Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library Policies: Collection Specific Guidelines

All of the library's policies are posted here. Find information about our policies relating to collection development, public access, filming, services and more.

Reference Collection

The Reference collection supports the research needs of the academic programs of the University with general, introductory, and in-depth sources that can be accessed quickly to provide information in both print and electronic format. The Library does not designate an absolute limit to the size of the collection, however, the librarians are mindful of the needs and assignments of each department and select and deselect materials as needed. We do not use dollar or mathematical formulas to determine the content of the reference collection.

Recommendations for selection and collection maintenance are coordinated primarily by the Reference Librarian in conjunction with the liaison librarians for each subject area under the general guidelines as provided above. In addition to the General Criteria for Selection, librarians use specific resources for reviews of reference materials including Balay’s Guide to Reference Books and Walford's Guide to Reference Sources, Choice, and other professional library literature.

The Reference collection includes the following types of resources, in print or electronic form:

  • Almanacs and Yearbooks – Current editions of the major almanacs and yearbooks 
  • Bibliographies – General and subject-specific bibliographies
  • Biographical Sources - Comprehensive volumes dealing with professional, vocational, subject and current biographies

  • Concordances – Concordances of the Bible and major literary authors (e.g. Shakespeare)

  • Dictionaries & Thesaurus- English language dictionaries and thesaurus and selected subject foreign language dictionaries

  • Directories - Telephone books from selected cities and towns of Massachusetts and other professional directories as deemed appropriate.

  • Encyclopedias - English language single and multivolume general and subject-specific encyclopedias

  • Geographical Sources – Current and historical, authoritative atlases, maps and gazetteers. (Topographical or geological maps may be purchased for the general collection)

  • Guides - Guides to the literature of various subjects

  • Handbooks & Manuals- Current and authoritative subject-specific handbooks and most major style manuals and report writing guides

  • Indexes/Abstracts - Indexes and abstracts as deemed appropriate.

  • Legal Materials - Various indexes to U.S. Supreme Court decisions

  • Literary Criticism – Plot summaries, author biographies, critical essays of published literature

The Reference collection does not collect travel guides, genealogical materials, or coin/stamp catalogs. All primary and secondary sources dealing with the history and business of the University is maintained in the University Archives and Special Collections.

Periodicals, Electronic Resources & Databases

The Periodicals collection provides general, statistical, trade, and scholarly periodical titles, newspapers, popular magazines and documents, in both print and electronic format, through individual and database subscriptions. The Library aims to collect the core academic journals and professional periodicals, and databases for each academic program.

Databases include but are not limited to indexes/abstracts, full-text journal collections, reference sources, primary source documents and media collections.

Recommendations for selection and collection maintenance are coordinated primarily by the Serials & Technology Librarian in conjunction with the liaison librarians for each subject area under the General Criteria for Selection. Final decisions for selection or de-selection are done in conjunction with the librarians and the Dean of the Library.  In addition to the General Criteria for Selection, librarians use specific resources for reviews of serials and databases including Serials Review and peer comparisons of institutions and programs of a similar nature.

Purchases, Subscriptions & Licenses

For the purchase of individual periodical titles consideration is given to whether print is tied to electronic access, back issues are available, and if the title is available in an index/abstract or full-text service. The existing holdings in the periodicals collection are consulted to provide a profile of holdings for the subject area and to see if the title is relevant. Electronic versions are preferred over print as long as archiving is assured (PDF is preferred) and any license agreement permits downloading and printing of articles without restricting access to authorized Fitchburg State community members regardless of their location. Licensing agreements that follow the Copyright Fair Use policy are preferred over agreements that prohibit all interlibrary loan sharing and/or electronic reserves use. The initial price of the subscription/license and the ability of the library to maintain it over time is considered. Publications from Scholarly Societies that support disciplines of importance to Fitchburg State faculty and students are purchased wherever possible. As finances permit, the Library purchases back issues of journals assuming that the retrospective issues are indexed.

All requests for new subscriptions/licenses must include a justification of need. This includes the number of faculty who might use this title, potential student use (graduate and/or undergraduate), courses, projects and research this title supports. It must also justify why access through a document delivery source or Interlibrary Loan is inadequate. New subscriptions/licenses are purchased to support a single faculty member's research interests or publications unless there are special circumstances and additional funding is available.


Following the General Gift Statement as above, journal titles or individual volumes of a title may be accepted when they fill in missing volumes or back years in the run of a journal already owned. Gift journals or volumes are note accepted when there is no current subscription in place, no index is available and when the titles are available electronically in existing library subscriptions.


When a new subscription is entered it is intended to continue indefinitely. There is more than a one-time cost involved. Consequently, the following are considered when it is necessary to cancel subscriptions.

Print subscriptions may be cancelled if...

  • Use of title is negligible

  • Title is not part of a package plan where other titles in the plan are well used. As an option, library staff will investigate the possibility of canceling package plans and paying separately for individual titles that are well used providing that costs of the individual subscriptions are less than the cost of the package plan.

  • Full text electronic access is available for lower cost without dependency on print subscription and electronic access includes present and future archival access.

  • Title is not considered vital for accreditation.

Electronic subscriptions or licenses may be cancelled if...
  • Use is too low. Usage statistics are collected on an annual basis and as needed.

  • Cost of subscription or license is comparatively expensive and use does not warrant the cost.

Preservation & Journal Retention

It is library policy to store and preserve all appropriate print periodicals volumes held by the library. It is recognized that all electronic full-text journals (packages or individual subscriptions) do not provide coverage from volume 1.  If the library has back volumes of titles that provide coverage prior to the electronic version, the library keeps those volumes/reels as necessary.

Preservation may include binding and/or purchasing replacement issues in available format when the budget permits.

In addition, certain titles are kept for a specified period of time and then discarded. These include: newsletters, non-indexed journals used mainly for current information, embargoed journals, and newspapers.

De-selection and Collection Maintenance

In addition to the general guidelines as noted above regarding de-selection, the collection maintenance and de-selection of the print journals also takes into account the following:

  • Non-current titles that are not indexed.

  • Journals no longer needed due to shifts in the curriculum.

  • Physical condition of the volumes and the amount of volumes/reels held in relation to the beginning and ending dates of the subscription. The amount of volumes/reels from a title left on the shelf after it has been decided to remove other volumes or reels. (It’s not necessary to leave one volume standing on a shelf if all other volumes have been removed.)

  • Titles/ Volumes/Year should be at least 75%-80% complete. The criteria is to keep as much of a complete a run as possible.

  • Back issues have become available online via PDF format.

  • Publisher/providers can assure they will keep their electronic versions.

As noted in the General Guidelines above, newspapers may be subject to a separate weeding schedule.

Center for Italian Culture (CIC)

The CIC collects materials on all aspects of Italian language and culture, including ancient and contemporary studies, and the Italian experience in the New World. Materials may be in English or Italian. When there is a Curator for the Center’s library, s/he will work together with the Dean of the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library; in the absence of a curator a liaison librarian will be assigned to assist with the selection and purchasing of materials for the collection based on the CIC’s budget.


The Library collects various audio and visual materials to support the research needs of the academic programs of the University. These can include, but are not limited to, films, musical recordings, and games and may be maintained in a variety of formats such as CD, CD-ROM, VHS, DVD, analog or digital. According to the General Criteria for Selection as noted above, the library aims to maintain at least one viewing or listening device to support the materials in the collection, however, over time may weed outmoded technology and attempt to replace materials with updated formats.

Recommendations for selection and collection maintenance are made by the liaison librarians for each subject area under the general criteria as provided above.

University Archives and Special Collections

The Fitchburg State University Archives and Special Collections were established in 1982 and operate within the Library. It includes materials that are not allowed to circulate to patrons and must be used under supervision of the Special Collections Librarian due to the rare, fragile or historical nature of the materials. There are several main collections that fall under the care of the University Archives & Special Collections: University records, Manuscript collections, Special Collections and the Fine Arts collection.

The Archives collect, organize, maintain and make accessible records and unpublished materials that have enduring value to the history of the University. Its primary function is to preserve institutional records that provide administrative, legal, fiscal and historical evidentiary value as determined by the Massachusetts State Archives and the University itself. In addition to Fitchburg State University records, the Archives collect and preserve unpublished and manuscript materials and artifacts that document the life and community of the University, which includes faculty, students, staff and alumni as well as its engagement with the city of Fitchburg and history of the local region. Accession and organization of these materials are the responsibility of the Special Collections Librarian.

Special Collections materials are rare or valuable published materials that are individually cataloged in our library catalog, but do not circulate and are available to patrons under supervision of the Special Collections Librarian. This collection includes faculty publications, student theses, university publications, local history materials, and other items that have enduring value because of rarity, value or historical significance. Recommendations for selection and collection maintenance are coordinated primarily by the Special Collections Librarian in conjunction with the liaison librarians for each subject area under the general guidelines as provided above. Cataloging of these materials is coordinated with the Technical Services department.

The Fine Arts collection consists of unique fine arts materials donated to the University and includes items such as illuminated manuscripts, prints, lithographs, watercolor and oil paintings, portraits, textiles, and sculptures. While donations are accepted and insured by the University Foundation, the collection of items is managed and cataloged by the Special Collections Librarian in conjunction with the Facilities Department. Items are available for loan to individuals for offices and departments on the main campus unless they are valued at over $5000 or there are preservation concerns for the artwork (e.g., Impact of light exposure, fragility of item or frame, or conservation treatment required).