COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY | August 18, 2022
Yeshiva University Libraries’ mission is to nurture excellence in pursuit of the liberal arts and sciences, support professional education, promote faculty scholarship, and advance the university as a center for Jewish studies. The libraries achieve this through commitment to service, accessible collections, comprehensive information resources, engaging programs, and an inviting, functional, and flexible physical environment.
Yeshiva University Libraries will assume a central role in the academic enterprise by nurturing discovery, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary information exchange to help students and faculty collaborate, grow intellectually, and acquire skills for life-long learning. The libraries will maintain a global dimension in advancing research and scholarship in Jewish studies.
The Pollack Library, Landowne-Bloom Collection, Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica-Judaica, and Hedi Steinberg Library, comprising Yeshiva University Libraries, maintain the central goals of supporting student success, the curriculum of each school or college, academic centers, and the mission of Yeshiva University. To accomplish these goals, the aim is to build and maintain a collection that meets the needs of both undergraduate and graduate programs. Although physical collections continue to be maintained and augmented, the focus is primarily electronic. Both physical and electronic items are selected based on demonstrated need and anticipated use. Head Librarians then critically evaluate these materials to determine their authority, comprehensiveness, and validity, after which they add the materials to the collection in the format that is most useful to students and faculty members.
The Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica-Judaica collection principally supports advanced instructional and research programs in Jewish studies. The breadth, depth, and diversity of the collection correlate to educational and research needs, more specifically to the undergraduate and graduate curricula at Yeshiva University. The library is consulted and utilized by scholars and researchers both within and external to the Yeshiva University community. The library’s collection development efforts are collaborative, and faculty members, staff members, students, and administrators are encouraged to suggest materials for addition to the collection.
The Pollack Library and Landowne-Bloom Collection of Yeshiva University focuses on materials in support of the curricula of Yeshiva College, the Sy Syms School of Business, the Katz School of Science and Health, and the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. It also collects and maintains non-Judaica material in support of the academic programs of the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies. Material is almost exclusively English-language.
The Hedi Steinberg Library collects materials in the liberal arts and sciences in support of the undergraduate curricula of Stern College for Women and the Syms School of Business. A collection strength is women’s studies. Its Hebraica-Judaica collections are geared to support the curriculum of the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies at Stern College for Women by acquiring materials on Rabbinics, Jewish history, Bible, Jewish thought, and the State of Israel. These acquisitions include reference works, scholarly monographs, and edited anthologies of historical sources and critical essays. Languages are primarily English and Hebrew.
The Mendel Gottesman Library is a research library in the field of Hebraica-Judaica. It collects in the subject areas of Rabbinics, Bible, Jewish liturgy, Jewish philosophy and mysticism, Jewish history, Holocaust studies, modern Israel, Semitic languages, and Hebrew and Yiddish literature. Primary formats are monographs, serials, periodicals, and newspapers, both electronic and in print. The library aspires to comprehensive-level collecting in Jewish history worldwide. The library aspires to research-level collecting in these areas:
- Rabbinics and Jewish law: globally and in all languages.
- Bible, Jewish liturgy, philosophy, mysticism and theology, Jewish history, modern Israel, Semitic language. Primary languages are English, Hebrew, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Secondary languages are Dutch, Hungarian, Russian, and Swedish.
- Holocaust studies: scholarly works and personal narratives that contribute to the study of the era beyond the personal experience of the author.
- Hebrew and Yiddish Literature: primary and secondary sources of established authors, in the original and in English translation.
V. COLLECTING GUIDELINES
- Format availability
- Capacity to support the current curriculum
- Relation to current holdings
- Scholarly value and reputation
- Intellectual freedom and diversity
- Authoritative scholarship with varying viewpoints and opinions
- Availability of materials at neighboring institutions
The following considerations will be made when purchasing print items for the collection: audience, requests, format availability, and the likelihood of the item’s use in course reserves. General studies monographs and reference materials are not purchased on standing order. All print materials for the general collection are purchased at point of need. Hebraica-Judaica acquisitions may employ approval plan agreements for monographs and new periodical titles with local vendors and, with specific guidelines and an expenditure limit annually, with European vendors. Approval plan agreements will be reviewed and, if necessary, revised on an annual basis.
The libraries acquire a variety of electronic resources, which are evaluated annually. These resources include, but are not limited to, e-books, databases (many with full-text content), electronic journals, electronic-journal packages, streaming videos, and newspapers. When available and appropriate for the content area, electronic books are the preferred format for monographs. Demand-driven acquisition of electronic books permits acquisition at the time of need and are the preferred method of purchase. Priority is given to full-text scholarly content that offers discoverability, appropriate licensing agreements, and a broad scope. Electronic books may be added by subscription, individually, or as a demand-driven acquisition. Additional evaluation of electronic resources includes cost per use, interface, accessibility, and usage statistics. Streaming videos and other forms of media are purchased by faculty request only.
The general studies collections at both Pollack and Hedi Steinberg Libraries invest minimally in print periodicals. The Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica-Judaica collects periodicals in print format when possible and seeks to acquire missing issues of various journals and multivolume sets whenever possible. Digital format for Hebraica-Judaica periodicals is considered on a case-by-case basis. The Hedi Steinberg Library subscribes only to print Hebraica-Judaica print periodicals that directly support the curriculum of the Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies at Stern College for Women. Ordinarily electronic journals will be acquired through full-text content in aggregated databases. Individual subscriptions to electronic journals will be maintained at faculty request, and renewal will be evaluated annually based on cost per use.
While the libraries do not purchase traditional physical textbooks used for classroom instruction, the collection may include titles that relate closely to course content and that therefore lend themselves to adoption as course texts. Instructors are encouraged to place these titles on reserve. Librarians can work with faculty to identify other sources to be used in courses or help them locate or develop open educational resources (OER) for their classes. However, to help students with textbook costs, the libraries can purchase available e-book editions of textbooks.
With the increasing obsolescence of playback hardware, audio and video materials will be acquired as electronic files for streaming. Physical formats, such as film, videotape, audiotape, compact discs, and DVDs, will be retained only if the content is in demand and unavailable for streaming.
Theses and Dissertations
The libraries will solicit all undergraduate and graduate theses and will manage the submission of dissertations. All theses and dissertations will be cataloged, and with author permission, full text will be included in YAIR (Yeshiva Academic Institutional Repository), which offers options for embargo.
The library’s main priority is to support student success and meet the needs of student research and information-seeking. Therefore, the curriculum is the main driver of collection development. Requests to obtain materials specifically for faculty research are carefully assessed. Advanced and highly specialized research materials are obtained through resource sharing and interlibrary loan.
The libraries aim to acquire all faculty monographic publications. Generally, one copy will be acquired, either in print or electronic format, at the discretion of the Head Librarian. Faculty members are invited to donate a copy of their new publications.
Ordinarily one copy of a title will be purchased among the three libraries. Duplicate copies are purchased only when titles are expected to be used in courses in multiple locations simultaneously or are on reserve in multiple locations at instructor request. Prior to ordering a new acquisition, selectors will verify that the item is not already in the collection.
Selectors will evaluate new editions carefully for added value. Superseding editions will be acquired, especially in Hebraica-Judaica, if there is a new introduction of value, a new translation, additional research for a critical edition, or new footnotes.
Standing orders for annuals or continuations, especially in the areas of Hebraica-Judaica, may be maintained and will be reviewed yearly.
Although as a general rule gifts are not accepted, if the subject area(s) align with those of the libraries, the Head Librarian(s) may allow an exception. The prospective donor will provide an inventory to the Head Librarian, who may select all or part of the collection. A deed of gift will set terms and conditions. Donors wishing to appraise the gift will do so prior to the transfer and at their own expense. Large gifts of books or archives will require a maintenance endowment or other type of monetary support for overhead expenses.
Special Collections include rare books, manuscripts, and archival collections in the field of Judaica and document Jewish religious, literary, and cultural heritage. The collections support research by faculty members and students at the university, as well as the research of a global set of visitors, including scholars, journalists, filmmakers, and genealogists.
Special Collections also include the Sephardic Reference Room, housed in the rare book room. It is an essentially static collection that does not actively acquire new material; current acquisitions of Sephardica are incorporated into the rare book room or Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica-Judaica, as appropriate.
Rare book and manuscript acquisition activity, supported exclusively by donations or endowments, is shared with the Mendel Gottesman Library of Hebraica-Judaica and is on a case-by-case basis. Items acquired require reliable documentation of provenance and authenticity.
Manuscripts: Areas of collecting interest are Judaica, with a focus on rabbinic material (commentaries on Bible and Talmud, law, philosophy, mysticism, homiletics, correspondence, and responsa) and historic material, such as records of Jewish communities worldwide. Languages represented are primariliy Hebrew, English, German, Hungarian, French, Yiddish, and Ladino. Manuscript material in the collection dates from the twelfth century to the present.
Archives: The Archives comprises two areas:
Yeshiva University material, primarily official university records generated by administrators in their official capacities. These materials are acquired by transfer from university offices. There is currently no formal policy for depositing records in the Archives. The Archives also collects official university and student publications.
The Archives holds organizational and institutional records and private papers relating to modern Jewish history and culture in the United States and abroad. Archival manuscript collections reflect areas of special interest to Yeshiva University: the history of the Orthodox Jewish community, particularly in the United States in the twentieth century. Collections relating to the Holocaust are also emphasized. These focal points are reflected in the types of collections in the archives:
a. Records of organizations that served and helped shape the American Jewish community, as well as organizations based in the United States that assisted Jewish communities abroad through rescue and relief work.
b. Collections of individuals (lay leaders and rabbinic figures) who were active in the Orthodox community. Special focus is on collections of graduates of Yeshiva University.
Archival materials are generally in English, Hebrew, or Yiddish. Types of material include correspondence, photographs, audiotapes, architectural drawings, broadsides, and ephemera. New acquisitions are selected based on the areas of collecting interest that will enhance the overall research value of the archival collections, especially those that support the scholarly research interests of Yeshiva University faculty.
Gifts to Special Collections: Yeshiva University Special Collections accepts donations of materials only with a legal transfer of a clear title, deed, gift letter, or official receipt of ownership.
YAIR (Yeshiva Academic Institutional Repository) showcases faculty, staff, and student scholarship and research, along with other works related to the university and its communities. Current faculty, staff, and students of Yeshiva University can use YAIR Self-Deposit to submit research materials in any digital format, including articles, monographs, theses and dissertations, working papers, technical reports, conference papers and presentations, datasets, software code, images, video, course syllabi, and other multimedia creations. Submitters are required to agree to the YAIR Distribution License Agreement when depositing their works in YAIR. Copyright holders may request the removal of the material from YAIR site by submitting a notice.
VII. DESELECTION AND WITHDRAWAL
To manage physical space effectively and increase value and usefulness, the libraries will deselect and remove materials from the collection using these criteria: availability of electronic editions, need for conservation of space, physical condition, level of outdated information, superseded editions, and items that are no longer useful for current course offerings. Electronic books are also removed from the collection when they are no longer useful, have outdated information, or have superseded editions.