This document provides the materials selection guidelines used by Hurley Music Library, Centenary College of Louisiana. Rising costs, a static revenue level, the proliferation of published materials in all formats, and the increasing demands for information necessitate selection of materials based on a thorough understanding of the mission of the library and its relationship to the Hurley School of Music and the Centenary College community.

Hurley Music Library exists to support the stated purpose of the Hurley School of Music and Centenary College, which is to provide a quality liberal arts education to its predominantly undergraduate student population. The library is not, nor should it seek to become, a university or conservatory library. Its primary mission is to support the undergraduate curriculum. The library houses: the primary music reference collection—a secondary and less-comprehensive music reference collection is located in Magale Library; music scores; recordings, both audio and visual, in various formats; special music collections; a computer lab; and listening carrels. The library collects music materials in many formats.



The objectives of the Hurley Music Library are:

  • To acquire materials needed to support the curriculum of the School of Music.
  • To provide, apart from the curriculum requirements, a basic collection of classics and seminal works suitable to the development of the liberally-educated musician and music lover.
  • To provide limited materials to support student and faculty research.


Selection Responsibility: Print Materials

Selection of print materials to support the curriculum rests jointly with the Music Faculty and the Director of the Hurley Music Library (henceforth, to be referred to as Director). All selections will be critically evaluated before recommendations for purchase (see Selection Guidelines) are made. To the Music Faculty and Director belongs the responsibility for selecting the materials that can be acquired to support School of Music activities and research.

The responsibility for the selection of the basic collection, which is aimed at the development of the liberally-educated musician belongs primarily with the Director with substantial input from the Music Faculty. The Director will evaluate recommendations and selections with consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of the collection. Faculty and student recommendations are solicited for specific titles and for ideas about new areas in which the collection might be developed.

The selection process entails:

  • Primary responsibility for the selection of reference materials belongs to the Director.
  • Priority will always go to acquiring materials needed to support the curriculum.
  • Under normal circumstances, Hurley Music Library will not buy copies of textbooks currently in use in the Hurley School of Music.
  • Under normal circumstances, multiple copies of a title will not be purchased.


Selection Responsibility: Non-print Materials

Selection of non-print materials, including audio-visual materials and computer software, is the joint responsibility of the Music Faculty and the Director. Final decision-making rests with the Director out of consideration for the equipment and technology demands required by a proposed acquisition.


Selection Responsibility: Gifts

Hurley Music Library accepts gift items with certain conditions applied. It is the goal of the library to be a recognized depository for regional music collections. To this end, gifts may be declined, but the potential donor will be supplied with alternative outlets for the potential gift. The library accepts gifts on condition that it retains the authority to add, or decline to add items to the collection as the Director deems appropriate. Gift materials are evaluated in the same manner as items considered for purchase. Gift materials not added to the collection may be held for exchange, sale, or disposal as judged appropriate. Sometimes it is necessary to dispose of materials, both accessioned and donated. Careful guidelines (see Weeding and Deaccession) are followed in such instances.


Selection Guidelines

Guidelines to be used in the evaluation of materials considered for purchase include some or all of the following:

  • The authority or competence of the author/composer.
  • The reputation of the publisher.
  • Lasting value of the content and/or information.
  • Relation and appropriateness of the item to the existing collection.
  • Comprehensiveness and objectivity.
  • Clarity and accuracy of presentation.
  • Relative importance in comparison with other available items or editions.
  • Suitability of the format to the content of the item.
  • Frequency of requests for interlibrary loan (ILL) borrowing.
  • Cost relative to usefulness and demand.
  • If the cost is high and expected use low, alternate materials may be recommended.
  • The majority of purchases will be of current/recent publication. Reissues of books, scores, and recordings are considered to be current publications.


Serial Publications and Standing Order Subscriptions

Serials and stand order subscriptions (henceforth, both serials and standing orders will be referred to as serials) are the major source of current and up-to-date information in the field, Serials are among the costliest items in the materials budget. Subscriptions may be expensive and represent long-term commitments. These commitments include coping with periodic price increases, as well as binding and shelving costs. Therefore, selection of serials must be determined with great care and consideration, including availability in full-text electronic formats.

The majority of music serials are housed in Magale Library and their selection process is included in the Magale Library "Collection Development Policy" (revised 1/96). However, a few selected titles of interest to Music Library patrons are purchased using the Music Library budget and are located in the Music Library. Serials titles in this category are chosen using the following criteria:

  • Immediate interest to the Hurley School of Music.
  • Cost to use ratio.
  • Support of the current curriculum.
  • Non-duplication of Magale Library music serials subscriptions.


Special Collections

Music manuscripts, archival music materials, and special music collections are housed in the Hurley Music Library. Acceptance of special collections is at the discretion of the Director (see Selection Responsibility: Gifts).


Weeding and Deaccession

Books and materials can become obsolete or damaged. Traditionally, music libraries weed (withdraw) few items from the collection. Studies in music librarianship and music libraries acknowledges that older music editions and books retain historical value and use; they rarely become obsolete. Nonetheless, candidates for library weeding include:

  • Dated textbooks.
  • Damaged items.
  • Duplicate copies. (It is acknowledged that the library needs duplicate copies of the more popular materials to support the needs of the patrons and the curriculum).

The Director is responsible for selecting items for withdrawal and deaccession. When appropriate, a replacement copy may be selected. Where there is uncertainty, the Director may consult members of the Hurley School of Music Faculty.



If the existence of an item in the Hurley Music Library is questioned by a patron, the appropriateness of the item in the collection will be examined by the Director. A written response concerning the item will be issued to the patron by the Director explaining why the item in question will, or will not remain in the collection. If need be, advice will be sought from the Centenary College Chief Information Officer and/or the college's legal counsel.

The "Collection Development Policy, Hurley Music Library" was written by Dr. R. Bukoff, 6/97 (rev. 12/98).


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