Collection Development in College Library

It is the mission of College Library to facilitate discovery and learning, especially for those new to academic research. Through its collections and services, the library strives to meet the information needs of University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduates. Because undergraduates seek information for course-related papers, speeches and research projects in all disciplines, College Library offers materials on a wide range of subject matter reflecting the broad spectrum of courses offered by the College of Letters and Sciences. These materials are located in the Main Collection where emphasis is placed on current materials that will support and enrich class assignments and projects and also stimulate students’ desire to learn.

College Library does not serve as an archival collection, but rather as a provider of high-use materials. The collections reflect current issues and controversial topics and include resource materials for which there is a high demand. Books and items in many other formats are housed together in all collections to facilitate students finding materials that may be useful for their research. With the exception of some bilingual editions, most materials are in English.

When doing library research, most undergraduates prefer to find and use journal articles in the Library’s full text databases. However, the current periodicals and daily newspapers are also heavily used and the serials collection contains approximately 100 print journals. The collection emphasizes areas of high interest to undergraduates, including: news, health, medicine, recreation, the environment, film and television. Titles covering multicultural, women’s, and gay and lesbian topics are also included.

College Library also offers special collections that feature topics of interest to undergraduates. These collections gather materials in one location to make them easier to find and to encourage students to browse and discover other items of interest. For example, many of our patrons are interested in career planning and job hunting, so College offers a Career Collection that features materials related to these activities. Multi-tasking students appreciate the variety of fiction and non-fiction works available as audio books in our collection. Recently we identified a growing interest in graphic novels so a new section featuring these works has been added to the Open Book Collection. All collections, including serials, are regularly evaluated and weeded according to content and usage.

Selectors for College Library’s Main Collections are: Ian Benton, Eliot Finkelstein, Steve Frye, Trish Iaccarino, Kelli Keclik, Carrie Kruse, Carrie Nelson, Pamela O’Donnell, Trisha Prosise and Janice Rice.

CAREER COLLECTION Selector: Carrie Nelson

The Career Collection was created at the request of the UW-Madison Career Counseling and Placement Council. The Council agreed that the University was in need of a visible, conveniently located facility, open during and after regular University office hours that contained in one place a broad range of career and placement information accessible to undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and the University community at large.

The Career Collection is a circulating collection that is funded by earnings from the University Book Store Endowment. It includes books and books with accompanying software. It does not include journals. Related reference materials are located in the College Library Educational Resources Collection and the Reference Collection. Prior editions of titles from these collections are added to the Career Collection to provide circulating copies of the titles. Related media (e.g. videos on interviewing) and software materials (e.g. resume preparation) are also purchased.

Books are collected in the following areas: Choosing a Career Researching Potential Employers Job Hunting

COMPUTER COLLECTION Selector: Trish Iaccarino

One can use the Computer Collection to learn more about hardware, software, web design and other computer topics. These materials are available in book format, on videotape and on CDROM. While much of the collection provides training in software applications, there are also software manuals, laptop computers, digital cameras, and popular music CDs. This collection is located on the second floor, within the computer lab


The Equity & Diversity Collection is a partnership between the General Library System and the Equity & Diversity Resource Center (EDRC). A small collection of books and videos are available in the Ethnic Studies Reading Room to reflect issues related to multicultural education and awareness. Titles in the collection are recommended for purchase by EDRC staff and support the various programs sponsored by the EDRC. The College Library Director works with the EDRC staff to make collection decisions. The collection is funded primarily through gift accounts.

ETHNIC STUDIES COLLECTION Selectors: Janice Rice and Carrie Nelson

The Ethnic Studies Collection began as a cooperative effort between the Dean of Students Office, Multi-Cultural Council and the College Library in 1975. It was established to support course-related subject matter and topics that are of current interest to American ethnic minority groups. Coverage of contemporary socio-economic, political and health issues, as well as literary, artistic, anthropological and historical material provide a convergence of highly relevant resources which are of significance to African Americans, American Indians, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Chicanos/Latinos.

The collection contains books, magazines, journals, newspapers, videos, dvds and newsletters that support Ethnic Studies course work and current awareness needs. There is a wide diversity of material spanning the entire spectrum of the Library of Congress classification system. Materials provide coverage in areas of religion and mythology, philosophy, biographies, assimilation and acculturation, history civil rights, sports and recreation, migrant labor, social problems and reform, family, marriage, women, slavery, racial conflict immigration, law, music, art, literature, bilingualism, multicultural education, drama, mass media, and arts and crafts.

The Ethnic Studies Collection serves as the meeting ground for the general student user, students who are enrolled in Ethnic Studies courses, and students of color who are seeking basic information about their culture

GAUS COLLECTION Selector: Raina Bloom

The John M. Gaus Collection in Poetry and Literary Studies provides undergraduates and other users of College Library with works of serious literature to support their curriculum needs and to enrich their personal reading and creative writing. It is funded from an endowment established by friends and students of Professor Gaus.

To reflect the literary tastes of Professor Gaus, the scope of the collection includes the primary works of twentieth century American and British poets and secondary works related to them: criticism, biography and autobiography, collected letters, and books on the historical and literary context in which they wrote. In addition, books on the art of creative writing are collected, especially those written by the poets represented. Some literary journals, shelved in the main journal stacks, are paid from the Gaus fund.

Criteria for selection are suitability for undergraduate readers (for secondary works) and excellence of the poet (for primary works). Poets whose reputations have yet to be established are selected from mainstream review journals and if they have been awarded literary prizes. Recommendations for purchase are sought from appropriate English Department faculty. No special consideration is given to local poets.

OPEN BOOK COLLECTION Selector: Eliot Finkelstein

The Open Book Collection supports the extra-academic interests of all user groups. In keeping with the informal nature of the collection, books are usually purchased in paperback editions.

Topics include, but are not limited to, popular fiction, hobbies and crafts, cooking and gardening, travel, science fiction, mysteries, sports and fitness, and graphic novels. Audio books, video games, board games, popular interest magazines, music CDs and movie DVDs are also featured here. The DVD collection emphasizes feature films as well as independent titles, live concerts and documentaries. The collection is regularly reevaluated to reflect current interests.

The Open Book Collection is supported primarily by gift funds.


The focus of the Reference Collection is on information needed for undergraduate course-related papers, speeches and projects. In addition, the collection provides information on a variety of subjects not directly related to the curriculum but of interest to undergraduates, such as consumer issues, health questions and job hunting.

A very popular section of the Reference Collection is the Educational Resources Collection. It contains directories of four-year colleges and universities, graduate schools and guides to study in various specialized fields such as law, business, medicine and others. Materials about study abroad, financial aid and other topics related to education are included. This collection is kept up to date and weeded several times a year.


The Gender and Women's Studies Collection provides books and media items emphasizing current treatment of women’s issues of interest to undergraduates, including the students in Women’s Studies courses. Several women related databases are included in the Undergraduate Core collection. Some feminist magazines are included in the periodical collection in Room 2191.

The collection includes titles about women’s health concerns and topics such as abortion, women and welfare, body image and women related family issues like childcare. Works by and about women authors, artists and musicians are collected as anthologies or criticism identified as pertaining to women’s or feminist issues. Books by or about individuals in the literary and fine arts are only selected if they are considered seminal works. Critically acclaimed lesbian fiction is included in the collection as well. Books on all these topics, which would be scattered throughout the library collection, are presented here in the Gender & Women’s Collection to encourage browsing by undergraduates seeking to expand their appreciation of women’s lives and experiences.