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Collection Development Policy: Overview

Purpose of the Collection Development Policy

The Mark O. Hatfield Library’s Collection Development Policy is intended to provide an overall plan for the development of the collections of the library.  This document will outline the principles, policies, and guidelines used in building the library’s collection.  It will define the scope of the existing collection and provide a plan for the future.  It will provide direction to those responsible for developing the collection and communicate the library’s policies to the Willamette Community.  Because of the changing nature of libraries, library materials and resources, and the University itself, the Collection Development Policy is considered a living document subject to review and revision.

Brief Description of the University and the Library


Founded in 1842, Willamette University is the first university established in the western U.S. and is a selective private liberal arts university located in Salem, Oregon. Willamette is comprised of the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Law, and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.  Undergraduate enrollment is under 2,000; total University enrollment is under 2,500.  The University is primarily a residential campus; first year students and sophomores are required to live on campus. 



The current library building opened in 1986 and was designed by Theodore Wofford of MDWR Architects, St. Louis, Missouri.  The attractive brick and glass, two-storied structure is 58,000 square feet in size and includes study rooms, listening rooms, display areas, and a 24-hour study room. 


The Hatfield Library offers the Willamette community a diverse, well-chosen collection of over 400,000 volumes. The print collection, developed over more than a century, provides strong support for research. The library's collection of musical scores, over sound recordings, and video recordings provides support for courses across the curriculum. The library provides access to more than 100 databases and over 30,000 print and electronic journal subscriptions. As a participant in the Federal Depository Library Program, the library has received selected government publications since 1969. The Hatfield Library also houses the University Archives and Special Collections.

User Groups

Primary users are Willamette faculty, students and staff.  The Mark O. Hatfield Library serves as the library for the College of Liberal Arts and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.  A separate library, the J. W. Long Law Library, supports the primary needs of the University’s law students and faculty.  Borrowing privileges are available to others in the Willamette Community (TIUA, Willamette Academy, ICL) and the Salem area through the library’s Community Borrowers Program, but materials are not purchased specifically for this clientele.  The library also serves users from the Orbis Cascade Alliance member libraries. 

Intellectual Freedom

The library supports intellectual freedom, which guarantees one’s right to think for oneself and choose what to read or not read.  We endeavor to meet the curricular and research needs of the Willamette community through the acquisition of materials that reflect diverse, sometimes controversial, points of view.  Librarians are committed to the creation of a well-rounded collection appropriate for an academic library.

Overview of the Collections

The library contains the following: books, reserves, audiovisual materials, periodicals including newspapers, government documents, popular reading books, and reference sources.  Periodicals, reference, videorecordings, popular reading, and government documents are located on the first floor.  General circulating books and soundrecordings are located on the second floor.  Closed stack materials include the University Archives and Special Collections and the Northwest collection.

Materials contained in the Mark O. Hatfield Library cover all time periods.  Much of the collection pertains to the twenty and twenty first centuries.  Works of major authors in each field are represented.

The collection consists of books (hardback and paperback), periodicals, newspapers, government documents, microforms (microfilms, microfiche), musical scores, sound recordings (compact discs and records), audiotapes, and videorecordings (VHS, DVDs).  The library also provides electronic access to books, journals and journal articles, newspapers and newspaper articles, government documents, music, images, and videos. 

The library does not usually collect computer software, books on tape, maps, art works, pamphlets, other university’s dissertations, or textbooks.  Occasionally, a dissertation is considered important enough to be acquired for the collection, but typically the library does not purchase dissertations.  Textbooks will not be purchased except when experts in the field consider a textbook a classic, or when other books in a particular field are scarce.

Special Collections
The library has a special collection of cataloged Willamette materials including Willamette publications such as periodicals, yearbooks, catalogs, and theses.  A small collection of old and/or rare books is housed in the library.  This collection is cataloged and arrangements can be made for in-house use; the collection is an historical one and is not actively developed.  The library also has a non-circulating collection of Northwest materials.

Books will be purchased primarily in the English language.  Foreign language titles needed for language instruction will be acquired.

Multiple Copies
Due to use patterns, funding, space considerations, and the materials available to us through Summit, the library typically buys only one copy of a given item.  Duplicate materials received as gifts may occasionally be added to fill in gaps in collections such as the Northwest Collection.

Out-of-Print Materials
Out-of-print materials require additional work from our acquisitions staff so they will not be pursued automatically but must be specially requested by the faculty or librarian selector. If three or more member libraries of the Orbis Cascade Alliance already own the item, we will generally not pursue purchase.

The library will attempt to provide a well-rounded and representative selection of materials by and about the world’s major literary figures, including literary criticism.  The library will also acquire contemporary literature when it is of sufficient literary merit and contributes to the overall enrichment of the library collection.  Typically, popular and genre fiction will not be acquired for the permanent collection.  These materials can be borrowed through our Popular Reading Collection or at the nearby Salem Public Library.

Expensive Materials
Generally, non-reference materials that cost over $150 will require additional research and justification before purchase.  Reference materials over $750 are subject to the same careful scrutiny.  The University Librarian and the Associate University Librarian for Collections, Teaching, and Research will make final decisions regarding these special purchases.  Expensive electronic resources, videorecordings and periodicals are subject to the guidelines and criteria set forth in their respective collection statements.

Limits on the Collection

  • The following will not be purchased routinely by the library for the permanent collection:
  • Popular materials (including fiction and non-fiction) more suited to the public library or the Popular Reading collection.
  • Textbooks, written specifically for classroom use.
  • Titles or subject areas with a narrow appeal, and outside the scope of the collection.
  • Pamphlets and ephemeral materials (except for some creative and fine arts materials and reserve items).
  • Materials aimed at the high school or younger student, except for materials included in the Children’s Literature collection.
  • Law materials more appropriate to the Law Library’s collection.
  • Career Development materials more appropriate to the Career Development Center’s collection.

Many of these materials may be borrowed through interlibrary loan.


Subject Librarian

Profile Photo
Joni Roberts
Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem, OR 97301

Mission Statements


Willamette University provides rigorous education in the liberal arts and selected professional fields. Teaching and learning, strengthened by scholarship and service, flourish in a vibrant campus community. A Willamette education prepares graduates to transform knowledge into action and lead lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.


Core Themes
Willamette University is a community

1. Of collaborative educators committed to rigorous education.
2. That cultivates an authentic engagement with place.
3. That promotes transformation of knowledge into action in ways that lead to lives of achievement, contribution and meaning.


University motto
Non nobis solum nati sumus — Not unto ourselves alone are we born


The Mark O. Hatfield Library fosters learning, critical thinking, scholarship, creativity, and personal growth within the spirit of the University’s mission, values and core themes. Through collaboration and our own endeavors, we:

Enable information and digital literacy through various modes of instruction.

Curate collections that support equitable access to a diverse range of information and viewpoints.

Provide expertise, physical spaces, and virtual environments that facilitate the creation and use of knowledge.

Preserve, make accessible, and encourage critical engagement with materials of historical value related to the University and the Pacific Northwest.

To fulfill this mission, the library acquires materials that support the curriculum of the University.  The library’s first collection development priority is the acquisition of materials that directly support the needs of the undergraduate and graduate educational programs.  Faculty research needs are also important to the library and although we strive to provide support for faculty research when possible, the library is not a research library and cannot meet all of these needs through the collection development process.  Other services such as Summit borrowing, interlibrary loan, and document delivery are available to assist faculty with their research.

Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
511 NW Broadway.
Portland Oregon 97209