Library Collection Development Policy

Library Collection Development Policy

I. Introduction


This document is to serve as a guide to the librarian(s) responsible for collection development, as a communication device to patrons and other constituencies, and to provide consistency between the Library's stated objectives and development of the collection. Collection development consists of selection, evaluation, accession, weeding, replacement, and retention of library materials. In order to maintain currency and accuracy, this policy document will be updated periodically.

Library Mission

The mission of the American Craft Council Library & Archives is to cultivate and preserve resources in support of the greater organizational mission to champion American craft. The library accomplishes this through the following:
• Selecting, acquiring, organizing, preserving and providing information about craft
• Responding to email, phone and in-person reference queries from ACC members and the public
• Using technology to extend access to library resources and services
• Collaborating within and outside the organization to enhance library collections and services
• Assisting the Council staff with information related to programs and special projects
• Initiating programming consistent with Council goals and activities

Scope of the Collection


The scope of the collection encompasses the field of contemporary American craft. The emphasis of the collection is on craft of exceptional quality in the following areas:

  • Book Arts
  • Clay
  • Fiber
  • Furniture
  • Glass
  • Jewelry
  • Leather
  • Metal
  • Mixed Media
  • Paper
  • Sculpture
  • Wood

The Library holds materials about the artists, exhibitions, museums, galleries, shows, schools, universities, educational organizations, technical and marketing information related to these media. The Library selectively collects information on contemporary craft of international stature from other countries.


The scope of the collections encompasses the organizational history of the American Craft Council, the American Craft Museum, World Crafts Council and Craft Students League, including internally and externally focused activities.

The materials housed in the archives were selected under the following criteria: they document the history of the ACC from 1941-present, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts/American Craft Museum (today known as the Museum of Arts and Design) from 1956 until the Museum split from the Council in 1990, or the World Crafts Council from 1964 to present day. The Craft Students League archive (1932-2005) was given to the ACC by the Y.W.C.A. of New York City for preservation and posterity. Important persons of the organization, such as Aileen Osborn Webb, founder of the ACC, are also collected. Various other rare and valuable materials are likewise included in the collection.

Visit the archives homepage for more information on the ACC Library archival collections.

Placement of Materials: Archives versus Library

Certain standard measures apply for considering placement of materials in the archives rather than in the library collection.

These include:

• Items published or otherwise generated by the ACC or its agencies for both external and internal use
• Collections of papers or publications of value to ACC institutional memory that could be placed in a manuscript (personal collections) or archives collection (business or organization papers)
• Items published in an edition of 200 or less
• Items that may bear signatures of authors, artists, or others involved in the publishing process
• Items with loose, movable, or partially tipped in parts, in fragile condition and/or with unusual binding or packaging
• Items that may have been in the collection of an important person and bear their inscription or bookplate
• Craft objects and artists’ books


The American Craft Council Library & Archives' constituency is the Council staff, researchers, scholars, curators, students, artists, Council members and the general public. The policy of the ACC Library is to make materials available on equal terms, subject to appropriate care and handling by the visitor.

It is requested that archive visitors, prior to their visit, contact the ACC Library in order that the Librarian can prepare appropriate materials and make most efficient use of their time. Staff and visitors are welcome to use the archives with assistance from the Librarian.

Programs Supported by the ACC Library & Archives


The ACC Library and archives acquires materials through donations from outside the organization, in addition to the primary materials taken directly from the stakeholders within the ACC organization. Grant funding for special projects is also sought when such projects will contribute to the appraisal, arrangement, exhibition, or preservation of the collections.


The ACC Library & Archives seeks to further the use and development of the collections through ongoing promotion of materials in exhibitions, publications, tours, events, and shows. Information about the collections is available on the ACC website and the ACC Library online catalog and digital collections database.


The ACC Library provides research assistance to the key audiences, including Council staff, museum curators and administrators, artists, researchers, students, and the general public.


Crucial to the ongoing operation of ACC archives is the preservation of research materials. Collections are stored in accordance to established archival techniques in a secure, climate-controlled environment. All collections are non-circulating, and may not be removed from the library. In addition, all visitors must register upon arrival, and agree to written guidelines governing the use and handling of the collections.

Exhibition loans

Materials will be loaned to archives, libraries, museums, and other cultural heritage institutions when conditions for exhibition are favorable to the policies of the American Craft Council. Written approval by the Librarian will be granted upon the satisfactory demonstration of proper insurance coverage, transportation, and environmental monitoring.

II. Collecting Guidelines

Subject Areas and Collection Arrangement

Materials in the collection are chosen to reflect the development and maturation of the contemporary craft movement in the United States, beginning in the 1940s. The primary subject area in which the library collects is contemporary American craft and its makers - including book arts, clay, fiber, glass, metal, mixed media, paper and wood. The majority of materials are organized by the Library of Congress Classification System.

General Subject Boundaries

LC Classification Highlights

AM 1-501- Museums. Collectors and Collecting
N- Visual Arts
NA- Architecture
NB- Sculpture
NC- Design, Drawing, Illustration
ND- Painting
NE- Print Media
NK- Decorative Arts, Applied Arts (where most works on the crafts are located)
NX- Arts in General (e.g. patronage, performance art, art theory, criticism)
TS- Manufactures
TT- Handcrafts. Arts and Crafts 

Topics of focus for the ACC Library in the major subject areas include:

• Collectors, collections and exhibitions of American contemporary craft
• History and criticism of craft, including biographical information on preeminent individuals in the field
• Education, including schools offering degrees in craft media, specialized schools and programs, workshops and continuing education
• Business of craft, including practices, economic aspects, safety, health and legal issues and craft as a U.S. industry

Subject areas of secondary importance for the ACC Library include:

• Design
• Craft techniques
• DIY resources and guides
• Craft from other countries
• Ethnic art/craft
• Reference materials to support research, including periodical and other indices, encyclopedias and directories


The main language of the collection is English. Foreign language materials are collected based on their relevance to craft and quality of visual representation. Additional criteria considered for acquisition of foreign language materials are their usefulness to the craft community and the reputation of the work.

Selection Responsibility

To best coordinate collection development with user demand, the Librarian is given primary responsibility for developing collections of all formats. The Librarian is expected to provide active leadership in selecting library materials that anticipate demand. The Librarian works with the Director of Education, in addition to other program directors, to ensure resources that meet program needs and internal materials that document ACC history are being acquired by the library.

Both patrons and staff are encouraged to make suggestions for new materials. Requests may be made through contact with the Librarian. However, it is understood that materials requested should fall within the collecting guidelines. All requests will be reviewed to determine appropriateness, as outlined by the Collection Development Policy.

Ultimate responsibility for the collection rests with the professional Librarian. Individuals making recommendations will be contacted when clarification is needed, when material does not seem to conform with the collection development policy, if an equivalent resource is already available, or if anticipated use can be satisfied by borrowing or acquiring materials from another institution in response to a user’s request. Additional justification may be requested of the selector and, in the rare occasions that a point of difference cannot be reconciled, the matter will be referred to the Director of Education.

The Library acquires material by purchase, gift, or exchange and controls orders in relation to the availability of material funding. At this time, due to limited funding, the main source of material acquisition for the Library is through books, catalogs and videos gifted to or solicited by ACC staff.

Gift Materials

Gift materials are subject to the same criteria for addition to the collection as purchased materials. The American Craft Council Library & Archives reserves the right to accept or reject gifts, with or without restricting conditions, and the right to dispose of unwanted gift material.  For further information on donated materials, please see the Donation Policy. The American Craft Council will not accept collections of materials that are closed to public access in perpetuity. In addition, the American Craft Council Library will not accept collections on temporary or permanent loan.

Multiple Copies


Only one copy of an edition and format of a title is normally accepted or acquired. Extra copies donated to the library will either be donated to another institution or retained for future book sales or internal ACC use. Requests for the purchase of multiple copies of materials are reviewed on an individual basis.


Only two copies of a document are normally collected, unless it is appropriate to also house a copy in the special collections or library, in addition to the copies in the archives. Extra copies may either be donated to another institution or retained for future internal ACC use.

Types of ACC Library Materials Collected

A. Books, Monographs

Monographs are acquired with first priority given to supporting the craft subject areas noted above. The most readily available format for monographs is acquired. Sets are acquired by the library in support of building a research collection and based on availability of funds. At this time, books are purchased in print format only. 

B. Exhibition Catalogs

Exhibition catalogs are acquired with priority given to shows put on by nationally recognized craft museums, schools and galleries (see list on website) and shows featuring the work of prominent craft artists (those featured in the magazine or as ACC fellows). National and regional group shows and competitions are also highly sought for the exhibition catalog collection.    

C. Audio-Visual Materials

Audio-visual materials are acquired with priority given to collection and research support. Considerations of suitability of format, quality of production, availability of equipment, and facilities assist in the selection.

D. Serials, Journals, and Newsletters

Print is the current primary format for serials, journals, and newsletters when available.  Limited materials are available through the Wilson Web Periodical Art Index database, which the library has one complimentary license for. This license was granted as an exchange for allowing the H.W. Wilson company index Craft Horizons/American Craft magazine. The Library is committed to acquiring complete holdings for serial and journal titles to which the library subscribes when affordable. Current print newsletters are acquired on a highly selective basis.

E. Artist File Materials

Artist files are, at present, not actively maintained, however, at the request of an artist a file will be created to preserve physical materials pertaining to that maker’s work. Any materials added to an artist file are done so with the idea that these materials will be beneficial to the digital repository in the future. For more information on artist file materials, see our Donation Policy.  

F. Digital Resources

Digital resources are collected based on pertinence to collections within the digital repository. Copyright and value to the craft community are also factors that greatly impact the digitization of materials. Currently, slides, photographs, catalogs, and documents clearly owned or produced by the ACC make up the majority of digital resources created or actively collected in the Digital Archives (library server).   

Policy on Children/Young Adult Materials

Illustrated books, pop-up books and other items geared towards children are of interest in terms of collecting only as superior examples within the book arts. The library does not provide a library for children or young adults.  It is felt that this role is best left to the public library.  Middle and High School students are welcome to use the ACC Library collection for research and educational purposes. 


The materials budget supports the purchase of all formats designated in the collection development policy. The materials budget also supports the purchase of all necessary materials used for the collection, processing, and storage of archival materials as designated in this collection development policy.

The materials budget is allocated according to available funds and established institutional priorities. The Librarian, with assistance from the Office Coordinator, is responsible for placing all orders for library materials, recording the receipt of materials and processing invoices.


De-selection or Weeding

Weeding or de-selection, preservation and conservation, and replacement are all important aspects of collection maintenance and evaluation. Whenever possible, both the librarian and other ACC staff participate in the weeding process to ensure that publications of historical or research significance are not discarded. Duplicates and materials that do not reflect the subject areas and/or types of materials collected may be de-accessioned according to established guidelines, and offered to more appropriate institutions or disposed of.

Preservation and Conservation

Preservation is the activity to prevent, eliminate, or retard deterioration of archival materials, as well as to create format-appropriate duplicates as necessary in order to preserve the intellectual content. The ACC Library and archives endeavor to protect the physical integrity of materials in the collection through conservation measures, such as temperature, humidity, and dust control. While the archive collections are currently stored at the American Craft Council where there is no temperature or humidity control, the collections are housed in metal cabinets which limit light and dust contamination.


Materials in various formats that are damaged, missing or withdrawn are not automatically replaced. Potential replacements are evaluated using the same criteria for selection as regularly purchased items. Depending on the availability of funds, heavily used materials, determined to be necessary for education and research, will be replaced as quickly as possible, if the materials are available.