Proposals for research collections due soon

atalie Pillsbury

With the possibility of budget cuts looming, there is little funding in the library for anything other than basic necessities.

Proposals for the purchase of a research collection, a funding luxury, will be accepted until Friday.

Any full- or part-time faculty member can submit a proposal, and there is an online form available at

“We’re glad to have the extra funding,” said Melissa Spohn, collection development librarian. “It’s like planning for a vacation.”

Spohn is in her fourth year heading the purchasing process for research collections.

The funding became available in 1990 to promote and support purchases of primary research materials, Spohn said.

Each year there is $15,000 available for research collections.

In the past, proposals have been accepted for everything from missing volumes of math education journals to a Chaucer collection for English.

The collection cost must be $1,000 or more, and it can be a one-time purchase only.

This means that journal subscriptions or other collections that require recurring payments will not be considered, Spohn said.

A three-member faculty committee, normally composed of representatives from both sciences and humanities, aids in deciding which proposals will be funded.

Proposals are given greater consideration if they include support from the library allocation given to all academic departments.

“Departments show they really want their proposals funded by offering department support,” said Michele Hurst, acquisitions manager.

Once the decision is made on which proposals will be funded, Hurst collaborates with Spohn to make sure collections are paid for and received.

“I do the follow up and make sure the materials are added to the collection,” Hurst said.

One particularly rare collection, whose arrival is still being monitored by Hurst, comes through a French vendor.

Last year, a set of illustrated editions of French author Pierre Loti’s novel Pecheur d’Islande was funded through a proposal from Modern Classical Language Studies.

Unlike most other purchased collections, which are reproductions, the Loti books are originals. They will be housed in special collections and will not be circulated, Spohn said.

“The format has become more multimedia,” Spohn said. “But normally the collections are books, microfilm or CD-ROM.”

The collections are purchased from vendors who specialize in primary research materials.

“(Collections) are housed here,” Hurst said. “Because they are primary research materials, they are normally for local use only.”

Students can check out the materials if they are in book or CD-ROM format, but materials on microfilm can only be viewed in the library.

Because of budget cuts, of which even more are anticipated, the funding for research collections is a breath of fresh air, according to Spohn.

“It helps expand the collection,” Spohn said. “We work with academic departments to support the mission of the library.”

Contact Libraries and Information reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].