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Moon Library Policies and Guidelines

Information regarding library policies and guidelines related to purchase requests, donations, guest computer use, and more.

Collection Development Guidelines


The role of the Moon Library is to support the mission of the College: “to advance knowledge and skills and to promote the leadership necessary for the stewardship of both the natural and designed environments.” The library provides materials that support, facilitate and motivate learning, scholarly research and communication and public service. The guidelines that follow focus on the curricula and academic interests of the faculty and research associates from which instruction, research and public service emanate.

The library faculty has the obligation to collect in the fields outlined in these guidelines. All faculty members have an obligation to keep current in the literature of their respective fields and to suggest materials for the library to acquire. Others in the college community are also encouraged to make recommendations as well.

Materials are selected on the basis of relevancy to the curricula as outlined in these guidelines, scholarly merit, publication date and reputation of the publisher.
Multiple copies of materials are not purchased, but may be accepted as gifts. Fiction is not purchased. The Moon Library generally does not acquire materials owned by Syracuse University in any format.

These guidelines are used in evaluating materials considered for acquisition, for establishing priorities in budget allocation and for evaluating potential discards from the collection. They are reviewed periodically by the library faculty and revised to reflect changes in curricula and needs of the Library’s users.

Censorship and Intellectual Freedom:

The Library strives to uphold the American Library Association Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights. (Copies of each appear in the Appendix to these guidelines.)

Branch Libraries:

There are collections under the control of the Moon Library at the Adirondack Ecological Center, the Ranger School and the Cranberry Lake Biological Station.

Materials for these collections are selected, ordered and processed at the Moon Library with input and recommendations from faculty and staff located at those facilities. These guidelines do not cover collections or instructional material in other facilities of the College or private collections of individual faculty members that are shelved in their offices. Those collections have no connection with Moon Library.

Interlibrary Cooperation:

Students, faculty and staff of the College have full access and borrowing privileges at the Syracuse University Libraries and the Library at the Upstate Medical University as well as at all other SUNY institutions. There are informal collection acquisitions guidelines between the ESF, UMU and SU. Through the use of interlibrary loan and other processes we have attempted to rationalize the collection development process and reduce the amount of overlapping holdings in our collections.


Gifts to the Moon Library are accepted. There should be no special conditions attached to the gift and potential gifts are evaluated according to these guidelines for inclusion in the Library’s collection. The Library is free to dispose of material that is not needed or is inappropriate for the collection.

Categories of materials:

There are generally four categories of materials that are considered for acquisition. They are listed and described below in order of decreasing priority.

  • Serials include scholarly periodicals and journals, annuals, reports, transactions, proceedings, bibliographic databases, etc. (any publication issued in parts or series.) The term periodical and journal are used interchangeably and refer to a publication with a distinctive title, usually appearing unbound in successive numbers or parts at stated or regular intervals. Serials are often purchased in electronic format.
  • Current books include monographs (an exhaustive treatment of a subject), theses and dissertation of ESF students, and reference works (such as encyclopedias and dictionaries.)
  • Theses and Dissertations: Unbound copies of theses and dissertations are place in the archives. A bound copy, if available, is shelved in the main circulating collection. The Library also has links in the online catalog to electronic copies of theses and dissertations from approx. 1996 to the present, and microfilm copies of many older theses.
  • Special books, shelved in the Archives/Special room in the Library, include rare books with 17th and 18th century imprints, unique monographs, folios and limited additions.
  • College archives, shelved in the Archives/Special room in the Library include non-current Collection publications with enduring historical value.


Levels of Emphasis

The subject areas included in Moon Library’s collections are ranked according to the following five levels of emphasis (developed by the American Library Association.) The collection is frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information for all levels. Many of the materials at all levels may be in available in an electronic format.

Level 0: Out of Scope. The Library does not collect in this subject.

Level 1: Minimal. The Library collects few materials beyond very basic works.

Level 2: Basic Information. The Library collects a selective group of materials that serves to introduce and define a subject. This may include dictionaries, encyclopedias, access to appropriate databases, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, handbooks and a few major periodicals.

Level 3: Study or Instructional Support. The Library collects materials adequate to impart and maintain knowledge about a subject in a systematic way but at a level of less than research intensity. Materials include a wide range of basic works in appropriate formats, a significant number of classic retrospective materials, a selection of representative journals. The materials collected at this level should be adequate to support independent study and most learning needs of undergraduate and graduate students.

Level 4: Research. The Library collects materials that include the major materials required for doctoral and other original research. Materials include all important reference works, a wide selection of specialized monographs as well as a very extensive collection of journals and the major databases in the field. Older materials are usually retained for history research and actively preserved.

Level 5: Comprehensive. At this level the Library would collect as far as reasonably possible all significant works of recorded knowledge in any format and language for a necessarily defined and limited field. No subjects at Moon Library are collected at this exhaustive level.

Library of Congress Classification List with Levels of Emphasis

The following is a selected list of subjects areas arranged according to the Library of Congress classification system. A level is assigned to each subject to reflect how Moon Library collects in this area. In many areas the general subject is out of scope for Moon and is indicated accordingly with only a note for exceptions to this area.