14.101: Departmental Libraries: Guidelines and Requirements




January 30, 2003

Initiated by:

Gary Hunt | Associate Dean of Libraries

Reviewed by:

Herman ("Butch") Hill, Chair | Policy and Procedure Review Committee

Endorsed by:

Julia Zimmerman | Dean of University Libraries

Approved by:

Stephen Kopp | Provost

Signatures and dates on archival copy
  1. Purpose

    To provide a policy and procedure for the approval, establishment, maintenance, and review of all departmental libraries on the Athens campus.

  2. Policy

    1. Definition

      A departmental library is defined as a library service unit, with collections, which is organized primarily to serve the needs of one or more academic areas and is physically removed from the main library.

      Excluded from the policy are variously named reading rooms or reference collections, each of which is operated by an academic unit, generally very small in number of items, not staffed, and with no regular hours. Collections are largely gifts and are not cataloged.

    2. Overview

      1. In the interest of cost-efficiency, of making most library resources and services available to all library users, and of maximizing the library's support for inter-disciplinary studies and research, a centralized library system on the Athens campus is strongly favored.

      2. Recognizing the legitimate needs of some academic areas for separate departmental libraries which require a minimum amount of duplication in collections, and where the additional cost of operation and inconvenience to other users outside the academic departments are kept at a minimum, a number of departmental libraries shall be permitted if they follow the guidelines and meet the basic requirements stipulated below.

      3. In general, this policy and procedure does not apply to those variously named reading rooms or reference collections as defined as long as they remain small collections of gift materials with little or no cost to the academic units which maintain them.

      4. This policy and procedure statement shall be considered as a supplement of the Statement of Libraries approved by the Library Committee (5/12/67) and the University Executive Committee (10/4/67) , or future versions thereof.

  3. Procedures

    1. Guidelines

      1. Whenever possible, all library collections and services on the Athens campus shall be centralized and coordinated by the main library.

      2. All requests for the establishment of a new departmental library shall be made by the head of the academic unit to the Dean of University Libraries. In consultation with the Provost, the appropriate dean, and the University Library Committee, a review committee will be appointed by the Provost on the recommendation of the Dean of University Libraries to review the request and to make recommendations. The Committee's report of its findings and recommendations shall be submitted to the Dean of University Libraries for forwarding to the Provost.

      3. The review committee shall consider the request from the perspective of applicable national standards, including the Association of College and Research Libraries' "Guidelines for Branch Libraries in Colleges and Universities."

      4. The review committee subsequently will draft a recommendation regarding the establishment of a departmental library. A positive recommendation shall address the following:

        1. The purpose of the departmental library.

        2. The organization, staff, space, facilities, technologies, and services.

        3. The proposed collection and its development.

        4. The processing and the bibliographic control of the materials that will be housed there.

        5. A proposed, detailed budget, including initial start-up costs and operational costs.

      5. To ensure that all existing departmental libraries also meet the requirements stated herein, a periodic review shall be conducted every five years of all departmental libraries by a similar review committee appointed by the Provost.

      6. Based on the findings and recommendations of the review committee together with the comments of the Dean of University Libraries, the Provost will make the final decision relative to the approval or disapproval of a new departmental library, or the expansion or contraction of an existing one.

      7. As all costs associated with a new departmental library, or the expansion of existing ones, cannot be absorbed by the existing library budget, the funding of departmental libraries will be a major consideration in the recommendations of the Dean of University Libraries and the final decision of the Provost.

    2. Requirements

      1. All departmental libraries shall either be directly operated or be coordinated by the main library so that a high degree of standardization in technical processing, bibliographic control, and library policies can be achieved.

      2. All library materials (including media and electronic resources) purchased with University funds shall be processed centrally by the main library and be included in the online public access catalog to facilitate access and bibliographic control. Exceptions can be made for those materials that are considered laboratory tools or ephemeral materials.

      3. Library collections in departmental libraries shall be accessible to users outside the academic area. The hours of departmental libraries shall be set according to actual needs and shall include evenings and weekends whenever necessary.

      4. All departmental libraries shall be staffed or properly supervised at all times they are open and the staff shall receive training in basic library skills by the main library staff.

      5. Research databases, electronic journals, media materials, and other information resources purchased with university funds shall be made as widely accessible to the academic community as possible consistent with licensing terms and technical requirements.


Proposed revisions of this policy should be reviewed by:

  1. Policy and Procedure Review Committee

  2. Academic Deans, Directors, and Department Chairs