General Background

Herrick Memorial Library primarily serves the needs of the students, faculty, administration, and staff of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the College of Professional Studies at Alfred University and, in conjunction with Scholes Library, the School of Engineering and the School of Art and Design of the New York State College of Ceramics.

A third academic library, Hinkle Memorial Library at Alfred State College, is also within walking distance.  Our patrons have access to all three collections, as well as the Alfred Box of Books Public Library. The four libraries maintain a mutual awareness of the scope of each other’s holdings in order to build complementary collections.

Collection Development Goal

Herrick Memorial Library’s collection development goal is to provide access to the resources necessary for students to achieve excellence at Alfred University. This is accomplished by supporting the University’s curricula and general programming. Where feasible, the library will also support the research needs, as well as the cultural and recreational interests of its students, faculty, administrators and staff. Typically, the individual research needs of our faculty are met through a variety of online research databases and interlibrary loan, rather than direct ownership of highly specialized research materials.

newbooksCollection Building Responsibilities

The ultimate responsibility for the quality of the library’s collection rests with the Library Director, who coordinates and directs these activities at Herrick Memorial Library in cooperation with the library faculty.

The teaching faculty are urged to advise the library on the materials necessary to support their courses and programs. Requests for these materials are welcomed and encouraged. Use the library’s Suggest a Purchase form to make recommendations. 

A liaison network between the librarians and the teaching faculty has been established to coordinate the flow of information so that appropriate collections and services are established and maintained.

Student, staff and community member requests for acquisition of materials are also welcomed.

General Collection Guidelines

The quality of content and the fulfillment of academic curricular need are the first two criteria against which any potential item is evaluated.  Specific considerations in choosing individual items include some or all of the following:

  • identification of need by library user
  • lasting value of the content
  • suitability of format to content
  • appropriateness of content level
  • strength of present holdings in same or similar subject area
  • cost
  • authoritativeness of the author or reputation of the publisher

Other considerations:

  • Textbooks are not normally purchased. The exceptions are those that have earned a reputation as “classics” in their fields, or a textbook that is the only source of information on a particular topic.
  • English language publications will be given priority, except for the acquisitions of materials for the modern language courses, or materials of demonstrated need.
  • Duplicate copies will be purchased only when high demand requires it.
  • When there is a range of format options, the choice is based on expected use, lasting value of the content, and cost differential.
  • Lost and damaged materials will be replaced if they still meet the above criteria, and are still available.
  • The majority of selections are current publications, but the library recognizes the need for retrospective purchases.


Gifts are welcomed with the understanding that they will be used to the best advantage of the library. Items that are in poor condition, or duplicates of titles already owned, or are titles inappropriate to the scope of the collection will be disposed of as the library sees fit.

These items may be exchanged, given away, sold, or discarded. By law, the library assumes no responsibility for the appraisal of gift items.  Gifts with conditions as to their disposition will not be accepted, except by permission of the Library Director.

Intellectual Freedom

The Herrick Memorial Library of Alfred University supports the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights and its Intellectual Freedom Statements and Guidelines. Selection is without partisanship regarding matters of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or moral philosophy.