About Us


Visit: Circulation Desk, Library Main Floor
Call: 413-662-5321
Text: 413-224-6600
Frequently Asked Questions

Circulation Policies

Who can borrow materials?

MCLA full- and part-time students, faculty, and staff

  • Can borrow materials from Freel Library with their MCLA ID card.

Community members, Alumni, Williams College Faculty and Students (see our community borrowers policy for more information)

  • Berkshire County resident: must provide valid MA license or state ID with photo and current address; if address on license/ID is not current, must also provide second proof of address (copy of current lease, utility bill, etc.)
  • MCLA alumni: must provide valid license/state ID with photo and current address; if address on license/ID is not current, must provide second proof of address (copy of current lease, utility bill, etc.) Note: A list of MCLA alumni who have registered for library borrowing privileges may be shared with the Alumni Relations Office periodically. (Information about materials borrowed or consulted will never be shared!)
  • Williams College faculty/staff member: must provide current, valid Williams ID card with photo (if no photo, second form of photo ID required)
  • Williams College student: must visit Williams libraries beforehand & meet with a Williams librarian, who will email MCLA to verify you are a student in good standing; must bring current, valid Williams ID card with photo (if no photo, second form of photo ID required)

HELM Library patrons

  • Patrons of other academic libraries in the HELM consortium can place holds on items through the HELM catalog for delivery to their home libraries. HELM patrons may also borrow in person at MCLA.
  • If you are a patron at another HELM institution, please contact your library for assistance in locating and borrowing materials.

Loan periods, renewals, maximum number of checkouts

  MCLA/HELM Students MCLA/HELM Faculty & Staff Community Borrowers, Alumni, Williams College Students and Faculty
Circulating Books 28 day loan; one 14 day renewal 1 semester (fall/spring/summer) loan; 1 semester renewal 28 day loan; one 14 day renewal
Reserves In-library use only In-library use only Non-circulating
Faculty Collection DVDs In-library use only 7 days In-library use only
Popular DVDs 7 days; one 7-day renewal 7 days; one 7-day renewal 7 days; one 7-day renewal
Laptops/Chargers 7 days Non-circulating Non-circulating
DVD  Players 7 days 7 days In-library use only
Other equipment (chargers, headphones,, etc.) In-library use only In-library use only In-library use only
Maximum number of simultaneous checkouts 50 50 5

How can I renew an item?

Items cannot be renewed if you have any fees on your account.

What are the policies for borrowing reserve books?

  • Limited to students, faculty, and staff
  • Reserve items must be used in the library; they cannot be taken out of the building.
  • Limit: 5 reserve items per card
  • Students must leave ID at desk during lending period 

What about fines and fees?

  • Fines: None
  • For all hardcover and trade paperbacks; standard paperbacks; compact discs; and DVDs: cost of material/cost to replace, plus $10.00 processing fee
  • ILL and HELM items: cost of replacement is at the discretion of the owning library
  • Cards will be blocked if patron owes more than $50 in replacement costs until materials are returned or charges are paid.

How do I borrow material from another library?

Check our Interlibrary Loan page for information on how to borrow materials that MCLA does not own.

Community Borrowers Policy

Who may apply for a Freel Library Community Card?

  • Residents of Berkshire County ages 18+
  • MCLA Alumni
  • Current Williams College faculty/staff (with valid Williams ID)
  • Current Williams College students (please consult Williams librarians for an email of introduction before coming to Freel Library in person, and bring your Williams ID card)

How to Apply for a Freel Library Community Card

  • Please plan to visit the MCLA library during regular business hours (M-F, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m) to fill out an application. If visiting during normal business hours is not possible, please call ahead (413-662-5321) to verify staff availability.
  • Local residents and MCLA alumni must present proof of current address (a valid license or state ID card with correct address; if address on ID is not current, also provide recent utility bill, mortgage statement, or copy of current lease).
  • Williams College faculty/staff/students must show a Williams ID card with photo. MCLA library staff may contact Williams library staff to verify current standing.

Freel Library Borrower Card Privileges & Responsibilities

  • A Freel Community Card allows you to check out a total of 5 eligible items for 28 days with one renewal for 14 days.  You can renew on the phone, in person, or online (see library staff to set up an account in the online catalog).
  • Items remain the borrower’s responsibility until they are checked in at the MCLA Library. It is safest to return materials directly to the library desk in person, to the drop box outside the Freel Library exit, or via U.S. mail (Freel Library, 375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01376). You may choose to return items to Berkshire Community College or a C/W MARS library, but you remain responsible for the items until they arrive back at MCLA.
  • The library does not charge daily overdue fines for late items, but once items become 28 days overdue, you will be billed for their replacement and will be unable to borrow or renew items until the overdue items are returned or paid for. (See Circulation Policies)
  • Community cards allow in-person borrowing of eligible MCLA library materials only and do not have the same privileges as MCLA or HELM cards. This is a pilot program and may be discontinued or changed in the future.

What is not available to community borrowers?

  • Community borrowers may not check out equipment such as laptops, chargers, etc., which are for MCLA student use only.
  • Because of vendor restrictions, remote access to MCLA's electronic library holdings (ebooks, databases, journals, etc.) is available only to current MCLA students, faculty, and staff.
  • Meeting rooms and group study spaces in Freel Library may only be reserved by MCLA students, faculty, and staff.

Accessing Library Collections and Services Without a Borrower Card

  • Guests are welcome to visit and use common areas in the library; to browse and read library collections on site; and to consult the library’s electronic resources on site.
  •  Those seeking to borrow materials from MCLA but ineligible for borrowing privileges are encouraged to contact their local library’s Interlibrary Loan department. Massachusetts residents may also be able to borrow MCLA materials via the Commonwealth Catalog

Computer Use, Internet Access, and Printing

  • MCLA's Information Technology department manages all campus computers, networks, and print systems, including those in the library, and is responsible for the policies governing their use.
  • Visitors who wish to use a library computer or access the campus wireless network must request a “guest log-in.” Please ask at the Circulation Desk.
  • Guest printing is available for a fee; guests must register with the print system and use a PayPal account. Please see IT's Guest Printing guidelines and contact the IT Help Desk with any questions. The North Adams Public Library also offers public printing.
  • No fax services are available at the library.

Library Laptop Borrowing Policy


  • Laptops (with their chargers) have a seven-day loan period and may be taken out of the library building.
  • A valid MCLA ID card is required to borrow a laptop.
  • You must read and sign the Laptop Lending Agreement the first time you borrow a laptop (and anytime this policy changes).
  • At the end of the seven-day loan period, you must bring the laptop back to the library in person.
  • If the laptop is returned on time and laptops are not in high demand, you may borrow the laptop for another seven days.
  • If laptops are in high demand, you may not re-check out the laptop until after a 24-hour wait period.
  • If a laptop still has not been returned 28 days after its due date, your account will be charged the replacement cost (fully refundable IF you return the undamaged laptop/charger before the library purchases a replacement). A hold will be placed on your student account until the laptop is returned or replacement charges are paid.


  • Laptops are set up to work on the MCLA network (on campus). If you plan to use the laptop off campus, you will need to use a special login and password, which will be provided when you borrow the laptop.
  • Do not save files to the laptop! All files are deleted when the laptop is shut down or rebooted. These files are unrecoverable. Always save your work to OneDrive or other cloud storage, or to removable media (such as a USB drive).
  • Borrowers are responsible for replacement costs for unreturned or damaged equipment. Current replacement costs are listed on the Laptop Lending Agreement. These amounts may be charged to your student account once the laptop is 28 days overdue. Charges are fully refundable upon the return of the undamaged laptop and charger if the library has not yet purchased a replacement..
  • Library laptops are intended for short-term use and are not a substitute for owning a laptop. If you do not own a laptop, or if yours is broken and you cannot afford to replace it, please check with Student Financial Services to see whether funding might be available.
  • See the Laptop Lending Agreement for additional terms and conditions.

Patron Behavior Expectations

Freel Library strives to create an environment where all patrons are welcomed, respected, and treated equitably. We ask that library patrons join us in this effort.  

Library patrons are expected to observe MCLA policies as well as state and federal laws and to behave in a way that maintains an environment conducive to work and study.  

  • Upper level: The upper level of the library is a designated quiet area. Please refrain from talking, keep noise to a minimum, and use headphones to listen to any audio. 
  • Main level/Learning Commons: Conversation and group work are permitted on the main level. Please keep volume and activity at a level that enables others to work and study productively in the library.  
  • Lower level: The Children's Room provides space for group work and socializing. The Lower Level Lounge offers soft seating, study tables, and IT computer workstations as well as a Media Nook with a TV and DVD player. The Language and Literature Room contains a few individual study tables. Expect conversation and ambient noise throughout the lower level.

Patrons who prefer a quieter study environment are encouraged to study upstairs. 

Library staff will speak with patrons whose behavior in a given study area is disrupting others’ ability to work. Library staff reserve the right to determine what constitutes disruptive behavior. Patrons unwilling or unable to observe these policies may be asked to leave the building.  

Food and drink are permitted in the library. Please respect custodial and library staff, as well as other library patrons, by cleaning up after yourself and promptly alerting library staff of any spills.  

Please approach any member of the library staff if violations of these policies are affecting your ability to use and enjoy library spaces, collections, or services. 

Questions and comments about these policies may be directed to the Associate Dean for Library Services. 

See also the following MCLA Policies:

Group Study Room Policies

Three study rooms are available for student use in Freel Library. These rooms are intended to support collaborative projects and assignments. While other uses are permitted, those who are working together on a group project may receive priority. 


  • Only MCLA students may reserve group study rooms.
  • Individuals may reserve rooms for a maximum of 2 hours per day.
  • Rooms may be reserved using the online Group Study Room Reservation Form or in person at the library service desk.
  • Reservations must be for groups of 2 or more people. (*In exceptional cases, individuals may be permitted to reserve rooms; please contact the Associate Dean of Library Services to discuss your needs.)
  • Anyone (groups or individuals) is welcome to use a vacant room, but people who are using a room without a reservation will be asked to move to accommodate students who have a reservation.
  • If you need to cancel your reservation, please contact the library as soon as possible. Missing more than one reservation without notifying the library ahead of time may affect your ability to reserve rooms in the future.
  • If at least two members of a group have not shown up within 15 minutes of the reservation time, the reservation will be canceled.
  • Rooms are not soundproof! Please be mindful of your group’s volume.
  • Rooms should be left clean. Please remove any trash, erase whiteboards, and put furniture back in its original configuration.

About the rooms: 

All rooms have whiteboards and markers. 

  • Room 1 has lounge-style soft chairs and a table. 
  • Room 2 has a work table and chairs 
  • Room 3 has a collaborative D-shaped table, chairs, and large monitor with an HDMI hookup

Gift Policy

Freel Library welcomes donations of academic books and other materials that will add to the scope, depth, and relevance of our collection.  Gifts have enabled us to enrich teaching, learning, and the student experience at MCLA.  

We evaluate donations similarly to new purchases: items must be relevant to the MCLA curriculum, in good condition, appropriate for academic research, up-to-date in content and format, fit within available library shelf space, and not duplicate existing titles. Librarians responsible for collection development will make the final determination of whether items are appropriate for the collection.

Generally, we do not accept journal or magazine issues, older editions of textbooks, items in poor condition (e.g., highlighted, underlined, torn or yellowed pages, etc.), media in formats not currently supported by the library (e.g., LP, cassette, VHS), and copies of videos or television programs that do not comply with copyright law.

Procedures for Donors:

  • If you are interested in donating materials, please contact Emily Alling, Associate Dean of Library Services, at 413-662-5322 or Emily.Alling@mcla.edu.
  • For donations of over 10 items, the library requests a list of titles beforehand that includes the author, date, and edition.   
  • If the donor cannot supply a list of titles beforehand and makes an arrangement to drop books off at the library, the library will determine whether it will use specific titles in the collection or dispose of the books.
  • We cannot guarantee that books that are dropped off and not formally accepted will be added to the catalog or guarantee that added books will remain in the collection.
  • If Freel Library keeps a book we cannot add to our collection, we will dispose of the book in the manner we think most appropriate.  Options include
    • Placing the book in our book sale
    • Donating the book to another library
    • Discarding the book if not appropriate, not sold, or in poor condition
  • Donors are requested to sign a Gift Form at the Circulation Desk when they drop off books or other items.

Appraisals & Acknowledgements:

  • Due to federal tax regulations, Freel Library does not appraise donations.
  • If you require a formal valuation of your materials, please have your materials appraised before you make your donation.
  • Donors will receive acknowledgement of their gifts by mail from the MCLA Foundation.  This statement will include the number and type of items added to the collection or accepted by the library, and not any books that were discarded.  Donors can then provide a value to the gift if needed.

Thank you for considering donating your materials to Freel Library.

Interlibrary Loan

Who may request items via interlibrary loan?

Current MCLA faculty, students, and staff and emeritus faculty may request items via MCLA’s interlibrary loan service. Others are encouraged to consult their public library or home institution.

Requests from patrons who have overdue interlibrary loans will not be placed until outstanding items are returned or a renewal is requested/granted by the lending library.

What may/may not be requested via interlibrary loan?

MCLA will request loans of books, DVDs, microforms, and other materials, as well as PDFs of articles and book chapters, that are not available via our own library.  

Some items tend not to be available via ILL. These include:

  • Ebooks
  • Streaming video
  • Textbooks  
  • PDFs of more than one chapter (or 10%) of a book
  • Entire volumes or issues of periodicals

Other items tend to be difficult to obtain via ILL, but we will try. These include:

  • Dissertations/theses
  • New popular fiction and nonfiction
  • DVDs – if needed for a class, please request well in advance and let us know when you plan to show the film

Do I have to pay for interlibrary loan?

The library is almost always able to obtain interlibrary loans at no cost to you. In the rare case that we cannot, we will contact you to discuss alternatives.

How long does it take for items requested via interlibrary loan to arrive?

It depends! In general, books/DVDs take 1-2 weeks to arrive, while articles usually take 1-3 days. However, requests may take longer. If there is a date beyond which the item would no longer be useful for you, you can enter a “Not Needed After” date in the ILL request form. To check on the status of your request, please email ill@mcla.edu.

How will I know when my interlibrary loan arrives?

For books/DVDs: you’ll receive an email letting you know that your items are ready to pick up at Freel Library. (Any items not picked up by their due dates will be returned to their home libraries.)

For PDFs of articles/chapters: You will receive an email with instructions for downloading the PDF, which is yours to keep.

How long can I keep my interlibrary loans?

Loan periods for physical items (books, DVDs) are set by the lending library. Most interlibrary loans are for short-term use (2-4 weeks). In rare cases, a lending library might recall a book, which would shorten the original loan period. PDFs of articles and book chapters are yours to keep.

Can I renew my interlibrary loan?

Maybe! Email ill@mcla.edu to request a renewal. We will contact the lending library and let you know whether they agree to a renewal and, if so, what the new due date is.

How many interlibrary loans may I request?

Depending on overall request volume and staff capacity, the library may limit patrons to five active requests at any given time.  

What if I am late returning an interlibrary loan?

Please try not to be! It is important to respect other libraries’ due dates and policies in order to maintain good relations with our peer institutions who are generous enough to share their collections with us.  

  • As long as your interlibrary loan is overdue, you cannot place additional requests.  
  • The lending library may or may not permit items to be renewed; please contact the MCLA Library (ill@mcla.edu) if you are interested in requesting a renewal.  
  • Any late fees or replacement charges are determined solely by the lending library and will be transmitted to you.  

How can I check on the status of my interlibrary loan?

Contact the MCLA Library, or stop by during regular business hours. New for Fall 2023: If you currently have items borrowed from other libraries via ILL, they will appear, along with any items borrowed from MCLA, HELM, and/or ComCat, in your MCLA library record, which you can view by logging in to the library catalog.

What if the library is unable to obtain the item I need?

If we’re unable to fill your request, we will contact you and try to brainstorm other ways for you to get access to the item.  

I am far away from campus. Can the library mail me books that I request via interlibrary loan?

In general, books requested via ILL from other libraries must be picked up in person at Freel Library. MCLA librarians can work with you to explore other strategies for getting access to books that you need if you are not able to come to campus. Exceptions may be made for faculty on sabbatical as long as they can realistically return books to Freel Library by their due dates.

(PDFs of articles and book chapters requested via interlibrary loan are delivered to your MCLA email address, so you can request and receive these wherever you are.)  

I have more questions!

Please email ill@mcla.edu, stop by during regular business hours, or contact the library using any of the options on our Ask Us page.

Collection Development Policy

(based on ALA Selection & Reconsideration Policy Toolkit)

I. Library Mission

The mission of Freel Library is to support and sustain MCLA’s unique, diverse, and vibrant academic community by providing equitable access to information; expert and empathetic assistance; and inspiring spaces and programs. The library plays a key role in students’ evolution into scholars; supports ongoing scholarship and lifelong learning throughout the MCLA community; and collaborates with departments and divisions across campus to enrich the academic and cultural life of the college.

II. Support for Intellectual Freedom

Freel Library endorses the principles of intellectual freedom outlined in the Association of College & Research Libraries’ “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” and “Standards for Libraries in Higher Education.”

III. Objectives

The development of Freel Library’s collections is driven by the mission, curriculum, and life of the college, the availability of institutional resources, and the information needs of students, faculty, and staff. The library’s collection development policy:

  • Is designed to support the institution's curricular and community needs
  • Recognizes the library’s role in providing for the specialized research needs of students and faculty conducting independent and advanced research
  • Assists librarians who are making decisions about resources including the library’s print collection, digital resources, and databases
  • Provides for a collection that represents diverse authors, viewpoints, and experiences

Many aspects of this collection development policy align neatly with the Five Laws of Library Science articulated by S. R. Ranganathan in 1931 and paraphrased below:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every person their book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. A library is a growing organism.

IV. Responsibility for Selection

Librarians are qualified by education, training, and experience to select library materials in all formats. Freel Library actively solicits input from the wider community regarding library acquisitions and, subject to budgetary capacity and the selection criteria outlined in this policy, endeavors to build a collection that is responsive to community needs and requests. As the library’s budget administrator, the Associate Dean for Library Services is ultimately responsible for all purchasing decisions.

V. Selection Criteria

The following criteria guide the acquisition of new items as well as the acceptance of potential gifts/donations.

a. Cost

Inflation in the cost of scholarly publications routinely outpaces growth in higher education budgets, placing real limits on the library’s ability to acquire new items, especially continuing resources (databases, serials, etc.). All selections must be evaluated carefully against available funds. Costs associated with processing, storing, and maintaining access to resources are also considered when deciding whether to acquire items.

b. Anticipatory ("just in case") and responsive ("just in time") collection development

Every person their book.
Every book its reader.
Ranganathan’s Second and Third Laws of Library Science

MCLA is a small, teaching-focused liberal arts college of limited means. The library faces the challenge of building a collection that anticipates needs and provides a breadth and depth of coverage appropriate for the college’s curriculum and community (Ranganathan’s “Every person their book”) while also prioritizing the acquisition of resources for which there is an expressed or evident demand (Ranganathan’s “Every book its reader”). Framed differently, there is a tension between purchasing items “just in case” someone might discover and use them, versus “just in time” to meet an actual, expressed need.

A combination of resource scarcity and increased demands on librarians prevent us from carefully curating a library collection by having librarians regularly peruse and select items from standard review sources on a title-by-title basis. Rather, the library has come to rely upon subscription access to large, multidisciplinary aggregator collections of ebooks,ejournals, and streaming videos to provide broad and general, “just-in-case" coverage across most academic disciplines.

Librarians continue to select individual monographs and films that:

  • address current events, contribute to scholarly and popular culture, document local history, or support institutional initiatives;
  • contribute to a broader representation of identities and viewpoints in the collection; and/or
  • directly address areas of teaching, learning, and scholarship at MCLA.

Subject to the selection criteria that follow, the remainder of the book budget is generally devoted to purchasing patron requests and materials required for use in MCLA courses (see G, below).

The library relies heavily upon statewide licenses and consortial package subscriptions to provide access to research databases. Individual databases and licensed digital collections are selected to provide coverage as equitably as possible across all areas of the curriculum within the constraints of the budget.

Almost all of the library’s journal offerings come from subscription packages. Requests for new journal subscriptions generally require the cancellation of an equivalent number of dollars elsewhere in the library’s subscription budget.

c. Format/Access model

When an item is available for acquisition in multiple formats, the format that is most accessible and compatible with the anticipated use case for the item will be selected to the extent that the budget permits (Ranganathan’s “Save the time of the reader”). While the library generally only acquires one copy of any given item, requests for multiple formats of an item will be considered on a case-by-case basis. With the exception of archival or unique local history items, the library will not acquire items in formats that it does not currently support (as of this writing, examples include VHS and vinyl records). Library acquisitions must comply with copyright and fair use guidelines as well as any license terms or terms of service imposed by rightsholders.

Items purchased or licensed with library funds should be available to the entire MCLA community. Resources for the exclusive use of a single class, office, or department should be purchased using funds from the appropriate departmental or office budget.

d. Enduring value

As the cost of an item increases, so does the importance that it remain useful beyond a short time frame. For items that are more expensive than the average monograph acquisition (~$50), the library will normally not purchase updated editions of the same title more frequently than every four years.

e. Representation of viewpoints and identities

Freel Library strives to ensure that the campus community has access to a broad representation of diverse ideas and voices. The library recognizes that the voices and experiences of minoritized groups are underrepresented in its collections and is committed to working toward correcting this inequity. The library asserts that all ideas, however controversial or repugnant one may consider them, are legitimate targets of scholarly inquiry. While proactively building a collection that presents “all sides” of every issue may be impossible budgetarily and epistemologically, the library does not proscribe, withdraw, or deny access to items based on the ideology of their content or the identities of their authors. Collection development policies like this one seek to remove partisanship from decisions about acquiring or withdrawing items by articulating clear, non-ideological criteria for selection and deselection.

f. Additional criteria for electronic resources

Electronic resources are defined as resources that require computer access. These include but are not limited to electronic serials or collections of serials; online bibliographic or numeric databases; electronic reference materials; electronic monographs or collections of monographs; and streaming media.

Electronic resources considered for addition to the collection should fall within current guidelines as reflected in the MCLA Collection Development Policy and other appropriate guidelines. Traditional selection criteria for library materials apply to electronic resources; however, due to their unique nature, their acquisition is evaluated against a set of additional criteria.

  1. Cost, including any hidden costs, the possibility of consortial arrangements, and whether the cost is for a one-time purchase (which may include annual access fees), or a subscription.
  2. Technical considerations:
    • Access by IP recognition, including remote access;
    • No requirements for additional or special hardware or software, other than what is freely available and widely used;
    • Compatibility across different platforms (PC, Mac, etc.) and browsers.
  3. Compliance with WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 guidelines regarding accessibility.
  4. Compatibility with open URL link resolvers, federated searching, or discovery services currently utilized by the library.
  5. Full-text availability, as appropriate
  6. Availability of trial period for review of the resource prior to purchase decision.
  7. Value-added enhancements and/or improved access, such as:
    • More extensive content;
    • More up-to-date content;
    • Mobile compatibility and applications;
    • Ability to customize interface;
    • Inclusion of graphics/images.
  8. Usability, including the provision of assistance to the user by prompts and menus, context- or function-specific help screens, or tutorials.
  9. Updates on a regular basis, if currency is a factor.
  10. Vendor reliability as to content, business practices, customer and technical support, documentation and training, and notification of content and format changes.
  11. Ability of users to print, download and email content.
  12. Availability of the most current release of Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) compliant usage data.
  13. Acceptable license terms.
g. A note on course materials

The library is committed to leading and supporting efforts to make access to course materials equitable for all students. At the same time, the library’s current budget does not permit for the routine acquisition of all materials used in all courses. Print copies of traditional textbooks tend to fall outside of the selection criteria outlined in this policy: these items are expensive (criterion a); inconvenient, difficult, and/or impossible for some students to access via the library (criterion c); and typically superseded by updated editions every couple of years (criterion d). Electronic versions of these same textbooks tend not to be available for libraries to license and provide due to publisher terms of use (criterion c). The library routinely reviews course adoptions reported to the bookstore and, budget permitting, purchases those that fall within these selection criteria, prioritizing items available for license under an unlimited simultaneous user access model. The library also encourages and provides support for faculty who wish to incorporate openly-licensed (Open Educational Resources/OER), library-licensed, or other types of no-cost materials into their courses.

The library will attempt to acquire videos requested by instructors for classroom use when these videos are available to the library under perpetual access models (life-of-file site licenses or physical media, e.g., DVDs). Films that are only available as limited duration site licenses typically fall outside the scope of these collection development guidelines. If other funds are available to subsidize limited-term streaming licenses for videos used in instruction, the library can help by identifying license options; working with vendors to acquire licenses and establish access; and charging the appropriate budget lines for licenses.

VI: Acquisitions Procedures

Items selected by librarians and purchase requests from others in the campus community are reviewed by the Associate Dean of Library Services, who either (a) forwards approved selections to the Technical Services Specialist or Digital Resources Librarian for acquisition or (b) notifies the selector/requestor of the library’s decision not to purchase the item and of any alternative means of access, which may include interlibrary loan or visiting other libraries to use materials on site. Library materials are purchased in accordance with college, state university, and Commonwealth policies and guidelines unless materials are unavailable for access pursuant to those guidelines, in which case the library considers intellectual freedom considerations paramount.

VII: Special Collections

Freel Library’s special collections comprise:

  1. the College Archives, documenting and preserving the history of MCLA from its founding as Normal School in North Adams in 1894, and
  2. the Local History Collection, which is primarily focused on North Adams and Northern Berkshire County but also contains artifacts and information that span Berkshire County.

The library actively collects and archives books published by MCLA faculty, books covering the history of North Adams, the Northern Berkshires, and the Mohican people during their time in the Berkshires; the Beacon (student newspaper); College yearbooks; and regularly issued College publications. The Archives accepts and processes deposits of records and papers from campus offices/departments. The Archives is grateful to consider offers of donated items that help document MCLA’s history; donations are accepted subject to condition, relevance, and storage/preservation requirements.

VIII: Gifts and Donations

See Gift Policy

IX: Ongoing Collection Maintenance and Review

As staff capacity permits, the library reviews its physical holdings on an ongoing basis to ensure that collections meet the current curricular, research, and informational needs of the campus community. Materials that no longer meet the needs of the college community may be removed from the collection; a process known as deselection (sometimes called “weeding”). The following criteria are considered when identifying candidates for deselection:

  • Usage (circulation history for physical items; COUNTER statistics for digital items)
  • Currency
  • Condition
  • Relevance to curriculum/community interests
  • Duplication
  • Appropriateness of format
  • Availability of vendor hosting/support for electronic resources
  • Sustainability of annual subscription costs and customary price increases, for subscription resources

Librarians and library staff may opt to have the library retain any print title flagged for weeding. Whenever possible, faculty from affected subject areas are also invited to review candidates for withdrawal and identify any that they believe should be retained. To the extent possible, candidates for withdrawal are also checked against standard review sources and/or lists of core college library resources.

Withdrawn items may be donated to other libraries, placed on the library’s free books shelf, or recycled.

Subscription-based electronic resources are reviewed and reassessed prior to each year’s renewal deadline renewal. Perpetual license electronic resources are reviewed and reassessed every 10 years.

X. Policy Revision

A library is a growing organism.
Ranganathan’s Fifth Law of Library Science

This policy will be reviewed periodically (at a minimum, every ten years to coincide with institutional reaccreditation, and/or upon any change in library leadership) and updated to reflect current practices, changes in scholarly publishing/formats, and revisions to external policies/statements invoked in this policy.

Reconsideration of Library Materials

[separate policy under development; will be submitted to college governance for approval]