will apply to these materials as they do to the library's print book collection.
  • Access
    • As part of the library's commitment to providing easy and equal access to collections, it will provide access to subscription and digital resources to members of the Carlow University community from both on- and off-campus.
      • Authorized Users
        • Access to library resources is limited to current faculty, staff, and students, as well as emeriti faculty. Users accessing resources from off-campus or from a personal computer or mobile device will be required to log in using their Carlow University single sign-on (SSO) username and password. User credentials are authenticated through OCLC EZproxy.
      • Acceptable Use
        • Use of library resources is limited to "fair use," as outlined in U.S. Copyright Law, as well as in terms outlined in license agreements with resource providers. All online material obtained through Grace Library resources may only be used for personal, educational, non-commercial purposes in support of an individual's role as student, staff, or faculty. Prohibited uses include: downloading whole issues of journals or whole books; printing numerous copies of a single article or chapter; sharing passwords to access library materials; use of robots, spiders, crawlers, or any other software designed to systematically browse the web or download resources; redistribution of material obtained from library resources to anyone not within the Carlow University community; any use of licensed or copyrighted resources for commercial purposes.
  • Assessment and Cancellation
    • The library will assess and evaluate the use of its subscription resources on an annual basis. At the end of each subscription term, the library will gather COUNTER-compliant usage statistics for each service and compare that data against the cost of the resource. Staff will consider the average cost per use of a resource when determining whether to renew or discontinue the subscription. Services with a cost/use average of over $150/use will be cancelled.