The purpose of an acquisitions policy is to provide for structured development of the library collection in accordance with defined goals. As such, it can have an impact on the future direction of the library, its research capabilities, and its reference services. It also can assist in the budget and space planning process.
It is the goal of the acquisition process to provide quality research resources for the firm's legal staff within the constraints of the budget, and to effectively coordinate the book collection with the non-book materials and outside resources.
In order to control unnecessary and or duplicative purchases, all publications which are to be paid for by the firm must be ordered through the library. The librarian will evaluate all requests for new purchases and submit a recommendation to the library committee. The library committee must approve all new purchases. Office copies are paid for by the practice group but are ordered and monitored by the library. They must be approved by the head of the practice group and by the library committee.
The library will review its collection continuously in conjunction with the selection of new and replacement volumes.
All subscriptions and looseleaf services up for renewal are evaluated yearly. Input is solicited from all the legal staff members if there is some question as to continued usefulness of a publication.
With budgetary and space limitations it is impossible to purchase all
requested library materials. Therefore, the following criteria are used in the selection process.
The major reason to acquire a new publication is that it is necessary to an area of practice of the firm. Proposed acquisitions are evaluated based on the significance of the subject area to the firm, the projected use of the material, and whether the material is duplicative.
Those titles acquired for a specific client or case and not generally relevant are usually charged to that client.
Cost factors considered in connection with proposed new purchases include the cost of the original title, the cost of supplementation, staff time required to update the publication, and shelf space required. The cost is also evaluated compared to other similar resources and as part of the total library budget.
The quality of library materials is judged by a review of the contents, and the qualifications and reputation of the publisher, author, and editor, compared to similar works on the subject. We have found that endorsements in the publishers' advertising material are not always reliable. Accordingly, we also consider: whether the item appears on one or more "recommended titles" lists or critical selective bibliographies; whether the item has been favorably reviewed in scholarly legal periodicals or similar evaluative tools; and whether the requested item is a standard work in the subject area which is frequently cited in court cases, briefs or scholarly legal writing.
Duplication within the collection will be avoided unless there is a demonstrable need for additional copies. Each publication is evaluated in relation to the other materials in that subject area to avoid duplication.
The currentness of the publication is judged by the publication date and by the publisher's projected supplementation schedule and the efficacy of the supplementation format (looseleaf, pocket parts etc.).
While both current and retrospective materials are essential to the needs of the legal researcher, current materials will generally receive higher priority.
For less frequently used or very costly materials the decision to purchase will also be evaluated in terms of how quickly and conveniently the material can be borrowed from area libraries, and how easily and/or economically it can be accessed via an online database.
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