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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 is to cultivate and preserve resources in support of the greater organizational mission to “connect and galvanize diverse craft communities and traditions to advance craft’s impact in contemporary American life.” 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, giving particular attention to enhancing collections by and services for historically ignored non-dominant cultural communities
  • 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 YWCA of New York City for preservation and posterity.

The ACC Library & Archives collects the papers of significant individuals directly related to the organization, such as ACC founder Aileen Osborn Webb. The library also collects materials related to individuals and organizations outside of the ACC that are significant within the field of American craft.

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’s 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

Materials collected and made available shall further the research of all audiences exploring the history of American craft and the organizational history of the American Craft Council, the American Craft Museum, the World Crafts Council and/or the Craft Students League.

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 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 with 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 (history, aesthetics, collecting of craft)
  • NX- Arts in General (e.g. patronage, performance art, art theory, criticism)
  • TS- Manufactures
  • TT- Handcrafts. Arts and Crafts (craft processes and techniques)

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 US industry
  • Particular attention is given to acquiring writings by or about members of historically underrepresented, non-dominant cultural communities.

Subject areas of secondary importance for the ACC Library include:

  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Fashion
  • Craft techniques
  • DIY resources and guides
  • Craft from other countries
  • Art/craft traditionally associated with specific geographic regions or cultural communities
  • 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 has primary responsibility for developing collections of all formats, and is expected to provide active leadership in selecting library materials that anticipate demand. The Librarian works with ACC Leadership to ensure resources that meet program needs and internal materials that document ACC history are acquired by the library.

Patrons and staff are encouraged to make suggestions for new materials. Requests may be made by contacting the Librarian, provided materials requested fall within the collecting guidelines. The Librarian will review all requests 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 by library staff if:

  • Clarification is needed
  • Material does not seem to conform with the collection development policy
  • An equivalent resource is already available
  • Anticipated use can be satisfied by borrowing or acquiring materials from another institution
  • Cost of the resource is beyond the means of the library budget.

Additional justification may be requested of the selector, but the final decision to acquire a resource for the collection remains with the Librarian.

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.

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.

Gift Materials

Gift materials are subject to the same criteria for addition to the collection as purchased materials. The American Craft Council Library 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 Library 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.

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, for which the library has one complimentary license. 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. The focus of the serials collection is on craft-specific publications, with exceptions made for more general art publications which can be acquired through exchanges or complimentary copies.

E. Artist File Materials
Historically, artist files were created and maintained for craft artists who had a working relationship with the ACC. Currently, artist files are not currently not actively created and maintained, with the exception of those artists who have received an ACC award. However, at the request of an artist, a file will be created to preserve physical materials pertaining to that maker’s work.

F. Digital Resources
Digital resources may be in the form of digitized surrogates of physical materials, or born-digital files, and are collected based on pertinence to collections within the digital repository.

Digitized Materials
Copyright and value to the craft community are factors that greatly impact the digitization of materials, with primary importance given to materials with high demand for access. 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).

Born-Digital Archives and Special Collections
Archival and artist file materials in a born-digital format will be actively acquired according to practices and standards for filing, describing, and preserving digital records. Catalog records and finding aids will include description of any digital formats residing within a collection, as well as information on how to access digital formats.

G. 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.

III. Budget

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 is responsible for placing all orders for library materials, recording the receipt of materials and processing invoices.

IV. Collection Maintenance

De-Selection or Weeding

De-selection or weeding, 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 deaccessioned 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.

Policy Review and Revision

Policies for the Library will be reviewed on a cycle of no less than three years, or as needed.
Next Review: January 2025

Revised 8/1/2022 by Beth Goodrich