Posted in Education, Information and Reference Services, MLIS Courses

The Stein Salon Library – Collection Development Policy

This project was made for a course in the University College Dublin Master’s in Library and Information Systems in collaboration with Robert Alfis, John Kiely, Dermot O’Leary, and Patrick Thompson.

The Stein Salon Library - img Banner 02 Collection Dev Policy

The purpose of The Stein Salon Library (SSL) Collection Development Policy is to guide the selection of library stock by the SSL Acquisitions Committee and to inform the Board of Trustees, the SSL Administration and other interested parties of the principles employed in the selection process.

Located in the heart of downtown Manhattan, New York, the SSL aims to provide services to the community of Art History and English Literature academics and researchers attending the numerous colleges and universities not only in New York City but also in greater Tri-State area. With its close proximity to some of the most internationally acclaimed cultural institutions, the library also caters to the massive influx of art and literature tourists who visit New York each year.

There is a Board of Trustees in place as a checks and balances system for the managers and decision-makers across all levels. However, ultimate responsibility for the maintenance and development of the library collection rests with the Director of the Library who works according to the operational policies laid out by the Board of Trustees.

The SSL’s primary mission is to provide a wide audience including scholars, academics, and families with access to the works and information on the writers and artists who were brought together in 27 rue de Fleurus, Paris, France, the former home of Gertrude Stein.  The SSL is committed to providing ease of access to this information in order to help facilitate research and study. Our collection includes print, electronic and non-print materials. Books will be available to loan to members with the exception of more expensive or rare books. Rare books will only be available for viewing under special request. Members will pay a small annual fee to join the Friends of the Stein Salon Library (FSSL), with the exception of students and retirees who are granted free membership. Current membership allows access to the library’s online resources.

Budget Allocation & Funding
The overall materials budget for the library is administered by the SSL Administration on the recommendations of the SSL Acquisitions committee. Allocation of the budget for all new materials is decided on a case-by-case basis by the SSL Acquisitions committee. Maintenance and preservation of materials is included in the materials budget year-on-year.
The majority of funds required for materials are received through the generous donations and membership fees of the FSSL and in particular the Stein family. The library also solicits and welcomes donations from a variety of other sources. Cultural grants are applied for on a continual basis and the library has been lucky enough to secure substantial funding in recent years through this process.

Target Audience
While the Stein Salon does not discriminate in terms of access to the collection we are very aware of our user profile. Recent user surveys have revealed that 40% of our audience is made up of both undergraduate and postgraduate students in both Art History and English Literature. A further 20% consists of academic and private researchers, university lecturers and teachers, and curators of other cultural museums and galleries. The final 40% is made up of the general public including international and U.S. tourists.

The library will provide the following user services in line with the aims outlined in the Mission statement –

  • Facilitation of undergraduate, graduate and PhD students and researchers via study rooms and access to the Special Collections.
  • Short tours of the entire collection including the rare books and first editions in the Special Collections library.
  • Expert knowledge and advice relating to the collection from well-versed and educated staff.
  • An annual print and e-journal about the collection featuring new additions, changes to the collection, and articles written by researchers who have accessed our services.
  • A small circulation library giving access to titles from the general loan collection. The loan period will be one week. Late fees incurred will be at a rate of $1 per week. Damaged or lost items must be paid for in full or replaced with a brand new copy of the same title.
  • Membership of FSSL for a small annual fee, which provides access not only to all areas of the actual collection but also to the library’s online resources, including journals and databases.

Evaluation Of Materials
The following criteria shall be considered in evaluating materials for the SSL collection :-

  • Scope & Relevance. All material in the collection has to have been created by one of the artists who attended the Stein Salon (artists being a broad term encompassing both visual artists and authors) or secondary sources related to the work or lives of the artists included in this collection.
  • Quality Of Content. As the majority of material in our collection is of a historical nature, priority will be given to material which is out of print or rare. The content must also be accurate and of sufficient depth to our target audience with uniqueness of the content another dictating factor.
  • Authority of Author and/or Publisher. Priority will be given to the works generally acknowledged as the subject’s most famous, best or most influential. However, the authority of each individual work will still be assessed first by the SSL acquisitions committee. Authors and publishers with an already-established pedigree and reputation will be given preference in deciding which secondary materials to assess first.
  • Accuracy of Content. All material in the collection will be assessed for accuracy by comparison to other available material on the particular subject matter.
  • Historical relevance. If found that a work holds specific relevance to an important historical event or era we deem it to be worthy of inclusion in our collection e.g Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans: Premonition of Civil War and its relevance to the Spanish civil war.
  • Currency. Even though the collection is largely of a historical nature, attempts will be made to ensure that the subject information of the work is recently verified and up to date.
  • Ease of Use. All materials in the collection, both in print as well as electronic form must be easy to use and accessible to all. The SSL Acquisitions committee is aware of the exclusive reputation that such a collection has but would like to open up the world of Paris in the early 1900s to all.
  • Arrangement of Material. As above, accessibility and ease of use is of paramount importance to encourage further study and research of this era in history. Arrangement of the material must reflect this.
  • Format. The collection will reflect the changing landscape of research in this area with all formats considered for acquisition. Acceptable formats include print, electronic and multimedia (see Format below). Materials in new formats will be collected when feasible.
  • Cost. The cost of an item will always be a factor in evaluation. The price will be weighted against how the work performs when assessed against all the other evaluative criteria as specified in this policy. Only then will a decision on acquisition be made.

The SSL currently stocks materials in the following formats :

  • Books (Print Format)
  • DVD and Blu-Ray
  • Online Electronic Databases & Journals
  • CD-ROM and Multimedia kits

New and alternative formats will be considered under the selection criteria as outlined in Evaluation of Materials.

Special Collections
The collection has a large selection of rare and first edition books by both literary and artistic personalities who frequented the original Stein Salon. These collections are viewable by members of FSSL by monitored appointment only, with no exceptions. Membership can be purchased either online at or through the main desk. All purchases of rare books will be evaluated according to the library’s selection criteria as outlined in Evaluation of Materials. Donation of rare books will be accepted according to the same.

The SSL adheres to all provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and actively promotes compliance by all users of the library. However, the Library also supports the Fair Use section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) which permits and protects citizens’ rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship and research.

Collection Maintenance
Library materials are expensive to purchase, process and house. The SSL acknowledges the importance of preservation of all materials held by the Library. The curatorial staff will need to provide information services to the public and to professionals seeking information from the collection. Staff will also need museological training on how to handle the materials with proper care and preservation. Temperature and humidity controls are regulated in accordance with correct preservation standards.

So as to maintain a collection of optimal usefulness the SSL staff will continually evaluate all materials in all formats. Those deemed no longer appropriate will be removed and final approval will be at the behest of the Director of the Library. The following criteria will be considered during the weeding process –

  • Materials which contain no longer accurate information.
  • Lack of usage.
  • Worn, badly damaged or marked materials.
  • Materials which are in formats requiring equipment that is obselete – although this material will be kept in storage for its historical value.
  • Replacement by comparable material.

Policy Revision
This policy will be reviewed no less frequently than once every two years by the Director of the Library and the SSL Acquisitions Committee. Any recommendations will then be made to the Board of Trustees.

References & Consulted Texts

Cassell, K.A. and Hiremath, U. (2013). Reference and information services in the 21st     

     century: An introduction. London: FacetPublishing.

Hoffmann, F. W., & Wood, R. J. (2005). Library collection development policies: Academic,

     public, and special libraries. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *