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Archbishop Alter Library
Mount St. Joseph University
5701 Delhi Road
Cincinnati, OH 45233

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Social Media:   @MSJLibrary on TwitterLibrary instagram accountLibrary goodreads account

Cellphone Use

The Archbishop Alter Library is committed to providing an environment conducive to research and study.  In order to maintain a quiet learning environment, the Library asks all patrons to turn their cell phone ringer OFF when entering the Library and be considerate of those studying around them by not answering calls in quiet study areas. 

Patrons making or receiving cell phone calls are welcome to use the WPS Starbucks Cafe or the hallway outside the Library's main entrance.

In addition to the Reading Room, quiet study spaces are available on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the library.

Children in the Library

Although the Library is open to the community, our collections and facilities are intended primarily for the faculty, staff and students of the Mount St. Joseph University.  We strive to provide an environment that is pleasant and conducive to study and research.

For their safety, we ask that children under 15 be supervised at all times by a parent or other responsible adult. Campus Police will be notified of unattended children.

Children under 15 who are accompanied by an adult are permitted in the Library providing that their behavior is appropriate for an academic library.

Parents (or other responsible adult) will be held responsible for their children’s behavior. Loud or disruptive children and their responsible adult may be asked to leave.

Children under 15 are not permitted to use the computer workstations in the Library.

Parents will be held responsible for any damage caused to library property by their children.

The Library Staff cannot be responsible for children who are left unattended in the library.

Collection Development

Philosophy and Mission

Archbishop Alter Library plays an important role in supporting the educational process at Mount St. Joseph University. Utilizing information sources in a number of media, its primary purpose is to collect, organize, and house materials that directly support courses currently taught at the University. On a more limited scale, Alter Library also purchases materials that 1.) indirectly support curricular offerings; 2.) promote the development of critical judgment and independent study in students; 3.) may not directly support the current curriculum, but are recognized as classics; and 4.) aid faculty and staff in their research.

Archbishop Alter Library also serves as a community resource center to meet the information needs of area residents who are not affiliated with the College. No purchases will be made, however, solely to meet these needs.

Archbishop Alter Library supports the statement on academic freedom as listed in the University Handbook. The Library also supports the American Library Association’s (ALA) "Library Bill of Rights", found in Appendix B.

Selection and Deselection Criteria

The following criteria will be considered whenever material is recommended for library purchase:

  • suitability to curricular needs
  • cost
  • date of publication and current availability
  • existing similar resources in a particular area of the collection
  • publisher
  • format
  • whether the title is owned by other OhioLINK libraries

Many recommendations (usually about 50%) come from teaching faculty. The Director of Library Services (and, to a lesser extent, the other librarians) also recommends materials for purchase. Whatever their source, all recommendations are routed through the Director of Library who makes the final purchase decision.

Whenever possible, materials are ordered via one of the library’s selected book vendors (Amazon, GOBI, etc.). Materials not available from these vendors will also be ordered directly from publishers and distributors.

Since the Archbishop Alter Library is committed to maintaining an up-to-date collection of materials, is limited in space, and is not a comprehensive research collection, materials are regularly deselected or weeded. The Director of Library Services, often in conjunction with appropriate faculty, makes all deselection decisions.

Criteria for deselecting materials include:

  • date of publication
  • physical condition
  • relevance to current curriculum
  • lack of use or circulation
  • publication of new edition of title
  • duplicate copies held

Disciplines subject to regular weeding include: Nursing, Computer Science, Behavioral Sciences, Natural Sciences, Heatlh Sciences, and Business.

Deselection is carried out less regularly and stringently in disciplines such as History, Literature, Religion, and Art.

Formats and Types of Materials Collected

Newspapers: selected local and national newspapers are held for four months in print format.

Journals: generally, no periodicals will be purchased that are not included in a standard index owned by the Library. Due to space considerations and the advent of electronic full-text journals, there are no plans to significantly increase the number of print journal subscriptions. In fact, it is probable that the number will decrease as more and more titles become available in electronic forms. Journals held in electronic form will usually not be duplicated in print.

Since storage space is limited, print journal runs are usually limited to 10 to 20 years, depending on the nature of their discipline. Whenever appropriate, journals will not be bound, but will be retained instead on microfiche. No titles will be discontinued without consulting the appropriate department chair. Final purchase and removal decisions, however, rest with the Director of Library Services.

Government Documents: Archbishop Alter Library is not a repository library. Any government publications purchased will be incorporated into the main collection.

Audiovisual Materials: the Library will purchase audiovisual materials provided it has access to the equipment required to use them. DVDs and CDs are regularly purchased.

CD-ROMS: Generally, the Library does not purchase cd-roms. Exceptions may be made if the materials are not available in any other format.

Pamphlets: Pamphlets will not be purchased unless the information is not available in any other format.

Maps and Atlases: the Library does not purchase maps. Atlases will be purchased for inclusion in the Reference Collection.

Microforms: the Library no longer purchases microform materials and no longer keeps the equipment to view them.

Manuscripts and Rare Books: Archbishop Alter Library does not collect manuscripts. While the Library does house a small number of rare books in a special collection, such materials are not pursued or generally collected. Titles published before 1900 are generally housed in the Director of Library Service’s office. This collection is known as the Preservation Collection. These materials are listed in the catalog, but do not circulate.

Catholic Church Literature: Archbishop Alter Library collects any U.S. Catholic Conference publications deemed suitable for its patrons. The Library also acquires any papal encyclicals, U.S. Bishops’ statements, or similar official publications as needed. Many of these materials are housed in a section of the library called the Catholic Documents Collection.

Textbooks: Generally, textbooks required by instructors for bookstore purchase will not be collected by the Library. Textbooks will occasionally be purchased in order to supplement specific areas of the collection.

Gifts and Donations: The Director of Library Services evaluates gifts and donations using the same criteria as for purchased items. Once a gift is accepted it becomes property of the Library and may be disposed of as the Library sees fit. The Library will acknowledge, in writing, receipt of all gifts. As the recepient of the donation, the library cannot legally offer valuations of donated books or other materials. Donors who need an appraisal of their donation for tax purposes are encouraged to consult with a qualified appraiser prior to delivering their donation to the Library.

Paperbacks versus Hardbacks: Whenever a title is available in both these formats, the Director of Library Services will determine (based on cost and anticipated length of relevance) which format to purchase. As a general rule, paperbacks will be purchased whenever appropriate.

Multiple Copies: Generally, multiple copies are not purchased or retained.

Language: With the exception of titles used to support Foreign Language courses, all materials purchased will be in English.

Publications of Local Interest: Major publications pertaining to the Greater Cincinnati area will be considered for purchase. Of special interest are titles pertaining to the history of Mount St. Joseph University, as well as the history of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and their activities.

Copyright Date: Generally, Archbishop Alter Library purchases materials published during the last five years. Replacement titles, or titles considered classics in their field are, of course, exceptions to this rule.

Reference Materials: The Head of Public Services is responsible for the selection of titles purchased for inclusion in the Reference Collection. All requests must be routed through the Director of Library Services, however, who makes the final purchasing decisions. Whenever appropriate, Reference titles will be designated "standing orders" so that a new order need not be initiated with new editions. Whenever possible, these titles will be purchased from the Library’s book vendors.

Internet Resources: See Appendix A.

Depth and Scope of Collection

From 1991-1994 the College took part in the Greater Cincinnati Library Consortium’s (GCLC) Collection Assessment project. The project employed the Research Library Group (RLG) conspectus to rate GCLC collections in particular disciplines using the following scale:

0="out" of scope, not collected;

1="minimal" level;

2="basic" information level;

3="instructional" level;

4="research" level;

5="comprehensive" level

Sub-ratings of "a" or "b" are also used to designate whether a collection is largely introductory or advanced in nature.

The following disciplines were rated using the RLG Conspectus (rating follows in parentheses):

Art and Architecture (2a)

Biological Sciences (2a)

Business and Economics (2a)

Computer Science (1b)

Education (2a)

Engineering and Technology (1a)

History and Auxiliary Sciences (2a)

Language, Linguistics, and Literature (2a)

Mathematics (1b)

Music (2a)

Philosophy and Religion (2a)

Political Science (2a)

Note: The Nursing and the Behavioral Sciences collections were not rated as part of this process, but would probably be rated as 2b and 2a respectively.

Procedures for Handling Reconsideration Requests

From time to time a patron may question why a title has been added to the Library collection. In such cases the steps outlined below should be followed.

  1. Patron states s/he would like the Library to reconsider its inclusion of a specified item in its collection.
  2. The Librarian on Duty asks the patron to fill out a Request to Reconsider Library Materials form, available at the Reference Desk. The form is returned to the Librarian on Duty, who thanks the patron for his/her concern and informs him/her that the Director of Library Services will contact him/her within five working days.
  3. The Director of Library Services reviews the material in question, seeks published reviews of the work, notes reason for its original inclusion in the collection.
  4. Director of Library Services notifies patron of his/her decision, and explains the rationale behind the decision.

Appendix A:  Guidelines for Selection of Internet Resources

Note: These guidelines are based on those appearing in the March, 1996 issue of College and Research Libraries News, prepared by Gregory Pratt and others.

In general, Internet Resources are subject to the same scrutiny as print and non-print materials traditionally acquired by the MSJ library. While many selection criteria are unique to Internet Resources, others duplicate those employed for years.

While it would be hasty to assign limits to the number of Internet Resources added to the Mount Library collection, efforts will be made to ensure that the collection will not grow unwieldy. Some world wide web sites will be collected under the Internet/WWW Resources link on the main library resources page. Others will be included in FOCUS, the Library’s online public access catalog. These decisions will be made by the Director of Library Services in conjunction with the Head of Electronic Resources, and the Head of Public Services.

Criteria for Acquisition of world wide web sites include the following:

  • Quality and Content
    • Resource stays current through regular updates, or demonstrates ongoing maintenance.
    • Resource is developed and maintained by a recognized and respected national or international organization, academic institution, or commercial enterprise.
    • Resource is indexed or archived electronically (when appropriate).
    • Content is peer-reviewed by experts in the field.
    • Resource is available from or pointed to by multiple Internet sites.
    • Information given by resource would likely by unavailable to (remote) patrons otherwise.
    • Resource is full-text.
    • Usage data indicate client interest or demand.
    • Resource is generally available and stable. After initial period of instability common with new resources, its downtimes or machine address changes are infrequent and announced.
  • Ease of Use
    • If a logon sequence is required, it can be scripted or automated for patrons.
    • If needed, user help files are readily available.
    • The amount of user support required from Information Desk staff is minimal or acceptable.
  • Cost and Copyright
    • Any subscription or access costs are reasonable.
    • It is simple to comply with restrictions on duplication or dissemination of information from the resource.
  • Hardware and Software
    • Providing access requires little or no change in existing or planned hardware and software resources.

Appendix B:  American Library Association Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Revised, June 2017

Student Employment

  • Why work in the library?
    Employment in the library provides students with a source of income but more importantly, a variety of skills that will contribute to their success at the Mount and in their future careers. Student employees develop important customer service skills, learn how to use information and research tools, and collaborate with librarians in a professional working environment.
  • Student Employment Positions
    The library employs work study students in the Access Services department. Students in the Access Services department assist patrons at the Circulation Desk, re-shelve library materials, process OhioLINK requests and deliveries, etc. Student workers also assist with tasks and projects in other library departments as assigned. Student employees generally work between 10 - 15 hours per week.
  • Employment Eligibility
    The library considers currently enrolled work study-eligible student applicants first, but also hires currently enrolled non-work study-eligible students based on scheduling needs. Once hired, Mount students may continue their employment in the library if their work study eligibility changes. Previous library experience is not a requirement for employment. The library looks for students with a strong work ethic, demonstrated customer service skills, and an eagerness to learn new skills.
  • Applications and Interviewing
    Interested student applicants can apply online using the student employment website. New job openings are regularly emailed to students by Human Resources ( Qualified applicants will be contacted by email to arrange for an interview.